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    News & Articles on Burma 16 September, 2013 ... Constitutional amendments key to reaching genuine peace - NLD Published on Monday, 16 September 2013 16:51 The
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 16, 2013
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      News & Articles on Burma
      16 September, 2013
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      Constitutional amendments key to reaching genuine peace - NLD
      Published on Monday, 16 September 2013 16:51

      The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and representatives from 12 ethnic groups have agreed on the importance of constitutional amendments to achieve internal peace.
      The landmark decision was made during a meeting on Saturday at the NLDs headquarters in Yangon.

      "Constitutional amendment and internal peace come together. The NLD presented its constitutional amendment and internal peace process. All representatives from the ethnic groups agreed to that. The meeting on September 21 will decide whether to draft a new constitution or to amend it," said Tin Ngwe, a representative of the Kamans National League for Democracy.

      The NLDs Constitution Amendment Committee and representatives from ethnic groups have already agreed to meet every Saturday. Their first meeting on September 14  highlighted the relationship between constitutional reform and achieving a sustainable peace between the government and ethnic armed groups.

      "We are trying to shape different opinions from the ethnic [groups], the military, administrative bodies and political parties. We are hoping for the best. We decline nothing but place great importance on constitutional amendment for the genuine peace," said Tun Nyo, the central executive member of Rakhine League for Democracy.

      The ethnic parties attending the meeting were the All Mon Region Democracy Party, Arakan League for Democracy, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Wa National Unity Party, Pa-O National Federation, Kaman National Progressive Party, Kamans National League for Democracy, Chin Progressive Party, Zomi National Congress, Taaung (Palaung) National Party and Talaing (Shan Red) National Development Party.
      http://elevenmyanmar.com/politics/3417-constitutional-amendments-key-to-reaching-genuine-peace-nld
      ------------------------------------
      Burma: Can President get done his peace plan?
      By Zin Linn Sep 16, 2013 6:57PM UTC

      A latest Burmas peacemaking meeting preparing for political dialogue was held between the United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC) and government peacemaking team led by Presidents Office Minister U Aung Min on 8 September in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Actually, U Aung Mins true intension was selling Burmese government plan to the ethnic armed groups to join in October nationwide ceasefire signing ceremony, according to sources close to the ethnic federation.

      However, the UNFC was reluctant to give a yes-answer since its members had already signed a state-level ceasefire accord respectively. It was disagreeable even though ceasefire has been already signed, the Burmese government army didnt abide by the agreement and continue fighting.

      In fact, the government should declare a nationwide ceasefire including the government armed forces, before a nationwide negotiating period, the Karen National Unions Joint Secretary (2) Padoh Mahn Mahn told the media.  It seems there is still a big question to tackle the deployments of both sides armed troops.

      To be frank, the 8 September meeting was unproductive one. It seemed rather presenting a bad perspective for the future talks as U Aung Mins wordings this time are more similar a threat than a peacemaking. On the other hand, the UNFC stands firmly on their political stance that is political dialogue should be held first. 

      President U Thein Sein delivered a speech on 14 August 2013, at the ceremony to take heed of the address and make affirmation at the hall of the Presidential Palace, Nay-Pyi-Taw.(President Office Website)

      In contrast, Burmas President U Thein Sein also said that political demands have to discuss in the parliament after nationwide ceasefire. According to President, the ethnic armed groups need to establish respective political parties to contest in the elections. Then, the ethnic representatives-elect would have the right to talk about the ethnic equal rights in the parliament. Most ethnic armed groups dismissed such a vague blueprint suggested by the president.

      Burma gained its independence by overthrowing the British colonial rule on 4 January 1948. In fact, Burmas independence is a consequence of the Historic Panglong Agreement between General Aung San and the leaders of Chin, Kachin and Shan ethnic groups pledging an authentic federal union of Burma. However, Burmas consecutive governments have ignored the political treaty between Burmese and the ethnic leaders of independence.

      Even with the President Thein Sein government, the treaty has been put aside since the cabinet is dominated by ex-generals. Moreover, Burma/Myanmars new 2008 Constitution distributes many troubles for political parties, ethnic cease-fire groups and exiled dissident factions seeking some common initiative between ethnic groups and the current government.

      To resolve the interconnected ethnic problems, the existing government must review the mistakes of past rulings and the political aspirations of the ethnic communities. The original argument of the nations ethnic political misunderstanding is the successive military regimes antagonism towards a democratic federal union. The late dictator, Ne Win, who seized power in a military coup in 1962, opposed sharing equal power in order to allow self-determination to respective ethnic minorities.

      Burmas Military Council headed by Ne Win declared that the military coup had taken place because of the Federalism, which he said could lead to the disintegration of the nation. When Ne Win seized power, he demolished the 1948 Constitution and dismissed the Panglong Agreement, which promised autonomy of the ethnic states.

      The result of the 1947 agreement reached nowhere after ten years in 1958, after gaining independence from the British in 1948. Many ethnic armed rebellions broke out to stand up for autonomy. The 1947 constitution had granted the right of secession to Karenni and Shan States.

      Despite the fact that the Supreme Executive Council of the United Hill Peoples was making an effort to amend the union constitution in 1961-62 to reconstruct a true federal union with the Premier U Nus Government, Gen. Ne Win made a military coup on 2 March in 1962 and all ethnic states had been occupied by the treacherous Burma armed forces.

      In actual fact, it is a fair demand for self-sufficiency among the respective ethnic minorities. No government should use guns to govern ethnic minorities. If one looks back to 1960-61, many leaders from ethnic states criticized the weakness of the constitution as well as the governments failure to provide political autonomy of the ethnic minorities.

      They pointed the finger at the central government for not allowing the representatives of ethnic states to manage their own affairs in areas of economy, judiciary, education, and customs and so on.

      According to the military drafted and approved constitutions Article 436, most of the provisions can be amended by a vote of more than 75% of the representatives of the joint Upper and Lower House assembly (666 seats). The military occupies 25% of the seats in each house (110, 56).

      Without addressing and honoring the ethnic peoples demand for self-determination, the latest parliament-based government seems unable to stop political and civil strife throughout ethnic areas. In reality, ethnic peoples demand for equal rights is not a new one but already mentioned in the 1947-Panglong agreement.

      Many ethnic leaders assert that they do not believe in the new 2008 constitution. They consider that it will not create a genuine federal union since the armed forces take 25 percent of all seats in the existing parliament. So, the current constitution will not grant the democratic freedom and the fundamental rights for the ethnic groups of the nation. In brief, if existing government sincerely wished for proper peace, it must begin with Panglong initiative which is accepted by mainstream ethnic people.

      Speaking ahead of an imperative Shan Conference held on 26-28 November,2012, the leader of the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) Lt-Gen Yawdserk said the way to lasting peace in Myanmar is a federal democratic system, according to the Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.).

      We are of the same mind as the Kachins. Any dialogue for peace must begin with Panglong, he said. Because all the problems we are facing now started with someone reneging on it. We must take a look at it first, and if we find there is need to improve on it, we do it.

      President has pledged during the presidential inaugural ceremony that he would mainly work in support of good governance, national reconciliation, poverty alleviation and establishing a long-lasting peaceful society.  However, he looks as if he has no option to honor self-determination of the ethnic population since the military shows no consideration on the subject. http://asiancorrespondent.com/113475/burma-can-president-get-done-his-peace-plan/
      ------------------------------------
      Myanmar guaranteed a free and fair election in 2015: Election commission
      Published on Monday, 16 September 2013 22:50

      Myanmar will hold a completely free and fair national election in 2015, the election commission chairman told reporters in Yangon on Saturday.

      Tin Aye, chairman of the Union Election Commission, said a strategic plan was being drawn to ensure a smooth and problem-free election.

      Blunders and weaknesses in the election process will cause problems. So we are drafting a strategic plan to implement the election process, Tin Aye told the reporters at the Inya Lake Hotel.

      Tin Aye said that commission members began drafting the election process plan three months ago. Upon completion, he added, it would be distributed to political parties and social organizations for their suggestions.

      He also promised that the 2015 election would be completely transparent, free and fair.

      We guarantee a free and fair election on a cent-per-cent basis. But the media must point out problems if there are any. Our commission does not want to see injustice. We want good people to go to Parliament, said the commission chairman.

      He also admitted to some mistakes during the 2010 election, noting that there was not much time for preparations.

      Reports were rampant that the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party won the 2010 election by declaring victory at the advanced balloting stage. When the by-election took place in 2012, village election commissions were criticized for excluding many eligible voters from the voting lists in most constituencies.

      The 2010 election was the first general vote held in Myanmar in 20 years. The results of the 1990 election, a landslide victory for the National League for Democracy, were not recognized by the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council.   http://elevenmyanmar.com/politics/3418-myanmar-guaranteed-a-free-and-fair-election-in-2015-election-commission
      --------------------------------------
      Myanmar revenue department announces top 100 taxpayers
          Published on Monday, 16 September 2013 23:08

      The Internal Revenue Department announced the list of the top 100 commercial and income tax payers for the 2012-2013 fiscal year on September 14.

      Kanbawza Bank Limited stood at the top of the list of 100 income tax payers while Myanmar Brewery Limited was ale first in top 100 commercial tax payers, according to the report.

      Next in line for income tax were: IBTC Company Limited, Myanmar CP Livestock Company Limited, Shwe Taung Development Company Limited, Co-Operative Bank Limited, Max (Myanmar) Construction Company Limited, Dagon Beverages Company Limited, Shwe Me Company Limited and Asia World Company Limited.

      The top ten commercial tax payers were: Myanmar Brewery Limited, Rothmans of Pall Mall Myanmar Pte Limited, Dagon Beverages Company Limited, IBTC Company Limited, Myanmar CP Livestock Company Limited, City Mart Holding Company Limited, Premier Coffee Company Limited, Yathar Cho Industry Limited, Max Myanmar Construction Company Limited and Straits Greenfield Limited (Sedona Hotel-Yangon).

      Eleven Media Group stands seven-eighth place in top 100 commercial tax payers chart for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, up from the eighty-fourth position in 2011-2012.

      Some "crony" companies, known to have preferential links with the old regime, had not previously featured on tax payer lists.

      Htoo Trading Company Limited could not be found in the top 100 tax payers for the 2011-2012 fiscal year but appeared in the 2012-2013 financial year.

      IBTC Company Limited and City Mart Holding Company Limited have also been included in both lists of top 100 income tax payers and top 100 commercial tax payers this year.

      Other so-called "crony" companies included in 2011-2012 fiscal year have not been included in this year's list, and continue to evade taxes. 
      http://elevenmyanmar.com/business/3421-myanmar-revenue-department-announces-top-100-taxpayers
      ---------------------------------
      EC and immigration authorities play blame game
          16 Sep 2013 05:04
          Written by Nan Hnin Lwin Pwint
          Category: Politics  

      A young woman casts her vote at a polling booth during Myanmar's historic general election held after 20 years in 2010. Photo: Mizzima

      A young woman casts her vote at a polling booth during Myanmar's historic general election held after 20 years in 2010. Photo: Mizzima

      The status of white card holders' right to vote in the forthcoming 2015 general election is still uncertain. The Election Commission (EC) and Immigration Department are playing the blame game by denying their responsibility on the issue.

      The white cards are provisional identity cards issued by the Immigration Department to citizens whose identity and nationalities could not be ascertained.

      Khin Yee, Minister of the Ministry of Immigration and Population said, The Immigration Department is responsible for granting citizenship. Setting rules on the  right to franchise is not our job. We cannot decide who can and cannot cast votes, to Mizzima's query on September 15 at a press conference held in the Yangon Region Legislative Assembly building.

      Similarly, the Union Election Commission Chairman Tin Aye, at a press conference held at Inya Lake hotel on September 14, told reporters that the EC had no responsibility on the issue.

      The inquiry should be made to the Immigration department. Only they can verify citizenship and party membership. If they approve the citizenship of these people, we cannot deny citizens their right to vote. We must seek confirmation from the Immigration Department on these cases. If the Immigration department confirms their citizenship, we must follow their decision, said Chairman Tin Aye.

      When Mizzima asked Immigration Minister Khin Yee to respond to the EC Chairman, he replied, We issued white cards to those whose citizenships were uncertain. A decision on whether white card holders should be granted the right to vote or not, must be made by the EC. I think what he said meant was the Immigration Department's only concern was granting citizenship.

      Upper House MP Dr. Aye Maung, from Rakhine moved a motion at the Parliament during its sixth session to enact a law regarding franchise right of white card holders and the house accepted the motion for deliberations.

      Khin Saw Wei, Rakhine MP from Rethetaung constituency said that the motion would be deliberated upon during the seventh session.

      Such law should be enacted in our country. In Rakhine state, many white cards were issued so that people can cast votes in the general election. In fact, they should have not done that.  It is not practiced internationally, she said.

      During the 2010 general election, the military regime issued white cards to non-citizens and granted them the right to vote. The controversial move was criticized by politicians, opposition and the media at that time.

      EC Chairman Tin Aye admitted to the journalists at the press conference held on September 14 that mistakes were made in the previous general election.

      He also pledged that there would be no mistakes in the upcoming general election in 2015. http://www.mizzima.com/news-91481/prisoner-watch/10092-ec-and-immigration-authorities-play-blame-game
      -----------------------------------
      Myanmar president to work with former student leaders group in political process
          16 Sep 2013 04:03
          Written by Xinhua
          Category: Politics          

      Min Ko Naing (L) one of 88 student leader shakes hands with President Thein Sein in Naypyitaw on September 14, 2013. Photo: President's Office

      Myanmar President U Thein Sein has vowed to work with former student leaders group, now named the 88-Generation Peace and Open Society Group, for emergence of all-inclusive political process and for ensuring peace and national reconciliation, official media reported Sunday.

      U Thein Sein made the remarks when he received the group, led by former student leader U Min Ko Naing in Nay Pyi Taw Saturday.

      Mapping out a new form of political culture, flourishing of democracy system, promotion of socio-economic status of the people and dealing with the possible challenges to transitional period with a visionary and farsighted view were discussed  during the meeting.

      In addition, matters on land dispute, political prisoners, all-inclusiveness of ethnic groups, political parties and civil society organizations including the government, parliament and ethnic armed groups were also touched upon.

      It was the first time that the president met with the former student leaders group after they were released in January 2012.
      http://www.mizzima.com/news-91481/prisoner-watch/10086-myanmar-president-to-work-with-former-student-leaders-group-in-political-process
      ---------------------------------
      Battles rage in southern Kachin and northern Shan State
      By KLN,  Sunday, September 15, 2013

      Battles continue to rage between KIAs 12th and 27th Battalion troops and Burmese armys 69th LIR, 522nd LIR, 221st LIR, 323rd LIB, and 240th LIR in KIAs 12th Battalion area in southern Kachin State on Sept 14.

      KIAs 12th Battalion troops and a combined force of Burmese armys 69th LIR and 522nd LIR reportedly exchanged artillery fire at Nang Hpang and Nam Hku Hka on Saturday beginning 12 pm for half an hour.

      About 150 soldiers from Burmese armys 69th LIR and 522nd LIR launched an attack on KIAs 12th Battalion position at Nam Hpang Hka hku at around 5:25 pm. The battle lasted for about a half hour and one KIA soldier died and two others wounded. KLN is unable to confirm casualties on the other side.

      Another group of KIAs 12th Battalion troops encountered another combined force of Burmese armys 69th LIR, 522nd LIR and 323rd LIR between Nam Hpang Hka and Nam Me Hka at around 5:45 pm. Burmese government troops later retreated from this area after the two sides exchanged fire for about 45 minutes.

      On the same day, about 100 soldiers from Burmese armys 240th LIR launched an attack on KIA 27th Battalions position at Lahkum Bum. The exchange of fire started at around 9 am and was going on until 5:40 pm.

      In another front in northern Shan State, Kachin people militia (MHH) troops under KIAs 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade fought against Burmese armys 221st LIR troops near Nam Hpai junction on Sept 14 at 12 pm. http://kachinlandnews.com/?p=23693
      --------------------------------------
      Nissan to open Myanmar plant
      16 Sep, 11:11 PM1    AAP

      Japanese automaker Nissan plans to begin producing small cars and trucks in Myanmar with its Malaysian partner as early as this year.

      The Nikkei business daily reported on Monday that Nissan Motor and Malaysia's Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd will jointly produce several thousand small passenger cars and pickup trucks a year in the Southeast Asian country.

      Myanmar has been experiencing sharp growth in demand for cars since it began taking steps toward democracy in 2011, and used Japanese models are especially popular there.

      In a bid to tap the market, carmakers have begun moving in, with Japan's Suzuki announcing the restart of production there earlier in the year and Ford saying it would open a showroom.

      But Nissan would be the biggest carmaker so far to start production in the country, the Nikkei said, where huge import taxes and a US investment ban aimed at the previous regime had meant vehicles were too expensive for most people.

      Car ownership was only about 2.36 million units as of last year in a country with a population of roughly 60 million, meaning the market had much room to grow, the Nikkei said.

      A Tan Chong affiliate will likely construct an assembly plant that will finish cars using parts shipped from Nissan factories in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

      Nissan was not immediately available to confirm the report in Japan, where it was a public holiday.

      Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Asia after decades of economic mismanagement and isolation under army rule. But it has undertaken big economic and social reforms, sparking renewed interest in the country from business abroad.   http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/9/16/automotive/nissan-open-myanmar-plant
      --------------------------------
      Jade struggling for buyers as Myanmar supplies decline
      September 16, 2013 10:27 pm

      HONG KONG: Prized as a magical imperial stone, jade is a status symbol of the super rich in Asia, but rocketing prices in the top-end of the market have left traders in Hong Kong struggling to find buyers.

      With the cost of high-quality raw jade and jade products surging repeatedly in the past eight years, prices tags are now becoming prohibitive and experts predict the bubble must soon burst as buyers are stepping back.

      Driven up by the appetite of wealthy Chinese, the rising cost of jade is also being fueled by fears of a shortage in supply from Myanmar, the key source.

      Consumers cannot accept the current high prices, therefore, no deal is reached, Hong Kong jade dealer Li Kwong-kei told Agence France-Presse at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair on Friday.

      Li, who has participated in the fair for more than 10 years, said that it was quieter than in 2011 and 2012.

      We are forced to raise pricesit is increasingly hard to get high-quality raw jade from Myanmar. If you do not pay more, the good raw materials will be owned by the others, Li added, holding a green jadeite bangle with a price of HK$2 million, or $260,000.

      I have decided to wait for the prices of high- and mid-end jade to drop, said Judy Chen, a Taiwanese buyer at the fair.

      It appears to me that their prices are kind of at the peak, she added.

      Small businesses have also been affectedstallholders at Hong Kongs famous outdoor jade market while away hours chatting with their neighbors, as customers remain sparse.

      I have seen some of my peers quit their businesses, said 54-year-old stall owner Wong Fung-ying.

      AFP   http://www.manilatimes.net/jade-struggling-for-buyers-as-myanmar-supplies-decline/40531/
      --------------------------------------  
      INTERVIEW-Mazda to start selling new cars in Myanmar, CEO says
      By Yoko Kubota and Kentaro Sugiyama
      TOKYO, Sept 17 | Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:29pm IST

      (Reuters) - Mazda Motor Corp will start selling new vehicles soon in Myanmar, its chief executive said, as carmakers rush to get a foothold in the country that until recently was under international economic sanctions.

      As a part of a plan to sell cars in all member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Mazda plans to send a range of vehicles to Myanmar rather than only sell low-grade models, Chief Executive Masamichi Kogai said.

      "The purpose is to build our brand and create Mazda fans," he told Reuters in an interview this month. He added that the start of sales "won't be so distant in the future" and the number of vehicles it will sell there will be small.

      Myanmar's new car market started to bloom around 2011, after the quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein took over and overturned imports restrictions of the military government.

      There are around 340,000 passenger cars registered in Myanmar, government data shows, shared among a population of more than 60 million people. Most of the cars are Japanese.

      About half a dozen companies from Japan, India, South Korea and the United States are currently manufacturing cars or have showrooms in Myanmar.

      Nissan Motor Co plans to start a complete knock down production of its cars in Myanmar with a Malaysian partner Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd, an individual close to the company told Reuters this week.

      Nissan is expected to announce details as early as Friday.

      In July, Nissan and Tan Chong Motor, with whom Nissan already works together in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, opened Nissan's first showroom in Myanmar, selling a pickup truck and a commercial van.

      Earlier this year, Suzuki Motor Corp resumed production of vehicles in Mynanmar for the first time in three years, manufacturing about 100 small trucks a month.

      Ford Motor Co opened its first showroom in Myanmar in April, while General Motors is preparing to open its first Chevrolet showroom later this year. (Additional reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing, Aung Hla Tun in Yangon and Amy Sawitta Lefevre in Bangkok; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
      http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/09/16/mazda-myanmar-idINL3N0HC1L320130916?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&rpc=401
      -------------------------------
      Burma's Suu Kyi opens Forum 2000 Conference
      Burmese opposition leader praises V
      av Havel's inspiration
      Posted: September 16, 2013
      By Kevin Livingston - For the Post |

      Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during the 17th Forum 2000 Conference opening ceremony on Sept. 15, 2013, in Prague.

      Daw Aung San Suu Kyi opened this year's Forum 2000 Conference Sept. 15 with a tribute to conference founder and former Czech President V
      av Havel, whom she described as a direct influence and inspiration for her own freedom struggles in Burma (Myanmar).

      It is the first visit to the country for Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader and chairperson of the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). In her opening remarks, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner said Havel was a guiding light during her own struggle against an authoritarian regime, as were the Czech and Slovak people.

      Suu Kyi founded the NLD in September 1988, entering politics to work for democratization in Burma. Refusing an offer of freedom from the country's military dictatorship if she emigrated, she was put under house arrest in July 1989.

      The 68-year-old pro-democracy advocate spent nearly 15 of the following 21 years, until her release in November 2010, restricted to her home. She won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her peaceful and nonviolent struggle under a military dictatorship.

      Describing Havel as a great friend for the Burmese movement for democracy, she said his writings provided an inspiration for her during her detention.

      "When I received [his] books, I read them avidly to find out how I too could survive the years of struggle as he survived. I understood the ultimate freedom was to live in truth," she said, referring to Havel's core message. "It is a single honor to speak some words of appreciation of a great man and true friend of the movement for democracy in Burma. When I was under house arrest I knew that here was a man speaking for me. He made me feel free.

      "What he [Havel] did for Burma and human rights and democracy is so vast that I think there will never be a time when we can stop talking about it," she said, stressing that she has never made a secret of the fact that had Havel "not nominated me, he would have been the Nobel Peace prize winner [that year]."

      In the April 2012 elections, her party won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house of the Burmese parliament and Suu Kyi is now a member of parliament, representing the Kawhmu constituency. This June, she announced that in 2015 she would run for the presidency of Burma, which is still not free.

      "We in Burma have started on road to transition from a military dictatorship to democracy. I am sure [Havel] would say it is not going to be easy but if you persevere you will get there," Suu Kyi said. "I have repeatedly spoken out against over optimism which could cause us to lose our way. We must recognize the difficulties in our path. I do not think he would have approved of blind optimism."

      Suu Kyi has been a Member of the Forum 2000 International Advisory Board since October 2012. The Forum 2000 Foundation is not only hosting the Burmese MP but is also the main coordinator of her second European trip since she was released from house arrest. Besides the Czech Republic, she will also be visiting Poland and Hungary.

      Executive Director Jakub Klepal noted that Suu Kyi had been invited to Forum 2000 every year since its founding in 1996, although during her house arrest it would clearly only have been a symbolic invitation. "But this is precisely why we wanted to at least support her in this way in her fight for democracy and the observance of human rights in Burma. V
      av Havel, who nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, would undoubtedly have taken great delight in her visit."

      Also on hand at 17th annual conference, which comes to a close Sept. 17, are the Dalai Lama, the American singer and activist Joan Baez - who sang at Sunday's Opening Ceremony - and the former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. de Klerk.

      The Dalai Lama, a personal friend of Havel, also delivered a lecture before hundreds of people in Prague Saturday and spoke about the need for tolerance and respect. The theme of this year's conference is societies in transition.

      Kevin Livingston can be reached at
      news@...  http://www.praguepost.com/news/17108-burmas-suu-kyi-opens-forum-2000-conference.html
      ---------------------------------       
      Suu Kyi wishes Burmese to be rich in hope
          By DVB
          16 September 2013
       
      Speaking at the opening ceremony of Forum 2000 in Prague on Sunday evening, Burmas opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi compared her countrys state of transition to that of her hosts some 30 years before.

      Its not going to be easy and we have just started out, she told the conference. I have repeatedly spoken out against over-optimism, because that could make us complacent.

      In a glowing tribute to former Czech and Czechoslovakian President V
      av Havel, Suu Kyi praised her late fellow Nobel laureate as a true friend of Burma and someone who knew the value of freedom.

      She continued: We have to forge ahead with our eyes open, recognising the difficulties that lie in our path, and facing the truth as President V
      av Havel would have wished us to do.

      Warning against blind optimism in Burmas process of democratic reform, Suu Kyi noted that the country was rich in natural resources but that its people were poor.

      We want them to be rich in hope, she said.

      The Burmese pro-democracy icon, who was the keynote speaker at the conference, was greeted with a standing ovation as she took the stage and when she completed her speech.

      The Forum 2000 Foundation states its purpose as pursuing the legacy of V
      av Havel by supporting the values of democracy and respect for human rights, assisting the development of civil society, and encouraging religious, cultural and ethnic tolerance. http://www.dvb.no/news/suu-kyi-wishes-burmese-to-be-rich-in-hope-burma-myanmar/32534
      -------------------------------------
      President Thein Sein meets 88 Generation leaders
          By DVB
          16 September 2013

      Burmese President Thein Sein met with leaders of Burmas pro-democracy 88 Generation Students group for the first time on Sunday in a bid to promote political reform in the former pariah nation, according to state media.

      Members of the 88 Generation Students group were invited to Naypyidaw to discuss the ongoing challenges in the countrys democratic transition, including political prisoners, land grabs and civil conflicts.

      The state-run New Light of Myanmar described the meeting as a cordial effort to develop a new political culture and all-inclusive political process in Burma, which is emerging from decades of military rule.

      The 88 Generation delegation was led by pro-democracy activists Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi who both spent lengthy stints in prison under the former military regime.

      The group played a prominent role in Burmas 1988 student-led pro-democracy uprising, which culminated in a bloody military crackdown that left thousands dead.

      They have previously met with other senior politicians, including the governments leading peace negotiator, Aung Min, and the speaker of both the lower house and bicameral parliament, Shwe Mann. But this is the first time they have met with Thein Sein.

      In a July interview with DVB, a group spokesperson said they were planning to press the president about Burmas tumultuous history and discuss ways to rebuild the country.

      Well also urge him to stop the fighting in Kachin state and raise the issue of land confiscations, said Mya Aye.

      The 88 Generation Students group was formed in 2005 and played a major role in organising protests during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, which saw thousands of monks and civilians spilling onto the streets of Rangoon calling for democracy.

      Several of the groups leaders, including Min Ko Naing who had already spent 15 years in prison for his political activism, were later re-arrested and jailed for their role in the uprising, which was brutally crushed by the military regime.
      http://www.dvb.no/news/president-thein-sein-meets-88-generation-leaders/32525
      --------------------------------
      China pledges, Burma dredges
          By REUTERS
          16 September 2013

      A Chinese firm, CATIC Bejing Co., Ltd, delivered 19 dredgers and supporting vessels to Burma on Saturday at a commissioning ceremony held at Nanthida Jetty in Rangoon.

      The dredgers were imported from China with assistance of a preferential loan provided by the Chinese government.

      As there are many rivers in Burma, and transportation on rivers is quite frequent, there is a dire need for these dredgers, said Li Jin, deputy general manager of the CATIC Beijing Co Ltd.

      The channels need to be dredged at regular intervals or sludge will block them. The dredgers will improve transportation on our rivers.

      Burmas Minister of Transport Nyan Htun Aung welcomed the delivery and said the vessels would help improve the condition of the countrys waterways.

      Because of these new dredgers and supporting vessels from China, our dredging capacity will be increased to reduce the sedimentation problem, allowing for better navigation and helping prevent floods, he said.

      He went on to say that the government was planning on reforming the water sector in order to better manage Burmas water resources.

      I also believe that these new dredgers will contribute to our countrys economic development by facilitating the successful realisation of sustainable integrated water resources management, said Nyan Htun Aung.

      Many believe this delivery is a sign that China intends to be very much involved in Burmas transport sector.

      Chinese Ambassador to Burma, Yang Houlan, said at the ceremony that the Chinese government attached importance to Sino-Burmese cooperation in the area of transport.

      Ambassador Yang said China was willing to provide aid including technical assistance to promote Burmas economic and social development. In return, he said, Chinese enterprises would benefit from construction and port development projects. http://www.dvb.no/dvb-video/china-pledges-burma-dredges/32519
      -------------------------
      Hard road to democracy still ahead of Burma - Suu Kyi in Prague

      published: 16.09.2013, 17:37 | updated: 16.09.2013 17:42:10

      Prague - Burma is still at the beginning of the road to democracy that will be hard but hopefully not long, Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi told participants in the Forum 2000 conference of worlds thinkers and politicians today.

      At the conferences opening on Sunday, Suu Kyi warned against too much optimism in connection with the further development in Burma.

      She noted that most of the present Burmese government members are people who were part of the regime of a military junta that ruled the country for decades.

      It is apparent from this that there still is a lot Burma needs to do, the former dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize said.

      Suu Kyi said the present Burmese constitution does not seem to be a sufficient guarantee of a democratic development because it does not include enough safeguards against power abuse and it does not guarantee the peoples right to choose a government they would like to have.

      She said a democratic government would be one that makes people feel so secure that they would not fear to criticise it or even oppose it, one that would listen to people and have confidence in them, one that would care for them but not interfere in their lives too much, one that would not hesitate to give up its power when its time comes.

      Suu Kyi said the Burmese governments have failed to have these qualities so far.

      Due to her political activities, Suu Kyi was in house arrest for many years. She was only released from it in 2010 after Burma embarked on the road towards democracy. This is her first visit to Prague.

      Suu Kyi met Czech President Milos Zeman and Foreign Minister Jan Kohout earlier today.

      In the past years, Forum 2000 conference organisers had regularly left an empty chair for Suu Kyi, pointing to her involuntary absence.

      This year's 17th Forum 2000, a conference established by late Czech president Vaclav Havel, focuses on societies in transition. Suu Kyi recalled at the conference on Sunday that Havel refused his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and proposed her instead.

      Author: C(TK        http://www.ceskenoviny.cz/news/zpravy/hard-road-to-democracy-still-ahead-of-burma-suu-kyi-in-prague/984485?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=feed
      www.ctk.c
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      Burma to Give IAEA Greater Access for Nuclear Inspections
      VOA News   September 16, 2013
      The U.N. nuclear agency is poised to gain wider access to inspect facilities in Burma under an agreement expected to be signed Tuesday.

      The International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] says the agreement, called an Additional Protocol, will allow inspectors to make more unannounced visits to such sites.

      The move will help clear lingering suspicions that Burma had been trying to develop nuclear weapons during the country's long military rule that ended last year. North Korea, which has conducted its own nuclear weapons tests, was suspected of working with the Burmese government.

      Burma has denied the allegations.
      http://www.voanews.com/content/burma-to-give-iaea-greater-access-for-nuclear-inspections/1750636.html
      -----------------------------------------
      200000 workers expelled from Htan Gaing oil-field
          16 Sep 2013 04:45
          Written by Yayge (Pyi)
          Category: Myanmar   

      Over 200000 oil well workers, oil well drilling workers, vendors and crude oil traders received notice letters to leave the Htan Gaing oilfield in Minhla Township, Magwe Region by September 16. The vendors have been told to leave the oilfield by September 14.

      The unsigned notice issued on September 9 states that Section 144 of the Criminal Procedural Code (CrPC) has been imposed around the oilfield, banning assembly of more than five people in the area. It further states that crude oil is a natural resource owned by the state and no one is authorized by the government to extract it.

      The Secretary of Magwe Region government was contacted on September 15 for comments but was unreachable.

      The Htan Gaing oilfield area was previously owned by 27 farmers. In 2007, the government seized 71 acres of farmlands and gave it to private companies to extract crude oil. Section 144 of CrPC was imposed in the area at that time too.

      Than Htike, an activist who has been helping the farmers said that the authorities gave these land back to their previous owners on April 29 after underground crude oil deposits was exhausted.

      Thereafter, some of the farmers drilled wells in their property and some sold their land. The farmers had appealed to the President and ministries concerned to let them work in the oilfields officially, Than Htike added.

      Oil well drilling worker Tun Myint said that the eviction order was not received through proper channel or from an authority.

      The letter does not mention any governmental department as issuing authority. It was handed over from one person to another, he said.

      Local oil workers said that more than 100 policemen had been deployed in the oil field area since September 10 and security has been beefed up.

      Volunteers helping the farmers and workers in Htan Gaing oilfield told Mizzima that over 200000 workers rely on the oilfield for livelihood and wanted the eviction order revoked, since the Htan Gaing area has been rendered barren and unsuitable for farming crops.
      http://www.mizzima.com/news/myanmar/10090-200000-workers-expelled-from-htan-gaing-oil-field
       
      Joseph Thang Thuantak
      Global Siyin News
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