Thailand Flood: Suvarnabhumi Airport Remains Open as of Oct 26, 18.00

Suvarnabhumi Airport Spokesperson Wilaiwan Natwilai says Suvarnabhumi Airport is well protected from the flood. A soil dyke that has been erected along the 23.5 meters long parameter of the airport is as wide as 37 meter and its height stands at 3.5 meters above the average sea level.

There are also 2 drainage stations at the airport, a total of 8 pumps, with the capacity to drain 12 CBM/second or 1 million cubic meters of water per day. Airport officials are monitoring the flood situation 24 hours a day and are in close cooperation with the Irrigation Department and other flood-related agencies.

Flights operated as normal during Oct 1-24, 2011 with as many as 130,000 average number of travelers passing through the airport each day. The airport is asking travelers to use public transport to get to Suvarnabhumi Airport after a large number of the public have parked their cars at the airport’s parking space to protect them from floods.

For more information please call 02-132-1888.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand believes that in the best case scenario, where the flood crisis is resolved by the end of October, Thailand would lost approximately 1 million Thai tourists, resulting in 1.1 billion baht in revenue. That’s not including the loss of 70,000 foreign travelers and the subsequent loss of 2.7 billion baht in revenue.      

The spokesperson for Suvarnabhumi Airport reiterates that the airport remains open and is well protected from the approaching flood water. For more information, travelers can call 02-132-1888.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-NLD Leader received the Wallenberg Medal-US Award on Tuesday night.

ARBOR, Michigan (AP) – Myanmar pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who is being honoured by the University of Michigan, says freedom from fear is the ‘master key’ that clears the way to other freedoms.

Ms Suu Kyi received the Wallenberg Medal on Tuesday night. The award is named for the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during World War II. Ms Suu Kyi is the leader of a democracy movement in Myanmar, a country formerly known as Burma.

Ms Suu Kyi did not travel to the United States for the medal. She gave a videotaped speech from Myanmar but planned to answer live questions from the campus audience. Ms Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace laureate and was under house arrest until last year.

Myanmar is under trade, economic and political sanctions from the Untied States and other nations.

Chinese police exercise with riot shields on Burma border

china-riot-thumbDuring an unusual exercise on the Burma border, Chinese police are practicing using riot shields, while its ally, the Burmese government, is engaged in a large-scale offensive against the Kachin Independence Army, according to eyewitnesses.
In the afternoon of Oct. 24, the exercise took place in front of the border gate at Laiza, the headquarters of the KIA in Kachin State, said eyewitnesses.

Riot policemen put on a full-scale demonstration of how to disperse crowds and arrest people, added witnesses.

Critics in Laiza said the exercise at the Laiza border gate was to pressure the KIO, who is resisting the offensive by Burmese government troops.

KIO strongholds, including Maijayang, Laiza and Laisin Bum are based near the China border, in eastern Kachin State.

laiza-miwagateChinese border security forces have constrained Laiza border gate since Burma government started a new war to the KIA on June 9.

Chinese troops exercise every afternoon in the Chinese border town of Jang Hkawng, opposite the KIO stronghold at Maijayang, said eyewitnesses.

Over 6,000 Chinese troops have arrived at military bases along the Burma border in its southwestern Yunnan province since early this month, according to sources close to Chinese border authorities.

Bum Htoi, a former officer of the Burmese Communist Party on the border said the Chinese and Burmese governments are now implementing a joint strategy to remove the KIO from the two countries’ border.

The mission has failed so far because the Burmese Army cannot fight against the KIA according to its original plan, he added.

China has blocked Kachin refugees from crossing into its territory since the beginning of the civil war against the KIA on June 9.
kng news


Burma VJ members resigned from DVB( loss of US$ 300,000 at DVB)-But will continue sending news to foreign-based media

(Interview) – Burma VJ, a Thai-based news group, says it will continue to expose human rights violations in Burma by using media as a tool to make positive changes. Burma VJ, previously affiliated with the Democratic Voice of Burma, said that is now an independent group and it will publish its videos and photographs on Facebook (Burma VJ Media Network) to reveal violations of human rights in Burma. Burma VJ was formed in 2006. During an issue involving the loss of US$ 300,000 at DVB in early October 2011, Burma VJ members resigned from DVB. Mizzimacorrespondent Tun Tun talked with Burma VJ member Aung Gyi about the group’s new posture, its future plans and financial matters.

A clip from the documentary Burma VJ by the video-journalist-activists group. Twenty-three Burmese journalists have been imprisoned by the government. Photo: Burma VJA clip from the documentary Burma VJ by the video-journalist-activists group. Twenty-three Burmese journalists have been imprisoned by the government. Photo: Burma VJ

Q: Please explain how Burma VJ was formed?

Answer: I’m one of the founders of Burma VJ. In late 2006, we moved to Thailand to make a documentary film, “Burma VJ.” Then we started to work in Bangkok.Originally, Burma VJ was not formed with experienced video journalists. It was formed with political activists in Burma including me. I’ve been imprisoned once. Most of the members of Burma VJ are also former political prisoners. As for us, we just use media as a tool to achieve our political objectives. We all are not dedicated journalists. We are activists. About 90 percent of Burma VJ’s members live in foreign countries and inside Burma most are former political prisoners. The main thing I would like to say is that some media reports are saying Burma VJ did not really exist [it was just a façade]. They [media] say it comprises only citizens. As a member of Burma VJ, I can say that fact is not true.

Q: What is the current goal of Burma VJ?

A: Our main objective is trying to let the world know about all current human rights violations in Burma. That’s our main objective. We report about child soldier cases. Earlier, we did the [Burma’s] nuclear issue. Our group took pictures of the 2007 revolution, especially the video in which the Japanese journalist was shot dead. We are trying to revealhuman rights violations in Burma.

Q: How many members are there in Burma VJ? 

A: I think I don’t need to say how many members. We will continue our work in the name “Burma VJ.” We are trying to survive. Some members are taking news photos and videos inside Burma. For security reasons, I don’t want to disclose how many members we have. Anyway, our group still exists. Anyone who wants to know about our activities can see our Facebook page, “Burma VJ Media Network.” We publish news photos and videos there.

Q: What will your group do in future?

A: Earlier, we were under a news agency. Now, we don’t need to follow the policy of a news agency. So we think we have become more independent. Now we are trying to link with more international media than before. We also help to forward messages including video messages of people inside Burma to international conferences. We do that for our political objectives.

Q: Now, which work are you doing?

A: We are reporting about events inside the country. We send them to the media that wants the news. And we upload our news on Facebook. We’ve already said that anyone can use our videos and photos for free just by giving us credit for photos and videos

Q: Do you get support for the survival of the group?

A: We do not get any help and support presently. The reporters in Burma are continuing their work only with their indomitable spirit.

Q: So, does your group encounter new difficulties?

A: Yes, we have more financial problems than before. So we cannot spend money like before. Anyway, we are doing as much as we can.

Q: Do you have any plan to set up a separate media group?

A: Yes, we have an idea. But, to implement it, we will encounter many challenges. We are trying to overcome those challenges. We have an idea to launch an independent news agency in Burma. Now, we are trying as much as we can to fulfill financial and technical requirements and to increase manpower. We are doing the same work as when we cooperated with DVB. We sent our news outside the country.

Q: What else would you like to say?

A: We are doing as much as we can. Our friends and colleagues inside the country are working with us. We would like to say that we are finding effective ways to let the world know about events in Burma and working as much as we can.

Burma Army shells from Thai side of the border to attack Karen fighters

Last week the Burma Army and its militia, the Border Guard Force used the sanctuary of Thailand’s territory to attack Karen soldiers based in Hlaingbwe Township on the Burma side of the Moei River.

Major Maung Lay, from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’s Klo Htoo Lar unit confirmed that the Burma Army attacked his soldiers and both sides fired artillery shells in an15-minute skirmish. Major Maung Lay said two soldiers on the Burma Army side were wounded and one medic from the Karen combined forces was arrested by the Burma Army.

“They [BGF] were on the Thai side across the Moei River when they fired at us with RPG-7 and M-79. We fired back at them with M-79’s.”

The Karen National Liberation Army is still trying to locate the whereabouts of the missing Karen medic.

Brigadier General Saw Jonny, the commander of KNLA Brigade 7 told Karen News.
“Two of our fighters, including the medic, were fishing in the Moei River when the fighting started. The BGF were shooting at our camp from the riverbank on the Thai side and the Burma Army where shooting at us from the Burma side, we were caught in the middle. We lost our medic during the fighting.”

Karen fighters said this is the first time the BGF and the Burma Army have attacked from the Thailand this year. But in November 2010 the Burma Army fired shells into the Thai border crossing area at Rim Moei injuring several people. In February this year convict reporters were shot at and injured on the Thai side of the border as they escaping from Burma Army soldiers.

This latest attack happened in the Mae Taw Waw area that is currently under the control of the KNLA Brigade 7, Major Tamala unit and the DKBA’s Major Saw Beeh’s Klo Htoo Lar unit. The BGF’s 1012 and Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion 339 also operate in the area.

Burma Army sends reinforcements to secure Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road construction

Following a ban placed by the Karen National Union on the Italian-Thai Development Company’s Kanchanaburi-Tavoy road construction, the Burma Army have responded by reinforcing their troop numbers by sending six more battalions to the area.

According to an unnamed KNU source based in the area, Burma Army reinforcements started to arrive on October 11.

The KNU source estimated that there are of now a total of eight battalions, deployed from Kwe Waw Wa (Ain Wai) to the Thai border (Mae Tha Mee Hkee) to protect and to allow the road construction to go ahead.

The eight battalions are under the command of Colonel Hein Zaw Latt who is in charge of Tactical Operation Command 2 and 3 from Operation Command 13.

In September this year the KNU requested the Italian-Thai Development Company to stop construction on the Kanchanaburi-Tavoy road after villagers and environment groups complained that the project would have a huge impact on the environment and would cause the forced eviction of thousands of civilians.

The 160-kilometer highway is part of the mega Tavoy Development Project, estimated to be worth more than US$60 billion. The project includes a deep-sea port, a giant industrial zone, roads, railways, hydro-dams, transmission lines and oil and gas pipelines. The Burmese military government awarded the project to the Italian-Thai Development Company.

The KNU, general secretary, Naw Zipporah Sein told Karen News.

“We [KNU] have to defend ourselves from attacks by the Burma Army.” Continue reading “Burma Army sends reinforcements to secure Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road construction”