Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Online opinion poll suggests 80 per cent to say 'No'



By Phanida
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 23:27
Mizzima News

Chiang Mai
– Mizzima News conducted an online constitutional referendum opinion poll on its website where 80 per cent of respondents said 'No' to the draft constitution.

About 6,028 respondents gave their opinion on Mizzima's online opinion poll conducted from 27 March to today afternoon of which 5,034 respondents (83.6%) said 'No' and 584 (9.7%) said 'Yes' in favour of the draft constitution.

In the online poll survey a respondent can give his/her poll only once a day if the same computer is used. Most of the respondents are Burmese in exile.

In this 'Your Opinion' page, the respondents can click any tab which they want to poll; (1) I support/object/abstain from the constitution (2) I understand the constitution well/a little/not at all (3) have interest/no interest in the constitution.

According to this survey, about 50 per cent of respondents did not understand the constitution at all and the number of people who understand it are few.

There were 1114 (27.9%) who understand the constitution, 928 (23.2%) who understand it a little bit and 1995 (48.9%) who do not understand it at all.

The most interesting part is the number of those who want to know and who have no interest in the draft constitution is almost equal.

About 1,687 persons (41.3%) said they want to know and 2397 (58.7%) said they have no interest in it.

According to Mizzima website statistics, the number of readers from Singapore, US, Thailand and Malaysia rank first to fourth respectively. The number of readers from Burma rank fifth.

There are discrepancies between online polls and telephonic polls. The telephone polls conducted earlier suggested that many voters are still undecided.

Similarly the opinion poll conducted by Mizzima staff reporters inside Burma suggested that majority of eligible voters are still indecisive.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vote " NO" for junta's one-sided referendum



video

သတင္း -ေဒါင္းမာန္ဟုန္ (http://dawnmanhon.blogspot.com/)

Myanmar nationals protest constitution in Singapore


SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Hundreds of Myanmar nationals, many wearing red or t-shirts with the word "No," gathered outside the Myanmar embassy in Singapore on Sunday to protest against the country's proposed new constitution.

Public protest is rare in Singapore, where all outdoor demonstrations are banned and a public gathering of more than four people requires a permit.

According to Myanmar nationals outside the embassy, citizens living in Singapore can this week vote on whether to accept or reject a constitution written by the country's military leaders.

But they said most of them were turned away because they lacked documentation such as a form certifying that they had paid their taxes.

"We are here to cast our votes. We will wait until we can vote," said one of the waiting crowd, who said he was a student called James.

A female companion with him, who declined to be named, said the organizers provided the red t-shirts as well as drinks and snacks to people waiting outside the embassy.

The group, which at one point raised their Myanmar passports in the air to demonstrate their nationality, was well-organized, and largely peaceful, following instructions from the Singapore police to make way for passing traffic and clearing rubbish from the ground.

Some monks were seen walking through the crowd.

An official from the Myanmar embassy declined comment when contacted, while Singapore police on the ground declined to speak to Reuters.

"We have the impression they don't want us to vote," said an organizer of the event who identified himself as William Thein. "People are very sure the junta will cheat. We can only wear these caps and t-shirts to show that the people are overwhelmingly against this unfair referendum."

Myanmar's opposition National League for Democracy has called for a rejection of the constitution, drafted over the last 14 years by an army-picked committee.

Other underground opposition groups are also pushing for the former Burma's 53 million people to reject the charter. At least 60 people have been arrested in Myanmar for wearing t-shirts urging people to vote "No" in the May 10 constitutional referendum.

Myanmar Nationals in Singapore, Indonesia Vote on Constitution



By Katherine Espina

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Myanmar nationals living abroad began voting on whether the country's military government should be able to rewrite the constitution, an indicator of how a later vote within their homeland may proceed.

Citizens of the country formally known as Burma lined up in front of their embassy in Singapore for the third day to cast ballots in an April 25-29 vote. In Indonesia, voting started at 9:30 a.m. today and will end at 4:30 p.m. local time. The referendum in Myanmar is May 10.

The Myanmar referendum marks the first time citizens have voted in 18 years. Myanmar's junta says the vote is designed to pave the way for democratic elections in 2010, while the U.S. State Department said April 11 it's an attempt by the military to retain power.

``The destiny of Myanmar temporarily lies in the hands of our people and not in the hands of the military generals,'' said Myo Myint Maung, a spokesman for the Singapore-based Overseas Burmese Patriots, an activist group. ``This is a special occasion, a short-lived moment of democracy even if results won't be favorable to the future of our nation.''

Some voters in Singapore today wore T-shirts that read, ``We pursue peace, justice and democracy for Burma.'' Hundreds of people have voted in the city state, Myo said. In Indonesia, four people showed up to cast ballots two hours after voting started, Jamil Setiawan, a security guard at the embassy in Jakarta said. Calls to the embassy were unanswered.

Ten demonstrators demanding all Myanmar citizens overseas should have the right to vote were injured in a scuffle with Japanese police yesterday in Tokyo, the Associated Press said in a report. Officials at the Southeast Asian nation's embassy gate in Tokyo declined to comment and phone calls to the embassy were unanswered.

The referendum is the ``government's effort to legitimize military rule in Myanmar,'' London-based rights group Amnesty International said last month.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party on April 2 called on voters to reject changes to the constitution. The modifications would bar Suu Kyi from holding office and ensure the military is represented in parliament, the Associated Press reported, citing a draft.

International condemnation of Myanmar's military government has increased since it deployed soldiers in September to end anti-government protests.

Myanmar, which has a population of 47 million, has been under military rule since 1962.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Espina in Singapore at kespina@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: April 27, 2008 02:26 EDT

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Myanmar protesters hurt in Japan rally



TOKYO - Ten demonstrators demanding that all Myanmar citizens living overseas be given the right to vote in an upcoming referendum were injured Saturday in a scuffle with police in Japan.

Eight of the 10 injured in the confrontation outside the Myanmar Embassy in Tokyo were taken to a hospital for treatment, said Tokyo Fire Department spokesman Yoshinori Nagashiki.

He said all those hurt were conscious but other details of their conditions were not immediately known.

A Tokyo Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed that four Myanmar citizens were taken to a hospital, and said two were slightly injured while two others felt sick following the scuffle. He said he did not have details about any others who might have been hurt.

The injured were among about 150 people -- mostly Myanmar citizens and some Japanese supporters -- demanding that all Myanmar citizens living abroad be allowed to vote on Mynamar's new constitution in a May 10 referendum, the police spokesman said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

The protesters' exact demands about voting were not immediately clear. Myanmar's government, however, has stipulated that only citizens with legitimate government documents, such as exit permits, can vote overseas. That rule would exclude most political exiles and refugees.

Officials at the Myanmar Embassy could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Myanmar's ruling junta, facing growing domestic and international pressure due to it authoritarian rule, recently announced it would hold the referendum on a draft constitution as part of a "road map to democracy."

Critics have said the charter is a sham designed to perpetuate military rule and keep pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for office.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

EUROPE: Sanctions on Burma To Be Extended



By David Cronin

BRUSSELS, Apr 23 (IPS) - Sanctions imposed by the European Union on Burma look set to be extended for an extra year because of the lack of progress on human rights in the military-ruled country.

EU foreign ministers meeting Apr. 28 will review the measures they introduced against Burma in October last year, following the brutal crackdown on Buddhist monks who took part in street protests that have become known as the Saffron Revolution. These measures included a ban on the import of gemstones, timber and precious metal.

Slovenia, the current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, expects the sanctions to be renewed for another 12 months.

Janez Lenarcic, Slovenia's state secretary for European affairs, said he also expects the EU to formally exhort the Burmese authorities to begin planning for a "legitimate civil government" and to release political prisoners, including the iconic pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Yet some campaign groups have argued that it would not be sufficient to merely prolong the EU's sanctions. Human Rights Watch is urging both that existing sanctions should be bolstered and supplementary ones added.

While the EU has frozen the assets of Burmese generals, Human Rights Watch contends that these financial measures should be made more comprehensive. In particular, it wants any use of bank clearing-houses or the conduct of any other financial transactions within the EU's jurisdiction by members of the junta to be forbidden.

The organisation also wants to broaden the range of targets for sanctions. At present, oil and gas exports from Burma remain unaffected by the sanctions, as do contracts signed by the French energy giant Total for exploiting the Yadana gas field in southern Burma. Human Rights Watch is arguing that the sanctions should be extended to cover companies that finance the Burmese military, such as the state-run Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).

Lotte Leicht, Brussels director with Human Rights Watch, argued that sanctions can have an influence on the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the Burmese government calls itself, but only if their application is monitored vigorously.

"The way forward for an effective sanctions regime on Burma is to think small and adaptive," she said. "Go after the real perpetrators and profiteers of Burma's military rule and target their ability to access international financial networks to hide their profits, to buy arms and other repressive tools. And do it constantly with updated information and listing of key SPDC officials and military controlled companies.

"The EU must cooperate with other sanctioning states such as the U.S. and Australia, and share information and coordinate action. To do anything less makes sanctions a hollow tool, and plays directly into the hands of the military regime who are accustomed to hard talk and soft measures as a result of divergent international approaches."

Members of the European Parliament have called, too, for tougher sanctions during an Apr. 23 debate. Plans by the Burmese junta to hold a referendum on a new constitution next month were denounced by MEPs.

Brian Crowley, a representative of Fianna Fáil, Ireland's largest party, noted that the constitution would reserve one-quarter of all seats in the Burmese parliament for the military and that Aung San Suu Kyi would not be allowed seek election "because she is married to a foreigner."

Hélène Flautre, a French Green who chairs a parliamentary committee on human rights, said that while efforts to draft a constitution may initially have appeared positive, they "very quickly turned into a Machiavellian scheme."

Richard Howitt from the British Labour Party argued that a U.S. ban on banking and financial transactions by the Burmese authorities has denied them foreign currency. He urged the EU to take similar action.

Some MEPs also exhorted the EU to press China to use its influence with Burma, in which it invests heavily, so that human rights are respected there.

Ten members of the European Commission, the EU's executive, are visiting China this week, including José Manuel Barroso, the institution's president. One of the commissioners remaining in Europe, Jacques Barrot, said his colleagues would be raising the situation in Burma during their trip.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International said that if Barroso's visit will have any meaningful result, he must obtain firm commitments from the Chinese government to allow free expression ahead of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. Among the commitments being sought by Amnesty are an end to the harassment of Chinese human rights activists, guarantees that journalists will be allowed work unrestricted, and greater transparency about how many executions are carried out.

"Such a high level visit one hundred days before the start of the Olympics is a crucial opportunity to press the Chinese government to change its tactics," said Amnesty spokeswoman Natalia Alonso. "The EU's commitment to include human rights concerns into all its policies is at stake." (END/2008)

EU mulls new Myanmar sanctions, as constitution vote closes in




STRASBOURG (AFP) - The European Union is preparing to extend and even boost sanctions against Myanmar, the EU's Slovenian presidency said Wednesday.

"I hope that the sanctions regime will be extended for 12 months," Slovenian state secretary for European affairs Janez Lenarcic told members of the European Parliament.

"Discussions are underway in the council (of EU ministers) for the biggest possible financial sanctions," European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot told the assembly in Strasbourg.

The EU's sanctions, adopted on November 19, included an embargo on the import of timber, gems and metals from Myanmar. It also extended the list of Myanmar leaders and their relatives subject to a travel ban and assets freeze.

EU foreign ministers are to debate them at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday and Tuesday, and could choose to broaden, them based on the military junta's conduct in the future.

Lenarcic, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, urged the regime to allow public debate on its new draft constitution, to be put to a referendum on May 10, and end an opposition crackdown.

"The European Union continues to hope that the Myanmar authorities will allow a free and fair referendum and that they will allow international observers to be deployed," he said.

"Only a genuine, open democratisation process can lead to national reconciliation, stability and prosperity," he said.

"We call on the authorities to cease condemning political activists and to repeal the law banning criticism of the government," he added. "We also expect the Myanmar authorities to release political prisoners."

The call comes just weeks ahead of the plebiscite on a constitution that activists say was drafted with no public input, and simply enshrines the military's role in the country it has ruled for nearly half a century.

Top Burmese activist may go blind: US

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Military-ruled Myanmar's imprisoned pro-democracy activist Min Ko Naing may go blind after failing to receive medical treatment, the US State Department charged Tuesday.

The de facto number two opposition leader after democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi "has not received care for an eye infection that, if left untreated, could cause loss of sight," department spokesman Tom Casey said.

Student leader Min Ko Naing was arrested in August last year along with a dozen colleagues after he participated in a peaceful march over a sudden oil price hike that triggered wide-spread protests later and a deadly military crackdown.

He sought permission to see an eye specialist but the authorities at the Insein Prison in Yangon, where he is being held, refused, reports said.

"We condemn the failure of Burma's authorities to provide proper medical treatment to a number of prisoners, who may suffer irreparable damages due to the lack of prompt medical attention," Casey said.

Burma is the previous name of Myanmar.

In March, U Myint Thein, spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, died in Singapore from cancer that was left untreated while he was imprisoned for his role in the September pro-democracy protests, Casey said.

He also expressed concern that Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi had still not received the monthly visits with her doctor as had been agreed with UN Special Envoy on Burma Ibrahim Gambari.

"We urge the regime to release all political prisoners immediately," Casey said.

"The intentional withholding of necessary medical treatment for political reasons is a serious violation of human rights. While these individuals are in the custody of the regime, they should receive the medical care they require," he said.

Rights groups say there are about 1,850 political prisoners in Myanmar, at least 700 of whom were arrested after anti-junta demonstrations last September.

The military crushed those protests in an operation the UN says killed at least 31 people.

Monday, April 21, 2008

ငုနွင့္ပိေတာက္ ေႏြမွာလိႈင္၊ စုနွင့္ခေမာက္ ေမမွာနိုင္
ပုရစ္ဖူးတို႔ ေႏြမွာေဝ၊ စစ္ဘီလူးတို႔ ေမမွာေသ


ေသြးေၾကြး ကို - မဲ ေပး ဆပ္ၾက

မဲရံုကိုသြားၾက
မေခၚလည္းသြားၾက
ေခၚလည္းသြားၾက
ကန္ ့ကြက္မဲ ျပား ကို အျပတ္သားဆံုးထည္ ့ၾက။








Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Let Vote "No" to the junta's one-sided referendum


လာမည္႕ ႏွစ္သစ္မွာ ဆင္းရဲၿခင္း၊ အဖိႏွိပ္ခံရမူ႔ မွ အား လုံး လြတ္ေၿမာက္ေ၀းကြာႏုိင္ၾကပါေစ၊၊


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Burmese New Year and Thingyan Songs

မဂၤလာအေပါင္းႏွင္႔ၿပည္႔ စုံတဲ႔ ေပ်ာ္ရႊင္ေသာႏွစ္သစ္ကူးကာလ ၿဖစ္ပါေစလုိ႕

ပေတာက္းပန္းေလးေတြ ပန္ဆင္ထားေသာ သူမ်ားကုိ လြမ္းဆြတ္တမ္းတယင္း ၿမန္မာ ၿပည္သူၿပည္သား အားလုံးအတြက္ ေပ်ာ္ရႊင္ေသာအတာသၾကၤန္ ႏွင္႔ ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းသာယာမည္႕ ႏွစ္သစ္မဂၤလာ ၿဖစ္ပါေစလုိ႕ ဆုမြန္ေကာင္းေတာင္းေပးပါတယ္။


လာမည္႕ ႏွစ္သစ္မွာ ဆင္းရဲၿခင္း၊ အဖိႏွိပ္ခံရၿခင္း မွ ၿမန္မာ ၿပည္သူၿပည္သား အားလုံး လြတ္ေၿမာက္ေ၀းကြာ ႏုိင္ၾကပါေစ၊၊

ကဲ..ႏွစ္သစ္ကုိ လက္ကမ္းၾကိဳယင္း သၾကၤန္ ေတးသီခ်င္းေလးေတြ နဲ႔အတူ ေပ်ာ္ၾက၊ ကၾက၊ ခုန္ၾက၊ တီးမွဳတ္ၾကတာေတြကုိ ကြ်န္ေတာ္တုိ႔ ရဲ႕ဘေလာ႔ မွာ မွ်ေ၀ ခံစား ၾကရ ေအာင္.........

We Wish You A Very Happy Burmese New Year
video video

Friday, April 11, 2008

Let Vote "No" to the junta's one-sided referendum


video

New York rally to support Burmese democracy movement

Mizzima News
April 11, 2008

Over one thousand supporters of Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her calls for democracy in Burma are expected to rally today in front of United Nations headquarters in New York.

The rally brings together activists from several human rights and Burmese organizations with the specific aim of urging the release of all political prisoners, inclusive of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as encouraging a stronger Security Council reaction to the Burmese junta's continued intransigence regarding calls for reform.

Demonstrators are expected from Amnesty International, Burma Point, the International Burmese Monks Organization, Columbia University's Burma 88 Coalition and members of the Burmese exile community.

A statement released today by Columbia University's Burma 88 Coalition in coordination with the upcoming rally sharply criticized permanent United Nations Security Council member China for its persistent and active support of Burma's generals.

"It is appalling that Beijing has chosen to begin the Olympics on August 8, 2008, twenty years to the day after mass demonstrations in Burma led to the slaughter of thousands.

China has a huge influence in Burma, but instead of using its clout to apply pressure on the regime, it continues to finance and provide arms to Burma." Burma activist Geoff Aung, co-founder of the Columbia Burma 88 Coalition, states.

The missive, referring to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari's mission as a failure, demands the Security Council take a stronger stance with respect to its handling of Burma's military rulers.

Regarding the upcoming May 10 constitutional referendum in Burma, the activist group argues that the entire constitutional process is an attempt by the junta to cover-up and divert attention from last year's violent crackdown on the monk-led Saffron Revolution, which resulted in dozens of deaths, prison sentences and arbitrary arrests.

Today's demonstration is part of Amnesty International's Get On The Bus campaign, which is designed to raise awareness on the need for action regarding several regions where human rights are or have been violated. This year's campaign, in addition to Burma, will also focus on Darfur, Sri Lanka, Libya and Bhopal, India.

2008 marks the 13th anniversary of the Get On The Bus event.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Policy Paper: Vote “No,” We will Win

Kanbawza Win

After 14 years of broken promises, the Burmese Junta announce that it is finally introducing a constitution, with a referendum due in the 1st week of May followed by a full fledge elections in 2010. The Generals has learnt their bitter lessons, when in the 1990 elections, the people show their vehement hatred and obviously will not take any chances, especially after the killing of the revered Buddhist monks in September. Hence to wink the people of Burma, as well as to the international community, they now come up with the sly idea of referendum, which was partially copied from the Communist. It announced the referendum, while withholding details of the draft Constitution from the public, a scheme unheard of in the world. Moreover a reward of two decades in jail for any one discussion the constitution (see Law 5/96) was augmented.

The faux democracy will enshrine only the dictators who are holding the country hostage. Written by delegates cherry-picked by the government and lacking the input of the opposition party or the ethnic nationalities, the constitution will reserve 25 percent of parliamentary seats for the military and the 75% the ex brass. Through a well-crafted technicality, it not only also bars the pro Burmese democracy leader Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but also all the NLD members that won the elections. If the constitutional referendum goes through as planned, it will help the government falsely legitimize these consistently repressive policies. It will give a leading political role for the military. According to the draft constitution, the commander in chief of the armed forces is entitled to fill 110 seats in the 440-seat parliament with appointees from the ranks of the armed forces. Moreover, the commander in chief will occupy a position on the same level as that of the two vice-presidents. And in the event of a "state of emergency", which the military can declare at any time, the commander in chief will assume full legislative, executive and judicial powers. A limited role for ethnic nationalities, if the 17 ethnic groups which currently have cease-fire agreements with the regime want to participate in the election planned for 2010, they will probably be required to lay down their arms once and for all. The ethnic nationalities will have to decide. An even more limited role for various democracy groups as the constitution will impose stringent restrictions on any activities deemed inimical to national unity, which would include any of the normal functions of a parliamentary opposition party. Civilians will be permitted to enter parliament, but only if they show that they know their place.

A constitution is as immovable as the military itself. Just in case anybody was thinking of making changes once the constitution is in place, Section 4 (a) of the chapter "Amendment of the Constitution" effectively rules that out. Even if an opposition party, such as the NLD, were to win every single seat not filled by military appointees, it would be unable to make any amendments, which would require the approval of more than 75% of all members of parliament. Basic human rights are not guaranteed and the power concentrates very much on the president who must have military experience while the Minister of Defense reports directly to him. In other words is a government within a government and surely will not lead to a democracy – ‘disciplined’ or otherwise.

However there are divergent views as how to approach the current political situation. The so-called “Self Appointed Third Force” in Burma—a group founded during the International Burma Studies conference in Singapore in mid-2006, which is neither pro or anti Junta are anti-sanctions. They argue that regardless of whatever the outcome of the referendum, it was certain that the constitution would ultimately be rectified, and hence should vote Yes. This will prove that Daw Suu is not confrontational, avoid disenfranchised and a sort of a good will gesture. This appeasement policy was very much echoed by the former ABSDF leaders based in Chiang Mai, as a way to stop living in the past or a sort of a compromise for national reconciliation. Some hook nose farang reasoned that something is constitution is better than nothing, forgetting that the people of Burma longed for a long term guaranteed for their future and real democracy and freedom.

By announcing plans to hold a referendum on a draft constitution in May, the regime has given Burma and the world a classic non-choice,” writes Kyaw Zwa Moe. The Burmese people should be smart enough and set their emotions aside and as in 1990 elections must act as one. The Junta’s plan is to steal and abuse the real desire of the people. According to the announcement 1/90, the Junta claimed that elected representatives are solely responsible for writing the constitution. However, in violation of their own law, the Junta did not allow the elected representatives to participate in writing the constitution. The basic and fundamental principles were illegally adopted by the Junta-sponsored mass rallies, in which all the attendees were forced to participate. The national convention was just for show to approve these principles written in advance by the Junta. Submissions by ethnic cease-fire groups were ignored. The Junta’s order 5/96 threatens to punish with 20 years imprisonment the people who criticize the national convention and the constitution. Freedom of expression and media are severely restricted. The Referendum Law, issued on Feb 28, 2008, is also not in line with international and ASEAN standards. There is no clear indication of what the Junta will do if the majority of the voters reject the constitution. The Junta is apparently planning to win anyhow. Hence every one should vote No and must not stay without voting.

For example if the majority of the people stay put and being a sham constitution and will not vote, the Junta will not care and say if a few hundreds Swa Arr Shin USDA were bribed to vote Yes! Then the Junta, will say that he got so and so vote for Yes and the unpublicized constitution will be installed. So every homosapien residing in Burma must vote No.

We should vividly visualize that this constitution is designed to protect and promote the interests and security of Generals and their cronies. Ordinary soldiers, who are actually sons and daughter of the people, would become. an elite class, and will have more privileges than ordinary citizens, who are the root of them. This constitution will allow the military dictatorship to perpetuate in Burma. If this constitution is approved the people of Burma will be abused and oppressed more by the Generals, their families and their cronies. They will also monopolize the state economy and they will have a “License to Oppress”. No doubt the people of Burma will become slaves of the military for generations.

One should heed the 8888 generation call of, “Let us transform the Junta’s sham national referendum into the National Show of the Peoples’ Desire”. Only then we can prevent the country from falling into the depths with the Junta’s one-sided roadmap. “People Power” will prevail. With our 'No' votes, we will clean the blood and dirt stained on the bodies of our revered monks by the soldiers," said the 8888 generation. By voting against this constitution it will demonstrate the enormous power of the people and that we need not afraid of the military for the rest of our lives for the future generations of Burma. Every person who is eligible to vote, should go to pooling stations and put “No” votes in the ballot boxes.

The main objective of voting “No” and mobilizing the people is not to defeat the Junta’s constitution or to validate it through the referendum; it is just to promote democracy because people’s participation in the political process is basic to every democracy. It has been proved that the ordinary person was not able to participate in either the National Convention or the drafting of the new Constitution, hence the referendum is the only opportunity for the people to participate and we should missed this chance.. Participation will reinforce the concept that the people have a right to decide their own future and who they want as their government. If they want this regime to continue let them vote “Yes” if not vote “No.” Hence the simple message should be given to the man in the street, who doesn’t know, who is who and what is what, that if they like this government they should vote “Yes” but if they don’t like this government they should vote “No”. Let the ordinary working people and the struggle lot decides. This is what we call in Burmese “À Thae Kyar Ka Mae Ta Pyar literally translated is the vote from your heart and liver.

The people should be urged to vote their conscience taking into account their personal security. They may be forced to vote “Yes” then they have the choice abstaining from voting. Vote manipulation by the military regime is a high possibility. But even if it does, it cannot totally ignore the will of the people. The number of “No” votes will determine the level of engagement and compromise the Junta may be willing to negotiate in the future. Mobilizing the people for the referendum is also a trial run for mobilizing the people for the elections in 2010. The objective is to mobilize people and reinforce their understanding that participation in the political life of their nation is the basic right of every citizen.

Obviously the Junta will try to claim that this constitution is approved, despite a majority voting “No”. History has proved it after one-party system constitution in 1974, there were mass protests in 1974, 1975 and 1976 and in 1988, and under the deluge of mass demonstration the constitution was abolished. The history of our country has already proved that any constitution, which does not reflect the desire of the people, would not last long and is no more than a piece of paper. If the people fail to do generation and generations will be under the boots of the military.

The voting is sure to be rigged as the Junta had flatly refuse Gambari’s suggestion of International monitors. Probably it will repeat the 1974, the military organized referendum, when the eligible voters to cast their votes the boxes were set apart just to see whether the voter walked towards the ‘Yes’ box or a ‘No’ box. And if he votes “No” he is ear marked for persecution. Of course like any other Burmese administration, Burmanization has to be implement because the constitution is only in Burmese language when 40% are ethnic nationalities whose mother tongues is not Burmese.

The Junta’s version is that voting will be conducted in line with the international systems. Arrangements have been made for every eligible voter not to lose the right to vote referendum. The law on voting has already been issued both in Burmese and English newspapers. The National Convention of 1993 laid down, 15 chapters and 104 basic principles. Arrangements have also been made for every eligible voter not to lose the right to vote. It also claims that voting will be conducted in line with the international systems. Stipulated ballot box shall be placed at a conspicuous place for public to enable voters to cast votes conveniently. Counting of votes will be carried out in the presence of witnesses. Arrangements have been made for eligible voters to cast votes at another place if there occurs any unfair and unjust voting (e.g., in the face of natural disasters). There include provisions that action shall be taken against those who get involved in rigging the votes and causing disturbances. According to the provisions it is obvious that it is a fair and free voting in accord with the international standard rules and regulations.

The Junta hypothesis is that that world community has not objected to Thailand's new constitution, passed last year, despite the lack of participation by Thai opposition parties in the drafting process, nor the recent constitutions passed in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the lack of participation by their opponents, including Moslem militants with al-Qaeda links and the Taliban, respectively.

Suppose if the regime had accepted some of Gambari’s proposal (the 35th trip by a UN envoy to Burma since 1990, with a record of 31 UN resolutions), it would have muted criticism and the legitimacy of the entire road map process has been gone through, that will finally led to the marginalization of opposition groups and official nullifying the 1990 elections and the military’s draft constitution would be accepted as legitimate.

The UN efforts have been ignored. At the other end, China and India, as Burma's two major supporters, view Naypyidaw’s timetable as concrete progress. International pressure to link the summer Olympic Games in Beijing with China's Burmese policy is increasing by the day, but it will not yield any results. Through targeted banking sanctions which the United States has ordered but which the European Union, China and other countries have so far been too timid or self-interested to pursue seems to be a paper tiger.
At the moment, there is no uniform approach by ASEAN towards the Burmese crisis only the Philippines has maintained a hard-line approach seeking the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners as well as improved human rights. Indonesia has been critical of Burma, but has not gone as far as the Philippines. Jakarta is presently focused on drafting the terms of reference that will produce a respectable and independent human-rights body in ASEAN. This would serve as a prerequisite for the Charter's ratification by the grouping's largest member. Singapore's attitude towards Burma has been the most intriguing. After orchestrating the strongest statement ever to come from an AMM (ASEAN Ministerial Meeting) since Burman joined the group in 1997, the island nation has apparently thrown in the towel after failing to move the national reconciliation process forward as it had hoped at the last ASEAN Summit. Any change in ASEAN's attitude towards Burma will be the responsibility of the next ASEAN chair, Thailand, which will succeed Singapore in July. ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan has set a cautious tone by saying it was a good beginning.

With the current government under Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, the Thaksin policy has been revived. Samak on his return from Burma admitted that both Thailand and Burma have half baked constitutions as perhaps both the ugly duckling and the bull dog themselves may themselves be half baked. Bangkok seems to be determined to back the Burmese road map that the political situation there was an internal matter - were uncalled for, as they completely overlooked the international dynamics of the situation, including the UN's mediating role. The successive Thai administration except Chun Leekpai has betrayed its people and the people of Burma always. It could be recalled that at the ASEAN Summit held in Phnom Penh in 2003, it was Thaksin Shinawatra who successfully convinced other ASEAN leaders to give newly installed Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, a chance to prove his leadership and his democratic road map. Another important factor is the growing confidence the new members are showing in shaping future ASEAN policies, especially as regards the non-interference principle. The drafting of the ASEAN Charter and its outcome demonstrated the tenacity and iron will of new members towards protecting the status quo it looks that the Junta will again enjoy a win-win situation with the heartless ASEAN.

It is evident that the Junta is intent on pushing ahead quickly with its own roadmap without any concessions to either the Security Council or the Human Rights Council. It is too late for the Council to ensure that the May referendum is credible and inclusive. The UN should be wise initiating a mechanism based on the concept of the North Korea six-party talks—with key parties like China, the US, India, and some ASEAN countries—which would be able to offer a package of carrots and sticks to the top brass just for a break through. This will give a psychological boost from being treated as a pariah in the international community gives them the prestige that they are somebody else to be reckoned with and this what the Burmese Generals extremely craves. But at the same time the UN must be unanimous for an iron hand with a velvet glove for binding resolutions, including official sanctions might be coming if this little naughty boy “Myanmar” does not behave.

China has also made it clear that it would reject sanctions no matter about the Olympics and does not believe that pressure will solve the problems and this view is shared by the Asian countries on the Council, Vietnam and Indonesia, who also shared the sentiment that Burma is not a threat to international peace and security. UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council are in a better position to do so. There are also differences among members on how to react to the announcement of a date for the referendum and whether there is actually real movement in the Junta’s roadmap. Some other members feel that the process is a sham and should not be encouraged. One thing is sure the Junta will play off the members of the Council with one another and will not seriously take the UN advice if it is divided. The UNSC will decide with Vladimir Putin laughing in his sleeves.

But the most troubling aspect in this scenario is that even though NLD says “The citizens must be able to read the draft of the Constitution in advance of the referendum then people would know more about the Constitution and could decide which way to vote,” it has stopped short, of advocating a boycott or a “No” vote for the draft constitution. Neither United Nationalities Association (UNA) - coalition of ethnic parties that won the 1990 elections and the Shan (SNLD) the largest election winning party after NLD nor the cease fire army of the North or the fighting South has declared their position. NMSP has and the KIO has rejected the referendum. If there is no compromise and did not speak in one voice as the people then we might as well bite the bullet and let the Junta’s referendum prevail. It must be remember that for two decades both inside and outside the country had endeavors to stop this legalizing the cruel Burmese army perpetual rule over the people of Burma, which can be liken to a heavy object moving to its goal. Since we cannot stop it, go with this object and push it in the direction that will not reach its destination and that is by voting “No”. The majority of the ethnic nationalities will vote “No”, many of the pro democracy forces such as the UBs including the women (WLB), youths (SYCB and NY Forum) the ENC and FDB have echo to this clarion call, the only time that ethnic and pro democracy forces stand in solidarity in this epoch making time and it would be naïve if any group or NLD did not join the bandwagon.

Unlike the leaders of the pro democracy movement the military Junta understands the game of ‘realpolitik” very well. They knew when they announced a plan to hold a national referendum in May and an election in 2010 that there would be a mixed chorus of support and dissent. In the end, they gathered that it does not matter what transpires so long as the regime shows there is some movement - at a snail's pace though it might be - towards democracy. This is the strategy the Junta leaders have mastered since losing the election in May 1990. They certainly hope that they will be able to muddle along and in the process gain more space and time to work on their own schemes.
Even though the majority of Burmese people, whether at home or abroad, regard the military government’s constitution as a sham constitution that shut the door of national reconciliation. It is a fact that a constitution will not go away. If we vote “No” there is every possibility that the generals will just try and try again. There may be another referendum, and so on and on until they get their way with each version modifying a bit. The UN and several Western countries have already tarnished their diplomatic credibility. “Whatever the outcome of the upcoming referendum, it is going to leave a nasty aftertaste,” predicts Kyaw Zwa Moe. But the people of Burma are a hardy lot. We have bore the tyranny for half a century of the Burmese Military brutality why should we give up now. Let us all unanimously vote “No”and one day surely we will win.

Chiang Mai

High food prices seen leading to strikes, protests in Asia


video

By Ian Timberlake, Agence France-Presse

SINGAPORE: Asia’s governments face strikes, protests and hoarding in response to the spiralling cost of food and other essentials that threatens to damage them at the polls, observers say.

Asia’s political leaders are on guard, wary of the potential for social unrest as people across the region struggle to cope with steeper prices for staple goods—particularly rice.

“There will be unrest and the poorer countries will experience that much more than rich countries like Malaysia and Singapore,” said Ooi Kee Beng, a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

Philippines hard hit

Poverty-stricken Bangladesh and the Philippines have been particularly hard hit by higher food prices.

“Soaring food prices have become a serious threat for the survival of the present caretaker government,” said Bangladeshi political scientist Ataur Rahman.

Bangladeshis and poor Indonesians are estimated to spend close to 70 percent or more of their income on food.

In the Philippines, one of the world’s biggest importers of rice, the government deployed troops last week to deliver grain to poor areas of the capital Manila amid worries about shortages.

It also ordered police to arrest rice hoarders as part of efforts to pre-empt the “impact on peace and order” of rises in basic commodity prices, the police said.

Trouble in Myanmar

Analysts have said economic misery in crushingly-poor Myanmar was a force behind protests which drew up to 100,000 people into the streets of the military-ruled country last year.

The unrest became the biggest challenge to the regime in almost 20 years, until the junta in late September unleashed deadly force to end it.

Demonstrations initially began on a small scale in August after a sharp fuel price hike.

The junta said 15 people died in the crackdown but rights groups have given a far higher toll.

Experts say soaring global crude oil prices are among the factors to blame for Asia’s food inflation. Higher fuel prices directly translate into an added burden for the region’s poor through, for example, higher fares on public buses which are often people’s only mode of transport.

In Indonesia, higher fuel costs mean a rise in the price of kerosene which is widely used by the poor for cooking.

Indonesia’s late dictator Suharto was forced to step down a decade ago during massive civil unrest after he raised fuel prices during a crippling economic crisis.

Facing an election next year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has sworn off further cuts to fuel subsidies but analysts say most Indonesians are being squeezed anyway by escalating costs of essentials.

Social unrest in China’

The government has responded by distributing subsidised cooking oil and promising rice handouts but the rice distribution would not reach enough needy people, said Hendri Saparini, an economist with the Tim Indonesia Bangkit think-tank.

“If in three months there is no action from the government, I really worry there is going to be social unrest,” she said.

In China, inflation is of particular concern because it threatens to lead to social unrest and fuel anger at the government, as it did ahead of 1989 democracy protests that the military crushed.

The price of China’s staple meat, pork, has risen by more than 60 percent year-on-year.

“There is a lot of resentment (because of) the rise of prices,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, of Hong Kong Baptist University.

That resentment could become “a possible source of tension in the future,” he said, adding however that the risk of unrest from inflation is less now than in the 1980s, partly because the country’s much larger middle class has a stake in the stability of the system.

But for China’s low-paid working class the situation is different.

“I think there clearly is potential for worker unrest resulting from inflation,” said Geoffrey Crothall, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for the non-governmental China Labour Bulletin, an organisation promoting labour rights in China.

Strikes in Vietnam

In communist Vietnam, where consumer prices rose more than 16 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2008, strikes are becoming more frequent. Last week more than 15,000 workers at a Vietnamese shoe factory went on a two-day strike “because of the increase in prices which has hit people hard recently,” said union official Nguyen Thi Dung.

Even in Singapore, one of Asia’s wealthiest countries which maintains tight restrictions on public assembly, people have raised their voices.

Ten people were detained by police last month after they held a rally, without a permit, to protest rising living costs, witnesses said.

The World Bank warned last week of possible “heightening political tensions” in Asia if rising inflation stalls poverty reduction measures.

Rising prices have already emerged as a key issue in Asian elections.

Malaysia’s ruling coalition in elections last month ceded five states and a third of parliamentary seats to the opposition, which campaigned heavily on high inflation.

Rising costs had triggered rare public protests and, after his stunning electoral blow, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi backed down on looming fuel price hikes.

Pakistan went to the polls in February overshadowed by suicide bombings but also by a shortage of wheat for the country’s staple flat bread, the price of which had doubled.

Voters dealt a severe defeat to parliamentary allies of President Pervez Musharraf.

India’s ruling coalition is under pressure to curb rising prices ahead of elections in nearly a dozen states this year and general elections due by May next year.

Both the communists, who prop up the minority government in parliament, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party have threatened national anti-inflation protests.

Ooi, of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said the political danger from rising prices depends on several factors including the extent of income disparities in a country.

“I think what is decisive is whether or not the population feels that the government is competent and
uncorrupted,” Ooi said.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


video

Olympic Torch Dodges S.F. Protesters ( Click here for video)

By JULIANA BARBASSA and MARCUS WOHLSEN
Associated Press Writers


Olympic Torch Plays Hide and Seek With Thousands of Demonstrators Crowding S.F's Waterfront






54 Myanmar migrants suffocate in freezer

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- The bodies of 54 migrant workers from Myanmar were found Wednesday suffocated in a freezer on the back of a truck, police said.

Torsak Harnsanam, a police officer at Suksumran Police Station in Ranong province in southern Thailand, said a village chief alerted police at 10 p.m. (11 a.m. ET) that he had found the truck.

Police investigated and, in addition to discovering the bodies, found 67 other migrants from Myanmar who were alive inside the freezer, Harnsanam said.

The chief said survivors told him they had tried from inside the freezer to signal the driver, who eventually pulled over, discovered the bodies and fled.

Some survivors were taken to a hospital in a nearby village; others were jailed.

Survivors told police they sneaked into Ranong province from Myanmar's Victoria Point by fishing boat, according to reports from The Associated Press. They were then packed into a small container truck for a trip to Phuket.

Ranong province is located about 467 kilometers (290 miles) south of Bangkok just across from Myanmar's Victoria point. The province is regarded as a major trading route between the two countries, the AP reported.

Thailand has long depended on inexpensive labor from neighboring countries, including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, which formerly was known as Burma.

The Thai government allows only a small number of immigrants from those countries, which has led to a number of smuggling cases.

There are about a million Myanmar workers registered to work in Thailand, and an additional million estimated to be in the country illegally to work mostly as laborers, the AP reported.

Some of the Myanmar migrants flee their country to escape armed conflicts between ethnic minority rebels and the Myanmar army, and others for lack of economic opportunity in their impoverished country, one of the poorest in Asia.

Many of those Myanmar migrants who do make it to Thailand, many illegal workers, wind up being abused by their employers.

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International found in a 2005 report that workers from Myanmar take jobs that Thais consider too dirty, dangerous or demeaning, the AP reported.


UN: Food price rises threaten global security


David Adam

Rising food prices could spark worldwide unrest and threaten political stability, the United Nations's top humanitarian official warned on Tuesday after two days of rioting in Egypt over the doubling of prices of basic foods in a year and protests in other parts of the world.

Sir John Holmes, undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and the UN's emergency-relief coordinator, told a conference in Dubai that escalating prices would trigger protests and riots in vulnerable nations. He said food scarcity and soaring fuel prices would compound the damaging effects of global warming. Prices have risen 40% on average globally since last summer.

"The security implications [of the food crisis] should also not be underestimated as food riots are already being reported across the globe," Holmes said. "Current food price trends are likely to increase sharply both the incidence and depth of food insecurity."

He added that the biggest challenge to humanitarian work is climate change, which has doubled the number of disasters from an average of 200 a year to 400 a year in the past two decades.

As well as this week's violence in Egypt, the rising cost and scarcity of food has been blamed for:

  • riots in Haiti last week that killed four people;
  • violent protests in Côte d'Ivoire;
  • price riots in Cameroon in February that left 40 people dead;
  • heated demonstrations in Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal; and
  • protests in Uzbekistan, Yemen, Bolivia and Indonesia.
UN staff in Jordan also went on strike for a day this week to demand a pay rise in the face of a 50% hike in prices, while Asian countries such as Cambodia, China, Vietnam, India and Pakistan have curbed rice exports to ensure supplies for their own residents.

Officials in the Philippines have warned that people hoarding rice could face economic sabotage charges. A moratorium is being considered on converting agricultural land for housing or golf courses, while fast-food outlets are being pressed to offer half-portions of rice.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says rice production should rise by 12-million tonnes, or 1,8%, this year, which would help ease the pressure. It expects "sizable" increases in all the major Asian rice-producing countries, especially Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Burma, the Philippines and Thailand.

Holmes is the latest senior figure to warn the world is facing a worsening food crisis. Josette Sheeran, director of the UN World Food Programme, said last month: "We are seeing a new face of hunger. We are seeing more urban hunger than ever before. We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it."

The programme has launched an appeal to boost its aid budget from $2,9-billion to $3,4-billion to meet higher prices, which officials say are jeopardising the programme's ability to continue feeding 73-million people worldwide.

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, said "many more people will suffer and starve" unless the United States, Europe, Japan and other rich countries provide funds. He said prices of all staple food had risen 80% in three years, and that 33 countries faced unrest because of the price rises.

In the United Kingdom, Professor John Beddington, the new chief scientific adviser to the government, used his first speech last month to warn the effects of the food crisis would bite more quickly than climate change. He said the agriculture industry needed to double its food production, using less water than today.

He said the prospect of food shortages over the next 20 years was so acute it had to be tackled immediately: "Climate change is a real issue and is rightly being dealt with by major global investment. However, I am concerned thereis another major issue along a similar time scale -- that of food and energy security." -- guardian.co.uk © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008

Food price rises threaten global security - UN


David Adam, environment correspondent
The Guardian, Wednesday April 9 2008

Hunger riots will destabilise weak governments, says senior official

Rising food prices could spark worldwide unrest and threaten political stability, the UN's top humanitarian official warned yesterday after two days of rioting in Egypt over the doubling of prices of basic foods in a year and protests in other parts of the world.

Sir John Holmes, undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and the UN's emergency relief coordinator, told a conference in Dubai that escalating prices would trigger protests and riots in vulnerable nations. He said food scarcity and soaring fuel prices would compound the damaging effects of global warming. Prices have risen 40% on average globally since last summer.

"The security implications [of the food crisis] should also not be underestimated as food riots are already being reported across the globe," Holmes said. "Current food price trends are likely to increase sharply both the incidence and depth of food insecurity."

He added that the biggest challenge to humanitarian work is climate change, which has doubled the number of disasters from an average of 200 a year to 400 a year in the past two decades.

As well as this week's violence in Egypt, the rising cost and scarcity of food has been blamed for:

· Riots in Haiti last week that killed four people

· Violent protests in Ivory Coast

· Price riots in Cameroon in February that left 40 people dead

· Heated demonstrations in Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal

· Protests in Uzbekistan, Yemen, Bolivia and Indonesia

UN staff in Jordan also went on strike for a day this week to demand a pay rise in the face of a 50% hike in prices, while Asian countries such as Cambodia, China, Vietnam, India and Pakistan have curbed rice exports to ensure supplies for their own residents.

Officials in the Philippines have warned that people hoarding rice could face economic sabotage charges. A moratorium is being considered on converting agricultural land for housing or golf courses, while fast-food outlets are being pressed to offer half-portions of rice.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says rice production should rise by 12m tonnes, or 1.8%, this year, which would help ease the pressure. It expects "sizable" increases in all the major Asian rice producing countries, especially Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Burma, the Philippines and Thailand.

Holmes is the latest senior figure to warn the world is facing a worsening food crisis. Josette Sheeran, director of the UN World Food Programme, said last month: "We are seeing a new face of hunger. We are seeing more urban hunger than ever before. We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it."

The programme has launched an appeal to boost its aid budget from $2.9bn to $3.4bn (£1.5bn to £1.7bn) to meet higher prices, which officials say are jeopardising the programme's ability to continue feeding 73 million people worldwide.

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, said "many more people will suffer and starve" unless the US, Europe, Japan and other rich countries provide funds. He said prices of all staple food had risen 80% in three years, and that 33 countries faced unrest because of the price rises.

In the UK, Professor John Beddington, the new chief scientific adviser to the government, used his first speech last month to warn the effects of the food crisis would bite more quickly than climate change. He said the agriculture industry needed to double its food production, using less water than today.

He said the prospect of food shortages over the next 20 years was so acute it had to be tackled immediately: "Climate change is a real issue and is rightly being dealt with by major global investment. However, I am concerned there
is another major issue along a similar time-scale - that of food and energy security."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Baby with two faces worshipped as goddess

art.LALI.TWO.jpg

SAINI SUNPURA, India (AP) --

A baby with two faces was born in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

Lali has a rare condition known as craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces.

The baby, Lali, apparently has an extremely rare condition known as craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces. Except for her ears, all of Lali's facial features are duplicated -- she has two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes.

"My daughter is fine -- like any other child," said Vinod Singh, 23, a poor farm worker.

Lali has caused a sensation in the dusty village of Saini Sunpura, 25 miles east of New Delhi. When she left the hospital, eight hours after a normal delivery on March 11, she was swarmed by villagers, said Sabir Ali, the director of Saifi Hospital.

"She drinks milk from her two mouths and opens and shuts all the four eyes at one time," Ali said.

Rural India is deeply superstitious and the little girl is being hailed as a return of the Hindu goddess of valor, Durga, a fiery deity traditionally depicted with three eyes and many arms.

Up to 100 people have been visiting Lali at her home every day to touch her feet out of respect, offer money and receive blessings, Singh told AP.

"Lali is God's gift to us," said Jaipal Singh, a member of the local village council. "She has brought fame to our village."

Village chief Daulat Ram said he planned to build a temple to Durga in the village.

"I am writing to the state government to provide money to build the temple and help the parents look after their daughter," Ram said.

Lali's condition is often linked to serious health complications, but the doctor said she was doing well.

"She is leading a normal life with no breathing difficulties," said Ali, adding that he saw no need for surgery.

Lali's parents were married in February 2007. Lali is their first child.

Singh said he took his daughter to a hospital in New Delhi where doctors suggested a CT scan to determine whether her internal organs were normal, but Singh said he felt it was unnecessary.

"I don't feel the need of that at this stage as my daughter is behaving like a normal child, posing no problems," he said.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ludu Daw Amar dies at 92



Nay Thwin
Mizzima
April 7, 2008

Chiang Mai: Famous 92 year old dissident writer and journalist Ludu Daw Amar died at 8:37 this morning from heart failure at Mandalay General Hospital.

A much admired woman journalist she was well respected and fondly known as Amay Mar by her fans and the journalist community. She was hospitalised last Sunday.

"She was hospitalized on Sunday. She died this morning at 8:37 a.m." her son, writer Nyi Pu Lay told Mizzima over telephone.

Her body is now at her eldest daughter, Mya Myint Zu's home in Mandalay, central Burma. Her funeral service will be held tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at the Kyar Ni Gan graveyard.

On hearing of her death, veteran writer Dagon Tayar said in deep grief "She served her country for ages. She served for peace. She dealt not only in women's issues but also served the country. I am very sad".

Ludu Daw Amar or Ludu Daw Ah Mar was a contemporary of national hero General Aung San, the father of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest and great writer Dagon Tayar.

Daw used to prefix the name of an adult Burmese woman and used U (pronounced Oo) to prefix the name as an adult Burmese man.

She was married to U Hla. She became an assistant editor in 1945 in the Ludu newspaper and became a member of the editorial board in 1946.

In late 1950 she got involved in the peace for Burma activity and global peace activity led by Thakin Ko Daw Hmaing. After her spouse Ludu U Hla was arrested in 1953 she took over the responsibility of writing the newspaper's editorials.

From 1950 to 1960 the Ludu newspaper was shut down and in 1978 she was arrested along with Ludu U Hla and her daughter Nyein Chan and detained for more than a year.

Daw Amar was a very close friend of Win Tin, a journalist of the Hantharwaddy newspaper who is still in jail.

She told Mizzima on the occasion of Win Tin's birthday in March that she would see her adopted son U Win Tin before she died.

Her birthday celebrations were usually held at Taung Lay Lone Monastery, Mandalay on November 25 and attended by famous writers and journalists from around the country.

Her birthday celebrations were sometimes banned by the authorities because it was attended by not only famous writers and journalists but also joined by democracy activists.