Myanmar

India to sign production sharing pact for 3 deep water exploration blocks in Myanmar

New Delhi, Sept 22 : ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) will sign Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) for three deep water exploration blocks with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a Myanmar government's undertaking.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, who is leaving on Sunday for a two-day visit to Myanmar, will also attend the signing of the contract.

Deora will be accompanied by Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan and OVL MD R S Butola.


Myanmarese activists defy generals in their fight to death for democracy

London, Oct. 6 : Burmese pro-democracy activists have vowed to fight “to the death” to overthrow the military junta, even as the country's generals continued with their crackdown against the protesters.

Two activists who spoke to The Times from their hideout in Burma’s southern Mon state called on the international community to apply greater pressure on the military Government of General Than Shwe to release their leaders, who were snatched from their homes during the demonstrations.

They denounced the United Nations, and its special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, for cosying up to the junta.


China to play constructive role on Myanmar issue

Nov. 14: China has said that it will continue to play a constructive role on the Myanmar issue. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying that China always supported the mediation efforts by UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon and his special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, and would sincerely like to see a peaceful, stable, democratic and developing Myanmar.

Liu said it should be clearly understood that the Myanmar issue was very complicated and could not be thoroughly resolved through one or two rounds of mediation.


India, Myanmar to sign 110 million dollar transport project pact

Vice Senior General Maung Aye
New Delhi, Mar 30: India is all set to sign a multi-modal transport project agreement with Myanmar during the upcoming visit of Vice Senior General Maung Aye to India.

Vice Senior General Maung Aye will start his tour from Wednesday.

The 110 million dollars Kaladan multi-modal transport project will provide easier access to North East region, besides alternate connectivity between India and Myanmar, bypassing Bangladesh.

The project will provide connectivity between Indian ports on the eastern seaboard with Sittwe Port in Myanmar and through riverine transport and by road to Mizoram.


India, Myanmar sign 120 million dollar transport corridor project pact

India, Myanmar sign 120 million dollar transport corridor project pactNew Delhi, Apr 3: India and Myanmar have signed an agreement for a US 120 million dollar project here.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Myanmarese counterpart U. Nyan Win signed the pact, in the presence of Vice President Hamid Ansari and Maung Aye, Vice Chairman of Myanmar's ruling military junta, who is on a five-day visit to India.

The project envisions the construction of a multi-modal Kaladan transport corridor, which will allow port access to northeastern states, bypassing Bangladesh.


Myanmar warns of terrorist acts during Water Festival

Myanmar warns of terrorist acts during Water FestivalYangon - Myanmar's junta warned of increased terrorist acts during the upcoming Water Festival and the national referendum, claiming two "terrorists" had been arrested last month, state media reports said Saturday.

In an article in The New Light of Myanmar, the government mouthpiece, it was revealed that authorities had in March arrested a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party who had attended "explosives courses in a neighbouring country."


Myanmar's gas exports to Thailand earn 2.7 billion dollars in 2007

Yangon- Myanmar, which faces economic sanctions in the West because of its poor human rights record, earned 2.7 billion dollars from natural gas exports to Thailand last year, media reports disclosed Tuesday.

In 2007, Myanmar's total trade hit an historic peak of 8.7 billion dollars, split into 5.9 billion exports and 2.8 billion in imports, leaving the country with a trade surplus of 3.1 billion, said the Myanmar Times weekly, citing government officials.

Myanmar's exports last year were driven primarily by natural gas, which earned the impoverished country 2.7 billion dollars, or 45 per cent of its total exports.


Myanmar's constitutional referendum will be held on May 10

Yangon, Myanmar's referendum to endorse a military-drafted constitution will be held on May 10, state television announced on Wednesday.

Aung Toe, Chairman of Commission for Holding the Referendum, appeared on Myanmar TV to confirm the date for the referendum.

Myanmar's opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has already urged the public to reject the new charter, drafted by a military appointed forum.

The new constitution promised to institutionalize the dominant rule of the military in Myanmar's future political system, and exclude Suu Kyi on the grounds that she was married to a foreigner, the late Oxford professor Michael Aris.


Myanmar's referendum to "approve" constitution set for May 10

Yangon - MyanmarMyanmar's ruling junta will hold a national referendum on May 10 "enabling the people to approve" a new constitution that promises to institutionalize the military's dominant role in future governments, state media said Thursday.

The Commission for Holding Referendum decided on the May 10 date in a meeting held Wednesday in the military's new capital of Naypyitaw, said The New Light of Myanmar, a government mouthpiece newspaper.


Bomb blasts rock Yangon

YangonYangon - Two explosions rocked Yangon over the weekend, but no one was killed or injured in the explosions, security officials confirmed Monday.

The first bomb, planted under a car parked near the five-star Traders Hotel, occurred at 7:45 pm Sunday, said a security official who requested anonymity.

The second blast, also under a car, followed 45 minutes later on Maha Bandula Street, near the popular ABC Restaurant.

Both bombs were small devices that caused no injuries and only minor damage to the cars.


Myanmar nationals torch, damage Malaysian detention centre

Kuala Lumpur  -  Sixty Myanmar nationals torched a Malaysian detention centre and threatened to attack immigration officials after they were told that their application to move to another country was unsuccessful, a local daily reported Monday.

The rioters, who were seeking political asylum, entered the detention centre's office building early Monday and destroyed office equipment as well as set the building on fire before more than 200 police and immigration officers arrived to control the situation, central Negeri Sembilan state police chief Osman Abdullah was quoted as saying by the Star daily.

"They set fire at the ground floor causing damage to office furniture and computers," said Osman, adding that nobody was hurt in the incident.


Myanmar junta launches pro-referendum billboard campaign

Yangon  - Myanmar's junta has launched a nationwide billboard campaign to encourage people to vote "yes" in a referendum scheduled May 10 that is likely to institutionalize the military's dominant role in politics, news reports said Friday.

The billboards, which started going up in the former capital of Yangon on Thursday, urge the populace to approve the newly drafted constitution with such exhortations as "To approve the State Constitution is a national duty of the entire people today," and "Let's cast 'Yes' vote in the interest of the nation."


Germany doubles fee for visas, restricts Myanmar travellers

Berlin  - Germany is to double its fee for entry visas from 30 to 60 euros (47 to 94 dollars) under legislation given final approval Friday in the Bundesrat or upper chamber of parliament in Berlin.

Officials said the change reflected the increased costs of recording biometric data such as fingerprints at German missions abroad. EU residents and tourists from many western nations do not require visas to visit Germany.

The legislation also imposed an obligation on citizens of Myanmar to obtain a transit visa for stopovers at German airports.


Myanmar premier in Thailand for talks, home-cooked meal

Myanmar Prime Minister Thein SeinBangkok - Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein arrived in Thailand Tuesday for a three-day visit that is to include a home-cooked meal by his Thai counterpart.

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, known for his culinary skills, has invited General Thein Sein to his home Tuesday night to enjoy a meal prepared by the premier himself, government spokesman Wichianchote Sukchotrat said.

Myanmar, deemed a pariah state among Western democracies, was one of the first countries Samak visited after becoming prime minister February 6.


Myanmar's referendum a "sham process," right group says

Bangkok  - Myanmar's planned constitutional referendum was labelled a "sham process aimed at entrenching the military" Thursday by Human Rights Watch, which urged the international community to reject the outcome.

The New York-based right group said conditions for a free and fair referendum on May 10 do not exist because of widespread repression, media censorship, bans on political gatherings, the lack of an independent referendum commission and courts to supervise the vote, and a pervasive climate of fear created by the ruling junta in the run-up to the election in the country also known as Burma.


Myanmar heads for "discipline-flourishing" referendum

MyanmarBangkok  - When the people of Myanmar vote in a referendum on May 10 on the country's new constitution, they will be getting a bitter foretaste of the "discipline-flourishing democracy" the military has in store for them.

The referendum, Myanmar's third in the past five decades, will theoretically decide the fate of the country's new charter, a document that promises to cement the dominant role of the military in Myanmar politics following the next general election, planned in 2010.

In fact, the outcome of the referendum is a foregone conclusion, according to veteran Myanmar watchers.


Myanmar's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi can vote

Myanmar's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi can voteYangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been registered to vote in the upcoming referendum on May 10, despite the fact that she remains under house detention, opposition sources said Friday.

Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since May, 2003, is on the list of eligible voters registered in Bahan township of Yangon permitted to cast their ballots in the May
10 referendum to decide the fate of Myanmar's new constitution, said National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman U Lwin.


Powerful Cyclone causes at least 351 deaths in Myanmar

Myanmar Cyclone Death Toll Rises

Yangon - A powerful cyclone has hit Myanmar, killing at least 351 people and destroying thousands of buildings, reports said Sunday.

Television images from the port city of Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, showed numerous trees uprooted and houses without roofs.

Tropical cyclone Nargis hit the south of the country on Saturday with wind speeds of more than 200 kilometres per hour.

Electricity and telephone lines were cut by the storm, which started in the Bay of Bengal, making communication with the former capital Yangon difficult.


Cyclone blows cold on Myanmar's referendum plan

Bangkok/Yangon - Cyclone Nargis, which pounded central Myanmar over the weekend leaving at least 351 people dead and the country's largest city paralyzed, may force the ruling junta to rethink their plans to hold a referendum next Saturday.

The referendum on May 10 will decide the fate of Myanmar's new constitution, a document that promises to cement the military's dominant role in the country's politics following the next general election scheduled some time in 2010.

In any other country, the postponement of a national vote would be inevitable after such a devastating natural disaster, but Myanmar, also called Burma, has not obeyed international norms for decades.


Cyclone kills more than 350 in Myanmar, devastates Yangon

Yangon - Much of Yangon was still suffering water shortages and lack of electricity Monday, two days after a cyclone hit Myanmar's coastal regions leaving at least 351 dead and thousands homeless.

According to state-controlled media reports cyclone Nargis, that blew off the Bay of Bengal late Friday night packing winds of up to 190 kilometres per hour, killed 19 people in Yangon, including 11 women, 109 on the island of Hai Gyi, and 223 in the coastal Irrawaddy Division.

Myanmar's third most populous city of Pathein, the capital of the Irrawaddy, was reportedly inundated by floodwaters causing untold damage and deaths.


India sends two ships of relief material to cyclone-hit Myanmar

New Delhi  - Two Indian Navy ships carrying relief materials - including tents, medicine, food and blankets - have sailed for cyclone-hit Myanmar, a navy official said Tuesday.

The Myanmar government has estimated the death toll from cyclone Nargis which hit the country late Friday to be close to 15,000 with many still missing.

The two Indian ships left Port Blair in India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands late on Monday and were expected to reach Yangon by first light Wednesday, the official said.

A spokesman for India's External Affairs Ministry said Monday that India was also considering airlifting emergency relief materials to Myanmar.


Burmese opposition radio fears detah toll will rise

MyanmarOslo  - The death toll in cyclone-impacted Myanmar was likely to rise, the Oslo-based opposition radio station Democratic Voice of Burma said Tuesday.

"The death toll is much higher than the government says," said deputy managing editor Khin Maung Win, singling out the Irrawaddy Delta as a specific disaster area.

"There are a lot of poor people there, many villages have been wiped out by the storm and heavy winds," Khin Maung Win said.

The military government "cannot handle the situation, they cannot even clean up areas and streets in Rangoon (Yangon)," the former capital, he said.


Thailand first to provide cyclone-struck Myanmar with relief

Bangkok  - Thailand on Tuesday flew more than 300,000 dollars worth of medical and food aid to neighbouring Myanmar, which is still reeling from the impact of cyclone Nargis that claimed an estimated 15,000 lives.

"We are the first country to provide Myanmar with aid," said Thai Foreign Minister Noppodon Pattama, who earlier in the day met with the Myanmar ambassador to Thailand and handed him a cheque for 100,000 dollars.

A Thai Airforce C-130 military transport plane departed Don Muang Airport mid-day Tuesday bound for Yangon, loaded with 10 million baht (317,000 dollars) worth of medicine and medical kits as well as food - canned fish, instant noodles, eggs, packs of rice - and bottled water.


Death toll in Myanmar "staggering," aid organizations say

London  - International aid organizations working in Myanmar Tuesday compared the scale of the cyclone to the suffering caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Hundreds of thousands of people had been left without shelter or clean drinking water, charities said.

"People are saying this is worse than the (December 26, 2004, Asian) Tsunami. It's like a war zone. The number of dead is just staggering," James East, of the charity World Vision, said.

East, speaking to Britain's GMTV station from Bangkok, Thailand, said: "Water is running out. The government has asked us to supply water purification tablets and units. We want to do that as soon as possible. The children are the most vulnerable."


UN offers emergency funding to Myanma

Geneva  - The UN said Tuesday it was prepared to provide urgent funding for Myanmar from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) after Cyclone Nargis left an estimated 15,000 people dead.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said in a statement issued in Geneva: "The Government of Myanmar has indicated that they are open to international assistance. We appreciate the Government's announcement that it is making available 5 million dollars from its own resources for emergency relief and I am ready to allocate a significant amount from the CERF as the most urgent needs become clear. "


Myanmar military postpones referendum in 47 cyclone-hit towns

Yangon - MyanmarMyanmar's ruling military junta said Tuesday that a constitutional referendum planned for Saturday would be postponed by two weeks in 47 townships that have been hardest-hit by Cyclone Nargis, which killed an estimated 15,000 people over the weekend.

The referendum on a constitution designed to cement the military's dominant role in Myanmar's politics has been postponed to May 24 in seven townships in the Irrawaddy Division and 40 townships in Yangon, the former capital, state-run radio reports said.


Death toll in Myanmar's devastating cyclone soars to 22,000

Yangon, MyanmarMay 7: The death toll from the devastating cyclone that hit Myanmar last week has soared above 22,000 and over 41,000 others are missing.

According to Myanmar state radio 22,464 people have now been confirmed dead from Cyclone Nargis, a Category 3 storm packing winds of 190 km (120 mile) per hour, ripped through Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta on Saturday.

In the cyclone's aftermath, state radio reported that the government was delaying a constitutional referendum in areas hit hardest.


Disaster relief commences in Myanmar's cyclone-hit Irrawaddy Delta

Bangkok/Yangon - United Nations emergency relief to the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless and destitute in Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta by Cyclone Nargis started in earnest Wednesday as the first aid packages were sent to the devastated region.

Chris Kaye, the World Food Programme director in Myanmar, said the first truckloads of food were being dispatched Wednesday to Labutta, a coastal town that lost more than 1,000 people in the cyclone and its accompanying tidal waves.

Myanmar authorities on Tuesday night raised the death toll from the disaster to about 22,500 with more than 41,000 people still listed as missing.


Hillary Clinton urges Myanmar regime to let world help

Senator Hillary ClintonWashington - Senator Hillary Clinton called on the regime in Myanmar to allow international aid workers into the country to help the relief effort following a cyclone that killed thousands of people.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the people," Clinton said at a campaign rally late Tuesday after polls closed in the presidential primary contests in Indiana and North Carolina.

"I call on the junta that has ruled Burma for so many years to please, please, let the rest of the world in to help."


Indonesia to send aid to cyclone victims in Myanmar

Jakarta - Indonesia has decided to provide relief aid worth 1 million dollars to Myanmar to help victims of a cyclone that swept through the country, killing more than 22,500 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and destitute, local media reports said Wednesday.

"The tragedy reminded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the December 2004 deadly tsunami in Aceh," presidential spokesman Di Patti Djalal said.

Djalal was referring to the massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake that triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 14 Indian Ocean countries, claiming 177,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province, which lies on the northern tip of Sumatra.


Myanmar expels BBC reporter

Yangon - Myanmar's junta, which has appealed for international aid to cope with the disastrous impact of Cyclone Nargis, is barring foreign journalists from entering the country and has expelled one BBC reporter, state media said Wednesday.

BBC Asia correspondent Andrew William Harding was stopped by Myanmar immigration officials at Yangon International Airport from entering the country on May 5 and sent back to Thailand, the state-run MRTV reported.

The military-controlled television station said Harding was on the government's "blacklist" for journalists.


Philippines to dispatch medical team to disaster-stricken Myanmar

PhilippinesManila - The Philippines will send a medical team to Myanmar to help in relief efforts in the aftermath of a cyclone that killed more than 22,500 people, a senior government official said Wednesday.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also ordered health and foreign affairs officials to find out what medicines are needed in Myanmar, according to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.


India says it gave Myanmar cyclone warning two days in advance

New Delhi - Indian Meteorological DepartmentThe Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday said it had given Myanmar 48 hours warning before cyclone Nargis smashed into the South-East Asian country claiming more than 22,500 lives.

The IMD had been monitoring the depression in the Bay of Bengal after it was first detected on April 26 and was issuing regular advisories to neighbouring Myanmar since then, cyclone director M Mahapatra said.


Philippine activists urge Myanmar junta to focus on relief work

Manila - Democracy activists on Wednesday picketed Myanmar's embassy in the Philippines to demand the military junta postpone Saturday's constitutional referendum and allow unrestricted entry of international relief after a deadly cyclone there.

The demonstrators, numbering about 30, said it was "improper and untimely" for the military junta to pursue the constitutional referendum while Myanmar's people are suffering from the devastation of Cyclone Nargis.

"While the people are so worried about survival in the midst of this disaster, the junta is too preoccupied thinking on how to pursue its referendum," said Egoy Bans, spokesman for the Free Burma Coalition in the Philippines.


International aid push for Myanmar sputters on visa restrictions

Bangkok/Yangon - A massive international disaster-relief programme for cyclone-devastated Myanmar was being hindered Thursday, five days after the catastrophe, by red tape for UN aid workers' visas, officials said.

"A few visas are coming through, but the general picture is that a significant number of the key staff have not got their visas approved," said Richard Horsey, spokesman for the UN disaster response office in Bangkok.


New Zealand increases aid to Myanmar

Wellington - New Zealand is contributing 1.5 million New Zealand dollars (about 1.2 million US) to United Nations' efforts to help Myanmar recover from the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, Prime Minister Helen Clark said Thursday.

She announced an additional 1 million New Zealand dollars to an initial 500,000 dollars pledged Wednesday to New Zealand aid and relief agencies involved in Myanmar, with the bulk of it going to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

"Our contribution to UNICEF will focus on caring for the injured, preventing the spread of disease and ensuring children have access to clean water and food," Clark said.


Myanmar death toll may surpass 100,000

Yangon, May 8 : The death toll in Myanmar due to devastating Cyclone Nargis may surpass 100,000 while at least 95 per cent of the buildings in the Irrawady Delta region have been destroyed, said a top US diplomat.

The Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Myanmar, Shari Villarosa, said: ''It is an estimate of what deaths may actually reach, primarily in the delta area, the country's key rice-growing region where around five or six million people live. The government cites figures of around six or seven hundred deaths.''

She also said Yangon suffered mainly storm damage, with roofs ripped off buildings and electricity and water cut off. Some water and electricity has been restored and many homes depend on pumps,'' she added.


Red Cross sending first aid flight to Myanmar

Kuala Lumpur - The Red Cross has received the green light from Myanmar's government to dispatch its first aid flight, planned for Thursday, to the cyclone-devastated country, a spokesman said.

The plane leaving from Malaysia would carry 6 to 7 tons of reconstruction supplies for several thousand people affected by Cyclone Nargis, which struck at the weekend,, said John Sparrow, spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The Red Cross was loading plastic sheeting, nails, hammers and twine for the repair of damaged houses onto the plane, he said in Kuala Lumpur, adding that no Red Cross personnel would be on board the chartered flight.


Former Norwegian diplomat concerned over delay in cyclone aid

Oslo  - Former Norwegian diplomat Jan Egeland Thursday questioned the delay in channelling relief aid to the cyclone victims in Myanmar.

Egeland, who from 2003 to 2006 was head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said he feared "many more would perish" in Myanmar over the delay, he told public broadcaster NRK.

The UN and others should analyse the chain of events to see if the UN could possibly have "earlier put more pressure" on the military rulers to allow relief shipments, Egeland said.


Myanmar claims it issued cyclone forecast days before disaster

Bangkok - Myanmar's Department of Meteorology claimed Thursday to have issued warnings on the approach of Cyclone Nargis six days before the storm struck the country, killing tens of thousands of people, the World Meteorological Organization said.

"The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) of Myanmar started to issue forecasts on cyclone Nargis as of April 27," said a statement issued in Geneva by the WMO.

Tun Lwin, permanent-secretary of the Myanmar Meteorological Department, told the WMO it had issued forecasts of the cyclone as early as April 27 and had warned "authorities" as of April 29th.


Germany calls Myanmar ambassador to foreign ministry

GermanyBerlin  -  Germany has called the ambassador of Myanmar to the foreign ministry to hear Berlin's concerns at delays in channelling relief to the victims of the recent cyclone, diplomatic sources said Thursday.

Ambassador U Tin Win was expected to meet German diplomats Thursday afternoon, the sources said. The talks were expected to concentrate on what Germany sees as obstacles placed in the way of relief organizations reaching the stricken areas.

Germany on Wednesday doubled its humanitarian aid to the people of Myanmar to 1 million euros (1.5 million dollars) to help them overcome the effects of the cyclone.


China offers another 4 million dollars for Myanmar cyclone relief

ChinaBeijing  - China has offered another 4.2 million dollars in emergency aid to cyclone-devastated Myanmar, the government said on Thursday.

An initial batch of relief materials valued at 500,000 dollars was handed over in Myanmar on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

Qin said the Chinese government was "highly concerned about the cyclone disaster in Myanmar."

"We hope that with international support and help, Myanmar can overcome the difficulties brought by the disaster and reconstruct its homeland and economy," he said.


New constitution just a "license to kill" for Myanmar regime

Mae Sot, Thailand  - The military junta ruling Myanmar (Burma) has imposed a vacation ban for all officials, but not for the reason that every last person can be available to assist survivors of the recent cyclone that devastated the country.

Instead, the officials have to remain available to organize this Saturday's referendum on the new constitution, with which the generals intend to cement their power.

"This clearly shows their priorities," said Bo Kyi who, as a political prisoner, spent more than seven years in a military-run torture camp before he fled across the border into Thailand.

"They won't allow their ploy to be spoiled even by tens of thousands of dead," he added.


Myanmar maintains tight limit on foreign aid despite crisis

Yangon, May 9 : Myanmar military government still maintained tight limits on foreign assistance six days after Nargis Cyclone struck the place and claimed over
100,000 lives.

Despite warnings that specialists were needed to deliver food and water into disaster zones, it was unclear if the regime had yet given visas to foreign aid staff.

The White House urged Myanmar to allow US disaster relief into the country while a State Department official said the US was planning to drop food aid without the junta's approval.


Energy-biscuits trickle in to cyclone-hit Myanmar

Bangkok/Yangon - A plane carrying 18 tons of high-energy biscuits arrived in Yangon Friday, a small part of a massive aid programme for cyclone-struck Myanmar that continues to be hampered by government-restrictions and logistical stags.

A plane carrying 18 tons of biscuits and medical supplies from stockpiles in Dubai landed at 7:30 am in Yangon, and another delivery from Dhaka, Bangladesh, with 20 tons of biscuits was en route, said World Food Programme (WFP) spokesman Marcus Prior in Bangkok.


Japan sending aid money for cyclone victims in Myanmar, pans junta

Tokyo - The Japanese government announced Friday it would provide up to 10 million dollars to UN agencies for aid to cyclone-devastated Myanmar as it criticized Myanmar's military junta for not accepting relief personnel.

"It seems that their basic stance is not to accept any personnel, but that is ridiculous, so we are consulting with the Myanmar government both in Myanmar and here in Tokyo," Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said.

Earlier this week, Japan said it would provide 570,000 dollars in relief goods to Myanmar, including tents, blankets and power generators.


Scuffles at Myanmar protests in Australia leads to arrest

Sydney - One protester was arrested Friday and others cautioned at a rowdy demonstration outside the Myanmar embassy in Canberra over the regime's reluctance to allow foreign aid for victims of the cyclone that belted the Irrawaddy Delta six days ago.

An Australian Federal Police spokeswoman said one woman was arrested for throwing a plastic bottle and two men were detained for breaches of the peace.

Mee Oung, a nurse from Melbourne, told Australia's AAP news agency that about 20 police charged into the group of about a dozen protesters.

Oung said she hadn't seen her family in Myanmar for 20 years and had not been able to contact them since the cyclone struck. "You can see how we're suffering," she said.


Second Chinese aid shipment arrives in Myanmar

Beijing - A second 500,000-dollar shipment of 60 tons of medicine, tents, food, water purifiers and other relief materials arrived in Myanmar from China on Friday, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The Chinese government sent the shipment on a specially commandeered Beijing 747-400 cargo plane as part of its commitment, announced on Thursday, to provide a second tranche of aid valued at 30 million yuan (4.2 million dollars) to its cyclone-devastated neighbour.

Myanmar's Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Brigadier-General Kyaw Myint, told the agency at Yangon international airport that the relief supplies would be rushed out to cyclone-hit ares.


Myanmar's junta holds tough in face of world criticism

MyanmarYangon  -  Myanmar's military rulers - under fire from the world community for hampering relief efforts for their cyclone-battered country and refusing to call off a weekend referendum - showed no signs Friday of bowing to international pressure.

Despite a personal appeal by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to focus on its "national tragedy" in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which has left about 23,000 people dead and 42,000 missing, and reconsider plans to hold the referendum on a new constitution, the junta has thus far refused to do so.


Myanmar's junta stages referendum despite cyclone, world criticism

Yangon  - Myanmar's military rulers proceeded on Saturday to hold a referendum intended to cement their political power despite international appeals to postpone the vote in the wake of Cyclone Nargis that could have killed an estimated 100,000 people.

Voting began at 6:00 am Saturday (2330 GMT Friday) as planned and was scheduled to end at 4:00 pm.

Although the junta has postponed the vote to May 24 in 47 of the townships worst-hit by the cyclone, including much of the former capital Yangon, it rejected international appeals to delay the controversial referendum and concentrate on providing emergency relief.


UN aid flights resume to cyclone-hit Myanmar

Bangkok/Yangon  - The World Food Programme (WFP) on Saturday resumed flying emergency supplies into cyclone-devastated Myanmar despite an ongoing dispute with the country's junta over how the aid will be distributed to the populace.

"Given the humanitarian crisis we felt the need to continue the supplies," said Marcus Prior, a spokesman for the WFP in Bangkok.

On Friday, Myanmar authorities at Yangon International Airport refused to hand over several tons of high-energy biscuits to WFP officials for distribution to hundreds of thousands of people desperately in need of food as a result of Cyclone Nargis.


WFP aid flights to proceed to Myanmar

World Food ProgrammeGeneva, May 10 : Flights organised by the World Food Programme (WFP) to carry aid to cyclone-hit Myanmar will proceed to that country from today.

In a statement, Nancy E. Roman, Director of Public Policy and Communications, said: "The World Food Programme has decided to send in two relief flights as planned today, while discussions continue with the Government of Myanmar on the distribution of the food that was flown in today, and not released to WFP. Today, two WFP flights arrived with high-energy biscuits, sufficient to feed 95,000 hungry people in Myanmar."


Woman makes surprisingly large donation for Myanmar cyclone victims

MyanmarSingapore  - A woman eager to show her son how donations are made turned over 100,000 Singapore dollars (74,000 US dollars) for victims of the cyclone in Myanmar, The Sunday Times said.

In her 40s, the woman went to the Red Cross House and asked how she could help. She then took out of her handbag a wad of 1,000- Singapore-dollar (740-US-dollar) notes, totaling 50,000 Singapore dollars (37,000 US dollars), tied together with a rubber band.

While the workers were thanking her, the woman took out another wad, saying: "Here's another 50,000."


Myanmar's death toll could increase 15-fold, warns Oxfam

MyanmarBangkok/Yangon  -  Myanmar's death toll from Cyclone Nargis could increase 15-fold to 1.5 million people in coming weeks unless a tsunami-style relief effort is put in place and access granted to international aid workers, the international agency Oxfam said Sunday.

"With the likelihood of 100,000 or more killed in the cyclone there are all the factors for a public health catastrophe which could multiply that death toll by up to 15 times in the coming period," said Oxfam's Regional Director for East Asia, Sarah Ireland.


Myanmar's referendum says "yes" to pro-military charter

MyanmarYangon  - Myanmar's "sham" referendum held this weekend despite the national tragedy wrought by Cyclone Nargis, can expect an overwhelming "yes" vote for a new pro-military charter, according to initial counts seen by sources close to ruling junta Sunday.

Nearly 100 per cent of the people voted in favour of the new constitution in Kokogyun township, Yangon Division, in the referendum held Saturday, while about 90 per cent cast "yes" votes in Mandalay Division and 95 per cent in Tachileik township, Shan State, said a government source, who asked to remain anonymous.


Australia hikes aid for Myanmar

Australia hikes aid for MyanmarSydney  - Australia, which initially pledged 3 million Australian dollars (2.8 million US dollars), increased the total to 25 million Australian dollars emergency aid to Myanmar Sunday in the wake of cyclone Nargis.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told reporters the money would be evenly split between the UN flash appeal and Australian non-governmental organizations already helping in Myanmar.

"We are dealing with a human tragedy on a mammoth scale," Smith said. "It's beyond the capacity of any one nation-state to deal with."


Petition calls for aid workers to enter Myanmar

MyanmarSingapore  - Nearly 2,000 people in Singapore have signed a petition calling on the international community to enter cyclone- battered Myanmar with or without the military government's permission, organizers said on Monday.

The document, including signatures from Myanmar nationals and Singaporeans, will be presented to various embassies.

"It is imperative to act before many more lives are unnecessarily lost," said the petition calling for aid workers to enter "regardless of the lack of permission from the military junta."


ASEAN cyclone relief talks likely to be held in Singapore

MyanmarSingapore  - Foreign ministers from the Association of South- East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are likely to meet in Singapore soon to discuss measures to support relief and recovery efforts in cyclone- hit Myanmar, The Straits Times said on Monday.

It is understood that Myanmar has agreed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's offer to host the meeting, the report said, and the country's foreign minister is expected to attend.

Lee's offer was conveyed in a letter that Foreign Minister George Yeo wrote to his Myanmar counterpart U Nyan Win on Friday.


Aid push gathers steam in cyclone-hit Myanmar after week of delays

Bangkok/Yangon - An international emergency aid push for some 1.9 million Myanmar villagers and farmers devastated by Cyclone Nargis was gathering steam Monday as planeloads of goods arrived in Yangon, but agencies still complained of a lack of visas for foreign aid workers.

The first of three cargo planes with a total of 110 tons of tents, medical material and drugs, pumps and generators for water and sanitation, and ready-to-use therapeutic food from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) arrived in Yangon Monday morning, said Veronique Terrasse, spokeswoman for MSF in Bangkok.


US military plane flies aid to Myanmar

US military plane flies aid to MyanmarBangkok  - A US military aircraft left Thailand's U-Tapao Airbase Monday to deliver emergency aid to neighbouring Myanmar in the wake of a cyclone that has left an estimated 100,000 people dead.

The C-130 cargo plane departed the base 120 kilometres south-east of Bangkok loaded with 12,670 kilograms of water, mosquito nets and bedding.


Illegal Myanmar workers face tough times in Thailand

Illegal Myanmar workers face tough times in ThailandIllegal Myanmar workers face tough times in ThailandRanong, Thailand  - The hot noon sun beats relentlessly down on scores of Myanmar citizens packed aboard long-tail boats on the Andaman Sea, sailing from Myanmar's Victoria Point toward Thailand's Ranong harbour.

The Myanmar border crossers sit in the open boats holding umbrellas to protect them from the sun. Some have come to Thailand to shop, others to find work.

Going in the opposite direction are groups of Western tourists, mostly backpackers, in search of pristine beaches or a renewal of their Thai visas.


EU ministers to meet Tuesday on Myanmar

Brussels - The European Commission is due to meet Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the ongoing crisis in Myanmar following Cyclone Nargis.

The scale of destruction and need caused by the cyclone was "massive," European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel said Monday ahead of the extraordinary meeting.

"The purpose of the meeting will be to review the situation and to beef up the response of the EU member states and the European Commission to this emergency situation," a statement from the commission said.

Michel, who used to be Belgium's foreign minister, said he would travel to Myanmar directly after the meeting and talk to the government there.


US commences aid-flights to cyclone-hit Myanmar

Yangon, May 12 : After long negotiations with Myanmar’s military rulers, the U. S. launched its first aid-flight to Myanmar today and will send two more air shipments on Tuesday.

As the US aircraft was loaded at Utapao airbase in Thailand, a spokesman for the operation said that America was ready to provide more help.

Nine days after Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar's low-lying Irrawaddy Delta region, survivors are beginning to gather in makeshift camps around the edges of the disaster zone and experts warn that aid, which is entering Myanmar, is insufficient.

The death toll had risen to 28,458, while 33,416 were still missing after the cyclone, according to the statistics taken on Sunday.


Malaysia sends aid to cyclone-battered Myanmar

Kuala Lumpur  - Malaysia on Monday sent 500,000 ringgit (147,060 dollars) worth of aid to cyclone-hit Myanmar.

Muhammad Hatta Abdul Aziz, the National Security Council (NSC) secretary, said the aid was flown to Yangon early Monday, along with an 18-member relief team including members of the armed forces and health ministry.

"The aid includes blankets, T-shirts, biscuits, instant noodles, water purification tablets and medicines," Mohammad Hatta was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

He said the goods would be handed over to representatives of the military junta.


Aid worker describes Myanmar effort as "incredibly frustrating"

Sydney  - An Australian leading the aid agency World Vision's relief effort in cyclone-ravaged Myanmar said Monday that interacting with the military regime in South-East Asia's most autocratic country was "incredibly frustrating."

"Clearly, this is politically the most difficult place we have ever worked in responding to a humanitarian crisis," Tim Costello, chief executive of World Vision, told Australia's ABC Radio in a telephone interview from Yangon.

"The government has a very clear message: that it has all the experts and technical capacity needed - it doesn't need any foreigners," he said.


Two Singapore aid agencies given go-ahead to enter Myanmar

MyanmarSingapore  - Welfare organizations in Singapore have received permission from Myamnar's military government to enter the cyclone- battered country and deliver aid, two groups said Tuesday.

The city-state has also confirmed it is hosting a special meeting Monday of Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers and has the go-ahead from Myanmar for the grouping to assess the damage.

Three members of the Singapore Red Cross were ready to fly Tuesday into Myanmar and start laying the groundwork for a nine-member medical team. Three members of the Salvation Army expect to be in Myanmar by Thursday.


Thai premier plans Myanmar trip, again

Bangkok  - Thai premier plans Myanmar trip, againThai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej will go to cyclone-hit Myanmar this week to personally hand over a message from the head of the United Nations to Myanmar's ruling junta, the Thai foreign minister said Tuesday.

"Samak will go to Burma (Myanmar) tomorrow (Wednesday) to deliver a message from Ban Ki-moon," said Thai Foreign Minister Noppodon Pattama.

The Thai cabinet was scheduled Tuesday to approve 500,000 dollars in emergency aid for Myanmar, in addition to the 100,000 already pledged last week, and another
500,000 for China's earthquake victims.


Media work in "spy state" Myanmar proves challenging

Media work in "spy state" Myanmar proves challengingYangon  - They allegedly can be recognized by their sophisticated cellphones.

Myanmar, a country ruled by the military for the past 46 years, is a spy state. Government agents lurk in every corner, and also in the hotels of the country's largest city and main port, Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, where now many foreign journalists have gathered in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.

Reporters who attract too much attention are immediately taken to the airport and deported. Myanmar's rulers have little regard for the concept of a free press.


Philippine medical team for Myanmar stuck in Manila

Manila  - A Philippine medical team bound for Myanmar to help victims of a deadly cyclone was stuck in Manila after failing to secure travel documents to the reclusive nation, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

Anthony Golez, deputy presidential spokesman, said Myanmar's secretive military junta has not yet approved travel documents for the 15-member medical team.

"As of yesterday, our team remains on standby," he said. "They just need the necessary travel documents."

The team was organized last week on orders of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to help in the relief efforts in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which killed an estimated 100,000 people.


Germany despatches clean-water team to Myanmar

Frankfurt  - A German civil-defence team was flying Tuesday to Myanmar to assess sites for water-purification plants in the disaster area after Cyclone Nargis, the THW agency said in Frankfurt.

The mission, in association with the UN World Food Programme and funded by the German Foreign Ministry, plans to set up six clean-water plants in areas where filthy water is spreading fatal diseases more than a week after the killer storm ravaged parts of Myanmar.

THW, Germany's volunteer civil-defence organization, voiced confidence the team would be allowed in by the Myanmar government, saying the authorities were "evidently opening the borders."


Aid push runs into problems in communications-challenged Myanmar

MyanmarBangkok/Yangon -  A desperate international push to get food, water and medicine out to remote areas hard-hit by Cyclone Nargis has run into a basic bottleneck of lack of decent roads and bridges in Myanmar's countryside, aid agencies said Tuesday.

"One of the big limiting factors is that most of bridges in the Irrawaddy Delta are only built to withstand five-ton loads, so we need a large fleet of small trucks," said World Food Programme (WFP) spokesman Marcus Prior.


Survivors provide front-line support in crisis zones

MyanmarGeneva  - Local people, made homeless themselves by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, were providing vital front line assistance to survivors in the worst-hit areas, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), said Tuesday.

The IFRC's head of mission for Myanmar, Bridget Gardner, had just returned from Labutta close to where the cyclone had made landfall 12 days ago in the southern delta region.

She said: "They deserve to be sainted. Four or five volunteers are giving aid to up to 200 people a day and they don't even have homes to go back to when they finish."


Danish premier backs French idea to "force" Myanmar to let aid in

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh RasmussenCopenhagen  -  Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen Tuesday expressed concern over the slow pace of getting relief shipments to cyclone victims in Myanmar.

Rasmussen told reporters he was "interested" in studying a proposal floated by France a week ago to "force" Myanmar's military rulers to allow international relief shipments - after an initial decision by the United Nations.


Thai premier flies to Myanmar on persuasion mission

Thailand Prime Minister Samak SundaravejBangkok  - Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej flew to cyclone-devastated Myanmar Wednesday on a mission to persuade the ruling junta to grant visas to relief experts trying to enter the country, officials confirmed.

The prime minister left Don Muaeng Military Airport aboard an Air Force plane loaded with 100 satellite phone sets and related equipment as well as medicine to hand over to Myanmar's generals in Naypyitaw, the country's new capital.


Chances "good" for another cyclone to hit devastated Myanmar

MyanmarBangkok  - Chances are "good" that a storm in the Indian Ocean could be upgraded to a cyclone as it heads toward landfall in Myanmar, which is already reeling from Cyclone Nargis, the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said Wednesday.

"The potential for the development of a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is upgraded to good," the centre said late Tuesday in a forecast issued from its headquarters in Hawaii.

The storm was situated about 30 nautical miles (56 kilometres) south-west of Yangon at the time the alert was issued.


German public slow to donate to Myanmar relief effort

MyanmarFrankfurt  - Germans are reluctant to donate money to the Myanmar relief operation because they fear it might not reach the victims, aid organizations were quoted as saying on Wednesday.

One aid group, Caritas International, had received only 100,000 euros (150,000) in donations - a sum "that bears no relation" to the scope of the disaster, Caritas spokesman Achim Reinke told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

"It's barely enough to pay for 1,500 tents," he said, pointing out that the rainy season was about to begin and 50,000 people were in urgent need of assistance.


Brown says he called on UN to hold "emergency summit" on Myanmar

British Prime Minister Gordon BrownLondon  - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday he had called on the United Nations to hold an "emergency summit" over the coordination of international aid supplies to the cyclone victims of Myanmar.

Brown told parliament in London that he hoped the summit would be held "almost immediately" while indicating that Britain would continue to put pressure on countries which had so far blocked a UN Security Council meeting on Myanmar.

"We will not rest in our determination to get a concerted international response," said Brown.


UN chief Ban Ki-Moon to send key UN officer Holmes to Myanmar

New York - Ban Ki-MoonIn order to strengthen disaster relief in Burma UN-Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon wants to send a high-ranking representative of the United Nations to Burma.

Ban told journalists Wednesday that in the next few days he would send Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes to Myanmar in a World Food Programmes plane.

Earlier in the day Ban had met with delegates of UN member states as well as representatives from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and a Myanmar representative to discuss concrete arrangements.


Meteorologists downgrade cyclone warning off Myanmar

Bangkok - Warnings of a second cyclone heading for Myanmar, which is reeling from the impact of Cyclone Nargis, have been cancelled, meteorologists said Thursday.

"The potential for the development of a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is downgraded to poor," the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii said in a forecast issued late Wednesday, saying the centre of the storm had weakened.

International aid workers had expressed fears that a second cyclone, or torrential rains, would add to the misery of up to 2 million people left in need of food, water, shelter and medicines in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis, which smashed into the country's central coastal region May 2-3.


Myanmar's "sham" referendum ratifies new constitution

Yangon - Myanmar's controversial referendum - held on May 10 in the wake of the destruction wrought by Cyclone Nargis - has ratified a constitution designed to cement the military's political power, with a 92.4 per cent yes vote, state media reported Thursday.

The Commission for Holding Nationwide Referendum announced that 92.4 per cent of some 20.7 million people who voted in the referendum last Saturday voted in favour of the constitution, according to state radio reports.


Philippine Catholic bishops launch fund drive for Myanmar

Manila - MyanmarPhilippine Catholic bishops appealed on Thursday to people to donate money to help victims of a deadly cyclone that killed an estimated 100,000 people in Myanmar.

Monsignor Roberto Canlas, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Manila, instructed all priests in Manila to collect donations for the victims of the cyclone during their masses starting on May 25.

Canlas instructed priests to immediately remit their collections to the treasury department of the archdiocese so these can be sent immediately to authorities in Myanmar.


Myanmar's "sham" referendum ratifies new constitution

MyanmarYangon  - Myanmar's controversial referendum - held on May 10 in the wake of the destruction wrought by Cyclone Nargis - overwhelmingly ratified a new constitution cementing the military's political power, as expected, state media reported Thursday.

The Commission for Holding Nationwide Referendum announced that 20.7 million people, or 92.4 per cent of some 22.5 million people who voted in the referendum last Saturday, voted in favour of the constitution, according to state radio reports.


EU aid chief presses for visas on Myanmar mercy mission

Brussels  - The European Union's top aid official on Thursday pressed authorities in Myanmar to grant visas and freedom of movement to aid workers, officials in Brussels said.

EU aid commissioner Louis Michel held a "positive first meeting" with Myanmar's minister of social welfare at which he asked the Myanmar government to grant 30-day visas to aid experts from the European Commission and six-month multiple-entry visas to workers from European aid agencies, Michel's spokesman said.

He also urged the Myanmar authorities to allow foreign and local aid workers to move about freely in the country and to open the Pathein military air base to emergency traffic, the spokesman said.


Prayer meet for victims of Jaipur blasts, Myanmar cyclone, Chinese quake

New Delhi, May 16: People of all religious groups organised a prayer meet, seeking solace for the victims who died in Myanmar cyclone, in Chinese earthquake and in Jaipur serial blasts.

The prayer meet in honour of the victims was organised by the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese and members of all religious faiths on Thursday.

"Many lives were lost in all these tragedies. We decided to hold an all religion prayer in memory of our brothers and sisters who were children of the same almighty," said Dominic Emmanuel, a spokesman of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese.


Red Cross launches 50-million-dollar appeal for Myanmar

Red Cross launches 50-million-dollar appeal for MyanmarGeneva  - The Red Cross launched an emergency appeal Friday for 50.8 million dollars for Myanmar following Cyclone Nargis.

"The cyclone was a monumental disaster and we are now facing a humanitarian catastrophe of staggering proportions," International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) secretary general Markku Niskala said.

The appeal aims to help 500,000 people in the disaster-struck delta zone with basic shelter and water for three years.


Myanmar delta needs to plant rice crop by end of June

Myanmar delta needs to plant rice crop by end of JuneBangkok  - Myanmar needs to plant its wet season rice crop in the cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy Delta by the end of June or will face severe rice shortages late this year, a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official warned Friday.

"Time is running out, we are working against the clock," FAO spokesman Diderik de Vleschauwer said.

Without the wet season crop food security will be jeopardised into 2009, he said.


Myanmar government says cyclone death toll tops 43,000

Bangkok/Yangon  - The official death toll from Cyclone Nargis has increased to 43,318, Myanmar state-run media reported, but relief organizations said Friday the number of dead could be much higher.

Myanmar state television reported that in addition to the confirmed death toll of 43,318 people, another 1,403 were injured and 27,838 remained missing.

Representatives of some of the 16 aid organizations working together for cyclone relief said in Bangkok a true figure of dead and missing is difficult to determine, but put it somewhere between the Myanmar military government's combined 70,000 and the 130,000 the Red Cross has estimated.


Two weeks on, some water purifiers do not reach Nargis victims

Berlin  - Two weeks after Cyclone Nargis, some water-purifying equipment for disaster victims remains snagged in Yangon, according to a German government aid agency on Friday.

There have been protests in the West this week at the insistence by Myanmar's military authorities that only local Myanmar relief workers can work in the cyclone-hit Irrawaddy Delta, where filthy water has been spreading disease as the next band of rain hits.

The THW, Germany's volunteer civil-defence service, said its four mobile 6,000-litre-per-hour water-purifying plants were still at a UN World Food Programme compound in Yangon, three days after the THW's team of 13 Germans arrived.


EU Aid Commissioner returns from Myanmar without concrete results

Louis MichelBangkok - EU aid Commissioner Louis Michel was returning from Myanmar Friday after a two-day visit to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar, without making any concrete progress on securing access for international aid workers or more humanitarian aid.

Although Michel had handed the military junta five urgent requests for action, he had only received assurances that they would be looked at, he said, during a stopover at Bangkok airport.

It "was a strictly humanitarian mission. There was no political dimension to this mission," he stressed.


Myanmar denounces French "warship" carrying aid to its remote areas

Myanmar denounces French "warship" carrying aid to its remote areasNew York - The French government, which has been pushing the United Nations to forcefully deliver aid to storm victims in Myanmar, said Friday in New York that it had sent a naval ship with 1,500 tons of food and medicine with the intention of delivering supplies to inaccessible areas in Myanmar's delta.

The move brought denunciation from Myanmar before the 192-nation General Assembly, charging that the French were sending a warship.


French warship carrying aid now off coast of Myanmar

French warship carrying aid now off coast of MyanmarParis  - A French warship carrying 1,000 tons of aid for cyclone victims in Myanmar is off the south coast of the devastated Irrawaddy delta, the French Defence Ministry said in Paris Saturday.

Negotiations were under way with the authorities in Myanmar on whether and how the aid aboard the Mistral would be brought ashore.

The aid includes food for 100,000 people for 15 days and emergency accommodation for 60,000 people.


Brown: Myanmar junta "inhuman" in neglecting cyclone victims

British Prime Minister Gordon BrownLondon  - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused the military regime in Myanmar of being "inhuman" in its refusal to accept international aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

"The responsibility lies with the Burmese regime and they must be held accountable," Brown told Britain's BBC World Service on Saturday.

"This is inhuman. We have an intolerable situation, created by a natural disaster.


Foreign relief supplies still arriving in Myanmar, but kept waiting

MyanmarYangon  - Myanmar is using helicopters, cars and trucks and small boats to transport relief supplies donated by foreign countries to the cyclone-ravaged Irrwaddy delta region, state-run newspapers in Yangon reported Saturday.

Meanwhile there was no official word if authorities would allow a French warship with 1,500 tons of relief supplies, including medicine and food, waiting in international waters off the coast, to deliver the supplies.

The French ship has helicopters and small boats that could deliver the supplies to the hard-to-reach parts of the hardest hit delta region.


Red tape continues to tie up aid to cyclone-stricken Myanmar

Yangon  - Relief supplies continued to arrive at Yangon's international airport for people in the Irrawaddy delta region hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis early this month but red tape also continued to slow the arrival of much more urgently needed aid, officials said.

Japanese officials donated water tanks, generators, tents and other supplies worth 380,000 dollars on Sunday, taking their total aid for cyclone relief to nearly 1 million dollars, the Japanese embassy in Yangon said.

Japan's Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Hitoshi Kimura presented the supplies from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at the airport.


UN chief Ban plans to visit Myanmar starting Wednesday

New York  - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans to travel this week to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar to push for speedier relief efforts, which continue to move slowly since the May 2 storm.

He plans to arrive on Wednesday for a three-day visit and hopes to meet with officials of Myanmar's military regime, UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said Sunday at UN headquarters in New York.

Myanmar's government has been sharply criticized around the world for obstructing international relief efforts.

Independent relief groups put the death toll from Cyclone Nargis at more than 100,000, with 2 million survivors at risk from starvation and disease if adequate food, medicine and other essential supplies do not arrive soon. (dpa)


Thailand offers Don Mueang Airport as relief hub for Myanmar

Thailand offers Don Mueang Airport as relief hub for MyanmarBangkok  - Thailand has offered Don Mueang Airport - Bangkok's old international airport - as a hub for relief supplies bound for cyclone victims in neighbouring Myanmar, media reports said Monday.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon over the weekend requested permission to use Don Mueang's empty cargo hangars to store emergency supplies for the World Food Programme (WFP), said the Bangkok Post.


Myanmar's military supremo visits cyclone victims, finally

Myanmar's military supremo visits cyclone victims, finallyYangon  - Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Than Shwe finally visited victims of Cyclone Nargis over the weekend, two weeks after the storm struck leaving
133,655 people dead or missing, state media reports said Monday.

Than Shwe, who heads the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the junta styles itself, visited cyclone-affected areas in Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta on Sunday, according to The New Light of Myanmar.


Britons keep up donations for Myanmar cyclone victims

London  - The public in Britain has so far given 8 million pounds (16 million dollars) to help survivors of the cyclone in Myanmar.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group representing 13 major charities, said the resulting aid would reach 600,000 people.

The appeal was launched early last week. (dpa)


Cambodian government pulls newspaper over Myanmar supplement

Phnom Penh  - The Cambodian government on Monday confiscated the Cambodia Daily newspaper from news-stands over a supplement called The Burma Daily, the Information Ministry and the newspaper's publisher said.

The official ministry explanation was that the confiscation was ordered because The Burma Daily, which had appeared since last week as a four-page insert with an identical masthead as its sister publication, was not licensed.

But publisher Bernard Krisher argued that the paper did not need a license because it was a supplement and the decision to confiscate the English- and Khmer-language daily, which has a circulation of about 5,000, reflected badly on the government.


Myanmar goes into belated mourning on eve of UN chief's arrival

Myanmar goes into belated mourning on eve of UN chief's arrivalYangon  - Flags were flying at half-mast at all government buildings Tuesday as Myanmar officially launched three days of belated mourning for some 133,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis which smashed in to the country's central coast 18 days ago.

State media announced three days of mourning for the catastrophe's victims Monday night, without providing an explanation as to why the government had taken so long to publicly grieve for the estimated 133,650 left dead or missing by the cyclone, which swept over Myanmar's central coast on May 2 to 3.


World Bank won't provide aid to lax loan repayer Myanmar

Singapore  - The World Bank is currently not in a position to give aid to cyclone-wracked Myanmar because the country has fallen behind in its debt repayments, Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub said on Tuesday.

Noting the country has been in arrears since 1998, Daboub said, "At this time we are not in a position of providing resources to Myanmar."

Daboub told reporters following a talk at a Singapore university that the bank's policy is not to provide funds "to countries that have fallen behind" in repayments.

Daboub's comments came one day after after Myanmar agreed to let the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) lead an international aid effort for cyclone-hit areas.


Norwegian foreign ministry official heads for Myanmar

Oslo  - A ranking Norwegian foreign ministry official was Tuesday to head for Myanmar and will try to meet with its military rulers, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store told parliament.

State Secretary Raymond Johansen's visit will coincide with that of among others United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Store said.

Store said he hoped Johansens's visit will offer "first hand information" about the needs for the victims of Cyclone Nargis that devastated Myanmar early May.

Store also noted the "marked differences" in how earthquake- stricken China and Myanmar have handled the natural catastrophes that recently have impacted their respective countries.


Myanmar accepts Japanese relief workers

Tokyo  - Myanmar's military junta on Tuesday granted relief workers from Japan permission to enter the country to help victims of Cyclone Nargis, the Kyodo News agency reported.

Myanmar's ambassador to Japan confirmed the relief team would be allowed into Myanmar at a meeting in Tokyo with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.

The permission came after the junta had come under international condemnation for refusing to grant visas to international aid workers to help about 2.4 million affected by Nargis.

The storm struck May 2-3, leaving 133,650 people dead or missing, according to government estimates. (dpa)


Ban: Nargis causing more economic damage than Indonesia's tsunami

Ban: Nargis causing more economic damage than Indonesia's tsunamiNew York  - Cyclone Nargis may have inflicted more severe and longer-lasting economic losses to Myanmar than the tsunami that devastated part of Indonesia's Aceh province in 2004, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday before flying to Southeast Asia.

Ban was expected on Wednesday in Yangon where he was to be given a Myanmar government tour of the Irrawaddy delta, the worst affected area when Nargis went through two weeks ago, killing tens of thousands of people. The delta had been the food bowl for Myanmar.


Myanmar junta OKs UN helicopters for relief deliveries

Bangkok  - Myanmar's junta has allowed the World Food Programme (WFP) to bring 10 helicopters into the country to deliver emergency supplies to ten of thousands of victims of Cyclone Nargis, 19 days after the storm struck, officials confirmed Wednesday.

"We received approval on Tuesday, but we still have not been able to work out the specific agreement with the Myanmar authorities for bringing in ground operation crews for the helicopters and where the helicopters will be used," said Paul Risley, a spokesman for the UN aid agency.


Myanmar allows Thai medical team to work in cyclone-hit delta

Myanmar allows Thai medical team to work in cyclone-hit deltaYangon  - A team of Thai health experts has been granted rare permission to provide medical treatment to cyclone victims in Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta, while many Western experts have been denied access to the devastated region, media reports said Wednesday.

"The Thai medical team, together with Myanmar health staff, has provided medial treatments and health care services to the storm victims at the relief camps in Labutta Tuesday," said The New Light of Myanmar, a government mouthpiece.


Bangladesh flags at half-mast for Myanmar, China dead

Dhaka - Bangladesh flew its flags at half-mast Wednesday as part of a one-day national mourning for the victims of the recent devastating cyclone in Myanmar and earthquake in China.

The national flag was lowered atop government buildings and offices of autonomous organizations in the capital Dhaka as a mark of respect to the memories of the hundreds of thousands dead and injured in the two catastrophes.

A team of Bangladeshi army medics were among the first to reach Myanmar with relief goods for the cyclone victims.


ADB mulls post-disaster assessment support for Myanmar

Manila - Asian Development BankThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Wednesday it was studying the possibility of sending experts to assess rehabilitation and reconstruction needs in Myanmar after a deadly cyclone left nearly 134,000 people dead or missing.

The Manila-based ADB said the proposed initiative in Myanmar, which is not a member of the bank, would be conducted "under the auspices of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in cooperation with the World Bank."


Ten million-dollar plan to upgrade weather services in Myanmar

Ten million-dollar plan to upgrade weather services in MyanmarGeneva  - UN weather service experts proposed a ten million- dollar plan Wednesday to replace and upgrade cyclone-hit Myanmar's early warning systems.

A group of experts from the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), back from a fact-finding mission to the country, confirmed they had found serious failings. Better observation and radar systems were needed said the head of risk reduction at WMO, Dieter Schiessl.


UN chief arrives in Myanmar to inspect cyclone damage, hasten aid

UN chief arrives in Myanmar to inspect cyclone damage, hasten aidYangon  - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Myanmar on Thursday to inspect areas devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which hit the country's coastal region 20 days ago, and talk to the ruling junta about speeding up disaster relief for the people.

Ban, who arrived at Yangon International Airport on THAI Airways flight, was tentatively scheduled to visit the Irrawaddy delta, the area hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis on May 2-3.

Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win and UN officials were at the airport to greet Ban.


Myanmar's frustrated aid drive puts faith in ASEAN

Bangkok  - Frustrated by the Myanmar junta's constraints on a relief drive for 2.5 million people affected by Cyclone Nargis, the international aid community is counting on the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to speed things up, aid workers said Thursday.

The United Nations and ASEAN will hold a pledging conference in Yangon on Sunday to seek donations for an accelerated aid drive for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, which hit Myanmar's central coast on May 2-3 leaving at least 133,000 people dead or missing.

An UN-ASEAN task force was established earlier this week to liaison between the aid community and Myanmar's military rulers to speed up the aid delivery to the cyclone's victims.


UN chief flies to Myanmar to facilitate aid

Yangon, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonMay 22: The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday flew to Myanmar to press upon the ruling military junta to allow full-blown international aid effort for the 2.4 million victims of Cyclone Nargis.

So far relief workers have been able to reach only a quarter of the victims after the May 2 storm and sea surge that left nearly 134,000 dead or missing, Ban said.

"We must do our utmost for the people of Myanmar" said Ban when he arrived in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Wednesday before travelling to Myanmar.


Singapore sends two medical teams to Myanmar

Singapore  - Two medical teams from Singapore were sent to cyclone-hit Myanmar on Thursday under the coordination of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the health ministry said on Thursday.

Four doctors and eight nurses "will provide medical support as part of Singapore's contribution to the relief effort," the ministry said. They also brought along medical supplies to treat water-borne diseases.

The two teams were formed by personnel from various hospitals.

They departed on a Singapore Armed Force C-130 aircraft from Paya Lebar Air Base on Thursday for a two-week period.


It's legal, Aung San Suu Kyi must be freed, says US lawyer

 	It's legal, Aung San Suu Kyi must be freed, says US lawyerYangon - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi must be freed this weekend in accordance with the country's laws, a US lawyer announced Friday.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize laureate who heads the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party in military-run Myanmar, has been under house detention since May 2003.


UN chief heads for talks with Myanmar junta chief

Yangon  - UN chief heads for talks with Myanmar junta chiefUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon flew to the Myanmar military's new capital of Naypyitaw Friday for talks with junta chief Senior General Than Shwe about the need to speed up disaster relief efforts for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Ban arrived in Yangon on Thursday, where he held talks with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein and visited the cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy delta.


Philippines to dispatch medical team to Myanmar next week

Manila  - A 30-member Philippine medical team will leave for Myanmar next week to help victims of a deadly cyclone that left 133,000 people dead or missing, a government spokesman said Friday.

Anthony Golez, deputy presidential spokesman, said the medical team was scheduled to fly to the cyclone-battered South-East Asian country on Monday.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo formed the medical team a few days after the Cyclone Nargis pummelled the central coast of Myanmar on May 2-3, but it was stuck in Manila after failing to secure travel documents to the reclusive nation.


Cyclone-delayed referendum held in Myanmar

Yangon - Residents of 47 Myanmar townships hard-hit by Cyclone Nargis earlier this month went to the polls Saturday to vote in a referendum on a new constitution that promises to consolidate military rule in the country.

A national referendum was held on May 10 on the military-backed charter, despite international appeals to postpone it in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, that left at least 133,000 dead or missing.

But the vote was delayed in 47 townships hardest hit by the storm, that has affected up to 2.4 million people, especially those living in the Irrawaddy delta.


Myanmar cyclone claimed 1,250,194 chickens, 136,804 buffaloes

Myanmar cyclone claimed 1,250,194 chickens, 136,804 buffaloesBangkok  - Cyclone Nargis killed 1,250,194 chickens and 136,804 water buffaloes and 10.7 billion dollars in rehabilitation work will be required, such as building embankments around villages in Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta, an aid agency revealed Saturday.


Fire at Myanmar embassy in Bangkok closes visa section

Fire at Myanmar embassy in Bangkok closes visa sectionFire at Myanmar embassy in Bangkok closes visa sectionBangkok  - The Myanmar embassy to Bangkok closed its visa application section on Monday after a fire broke out in one of the compound's buildings, officials said.

A fire started on the second floor of a building used for embassy guests early Monday morning, destroying about 70 per cent of the house and prompting the embassy to close its visa section, police said.

"It was an accident," said Thai Police Major Thanyaboon Thonjalatwong. "There were no injuries, and we've ruled out sabotage."


Philippine leader sends off humanitarian mission to Myanmar

Manila - Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday dispatched a 30-member humanitarian mission to help with relief efforts in cyclone-ravaged Myanmar for two weeks.

An Air Force C-130 cargo plane would fly the team and 300,000 dollars of relief goods to Yangon via Bangkok, Arroyo said.

"The Philippines knows by heart the tragedy that such calamities bring," she said. "We also know how the kindness of the international community and private individuals can positively assist and uplift the spirit of the people in the affected areas."


Myanmar junta claims cyclone-hit areas endorse pro-military charter

Yangon  - Some 92.94 per cent of the population in 47 Myanmar townships hard-hit by Cyclone Nargis supposedly voted "yes" over the weekend for a new constitution that promises to consolidate military rule in the country, state media reported Monday.

Postponed polling in a national referendum was held on Saturday in 47 townships hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis that slammed into Myanmar's central coast on May 2-3, and left at least 133,000 dead or missing and about 2.4 million in need of the food, water, shelter and medicines.


Myanmar authorities arrest 20 Aung San Suu Kyi supporters

Myanmar authorities arrest 20 Aung San Suu Kyi supportersYangon  - Myanmar security personnel on Tuesday arrested 20 supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they marched to her compound in Yangon to protest her five years of detention, eyewitnesses said.

The arrestees, all members of the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) that is headed by Suu Kyi, were arrested and taken away in two vehicles before they could reach Suu Kyi's Yangon home.


Red Cross rues operational difficulties in Myanmar

red crossGeneva - Two years of negotiations havestill failed to secure access to detainees in Myanmar for Red Cross workers, the organization said Tuesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross had "tried, but to no avail, to overcome the difficulties that prevented it from visiting detainees and working for the benefit of civilians affected by the violence in sensitive border areas," said President Jakob Kellenberger in presenting the ICRC's annual report for 2007.


EU deplores extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest

EU deplores extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrestBrussels  - The European Union expressed sadness and frustration Tuesday at the news that Myanmar's ruling military junta had extended the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi by a further six months.

In a statement, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the news was "very sad and frustrating", considering that it came at a time when so many countries and organizations were focusing on providing assistance to the people affected by the recent cyclone.


US, UN, EU condemn Myanmar's extension of Suu Kyi's arrest

Worldwide condemnation followed Myanmar's six-month extension of the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, with officials from the UN, EU and US expressing frustration and regret.

Suu Kyi has been under continual house arrest for the past five years. Since returning to the country in 1988, she has spent 12 years under house arrest.

Early Tuesday, police arrested 18 supporters of the Nobel peace laureate who were protesting her detention, opposition sources said.

The latest extension of her open-ended detention came on the 18th anniversary of the landslide election of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar's last general election. The junta refused to recognize those election results.


Former German Chancellor Schroeder honoured by Russian Academy

Myanmar-GermanyYangon - International organizations have received permission to step up relief operations in Myanmar where an estimated 2 million people are still in need of help, reports said Thursday.

Germany's technical relief organization THW is among several foreign groups allowed to to increase their activities in the Irrawaddy Delta which bore the brunt of cyclone Nargis.

But the relief operation was proving arduous as each trip to the stricken region has to be approved individually by the country's authoritarian military regime.


Myanmar adopts referendum-endorsed pro-military constitution

Myanmar Yangon - Myanmar Thursday adopted a new constitution that guarantees military control over future elected governments after a heavily-criticised national referendum approved the charter with a more than 90 per cent vote in its favour.

State television announced the new constitution, which took 14 years to draft, was approved by Senior General Than Shwe, who heads the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as Myanmar's junta styled itself.

Than Shwe pushed the referendum through on May 10, despite the national catastrophe caused by Cyclone Nargis, which smashed into Myanmar's central coast on May


Myanmar calls for assistance and aid with "no strings attached"

Singapore  - Myanmar calls for assistance and aid with "no strings attached"Myanmar's Deputy Defence Minister Aye Myint said Sunday that assistance and aid provided with genuine goodwill from any country or organization would be welcomed providing there "are no strings attached" or politicization.

In contrast to criticism from many of the 27 defence ministers and officials at a forum in Singapore over Myanmar's three-week holdup of their donations and slow pace of getting supplies to the survivors of the May 3 cyclone, Aye Myint said assistance is being provided.


ASEAN assesses Myanmar cyclone relief

Jakarta - The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) established a team to assess the needs of the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, officials said Tuesday in Jakarta.

Participating in the joint assessment team are the ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team, UN representatives and experts from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, a press release issued by the ASEAN secretariat said.

"I have high hopes for the joint assessment team," said Surin Pitsuwan, the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

"Based on the assessment report that they will produce, we will be able to identify the needs of the Cyclone Nargis' victims and intensify our efforts in the most needed areas," Surin said.


Sikh aid group in Malaysia bring food to 2,400 Nargis-hit people

Yangon, June 3 : United Sikhs Myanmar Disaster Relief, an aid group based in Malaysia, has been distributing rations to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar through 70 local volunteers.

United Sikhs’ project coordinator Harbinder Singh, and operations director Sunil Singh were in Myanmar for six days touring affected areas in the districts of Myaungmya and Labutta.

Star Online also quoted that foreigners are not allowed into the delta area.

A large shipment of dry foodstuff and water has been sent to Yangon to be distributed to displaced people in the Irrawaddy delta with the co-operation of local non-government organisations in Myanmar.


Agencies plan to use helicopters for aid to Myanmar cyclone victims

Bangkok - The World Food Programme (WFP) hopes to have 10 helicopters delivering food and other relief supplies to cyclone victims in the Irrawaddy delta as early as the end of the week, officials said Wednesday.

The WFP already has one helicopter in Myanmar that has flown twice, and nine more helicopters waiting on the ground in Thailand, said Paul Risley with the WFP.

"There is still a critical need for these helicopters, especially for heavy lifting in bringing food assistance in the last leg of distribution to communities in the delta," he said in Bangkok.


ASEAN deploys assessment team to cyclone-hit areas of Myanmar

Jakarta - A 200-strong team will be deployed Thursday to the Irrawaddy delta area to begin a full assessment of the extent of the damage and the urgent needs of the Cyclone Nargis victims in Myanmar, officials said in Jakarta.

The ASEAN-UN-Myanmar Tripartite Core Group agreed that after two days of intense briefing for their team, they are now ready to move into the cyclone stricken remote delta areas, the Secretariat-General of ASEAN said in a statement.

"We will begin with two advance teams being ferried by World Food Programme's helicopter to two main townships of Labutta and Pyapon," said Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of ASEAN.


Amnesty International says oversight needed in Myanmar aid efforts

Bangkok  - An unacceptable amount of international aid sent to Myanmar for victims of Cyclone Nargis in the Irrawaddy delta region is not being delivered, Amnesty International said Thursday.

Myanmar's ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is also forcing survivors out of emergency shelters to return to their villages, which in many cases were destroyed by the cyclone a month ago, Amnesty said at a press conference.

The government's actions are placing tens of thousands of already vulnerable survivors at increased risk of death, disease and hunger, said Amnesty Myanmar researcher Benjamin Zawacki.

"Thousands of cyclone survivors are now suffering at the hands of the SPDC," he said.


Prominent regime critic and comedian arrested in Myanmar

Bangkok  - A popular Myanmar comedian known for his criticism and satire of the country's military junta and more recently for his relief work among its cyclone victims has been arrested, a magazine reported Thursday.

Zarganar, 47, was arrested Wednesday night at his Yangon home, friends told the Irrawaddy magazine.

Authorities confiscated a computer and 1,000 dollars in donations for victims of last month's Cyclone Nargis, the exile magazine published in neighbouring Thailand said.

Zarganar defied an order that cyclone donations should be distributed through representatives of the junta and ignored warnings not to talk with foreign media.


UN says cyclone relief aid moving to Myanmar, but not enough

UN says cyclone relief aid moving to Myanmar, but not enoughNew York - Myanmar's military government has provided entry visas to 180 UN relief workers and authorized other international staff to provide assistance to victims of last month's Cyclone Nargis, the top UN coordinator for emergency humanitarian operations said Friday.

Myanmar's opening of its doors to international relief aid was described by John Holmes as "in the right direction." But he said the government should allow more aid workers and more relief goods inside the country.


Myanmar says foreign broadcasters worse than Cyclone Nargis

Myanmar says foreign broadcasters worse than Cyclone NargisMyanmar says foreign broadcasters worse than Cyclone NargisYangon  - Myanmar's state-controlled media on Sunday claimed that foreign broadcasts were spreading false news about the government's aid efforts for victims of Cyclone Nargis in an effort to "undermine national unity."

"At present, some foreign broadcasting stations are making attempts to undermine the national unity under the pretext of Nargis," said The New Light of Myanmar, in an opinion piece under the title of "The enemy who is more destructive than Nargis."


Cyclone relief to Myanmar

Cyclone relief to MyanmarBangalore, June 9 : As part of the humanitarian assistance to Cyclone Nargis ravaged areas of Myanmar under the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) 30 metric tonnes of food has been airlifted from Bangalore to save thousands of malnutrition children in Myanmar.

Talking to Asian News International (ANI) Shyam S Dubey, Head Procurement and Logistics of WFP has said that this would help save thousands of children affected by cyclone in Myanmar.


30 metric tonnes of food airlifted for cyclone afflicted Myanmar

Cyclone relief to MyanmarBangalore, June 10 : As part of the humanitarian assistance to Cyclone Nargis ravaged areas of Myanmar under the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) 30 metric tonnes of food has been airlifted yesterday from Bangalore to save thousands of malnutritioned children in Myanmar.

While talking to ANI, Shyam S Dubey, Head Procurement and Logistics of WFP has said that this would help thousands of children affected by cyclone in Myanmar.


Myanmar junta claims visas granted to 911 disaster relief workers

Yangon - Myanmar's state-run media disclosed Wednesday that the government has issued visas to a total of 911 foreign disaster relief workers since Cyclone Nargis hit the country on May 2-3, in apparent effort to counter criticisms of hindering the aid effort.

"Altogether 911 persons have been permitted to enter the country from 5 May to 5 June," said The New Light of Myanmar, a government mouthpiece.

According to the newspaper, visas have been granted to 458 people working for the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, 357 to relief workers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and 96 foreigners attending a UN-ASEAN donors meeting held last month.


Myanmar's Cyclone Nargis posed crucial test for ASEAN

Singapore - A new Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has emerged from its achievements in cyclone-swept Myanmar, showing the world that the regional body is able to "rise to the occasion," Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said on Wednesday.

"We are being baptized by Cyclone Nargis," he told the 5th ASEAN Leadership Forum in Singapore.

It has been more than six weeks since the cyclone hit leaving a trail of devastation followed by three weeks of international outrage as the military junta obstructed foreign aid and volunteers.


Myanmar needs 32 million dollars in emergency agro-aid, says FAO

Bangkok - Cyclone-damaged Myanmar needs an estimated 32 million dollars in immediate emergency aid to help 52,000 farming families plant their rice this rainy season, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Wednesday.

"Time is not on our side," said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Regional director for Asia-Pacific. "The window is narrow to meet the seasonal deadline for the monsoon season cropping."

Myanmar's fertile Irrawaddy Delta, the country's traditional rice bowl, was hit by Cyclone Nargis on May 2-3, which brought with it tidal waves that submerged up to 780,000 hectares of land and left at least 130,000 dead or missing.


Myanmar junta arrests Aung San Suu Kyi supporters on her birthday

Aung San Suu KyiYangon - Myanmar authorities on Thursday arrested at least 30 supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who had gathered to protest her five years of imprisonment on her birthday, eye witnesses said.

A group of National League for Democracy (NLD) members gathered outside their party headquarters in Yangon to mark Suu Kyi's 63rd birthday which falls on Thursday by releasing 63 sparrows and shouting "Free Aung San Suu Kyi."

Seven government cars arrived shortly after the protest began and rounded up at least 30 of the NLD members, taking them away to an unknown destination.


Myanmar reshuffles ministerial posts

Myanmar reshuffles ministerial postsYangon  - The Myanmar minister most responsible for handling the government's disaster relief efforts for victims of Cyclone Nargis has dropped his second job as immigration and population minister, state media announced on Friday.

Social Welfare Minister Major General Maung Maung Swe, who has been busy with cyclone relief efforts since Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar's central coast on May 2-3, has shed his secondary post Minister of Immigration and Resettlement, said Myanmar state radio.


Lack of funding threatens Myanmar helicopter relief operation

World Food ProgrammeYangon  - Lack of international funding is threatening a helicopter operation providing vital emergency relief to 2.4 million people affected by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned Friday.

"WFP is leading the way in moving life-saving supplies to distressed communities by boat, truck and air - but it will all grind to a halt by the end of this month unless we get additional funding now," said Chris Kaye, WFP country director for Myanmar.


Myanmar retires elderly junta lieutenant generals

Yangon - Amid signs that Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Than Shwe has tightened his grip over the military, at least five lieutenant generals have been retired from the regime for "health reasons," military sources revealed on Monday.

Former senior members of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) - as the Myanmar junta styles itself - lieutenant generals Aung Htwe, Khin Maung Than, Kyaw Win, Maung Bo and Ye Myint were retired on Saturday for "health reasons," said a source close to military.

The state-run Myanmar media rarely publishes news on reshuffles or dismissals within the military establishment, which has ruled the country since 1962.


India provides 84 million dollars in loans to Myanmar projects

Yangon - The Export-Import Bank of India has extended 84 million dollars in credits to two joint-venture projects for a factory and electrical transmission lines in Myanmar, state media reported Wednesday

The loans were inked Tuesday in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's capital, during a visit by an Indian business delegation led by Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Power Shri Jairam Remesh, said The New Light of Myanmar, a mouthpiece for the ruling military junta.


India Signs Four Economic Agreements With Myanmar

India and Myanmar have signed four economic agreements. The first agreement signed is a bilateral investment promotion agreement (BIPA). 

This agreement would focus on facilitating better and greater bilateral investment. It would further provide a framework for the resolution of disputes, for promotion and protection of investment, for extending national treatment and most-favored-nation treatment, for repatriation of investment and returns and also for entry of technical and managerial personnel.   

The second agreement concentrates on credit line agreement between the Exim Bank of India and the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank for Rs 256 crore. 


Bomb blast at pro-junta mass association

Yangon - In a rare show of defiance, a bomb was detonated Tuesday at an office of the pro-government Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), witnesses and security personnel said.

The explosion, which occurred at 6:30 am (1200 GMT) at the USDA's Shwe Pyi Tha office, in Yangon, destroyed some tables but caused no casualties.

The USDA, which boasts millions of members, is expected to be transformed into a proxy political party for the military to contest a general election scheduled in 2010.

Acts of violence against the USDA are rare in Myanmar, which has been under military rule since 1962.


Ferry sinks in Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta, killing 38

Yangon - A passenger ferry sank in Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta, killing 38 people, government media reported Friday. 

The state-run New Light of Myanmar said the ferry sank at dawn on Tuesday in the Yway river, in the heart of the area devastated in May by Cyclone Nargis, after water poured in through the stern. 

The newspaper reported 44 of the passengers aboard the ferry, named the Myo Pa Pa Tun, survived by swimming to shore or were rescued. 

It said the ferry went down shortly after leaving Pakeikkyi village in the delta. 

Ferries are a major form of transport in the delta, especially for taking farm goods to market. 

Six people died earlier this year when two ferries collided in the delta. 


Myanmar sues 14 opposition members for birthday protest

MyanmarYangon - Myanmar authorities charged 14 members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Friday who called for her freedom on her 63rd birthday last month.

The 14, who shouted slogans and released 63 sparrows outside their party headquarters on June 19, were charged with destabilizing the state and forming an illegal gathering.

Witnesses said the protest was quickly broken up when officials spilled out of government cars that whizzed to the scene. Suu Kyi heads the NLD, although she has spent
12 of the past 18 years under house arrest.


Burmese flock to Thailand looking for work

Bangkok - Nearly one-third of the Myanmar nationals who during the first six months of 2008 crossed to Thailand over the Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot border town failed to return home, media reports said Monday.

According to provincial immigration office figures 298,847 Burmese entered Mae Sot in Tak province during January to June, but some 86,517 went missing on the Thai side, said the Bangkok Post.

Tak immigration chief Police Colonel Tassawat Boonyawat said some of the Myanmar visitors may have returned to their homeland by other border crossings, but many others were working in Thailand illegally.


Cyclone Nargis leaves at least 400 orphans in Myanmar

Yangon- Two months after Cyclone Nargis smashed into Myanmar's central coast leaving at least 138,000 dead or missing, the number of children still searching for their parents exceeds 400, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced Monday.

"The most serious issue in child protection in the aftermath of the cyclone is the problem of separated and unaccompanied children," said UNICEF, one of a host of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations that have participated in the Cyclone Nargis relief operation.

"There were 428 children separated from their parents by the cyclone, of whom 15 have been reunited with their families," said UNICEF's spokesperson Zafrin Chowdhury.


Myanmar business tycoon and Malaysian charges with drug trafficking

Myanmar reshuffles ministerial postsYangon - A well-known Myanmar business tycoon with close ties to the military, and a Malaysian national have been arrested for drug trafficking and are facing trial, police sources confirmed Wednesday.

Maung Weik, the 35-year-old founder of the Maung Weik & Family business group involved in trading and real estate, was arrested on May 31 on charges of trafficking in Ectasy and Ketamine, catering to Myammar's wealthy youths who include many offspring of the ruling military junta.


ILO slams Myanmar for keeping six "labour activists" in jail

Yangon  - The International Labour Organization (ILO) on Friday blasted Myanmar's Supreme Court for denying an appeal by six activists to overturn their lengthy jail sentences for attending a Labour Day event.

Thurein Aung, Wai Lin, Kyaw Min, Myo Min, Nyi Nyi Zaw and Kyaw Kyaw were arrested on May 1, 2007, after attending a Labour Day function at the American Centre of the US Embassy in Yangon.

A Myanmar court sentenced Nyi Nyi Zaw and Kyaw Kyaw to 20 years in jail and the other four to 28 years for assembling at a public place without authorization.

Myanmar's Supreme Court on June 27, this year, turned down an appeal by the six to reduce their lengthy jail terms for such a minor offence, said their lawyer Aung Thein.


ASEAN given grade C for its handling of Myanmar

Singapore - Foreign Minister George Yeo gave the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) a grade C for its handling of Myanmar following the Cyclone Nargis disaster in May, when the country's ruling junta refusing to allow foreign aid, a published report said on Friday. 

Since Myanmar is expected to top the agenda during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), Yeo compared the organization to a class in school in his evaluation. 

"We feared the worst initially, but it turned out not to be an F grading," The Straits Times quoted Yeo as saying. 


Human rights group blasts Thailand for returning Karen refugees

Bangkok - The New York-based Human Rights Watch on Saturday blasted Thailand for forcing 52 Karen refugees to return to a conflict-zone in Myanmar on Asarnha Buccha Day, the beginning of Buddhist lent.

On Thursday, Asarha Buccha Day, Thai paramilitary troops forced 52 Karen civilians, most of them women and children, to leave two refugee camps in Thailand's Mae Hong Son province and cross to the Myanmar side of the border, whence they had fled a military offensive in early 2008.

"The Thai government cynically launched this illegal operation during the first day of a major Buddhist holiday," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country.


Down-graded Martyr's Day ceremony in Myanmar

Down-graded Martyr's Day ceremony in MyanmarYangon - Myanmar's Martyr's Day, the annual commemoration of the assassinations of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's father Aung San and eight other heroes of the independence movement, was held in downgraded fashion Saturday.

The 61st Martyr's Day was led Saturday by Yangon Mayor Brigadier- General Aung Thein Linn, unlike previous ceremonies that were hosted by the minister of culture. At this year's ceremony, for the first time, foreign diplomats were not invited.

No official reason for the downgrading of the ceremony has been announced.


Aung San Suu Kyi could be freed in six months

Opposition leader Aung San Suu KyiSingapore - Myanmar has indicated that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be freed in six months, because current laws limit her maximum detention period to six years, news reports said Monday.

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said that his Myanmar counterpart, Nyan Win, said that Suu Kyi has "about half a year's time left," according to The Straits Times.

When asked if this meant that the Myanmar opposition leader and Nobel Prize winner would be released, Yeo said, "I think that is not an inaccurate inference."


ASEAN aims to foster trust between international community, Myanmar

Singapore - The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) intends to foster greater trust and cooperation between the international community and Myanmar's government, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Monday. 

Kicking off a meeting of ASEAN's foreign ministers in Singapore, Lee also said ASEAN has decided to press on with the implementation of its landmark charter "without waiting for all 10 members to ratify." 

The crisis over Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar in May, "tested ASEAN unity and forced us to consider what ASEAN meant to Myanmar and in turn what Myanmar meant to the group," Lee said. 


ASEAN urged to strengthen response mechanisms in Myanmar

Singapore - An international humanitarian taskforce Monday urged the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen "rapid response capacities" in cyclone-wrecked Myanmar. 

Composed of the United Nations, Myanmar's government and ASEAN's secretariat, the task force said ASEAN "should maintain its coordination leadership through mid-2009." 

ASEAN was the only trusted body to ensure relief and recovery efforts could be carried out successfully, the task force said. 

"Two months in the aftermath of cyclone Nargis, ASEAN has asserted its leadership that resulted in the reduction of loss of life and the alleviation of suffering," the task force said. 


Myanmar ratifies charter, vows to uphold ASEAN ideals

Singapore - Myanmar ratified the Association of South-East Asian Nation's landmark charter Tuesday and vowed to uphold and enhance its democratic ideals.

Myanmar, vilified for its dictatorial government and human rights abuses, became the seventh of the 10-member regional grouping to ratify the document, which was signed by the leaders in November last year.

"Myanmar's ratification of the charter demonstrates our strong commitment to embrace the common values and aspirations of the peoples of ASEAN," Foreign Minister Nyan Win said.


Energy sector accounts for 90 per cent of investment in Myanmar

Yangon  - Energy sector accounts for 90 per cent of investment in Myanmar  Investments in Myanmar's energy sector last year amounted to 474 million dollars or 90 per cent of the total foreign direct investment in the country which is the target of economic sanctions, media reports said Tuesday.


UN humanitarian chief returns to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar

Yangon - Myanmar relief operations for victims of Cyclone Nargis have made progress since mid-May but much still needs to be done, especially in remote parts of the Irrawaddy Delta, a senior United Nations official announced Wednesday.

"Significant progress has been made since I was last here," said UN humanitarian chief John Holmes, who last visited Myanmar in May 18 when international aid and aid workers were still facing enormous hurdles to reach more than 2 million victims of the cyclone that smashed into Myanmar's central coast on May 2-3.


UN acknowledges huge foreign exchange loss in Myanmar relief

UN Security Council condemns killing of peacekeepers in DarfurYangon - United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes acknowledged Thursday that the international community's relief effort for the victims of Cyclome Nargis in Myanmar was losing millions of dollars to the regime's foreign exchange controls.


Myanmar makes progress in rebuilding after Cyclone Nargis, UN says

New York - The government in Myanmar has made "quite a lot of progress" in post-Cyclone Nargis reconstruction efforts since the disaster struck in May, the top UN humanitarian affairs official said Monday.

John Holmes returned to New York following a three-day visit to Myanmar, saying he saw a return to normalcy in areas affected by the devastating cyclone, which left more than 140,000 dead and missing people. Some 2.5 million people still need assistance to cope with the disaster's aftermath.

Holmes said there was no room for complacency because of the magnitude of the destruction.


Rights group praises US legislation banning Myanmar gems

Bangkok - Human Rights Watch on Tuesday praised legislation passed by the US Congress that would bar US gem dealers and jewelry retailers from importing rubies and jade from Myanmar, a country notorious for its human and labour rights abuses.

"The international trade in Burmese gems helps finance repression and puts millions into the pockets of Burma's abusive rulers," said Arvind Ganesan, director of the New York-based rights group's business and human rights programme.

US President George W Bush was expected on Tuesday to sign the legislation to tighten an existing ban on the trade in gems from Myanmar, also known as Burma.


UN envoy arrives in Myanmar to discuss human rights

Yangon - A United Nations rapporteur arrived in Yangon Sunday to discuss human-rights concerns, diplomatic officials said.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, on his first mission to look at human rights in the country, is scheduled to be in Myanmar until Thursday.

Quintana was invited by the military government of Myanmar, which has ruled the country for more than four decades and does not consider human rights a top priority.

Quintana is expected to meet a number of government officials, heads of state institutions as well as ethnic groups, political parties, religious groups and non-governmental organizations.


Kuwait strengthens economic ties with Myanmar

Yangon - Oil-rich Kuwait has signed two economic agreements with gas-rich Myanmar as part of Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah's tour of the region, state media reports said Thursday.

Nasser visited Myanmar's military capital of Naypyitaw on Wednesday and held talks with Prime Minister General Thein Sein to discuss bilateral relations, said The New Light of Myanmar, a government mouthpiece.

The two premiers witnessed the signing of an "Agreement for the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of investment between the Union of Myanmar and the State of Kuwait" and an "Agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Union of Myanmar and the State of Kuwait."


Activists rally in Philippines for democracy in Myanmar

Manila - Dozens of Filipino democracy activists marched with cardboard Olympic torches in the Philippine capital Friday to protest China's continued support for the military junta in Myanmar.

The protesters, wearing sports uniforms, gathered in front of the Chinese and Myanmar embassies in Manila to demand democracy and freedom for the South-East Asian country formerly called Burma.

The protest also commemorated the bloody uprising in Myanmar 20 years ago. The anniversary of the August 8, 1988 uprising coincides with the opening of the Olympics in Beijing.

"Light up the torch of freedom and democracy for Burma," the activists said as they urged the Chinese government to revise its policy towards Myanmar.


Myanmar activists mark 20th anniversary of crushed democracy

Bangkok - Hundreds of Myanmar activists protested outside the Chinese and Myanmar embassies in Bangkok Friday, marking the 20th anniversary of a brutal army crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Yangon that left thousands dead.

The protestors, mindful that Friday also marks the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Beijing, used the anniversary of the 8-8-88 uprising to highlight China's role in supporting Myanmar's notoriously brutish military regime.

On August 8, 1988, thousands of pro-democracy protestors took to the streets in Yangon demanding the end of 26 years of military rule. Their demands were met with bullets and a bloodbath that left an estimated 3,000 dead.


UN estimates 1.56 million dollars of cyclone aid lost in Myanmar

Yangon - The United Nations Thursday acknowledged that over the past three months some 1.56 million dollars in aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis has been lost to Myanmar's odd foreign exchange regulations.

"The loss in value due to foreign exchange for the Cyclone Nargis international humanitarian aid during the last three months has been about 1.56 million dollars," said Daniel Baker, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar.

"We are not getting the full value of dollars donated for emergency relief, and donors are extremely worried and keen to see that this issue is resolved," said Baker, in the latest UN update on relief efforts for Cyclone Nargis.


UN special envoy arrives in Myanmar

Yangon - UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari arrived in Myanmar Monday for a five-day visit that aims to pressure the ruling military junta to speed up democratic reforms, address human rights and free political prisoners.

The visit is Gambari's fourth since last year to Myanmar, also known as Burma, where he has been handed a mandate by the United Nations to deal with the country's military regime in addressing international concerns about human rights violations, slow-paced political reforms and the ongoing detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hundreds of other political prisoners.

The State Peace and Development Council, as Myanmar's junta calls itself, has shown little willingness to comply with Gambari's overall mission.


UN special envoy to Myanmar fails to see Aung San Suu Kyi

UN special envoy to Myanmar fails to see Aung San Suu Kyi Yangon  - Ibrahim Gambari, UN special envoy to Myanmar, visited the compound of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Friday but she did not come out to greet him, witnesses said.

Gambari, who arrived in Yangon Monday, went to Suu Kyi's Yangon home at 7:30 am (0100 GMT) and waited at the front gate for an hour but the Nobel Peace Prize laureate did not come out, witnesses said.

The road outside Suu Kyi's compound has been heavily barricaded since Thursday evening with four police officers posted outside its front gate.


UN ends Bangkok "air bridge" to Myanmar

Bangkok  - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday shut down its "relief air bridge" to Myanmar after delivering 4 million tons of cargo from Bangkok to the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Thai authorities were quick to offer Don Mueang, Bangkok's old international airport, as a logistics hub for the massive relief effort for neighbouring Myanmar in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which hit the impoverished country in May, leaving about 140,000 dead or missing and another 2.4 million badly in need of food, medicine and shelter.

The international relief effort was initially stalled by Myanmar's ruling military junta, which was reluctant to allow an unhindered influx of cargo and foreign aid workers into the cloistered country.


Singapore warns Myanmar activists to stop protests

Singapore - Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs warned political activists from Myanmar not to ignore repeated police orders to stop illegal public protests and anti-Myanmar activities, the The Strait Times newspaper said Saturday.

A spokesman of the Overseas Burmese Patriots (OBP), a group of Myanmar activists, said the Singapore government has not renewed immigration passes for five of its members that had participated in a public protest in November.

"We do have suspicion that the rationale for the rejections might be because of the protests and our activities," Myo Myint Maung said.


Thai foreign minister on official visit to Myanmar

Suspected separatists decapitate Thai-Muslim man Bangkok - Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag left for an official three-day visit to Myanmar Saturday with plans to meet with Prime Minister General Thein Sein, government officials said.


UN special envoy ends Myanmar trip, fails to see Aung San Suu Kyi

United NationYangon - UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari left Myanmar Saturday after six days in the country but failed to see opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Gambari, who added a sixth day to his five-day trip in an effort to meet with the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Suu Kyi, gave no reason why they didn't meet.

NLD spokesman U Nyan Win said that the meeting depended on three parties, the UN, the Myanmar government and Suu Kyi herself, but he did not elaborate.

"Some people said it only depended on Aung San Suu Kyi but that is not true," he said in a telephone interview.


Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi refuses food for three weeks

Yangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has for the past three weeks refused food deliveries to her home-cum-jail in a hunger strike against her detention, opposition sources confirmed Friday.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) said Suu Kyi had refused to receive food packages from friends for the past three weeks to protest her unlawful detention which has "exceeded the legal limit."

Suu Kyi has been under house detention in her family home in Yangon since May 2003, on charges of disturbing the peace.

The detention followed an attack by pro-military thugs on Suu Kyi's convoy in Tepeyin, Sagaing division in northern Myanmar on May 30, 2003. Several of her followers were killed in the melee.


Myanmar police chief clueless about Suu Kyi hunger strike

Myanmar police chief clueless about Suu Kyi hunger strike Naypyitaw, Myanmar  - Myanmar's police chief on Sunday claimed to know nothing about a hunger strike being staged by Nobel laureate and political dissident Aung San Suu Kyi to protest her five-plus years under house arrest.

Addressing a press conference in Naypyitaw, the military's new capital situated 350 kilometres north of Yangon, Police Chief Khin Yee said Suu Kyi had recently been visited by her lawyer and doctor and neither had told the government about her hunger strike.


US concerned about welfare of Suu Kyi

Washington - The United States expressed concern Tuesday about the health of Myanmar democratic activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who reportedly began a hunger strike last month to protest years of detention.

"The regime's continued isolation and detention under house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi makes it impossible to confirm reports such as these," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"The United States and the international community remain deeply concerned about her welfare."

McCormack called for the immediate release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners held by the regime in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.


Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi malnourished after hunger strike

Yangon - Detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is thin and malnourished after refusing to receive food deliveries at her home-cum-jail for almost a month, her lawyer said Monday.

Kyi Win, Suu Kyi's attorney who has met with her four times in recent weeks, denied that the Nobel peace laureate had been on a hunger strike but had only refused food parcels since August 16.

"She did not refuse the food parcels for her own interest but for the sake of the people, to help them obtain their rights and uphold the law," said Kyi Win, speaking at his Yangon office.


Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi accepts food after month-long protest

Yangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has accepted food parcels from supporters at her home-cum-jail in Yangon, after refusing deliveries for a month to protest her detention, opposition sources said.

Suu Kyi accepted a food parcel from Ko Myint So, a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party which she leads, on Monday night for the first time since August 16, NLD sources confirmed.

Kyi Win, Suu Kyi's attorney who has met with her four times in recent weeks, said Monday that the Nobel peace laureate had refused food parcels "for the sake of the people, to help them obtain their rights and uphold the law."


Myanmar releases longest serving political prisoner

Yangon - Myanmar's military government released the country's longest-serving political prisoner Tuesday afternoon as part of a broad amnesty in which more than
9,000 prisoners were freed.

U Win Tin, 79, had served nearly 20 years in prison, and was the country's longest-serving political prisoner before his release, he said after his release.

While still wearing prison clothing, he told a handful of journalists that the country's military rule must end, but he has no interest in taking part in a scheduled 2010 general election.

U Win Tin was one of 9,002 prisoners released in a general amnesty on Tuesday.


Burmese political prisoner freed after nearly 20 Years

Myanmar, Sept. 24 : Burma''s longest-serving political prisoner, 78-year-old Win Tin, was freed Tuesday after spending 19 years behind bars.

The journalist-turned-rebel activist, however, vowed to continue pressing for freedom from the junta''s 46 years of military rule.

According to Fox News, Win Tin, an activist who helped found Aung San Suu Kyi''s opposition party in 1988, was one of at least seven political prisoners released, according to Amnesty International.

There are still an estimated 2,100 political prisoners held in Burma, the rights group said.


Bomb blast in Yangon injures seven

Bomb blast in Yangon injures sevenYangon - A bomb blast in central Yangon Thursday morning injured seven people, witnesses said.

The blast was near the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) which is near the Sule Pagoda.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Security has been extra tight in the city this month, which marks the one-year anniversary of huge anti-government demonstrations led by Buddhist monks, followed by a brutal crackdown by military authorities. (dpa)


Myanmar generals still in firm control

MyanmarYangon (Myanmar), Sept. 26: The ruling military junta in Myanmar still remains in firm control of the country and its affairs even a year after it began a deadly crackdown on thousands of Buddhist monks protesting sharp rises in the price of food and fuel.

Now the country’s ruling generals are steeling themselves for a reprise.


Myanmar arrests three as opposition NLD celebrates anniversary

Myanmar arrests three as opposition NLD celebrates anniversary Yangon - Myanmar's military government arrested at least three National League for Democracy (NLD) supporters Saturday before the opposition party celebrated its 20-year anniversary, witnesses said.

Police detained two men and one women near the NLD headquarters before the anniversary ceremony to mark the establishment of the party in 1988.


Myanmarese commemorate ''Saffron Revolution'' anniversary in New Delhi

New Delhi, Sept 27 : Scores of Myanmarese nationals gathered in New Delhi on Saturday to take out a march to commemorate the first anniversary of ‘Saffron Revolution’, when thousands of monks marched down the streets of Rangoon to call for democratic change.

Myanmar or Burma''s military regime had brutally cracked down on one of the most powerful and peaceful demonstration led by thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns in
2007.

The revolution came to be known as “Saffron Revolution” – named after the colour of the robes worn by the militant young monks spearheading the protests.


Chinese investments in Myanmar's energy, mining sectors of concern

Bangkok  - Myanmar has attracted 69 Chinese companies to its energy and mining sectors, raising environmental and security concerns for local populations, EarthRights International (ERI) revealed Tuesday.

According to a survey conducted by ERI, a non-profit activist group, there are now 69 Chinese companies involved in Myanmar's hydropower, oil, natural gas and mining sectors compared with only 26 known companies in 2007.


UN appeal for Myanmar's cyclone victims 50 per cent unfunded

Yangon - The United Nations' flash appeal for the survivors of Cyclone Nargis remains 50 per cent unfunded, five months after the disaster, the group managing the relief effort disclosed Tuesday.

"Total contribution now stands at 240 million dollars out of the 482 million required. Agriculture and early recovery continue to be the least-funded sectors," a statement issued by the Tripartite Core Group said.

The group, which has handled relief efforts for Cyclone Nargis victims since June, comprises representatives from the Myanmar government, UN agencies and the Association of South-East Asian Nations.


Number of political prisoners in Myanmar rising

BangkokBangkok - The number of political prisoners in Myanmar jails has almost doubled to more than 2,000 over the past year, a report compiled by anti-government activists revealed on Sunday.

Myanmar's prisons now hold 2,123 political prisoners, compared with 1,192 in June 2007, the last time the United Nations ventured an estimate on inmates in the military-run state, according to a report compiled by the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) and the US-based US Campaign for Burma.


Myanmar junta leader Maung Aye to visit Bangladesh Tuesda

Dhaka, BangladeshDhaka- The vice-chairman of Myanmar's military junta is scheduled to make a three-day official visit to Bangladesh, a foreign ministry official said Monday.

General Maung Aye, who is also the head of the Myanmar army, will lead a 55-member delegation including seven government ministers to discuss a host of outstanding issues between the neighbour nations.

Maung Aye is scheduled to meet with the chief of Bangladesh's interim administration, Fakhruddin Ahmed, to discuss bilateral concerns, said the official.


Myanmar junta leader on three-day visit to Bangladesh

Dhaka - The vice-chairman of Myanmar's military junta, General Maung Aye, arrived in Dhaka Tuesday for bilateral talks with Bangladeshi leaders, officials said.

The chief of Bangladesh's military-backed interim government, Fakhruddin Ahmed and cabinet colleagues including army chief Moen U Ahmed welcomed Maung Aye at the international airport.

The Myanmar general leads a 55-member delegation including seven government ministers on the three-day official visit.

Fakhruddin is expected to host talks on regarding disputes over a maritime boundary, construction of a cross-border road link, and leasing of Myanmar land to Bangladeshi farmers for cultivation, his press secretary said.


Myanmar army moves against refugees, aid organization says

Bangkok - Myanmar's army and their allies the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) have launched an offensive against Karen refugees in the border region with Thailand, an aid organization said Tuesday.

Speaking from the border town Mae Sot in northern Thailand, Help Without Frontiers, an Italian-based organization aimed at helping refugees of the long-running Karen insurgency, said several villages have been overrun already.

"The villagers are chased, rice barns and food are sequestered or destroyed, large cornfields are burned as well as several houses in different villages," the NGO said in a statement.


Ban asks Myanmar to show progress in reform programme

Ban asks Myanmar to show progress in reform programmeNew York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he would cancel a planned visit to Myanmar unless the government there shows progress in democratization and humanitarian programmes.

Ban last visited Myanmar in May in the wake of the destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis in a bid to convince the military government to accept international relief aid and admit foreign workers. The government did soften its stance against international aid workers by loosening up visa restrictions.


Myanmar runs short of gas for Bangladesh

Myanmar runs short of gas for BangladeshDhaka - Military-ruled Myanmar on Wednesday informed Bangladesh that it did not have enough reserve of natural gas to offer Bangladesh to run fertilizer plants at present.

In response to Dhaka's proposal for gas import from Yangon, visiting Myanmar Energy Minister, Lun Thi, told his counterpart M Tamim that Bangladesh will have to compete with other regional players like Thailand and China if it wants gas import in future.


India-Myanmar trade and investment talks

Jairam RameshNew Delhi, Oct 14 : Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh is heading an official delegation for trade and investment talks with the Government of Myanmar in Mandalay at Myanmar today.

During the talks, Ramesh will take up the issue of expanding trade centres along the 1600-kms India-Myanmar border. At present, Moreh in Manipur is the only operational trade centre on the border. India will propose two additional such centres—Avangkhu in Nagaland and Zowkhathar in Mizoram which is also a long-standing demand of these two states.


German vintner brings touch of Moselle to Myanmar

Aythaya, Myanmar - In the morning mist, vintner Hans-Eduard Leiendecker checks on the rows of vines that he meticulously planted.

Only when saffron-clad Buddhist monks approach in a single file does one remember that they are not in Leiendecker's hometown, the Moselle town of Bernkastel in western Germany, but in tropical Myanmar.

Aythaya Vineyards is the brainchild of Bert Morsbach, who relocated from Thailand years ago, where he manufactured surf boards.

Almost 10 years ago, he leased a plot of land at an elevation of 1,300 metres near Inle Lake, about an hour's flight time north-east of Myanmar's main port city of Yangon.


The portrait of a painter with a rope around his neck and on a red background was too

Artists in Myanmar must create under strict censorshipYangon - The portrait of a painter with a rope around his neck and on a red background was too much for the government censors in Myanmar.

"Absolutely not!" they told the artist in the country's main port city of Yangon, when he complied with the law and sought official permission to exhibit the painting at an art show.

And there the canvas still stands, without a frame, without admirers, without a buyer.


Chinese oil firm accused of abuses, contamination in Myanmar

Bangkok - A Chinese-led consortium with a concession for oil exploration on Myanmar's Ramree Island has left hundreds of local islanders landless and unemployed and their environment befouled, a human rights group said Tuesday.

Blocking Freedom, a report compiled by the environmental and human rights group Arakan Oil Watch, said a consortium led by the China National Offshore Oil Company Ltd (CNOOC Ltd) left behind such a trail of abuses and environmental contamination on Ramree Island that outraged locals attacked their facilities last year.

The report was the first to be released on Chinese onshore oil exploration activities in Ramree Island, Myanmar's largest island, in Arakan State, now called Rakhine. 


Myanmar bomb victim was former Buddhist monk, claims state media

Yangon - Myanmar's state media on Tuesday blamed a bomb blast that killed a 26-year-old man over the weekend on the victim himself, described as a former Buddhist monk who had participated in the September 2007, "saffron revolution."

Thet Oo Win died in a bomb explosion at his home in Shwepyitha township in Yangon at 5:30 pm on Sunday.

A police investigation into the incident found various bomb-making paraphernalia including a 9-volt dry cell battery fastened with a wire, a damaged pieces of lithium battery, six electric detonators and ammonium nitrates at the victim's home, claimed The New Light of Myanmar, a military mouthpiece.


"Up to ASEM" to pressure Myanmar, says Human Rights Watch

http://www.topnews.in/files/Human-Rights-Watch.jpgBangkok - The upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Beijing provides an ideal opportunity for Asian and European leaders to pressure Myanmar to improve it's poor human rights record, New York-based Human Rights Watch stated Thursday.

"Since Burma's [Myanmar's] rulers have stonewalled on the efforts by the UN to bring about real change, its up to ASEM ministers to send a message that sham political reforms are unacceptable," said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch (HRW).


Six Myanmar opposition party leaders get prison terms

Six Myanmar opposition party leaders get prison terms Bangkok - A Mandalay court has sentenced six opposition leaders to prison terms of up to 13 years on charges of threatening national "tranquility" and stirring up hatred ,anti-government sources said Saturday.

The six senior members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were arrested in September and October last year in a nationwide crackdown on dissent following the Buddhist-monk-led protests in Yangon.

An army crackdown on the demonstrations, dubbed the "saffron revolution," left more than 30 dead and scores missing.


Barricades removed around Suu Kyi's residence in Yangon

Yangon - The military junta in Myanmar has removed barricades from the house of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the city of Yangon, witnesses reported Sunday.

The 63-year-old Nobel peace laureate has spent 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest.

Police started clearing the street outside the house for normal traffic between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm, the witnesses said.

There was no explanation for the move, and there was no indication of a rapprochement between the regime and the opposition.

In Mandalay, six opposition politicians were recently sentenced to between two and 13 years in prison for disturbance of the peace and incitement of the population, a group of Burmese exiles reported in Thailand on Saturday.


Sino-Myanmar bilateral trade up 60 per cent last fiscal year

Yangon - Trade between Myanmar and China increased 60 per cent in the past fiscal year, ranking China the second-largest trading partner for the country after Thailand, news reports said Monday.

Trade between Myanmar and China reached 2.4 billion dollars for the year that ended March 31, compared with 1.5 billion the previous fiscal year, Myanmar's prime minister, General Thein Sein, said last week in Nanning, China at a summit between China and the Association of South-East Asian Nations, of which Myanmar is a member


Bangladesh to send delegation to Myanmar to settle maritime dispute

Bangladesh to send delegation to Myanmar to settle maritime dispute Dhaka - A high-level Bangladesh delegation is scheduled to fly to Myanmar Wednesday to hold talks aimed at resolving a dispute over oil and gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal, a top foreign ministry official said Monday.

Bangladesh's foreign secretary Md. Touhid Hossain will lead the delegation at the dialogue with his Myanmar counterpart and other high ranking officials to "defuse the situation" over the exploration, the official said.


Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta recovering 6 months after Nargis

Yangon/Singapore - Many young women in Myanmar's (Burma's) Irrawaddy delta region have stopped wearing their hair traditionally long, word goes.

Too many of them died in the metre-high floods brought on by Cyclone Nargis, because their hair got entangled in tree branches, or were strangled by their own hair as it wrapped around their neck.

Whether that is true or not is hard to verify. But hundreds of thousands were traumatised by the worst natural catastrophe the country has ever seen.

More than 138,000 lives were lost during the cyclone in May, and some 2.4 million people lost their belongings, while about 800,000 homes were destroyed.


Bangladesh vows to protect territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal

Bangladesh vows to protect territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal Dhaka - Bangladesh has resolved to protect its sovereign territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal where it claims Myanmar authorities allegedly intruded for oil and gas exploration, officials said Thursday.

A high-level meeting of government and military officials in Dhaka reviewed the situation in the Bay of Bengal over Myanmar's presence in the disputed waters.


Myanmar rejects Bangladesh's call to stop oil exploration

Myanmar rejects Bangladesh's call to stop oil explorationYangon - Myanmar has rejected a demand by Bangladesh to stop offshore oil exploration in a disputed area in the Bay of Bengal, state media reports said Friday.

The Myanmar government announced it would continue exploration in the Rakhaing offshore block AD-7 despite Bangladesh's claim to the area, according to state-run TV and newspapers.

Myanmar claimed the AD-7 block was within the special economic zone of Myanmar territorial waters and that the demand by Bangladesh was unlawful and wrong.


Myanmar lawyers get four months in jail for contempt of court

Myanmar lawyers get four months in jail for contempt of court Yangon  - Two lawyers representing defendants from the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party have been arrested and sentenced to four months in jail on contempt of court charges, family sources said Saturday.

Lawyers Aung Thein and Khin Maung were arrested late Friday night and sent to Insein prison where they face four months in jail, Aung Thein's family members confirmed.


Hopeful Myanmar junta sends congratulations to Obama

Hopeful Myanmar junta sends congratulations to ObamaYangon - Joining a world hopeful for change, Myanmar's military junta has sent congratulation notes to president-elect Barack Obama and vice president-elect Joseph Biden, news reports said Saturday.

State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Senior General Than Shwe sent a message of congratulations to Obama on Friday while the junta's number two, Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, sent a similar message to Biden, The New Light of Myanmar reported.


Bangladesh alerts border forces over gas row with Myanmar

Bangladesh alerts border forces over gas row with Myanmar Dhaka - Reported troop movements near the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, apparently resulting from a disagreement over offshore oil and gas rights, have ramped up tensions in the area.

Border forces along the Bangladeshi south-eastern border with Myanmar's Rakhain state were put on red alert Saturday after reports of Myanmar troop deployment on the other side of the border.


Bangladesh: Myanmar suspends gas exploration in disputed waters

Bangladesh: Myanmar suspends gas exploration in disputed waters Dhaka  - Authorities in Bangladesh Sunday claimed that Myanmar has suspended oil and gas exploration in the disputed Bay of Bengal as a result of Dhaka's efforts to defuse tension between the two countries.

"Diplomatic endeavours and a strong presence by the Bangladesh navy resulted in the suspension of exploration by Myanmar in the disputed waters," a statement issued by the Inter-Service Public Relations office of the country's Defence Ministry said.


Myanmar blogger gets more than 20 years in jail

Myanmar blogger gets more than 20 years in jailYangon - A popular blogger who liked to post real-life stories of Myanmar people has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, associates confirmed on Tuesday.

Nay Myo Kyaw, who was better known by his blogger alias Nay Phone Latt, was on Monday sentenced to 20 years and six months in jail by the Insein Prison Special Court in Yangon.

"He was sentenced to two years under section 505(b) of the Penal Code, three and half years under sections 32(b)/36 of the Video Act and 15 years under section


Myanmar activists, bloggers get stiff jail terms

Yangon - Fourteen Myanmar activists who participated in last year's Saffron Revolution were sentenced to 65 years in jail each on Tuesday, a non-governmental organization said.

The sentences were handed down to the 14 activists, all well-known members of the 88 Generation Students Group, at 1 pm in Insein Prison Special Court, said the Assistance Association for Political Prionsers.

Among those sentenced were the group's leader Mie Mie and her husband Jimmy, Min Zayya, Zaw Zaw Min, Than Tin, Zayya, Ant Bwe Kyaw, Kyaw Kyaw Htwe, Marky, Pannate Tun, Thet Zaw, Mar Mar Oo, Sandar Min and Thet Thet Aung. The 88 Generation Students Group is an activist group established during 1988 anti-government demonstrations.


Prominent Myanmar dissident welcomes Obama approach

Prominent Myanmar dissident welcomes Obama approach Yangon  - US president-elect Barack Obama is expected to take a more multilateral and "effective" approach to Myanmar's transition to democracy than the outgoing administration of President George Bush, a prominent dissident said Wednesday.

Win Tin, formerly Myanmar's longest-serving political prisoner and an executive member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said he expected Obama to maintain support of Myanmar's democracy movement as was demonstrated by his fellow Democrat former president Bill Clinton.


Germany condemns jailing of Myanmar activists

Berlin, GermanyBerlin - Germany condemned Wednesday the sentencing of 14 activists in Myanmar to lengthy prison terms, calling the verdict "politically motivated."

A foreign ministry spokesman said the reason given by the court in handing down the verdict was "totally unacceptable" as were the "very long" prison sentences of 65 years.

The spokesman said the military rulers of Myanmar were sending "the wrong signals" and called for the release of all political prisoners in the country.


Nine more Myanmar activists sentenced to 65 years in jail

MyanmarYangon - Prominent Myanmar dissident Min Ko Naing and eight other student activists have been sentenced to 65 years in prison in an ongoing judicial crackdown on opposition to the ruling junta, witnesses said Saturday.

The Special Court of Maubin, a town in the Irrawaddy Division about 95 kilometres southwest of Yangon, sentenced Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Mya Aye, Pyone Cho, Aung Thu, Htay Kywe, Nyan Lin, Myo Aung Naing and Hla Myo Naung to 65 years imprisonment each, witnesses who attended the court verdicts said.


Bangladesh, Myanmar begin maritime boundary talks

Dhaka - Bangladesh and Myanmar began talks Sunday on the demarcation of their maritime border, which caused tension earlier this month between the neighbours over off-shore hydrocarbon exploration.

Bangladesh's additional Foreign Secretary MAK Mahmud and Myanmar deputy minister Maung Myit lead their respective delegations at the talks in progress in Bangladesh capital.

The dialogue will come against the backdrop of movement of warships in the Bay of Bengal by both the countries after Myanmar's alleged intrusion into Bangladesh's territorial waters for oil and gas exploration.

The two nations met earlier in April 2008 to discuss the maritime demarcation issues after a break of more than two decades.


Inconclusive end to Bangladesh-Myanmar maritime boundary talks

Dhaka  - The maritime boundary talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar ended Monday with the two sides agreeing only to hold further talks to resolve their demarcation dispute, officials said.

"The issue was a complex one and the two sides agreed to continue their talks on the subject, with the next round of negotiations taking place in Myanmar," Bangladesh's foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury told the media after talks with visiting Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister U Maung Myint.

Maung led an 11-member Myanmar delegation at the two-day technical consultation to discuss the maritime boundary disputes, which flared over Myanmar's reported exploration for oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal earlier this month.


UN experts condemn Myanmar jailings

UN Security CouncilGeneva - Five United Nations experts condemned Tuesday what they said were "severe convictions and the unfair trials" of prisoners accused of involvement in last year's anti-government protests in Myanmar.

Last week, a dozen detainees were each given 65-year prison sentences and more than 20 others, including five monks, received 24-year imprisonment terms, the experts said in a statement, noting that others still awaited sentencing.

A popular blogger, arrested several months after the protests were quelled, was also sentenced to over 20 years in jail.


Dissident Myanmar comedian, monk sentenced to decades in prison

MyanmarYangon - A popular Myanmar comedian known for his criticism and satire of the country's military junta was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison in a closed-door court session in Yangon, an opposition spokesman said.


Myanmar opposition calls for amnesty on national day

Yangon - Myanmar's opposition party Saturday called for the immediate release of thousands of political prisoners to mark Myanmar's 88th National Day, while the ruling junta called for unity in moving towards democracy with "flourishing discipline."

The National League for Democracy, Myanmar's main opposition group, demanded the release all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi and student activists during celebrations at their headquarters in Yangon.

The party also demanded authorities allow all political parties which were dissolved in 1990 to re-register to contest the upcoming
2010 polls.


Myanmar tycoon gets 15 years for drug trafficking

Myanmar denounces French "warship" carrying aid to its remote areasYangon - Prominent business tycoon Maung Weik - known to be close to the head of Myanmar's junta - was sentenced to 15 years in prison on drug trafficking charges in a Yangon court last week, legal sources said Monday.

Weik, 35, who owns Mg Weik and Family Company - one of the country's largest real estate and trading firms - was arrested last May during a charity trip to the Irrawaddy Delta to help victims of cyclone Nargis.

Weik is known to have close ties to Senior General Than Shwe, who heads Myanmar's ruling junta.


Myanmar junta chief foresees "new nation" down the road

Yangon  - Myanmar junta chief Senior General Than Shwe said the military's political "road map" to democracy was leading towards a "new nation," amid reports that two pro-military parties were being set up to contest the 2010 polls, officials said Saturday.

"A new nation is now very close despite some countries putting pressure on us," Than Shwe said Friday in a speech to the annual mass meeting of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), held in Naypyitaw, the military's new capital situated about 350 kilometres north of Yangon.

The USDA was formed on September 15, 1993, as a popular support base for the military.


Myanmar's longest-serving political prisoner hospitalized

Yangon  - Win Tin, 79, who was released from prison three months ago after serving 19 years, has been hospitalized, family members confirmed Saturday.

"He had low blood pressure and difficulty breathing so we sent him to Yangon Medical Centre in Yangon at 7:30 pm Thursday," a relative of Win Tin's told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Before his release from prison on September 23, Win Tin was Myanmar's longest-detained political prisoner.

A central executive member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, Win Tin was released under a broad government amnesty that included more than 9,000 prisoners, most of them common criminals.


Myanmar plans embassy in Kuwait

Yangon  - Myanmar's military regime has taken initial steps towards opening an embassy in oil-rich Kuwait as a part of its policy of enhancing diplomatic relations with the Middle East, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

A high-ranking delegation from the Myanmar Foreign Ministry, led by Deputy Minister Maung Myint, recently visited Kuwait for preliminary discussions on the reciprocal opening of embassies in both countries, according to Yangon-based diplomatic sources.

Myanmar established diplomatic ties with Kuwait on December 16, 1998. Kuwait was the 73rd country to establish diplomatic ties with Myanmar, once known as Burma, since the country won independence from Britain in 1948.


Myanmar junta sweeps clean for 2010 polls

Yangon  - The two pivotal events for Myanmar in 2008 - Cyclone Nargis and a national referendum - fell on the same month, highlighting the ruling junta's callousness in pursuing its "discipline flourishing democracy" at all costs.

Myanmar's military this year demonstrated to the international community its extreme indifference to public welfare by pushing through a national referendum on a new constitution to cement its future political powers on May 10 - days after the cyclone slammed the Irrawaddy delta and Yangon, leaving almost 140,000 dead and missing and 2.4 million people in desperate need of assistance.


Myanmar releases former dictator's daughter from house arrest

Myanmar releases former dictator's daughter from house arrest Yangon  - Myanmar has released San Dar Win, a daughter of the country's former dictator Ne Win, from six years of house arrest in her lakeside home in Yangon, relatives confirmed Saturday.

"She was visiting her friend's house after her release," a relative told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. She was released on Friday.


Myanmar in an hour and a half

Myanmar in an hour and a halfMyawaddy, Myanmar  - Go to those places where poor countries meet rich and you will find hope. The poor towns may be unpolished, but there is a nervous energy and relentless hope. These towns have plans.

Yet, there's nothing like this in Myawaddy, Myanmar, the poor town opposite Mae Sot, Thailand.

The towns lie across the Moei River, a sluggish brown border snaking between two of the most disparate countries in Asia. On the one side lies Thailand characterized by prosperity, modernity and openness. Then there is Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, a notoriously corrupt, hermetic and violent country.


North Korean defectors to be tried in Myanmar

North Korean defectors to be tried in MyanmarSeoul  - Nineteen North Korean defectors, who were arrested on December 2 in Myanmar, are going to be tried this week for illegal entry, local newspaper reported Monday.

The North Korean group, which includes four children, was arrested in Tachilek, a town on the Myanmar-Thai border about 550 kilometres north-east of Yangon after they were forced to shift their boat route from Thailand to Myanmar, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.


Singapore: Political protests nixed work permit renewals

Singapore - The Singapore government has explained its decision not to renew the work permit of two Myanmar nationals, saying they had gone beyond the law allowed in staging political protests.

The case involves two Myanmar nationals, Moe Kyaw Thu and Win Kyaw, who were part of a group that held a protest march against their country's ruling junta during the 2007 Asean summit held in Singapore, according to a Tuesday report in Straits Times citing an online posting of one of the Singapore protestor.


Myanmar dissident gets 104 years in jail

Yangon - A Mandalay court has sentenced a student activist to 104 years in jail for attending a meeting marking the first anniversary of the "saffron revolution" on the Thai-Myanmar border, a prisoner support group said Wednesday.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), Bo Min Yu Ko, in his early 20's, was arrested on September 18, 2008 after attended a meeting on the Thai-Myanmar border to commemorate the first anniversary of the monk-led protests that rocked Yangon and parts of upper Myanmar in August and September of 2007.


Pair rescued after drifting in polystyrene box

Pair rescued after drifting in polystyrene boxSydney  - Two sailors from Myanmar rescued by an Australian coastal patrol boat claim they had drifted for 25 days in a polystyrene box without food and water, news reports said Tuesday.

Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Tracey Jiggins said the men were on a 12-metre Thai fishing boat with 18 others that it sank in rough seas December 23.


European Commission provides 40.5 million euros in aid to Myanmar

European Commission provides 40.5 million euros in aid to Myanmar Yangon - The European Commission has agreed to provide 40.5 million euros (52.4 million dollars) in humanitarian aid to Myanmar this year, with some of it aimed at assisting the Rohingya Muslims who are living "in terrible conditions," officials said Tuesday.

Of the 40.5 million euros allocated, some 22 million will go to assisting communities hard hit by Cyclone Nargis, which left 140,000 people dead and affected 2.4 million others in March 2008.


Indonesia may deport Myanmar boat people stranded in Aceh

Indonesia may deport Myanmar boat people stranded in AcehJakarta  - Indonesia has denied requests by the United Nations refugee agency for access to 193 Myanmar boat people stranded in the westernmost province of Aceh, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said that the boat people appeared to be part of about 1,000 refugees from Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority held and later released by the Thai military late last year.

The Myanmar boat people were found adrift off Sabang island in Aceh province on January 7 and are now being sheltered at the naval base.


UN special envoy to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar

UN special envoy to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi in MyanmarYangon  - The United Nations special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, is scheduled to meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on an official visit expected to start this weekend, government sources said Friday.

Gambari is expected to arrive in Yangon on Saturday to revive his so far unsuccessful efforts to push Myanmar's ruling junta to free Suu Kyi and thousands of other political prisoners and to allow democratic reforms in the military dictatorship.


Indonesia to deport Rohingya boat people from Myanmar, Bangladesh

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia said Friday that it would deport 193 Rohingya boat people but was seeking assurances from Myanmar and Bangladesh that they would not be harmed when returned.

The Muslim Rohingyas, who were rescued January 7 from the sea off Aceh province, have pleaded to the Indonesian government not to send them back, saying they faced persecution in Myanmar.


UN special envoy arrives in Yangon for talks with junta, opposition

UN special envoy arrives in Yangon for talks with junta, oppositionYangon  - United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari arrived in Yangon Saturday morning for talks on national reconciliation between Myanmar's military junta and opposition groups.

Gambari was seeking during his four-day visit to revive his unsuccessful efforts to push the junta to free opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and thousands of other political prisoners and to allow democratic reforms in the military dictatorship.


UN special envoy meets Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

UN special envoy meets Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Yangon  - United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari on Monday met Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a government guesthouse in Yangon, official sources said.

The meeting lasted about one hour and 20 minutes, witnesses said. The content of the talks was not immediately revealed but should be disclosed later Monday when Gambari was scheduled to meet with members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, Myanmar's main opposition party.


Indonesian Navy rescues 198 Myanmar boat people

Indonesian Navy rescues 198 Myanmar boat people Jakarta - The Indonesian Navy on Tuesday rescued 198 boat people from Myanmar drifting off the coast of the north-western province of Aceh, an official said.

They were the second batch of boat people belonging to Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority to be picked up off Indonesia after 193 people were rescued early last month off Sabang island on the northern tip of Aceh.

The rescues came as the Rohingya flee impoverished, military-run Myanmar and Thailand has been accused of mistreating the migrants and casting them adrift at sea.


UN special envoy leaves Myanmar after snub by junta generals

MyanmarYangon - United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari left Myanmar Tuesday after being snubbed for the second time by the country's top leadership.
Gambari departed on a Silk Air flight to Singapore Tuesday evening. He was scheduled to fly Tuesday to Naypyitaw, the military's headquarters 350 kilometres north of Yangon, but cancelled the trip for unknown reasons.

On his last trip to Myanmar in August, Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Than Shwe refused to meet Gambari, prompting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to also deny the special envoy an audience.


Injuries support Rohingya claims of Thai police abuse, doctor says

Bangkok, ThailandJakarta - Scars and welts suffered by Myanmar's Rohingya boat people rescued by the Indonesian Navy after drifting in the sea for three weeks were consistent with their claims that they had been mistreated by Thai authorities, an Indonesian doctor said Wednesday.

At least 198 refugees belonging to Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority who claimed they were fleeing persecution in their military-ruled country were rescued by the Indonesian navy off the coast of westernmost Aceh province early Tuesday.


Ansari to go on a four-day visit to Myanmar to strengthen ties

hamid ansariNew Delhi, Feb. 4 : Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari will leave on a four-day official visit to Myanmar on Thursday, leading a high-level delegation comprising Parliamentarians and businessmen.

The Vice President Ansari''s visit gains significance in terms of strengthening ties between the two countries, as India wishes to engage Myanmar on the highest-level and to intensify the process of a series of high-level reciprocal visits, a trend that commenced in recent years, said Vivek Katju, Additional secretary of the political and international organisations (PLO) here.


Ansari meets Myanmar junta chief, deputy

hamid ansariNay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), Feb. 6 : Visiting Indian Vice President M. Hamid Ansari today called on the Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in Nay Pyi Taw, capital of Myanmar, on the second day of his tour.

The Vice President described his meeting with Shwe as extremely fruitful and significant during an On Board briefing to the media.

The call on meeting went beyond the scheduled time, and is being seen as a definite indicator of strengthening ties between the two countries, revealed an Indian diplomat.


Ansari inaugurates Myanmar-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Yangon

Hamid AnsariYangon, Feb. 6 : Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, on Friday urged entrepreneurs of India and Myanmar to share their experiences and look for ways to enhance bilateral trade cooperation.

Inaugurating the Myanmar-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (MIEDC) at Yangon, he said India is keen to share its developmental experience with the people of Myanmar through the MIEDC.

He hoped the MIEDC would spearhead the entrepreneurship development movement in Myanmar and facilitate the creation of viable and competitive new enterprises and new job opportunities.


Indo-Myanmar engagement promises great potential: Hamid Ansari

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari Yangon, Feb. 6 : Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Thursday said that the economic engagement between India and Myanmar promises immense potential.

Addressing the Banquet hosted by the Vice Senior General Maung Aye, he pledged to work in close association with Myanmar to strengthen bilateral ties.

"We have pledged to work together to strengthen our bilateral relations in the months and years to come. We share with you a vision of a partnership based on friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation," Ansari said.


Ansari pays homage to Bahadur Shah Zafar

hamid ansariYangon, Feb 7 : Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari today visited the mausoleum of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, and paid homage to the saintly figure who became a symbol of resistance against foreign occupation.

The Bahadur Shah Zafar mausoleum is the most popular shrine, which shares historical and cultural legacy of India and Myanmar.

Ansari described the visit to the mazaar, as remembering the contribution of Bahadur Shah Zafar during the freedom struggle, whose name is written in the golden words.


Myanmar rebels refuse to join 2010 polls

Myanmar rebels refuse to join 2010 pollsBangkok  - The Shan State Army - an insurgent group in north-east Myanmar - has opposed the junta's planned general election in 2010, joining a growing number of ethnic minority groups determined to upset the polls, media reports and analysts said Sunday.

Shan State Army leader Colonel Yod Serk said the SSA was one of at least ten ethnic minority rebel groups that have come out against the 2010 general election, the Bangkok Post reported.

"The junta announced the upcoming election, but never let the opposing parties run in the race," Yod Serk told the newspaper.


Vice President visits Bahadur Shah Zafar’s mausoleum in Myanmar

Yangon (Myanmar), Feb. 8 : Vice President M. Hamid Ansari paid a visit to the mausoleum of former Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar here on Saturday.

Acknowledging Zafar's contribution to India''s first war of independence in 1857, Ansari said: "Bahudar Shah Zafar occupies a place in our history and played a prominent role in the First War of Independence in 1857 and every citizen in the country (India) knows about it. It is a matter of great regret that he had to spend the last days of his life away from his own country."

Ansari is on a four-day official visit to Myanmar.


Rohingya refugees to be raised on sidelines of ASEAN summit

Rohingya refugees to be raised on sidelines of ASEAN summitBangkok  - The issue of Rohingya refugees is to be raised at the South-East Asian summit to be held this month in Thailand, which has been accused of abusing the rights of the Myanmar minority group, officials confirmed Tuesday.


Thailand promises help for Rohingya boat people

Jakarta  - Thailand will work with the UN refugee agency and neighbouring countries to help Myanmar's Rohingya boat people, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said Wednesday.

The Thai military has been accused of mistreating migrants belonging to the Rohingya minority group, who said they were fleeing persecution in Myanmar, by towing more than 10 vessels out to sea and leaving the refugees in engineless boats without sufficient food and water.

Almost 400 of the Rohingya migrants were rescued by the Indonesian Navy off the coast of Aceh province in January and earlier this month.

The Rohingya told Indonesian officials they had been physically abused by Thai authorities before being abandoned at sea.


Myanmar opposition party launches "Free Suu Kyi" petition campaign

Yangon - Myanmar's main opposition party marked Union Day Thursday by launching a nationwide petition campaign to free its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since mid-2003.

Hundreds of National League for Democracy (NLD) members and supporters kicked off the "Free Suu Kyi" campaign by signing their names on a signboard at the party's headquarters in Yangon on the holiday that marks the 1947 call for independence by Myanmar's ethnic groups.

"We started the signature campaign today for the freeing of Daw [Madame] Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo and all political prisoners," NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.


Deputy opposition leader gets another year of detention in Myanmar

Tin OoYangon - Tin Oo, the vice chairman of Myanmar's main opposition party, has been slapped with another year of house arrest, government sources said Friday.

Authorities extended Tin Oo's detention by another year under the Law Safeguarding the State from Danger and Subversive Elements, which places a five-year maximum term on imprisonment.

Tin Oo, 82, vice chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and first deputy to its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was put under house arrest on February 13, 2004, meaning this year would be his sixth of detention.


UN Human Rights monitor arrives in Myanmar

UN Human RightsYangon - The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, arrived in Myanmar Saturday evening, a day after two activists were given 15-year prison terms for saying the military regime did not really want democracy.

Mr Quintana wants to meet arrested opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners following a months-long spate of lengthy jail terms against scores of the military's critics ahead of a general election next year.


UN human rights envoy visits Myanmar's Karen State

UN human rights envoy visits Myanmar's Karen State Yangon  - United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana left Yangon Sunday to visit the Karen State, where Myanmar's junta has waged a decades-old war against the Karen people, driving hundreds of thousands of them into Thailand.

The Karen, many of whom profess to be Christian, are one of the few ethnic minority groups in Myanmar who have refused to sign a cease-fire agreement with the government, making them the targets continued military attacks and human rights abuses.


Military Myanmar opens ties with Principality of Andorra

MyanmarYangon  - Myanmar's junta has opened diplomatic relations with the Principality of Andorra - one of the world's smallest nations, state media and foreign ministry sources said Sunday.

The two countries decided to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level with effect from February 11, 2009, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

An agreement was signed by permanent representatives from both countries at United Nations headquarters in New York on Wednesday, the government mouthpiece said.


UN human rights envoy visits Myanmar prisons

Tomas Ojea QuintanaYangon - United Nations special rapporteur for human rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, was allowed to visit Yangon's notorious Insein prison Monday, security sources confirmed.

Quintana, who arrived in Myanmar Saturday, travelled to the Karen State on Sunday where he visited Hpa-An prison, where a 28 year-old Burmese blogger named Nay Phone Latt is serving a 20-year prison term, according to sources who asked for anonymity.

Upon his return to Yangon on Monday, Quintana met with foreign diplomats and then went to Insein prison, where hundreds of political prisoners of the military-ruled state are being held.


UN human rights envoy visits Myanmar's military capital

UN human rights envoy visits Myanmar's military capital Yangon  - United Nations special human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana visited Myanmar's junta headquarters of Naypyitaw Wednesday, for talks likely to concentrate on the country's estimated 2,100 political prisoners.

UN officials said it was not known which generals Quintana would meet in Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of Yangon. He is expected to at least meet with Prime Minister General Thein Sein, who also met with UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari on an official visit last month.


Myanmar refugees found stabbed to death in Malaysian home

Myanmar refugees found stabbed to death in Malaysian home Kuala Lumpur  - A Myanmar refugee in Malaysia discovered three members of his family dead with stab wounds at their home in Kuala Lumpur, reports said Wednesday.

His 1-year-old daughter was spared by the killers, and found crying over her mother's body, the Star daily reported.

The victims, a 39-year old woman, her 7-year old daughter and their 22-year old relative, all UN-sponsored refugees, had been living in Malaysia for the past three years.


Myanmar's junta head receives visiting Thai army chief

Myanmar's junta head receives visiting Thai army chiefYangon  - Myanmar's military supremo Senior General Than Shwe met with Thailand's army-commander-in-chief who is on an official visit to discuss border issues and the Rohingya refugee problem, state media reports said Wednesday.

Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, met Thai Army Commander-ion-Chief General Anupong Paojinda and his "goodwill delegation" Tuesday at the Myanmar's military's new capital of Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of the former capital of Yangon, The New Light of Myanmar daily reported.


Myanmar human rights situation "challenging," admits UN envoy

Tomas Ojea QuintanaYangon - Myanmar's human rights situation remains "challenging," United Nations Special Human Rights Envoy Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana concluded Thursday, winding up a six-day visit to the junta-ruled nation.

The junta refused to allow Quintana to meet with either Aung San Suu Kyi, the longstanding leader of the opposition, or Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Than Shwe during the trip.

"The human rights situation in Myanmar is still challenging," Quintana said shortly before departing the country late Thursday night.


Myanmar junta announces amnesty for 6,000 prisoners

MyanmarYangon - Myanmar'a junta announced an amnesty Friday for more than 6,000 prisoners, although it remained unclear how many political prisoners were included, Napyitaw radio reported Friday.

"For the humanitarian reasons, for the sake of the family members, to demonstrate the goodwill of the government and to be able to allow fair participation in the upcoming 2010 free and fair general election, Myanmar government will release 6,313 prisoners started from 21 February," the announcement said.


Myanmar starts to release prisoners under amnesty for 6,313 inmates

Myanmar MapYangon - Myanmar authorities on Saturday began to free prisoners from Yangon's notorious Insein jail, including some political prisoners, under a government amnesty for 6,313 inmates nationwide.

Eyewitnesses saw scores of prisoners leaving Insein on Saturday evening. Among them were Thet Wai, a member of the opposition National League for Democracy
(NLD) party, and five other low-ranking opposition members.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputy Tin Oo have apparently been excluded from the amnesty. Suu Kyi and Tin Oo have been under house arrest since mid-2003.


Myanmar releases at least 19 political prisoners

Myanmar MapYangon - Myanmar's amnesty for more than 6,000 prisoners has so far included only 19 political prisoners, excluding opposition leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo, observers said Sunday.

The military regime announced Friday that it would release 6,313 prisoners from the country's jails as a "gesture" of sympathy towards their families and to allow them to participate in the upcoming general election of 2010.


Myanmar releases at least 19 political prisoners

MyanmarYangon  - Myanmar's amnesty for more than 6,000 prisoners has so far included only 19 political prisoners, excluding opposition leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo, observers said Sunday.

The military regime announced Friday that it would release 6,313 prisoners from the country's jails as a "gesture" of sympathy towards their families and to allow them to participate in the upcoming general election of 2010.


Ban urges release of all political prisoners in Myanmar

Ban urges release of all political prisoners in MyanmarNew York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on Myanmar's military junta to release all political prisoners, including the main opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was not among those freed over the weekend.

Ban also said he was ready to visit Myanmar, but urged the junta to ensure a return to democracy.

Ban visited Myanmar in May 2008, after the devastation caused by cyclone Nargis, which killed more than 100,000 people and left 2 million homeless. That visit focused on humanitarian assistance to the impoverished nation.


Vietnam and Myanmar to expand trade ties

Vietnam and Myanmar to expand trade tiesHanoi (dpa) - Officials and executives at a Vietnam-Myanmar trade fair have signed several deals to boost trade between the two countries, Vietnamese media reported Thursday.

Vietnam government representatives signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday to import more than 5 million dollars of wood from Myanmar by 2010 at the Vietnam-Myanmar Joint Conference on Trade Exchanges in Ho Chi Minh City.

At the conference, which attracted more than 50 entrepreneurs from the two countries, the Vietnamese importing company DIC said it had signed an agreement to buy


Philippine activists demand more ASEAN action against Myanmar

Manila  - Democracy activists took to the streets in the Philippines on Friday to demand more action from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) against Myanmar for its poor human rights record.

The protestors, numbering around 90, picketed the Thai embassy in Manila and urged ASEAN to put Myanmar, formerly called Burma, on the "hot seat" during its annual leaders' summit in Thailand, which started Friday.

"The military regime of Burma has a lot to answer," said Resti Delizo of the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines. "Its human rights record is not showing any degree of significant improvement and ASEAN should not take a blind eye to this issue."


ASEAN human rights body gets off to rocky start

Cha-am, Thailand - Efforts to set up a human rights body for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) got off to a bad start Saturday when Myanmar and Cambodia blocked civil society representatives from attending talks with the group's leaders.

The 14th ASEAN Summit being held in Cha-am, 130 kilometres from Bangkok, has been billed as the most "inclusive" meeting of the 42-year-old South-East Asian grouping to date.

The summit kicked off Saturday morning with a series of talks between ASEAN leaders and representatives of civil society, parliamentarians, youth organizations and the business community.


US and British diplomats frequent visitors to Myanmar opposition

Yangon  - Myanmar's state-run media on Saturday accused the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) of taking instructions from the United States and Britain, noting that the countries' embassy officials had visited the party's Yangon headquarters 21 times last month.

"During their visits, they met with central executive committee members of the party and gave large and small envelops and parcels to the latter," said The New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a mouthpiece of Myanmar's military-run government.

Washington and London have made no secret of their support for the NLD, which won the 1990 general election by a landslide but has been blocked by the military junta from taking power for the past 19 years.


Myanmar's military capital gets new pagoda

Myanmar's military capital gets new pagoda Yangon  - In a ceremony presided over by Myanmar's military supremo Senior General Than Shwe and attended by the junta hierarchy, a new pagoda for the capital of Naypyitaw was inaugurated this weekend, media reports said Sunday.

Than Shwe and his wife Kyaing Kyaing presided over the hoisting of the umbrella on top of the Uppatasanti Pagoda on Saturday in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's capital since
2004 that is situated about about 350 kilometres north of Yangon, the former capital.


UNHCR chief visits Myanmar's Rakhine state, homeland of Rohingyas

UNHCR chief visits Myanmar's Rakhine state, homeland of Rohingyas Yangon - United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres arrived in Yangon Wednesday after a two-day visit to Rakhine state, the traditional homeland of Rohingya refugees, officials confirmed.

"He visited Sittwe yesterday afternoon and also visited Yathittaung town today," said a state official who requested anonymity.


Myanmar premier to visit Indonesia, Singapore "soon"

Myanmar premier to visit Indonesia, Singapore "soon" Yangon  - Myanmar's prime minister, General Thein Sein, is to visit Indonesia and Singapore shortly in response to invitations from the leaders of the two South-East Asian countries, state media reported Friday.


Myanmar activists launch campaign for 888,888 signatures

Myanmar activists launch campaign for 888,888 signaturesBangkok  - Myanmar pro-democracy activists on Friday launched a global signature campaign for the release of more than 2,000 political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The campaign seeks to get 888,888 signatures before May 24, the date that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate should legally be released from house arrest.

The signature target symbolizes August 8, 1988, the day Myanmar's junta massacred an estimated 3,000 pro-democracy demonstrators in Yangon.


Appreciating kyat hits Myanmar workers' overseas earnings

Appreciating kyat hits Myanmar workers' overseas earnings Yangon - The dramatic appreciation of the Myanmar kyat against the dollar over the past three months has cut into the earnings of Burmese working abroad, the Myanmar Times reported Tuesday.

"The kyat has recently risen in value for reasons not entirely clear, even against the US dollar, which now costs about 1,000 kyat," the English-language weekly reported.

For most of last year, the black market rate for the kyat was 1,200 to 1,300 to the dollar.


Thai foreign minister makes official visit to Myanmar

Thai foreign minister makes official visit to MyanmarBangkok  - Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya left Sunday for an official two-day visit to Myanmar that is expected to touch on the controversial issue of the two countries' joint efforts to solve the ethnic minority Rohingya problem.

In his first official visit to Myanmar as foreign minister, Kasit will meet Prime Minister General Thein Sein and his counterpart Nyan Win in the military's new capital of Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of Yangon.


Myanmar junta chief urges political parties to behave

Myanmar junta chief urges political parties to behave Naypyitaw, Myanmar  - Myanmar's military supremo on Friday urged political parties to abide by the constitution pushed through last year and to avoid "inciting unrest" in the period prior to a general election planned in 2010.

Senior General Than Shwe, who head the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the ruling junta styles itself, vowed to hold next year's general election "systematically."


Myanmar gives FM radio concessions in provinces prior to polls

Myanmar gives FM radio concessions in provinces prior to polls Yangon - Myanmar's junta allowed an FM-radio service to open in the Rakhine State for the first time last week and plans to open similar services nationwide by July, government officials confirmed Monday.

"We started test-broadcast to Rakhine State on 27 March, 12 hours daily from 7 am to 7 pm," an official who requested anonymity said. "The station, temporarily named Pyinsawaddi, will cover four townships in the Rakhine State including Sittwe."

Sittwe is a major port city in the Rakhine, which borders Bangladesh.


Bangladesh asks Myanmar to explain its border fencing plan

Bangladesh asks Myanmar to explain its border fencing plan Dhaka - The government of Bangladesh on Monday asked Myanmar to clarify a planned border fence along the no-man's land along the two countries' shared border, officials said.

"We asked for an official version of the construction site of the fencing as Myanmar has given various versions of the location of fencing," Bangladeshi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hasan Mahmud told a press conference.


Myanmar state media joins US official's trip for the first time

Myanmar state media joins US official's trip for the first time Yangon - The US government donated 16,000 tons of rice to typhoon-ravaged Irrawaddy delta Wednesday, prompting the normally hostile state-run media to the cover the news, an official of the US embassy in Yangon confirmed.

"There were five journalists from Ministry of Information who joined our trip for the first time," the official said.

The trip was led Larry Dinger, the deputy chief of mission, and included officials from the World Food Programme. The donated rice was imported from the US, sources said.


UN urges increased assistance to Myanmar's cyclone-hit areas

UN urges increased assistance to Myanmar's cyclone-hit areas New York - The United Nations on Friday called for increased support to Myanmar's regions that were heavily destroyed by Cyclone Nargis almost a year ago, saying the help provided so far was below the actual needs of the people there.

Myanmar is currently facing a pre-monsoon season, particularly in the delta that was hard hit last May. The cyclone killed tens of thousands of people while hundreds of thousands of others lost their homes.


Son of late insurgency leader defects to Myanmar's government

Son of late insurgency leader defects to Myanmar's government Yangon - A son of late Karen rebellion leader general Bo Mya has defected to the Myanmar's military junta, an official statement said Saturday.

Nay Soe Mya, with a group of soldiers and their families totaling 159 people, crossed over on March 30 to enjoy the "fruits of regional development" after "witnessing the nation-building endeavours being carried out by the state," the statement said.


Myanmar issues weekend cyclone warning

Myanmar, BangladeshYangon - Myanmar's state-controlled press Friday issued warnings that Cyclone Bijli could hit the country's western coast over the weekend.

According to Myanmar's meteorological office, Cyclone Bijli, which was centred in the west-central part of the Bay of Bengal on Thursday, was forecast to enter the area between Bangladesh and Myanmar's Rakhine State on Saturday, the New Light of Myanmar reported.


Myanmar activists get 253,524 signatures to free political prisoners

Myanmar denounces French "warship" carrying aid to its remote areasBangkok - A global petition campaign to free Myanmar's political prisoners has secured 253,524 signatures to date, pro-democracy groups announced Tuesday.

The signature campaign, launched on March 13 marking Myanmar's Human Rights Day, aims to collect 888,888 signatures before May 24, 2009, the date that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi should be released from house arrest, according to the country's laws.


Myanmar opposition readies for crucial plenary meeting

Myanmar opposition readies for crucial plenary meeting Yangon - More than 100 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party gathered at their Yangon headquarters Monday for a plenary meeting held this week to set their stance on crucial issues such as the pending polls. Monday's meeting was in preparation for the plenary session Tuesday and Wednesday at which all members of the opposition will discuss the country's recently passed constitution, elections planned for 2010 and the future of democracy in the military-controlled nation, sources said.


Myanmar opposition sets conditions for joining 2010 polls

Myanmar opposition sets conditions for joining 2010 pollsYangon - Myanmar's chief opposition party on Wednesday presented the ruling junta with a list of demands it must meet, including the freeing of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, before the party will contest the general election planned next year. The preconditions were announced by National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Nyan Win at the end of a two-day plenary meeting of the opposition party at its Yangon headquarters, attended by more than 300 party representatives.


Myanmar wins one, draws one in "goodwill" bouts with Japan

JudoYangon, Myanmar 3 - Myanmar judokas won one bout and drew the other in a goodwill tournament between Japan and Myanmar held at the National Indoor Stadium in Yangon on Sunday.

Myanmar free-weight fighter Saw Nge (shark) Mann was victorious against Japan's Judo Black Belt kick-boxer Jin Kawa Hiroaki, while Myanmar's 2007 Gold Belt Champion Lon Chaw drew with Japan's Judo- Karate Black Belt kick boxer Samukawa.

Saw Nge Mann received a Golden Belt from Sports Minister Brigadier General Thura Aye Myint after the fight.

Myanmar Traditional Sports Federation Director General Colonel Thaung Htike gave medals to dual champions Lon Chaw and Samukawa. (dpa)


Myanmar has food surplus, junta claims

Myanmar has food surplus, junta claims Yangon  - Myanmar's ruling military junta claimed the country has almost tripled its rice production over the past two decades, boasting a food surplus despite the destruction of Cyclone Nargis last year and reports of famine conditions in Chin state, state newspapers reported Tuesday.

Myanmar's current annual rice production has reached 1.6 billion baskets (with one basket equalling about 33 kilograms), the junta's chief, Senior General Than Shwe, said Monday.

Than Shwe said Myanmar "had not only reached self-sufficiency but also a surplus in food."


US citizen arrested for swimming in Myanmar

US citizen arrested for swimming in MyanmarYangon - A US citizen was arrested Wednesday for swimming in Yangon's Inya Lake, which rims many compounds of the politically famous or notorious, military sources said.

Yettaw Gohn Yllian, 53, was detained by police early Wednesday and questioned by the military's Special Branch after he was caught swimming in Inya Lake at 5:45 am, a military official who asked to remain anonymous confirmed.

When asked by police why he was swimming in the lake, Yllian responded, "I felt very hot and wanted a swim."


Myanmar arrests US citizen for visiting Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar arrests US citizen for visiting Aung San Suu KyiYangon - A US citizen arrested while swimming in a Yangon lake is under investigation for having spent three nights at the compound of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's state media reported Thursday.

John William Yeattaw, 53, was arrested at 5:30 am Wednesday at Inya Lake, which rims Suu Kyi's family home, where she has been kept under house arrest for the past six years.


Aung San Suu Kyi says swimming visitor stayed downstairs

Aung San Suu Kyi says swimming visitor stayed downstairsYangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told authorities that a US citizen who swam to her house on Inya Lake and stayed three nights had entered illegally and was kept downstairs, authorities said Friday.

John William Yeattaw, 53, was arrested at 5:30 am Wednesday at Inya Lake, which rims Suu Kyi's family home, where she has been kept under house arrest for the past six years.


Aung San Suu Kyi has eating difficulty

Myanmar junta denies Aung San Suu Kyi doctor visitsMyanmar, May 9: Even as Burma’s detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is facing eating difficulty and has been surviving on intravenous fluid injections, the military government is not allowing a doctor to see the Nobel laureate, her party claims.

Authorities arrested Suu Kyi''s primary physician on Thursday after an American was detained after allegedly sneaking into her closely guarded home and staying there for more than two days.


Aung San Suu Kyi on saline drip

Aung San Suu Kyi on saline dripYangon - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is in poor health and on a saline drip after the arrest of her private doctor last week and an unexpected visit from a US swimmer, it was disclosed Monday.

Authorities allowed Dr Pyon Mo Ei to visit Suu Kyi Monday afternoon, after arresting her other private doctor Tin Myo Win on Thursday.

Suu Kyi, 63, was described as weak and on a drip infusion, sources who requested anonymity, said.

According to Pyon Mo Ei, Suu Kyi had lost her appetite and had not eaten properly for three or four days.


UN: Severe lack of funding for Myanmar shelters a year after Nargis

UN: Severe lack of funding for Myanmar shelters a year after NargisGeneva - The United Nations top humanitarian in Myanmar warned Tuesday that providing adequate shelter remained a serious problem in the country following last year's cyclone Nargis.

About 500,000 people are in extremely vulnerable shelters that may not survive the upcoming monsoon season, Bishow Parajuli warned in a report on progress in Myanmar after the devastating cyclone.


US embassy official meets with arrested swimmer

US embassy official meets with arrested swimmerYangon - Myanmar authorities allowed officials from the US embassy in Yangon to meet with American swimmer John William Yethaw who was arrested after he secretly entered opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's house last week, government radio announced Wednesday.

"The US Embassy requested Myanmar authority to allow to meet with Mr. John William Yeattaw in a letter dated 11 May," said the state media.


Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be shifted to prison

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be shifted to prison Yangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to be shifted Thursday to Yangon's notorious Insein Jail from her home, where she has been kept under detention for the past six years, opposition sources said.

"Myanmar authorities told Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer U Kyi Win that she will be moved to Insein Jail," the opposition National League for Democracy party spokesman Nyan Win said.

Suu Kyi, 63, the 1991 Nobel peace prize winner, is expected to be moved to the jail Thursday morning.


UN expert: Release Myanmar activist Aung San Suu Kyi

UN expert: Release Myanmar activist Aung San Suu KyiGeneva - The United Nations special expert for human rights in Myanmar called Thursday for the "unconditional release" of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, the special rapporteur, said the detention of Suu Kyi was unlawful, both according to international law and Myanmar's own domestic legislation.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, 63, was charged earlier in the day with allowing an unauthorized US national to visit her Yangon home, where she has been under detention for the past six years.


Suu Kyi faces five years in jail after ''uninvited visit'' from American

Suu Kyi faces five years in jail after ''uninvited visit'' from AmericanYangon (Myanmar), May 15 : Burma''s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, faces a five-year prison sentence after the military regime accused her of breaking the terms of her house arrest.

The Nobel Laureate, whose party won a sweeping victory in Burma''s last democratic election in 1990, was taken from her lakeside home and driven to Insein prison in Rangoon in an armoured convoy, reports The Telegraph.


US swimmer serves as "scapegoat" for Myanmar junta, activists say

Aung San Suu KyiYangon - Myanmar's junta is using the bizarre swimming break-in to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's house by a US citizen as an excuse to keep the popular democracy icon in prison, Myanmar pro-democracy activists said Friday.

Suu Kyi, 63, was on Thursday shifted from her Yangon family compound to Insein Prison, to stand trial on Monday for abetting the illegal entry by US national John William Yettaw to her home.


Advocacy group, celebrities urge release of Myanmar's Suu Kyi

Advocacy group, celebrities urge release of Myanmar's Suu Kyi New York - Famed movie actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon and others from the Not On Our Watch advocacy group on Friday called for the immediate release from prison of Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Also joining the effort were rockstar Bono, singer Madonna, director Steven Spielberg, Nobel Laureates professor Elie Wiesel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and US Senator John McCain.


Bagan and Luang Prabang to be sister cities

Yangon - Bagan and Luang Prabang, the ancient capitals of Myanmar and Laos, respectively, have become sister cities, Myanmar state media reported Saturday.

A memorandum of understanding officially recognizing the sisterhood between the two ancient capitals, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, was signed Wednesday, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

The agreement was the highlight of an official visit by Lao Minister for Information Moukeo Oraboun to Bagan, formerly called Pagan.

Bagan, located 145 kilometres south-west of Mandalay, was Myanmar's first capital from 874 to 1287 before falling to Mongol invaders.


Myanmar junta rejects prominent lawyer for Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu KyiYangon - Myanmar's Supreme Court has rejected well-known political activist Aung Thein's request to act as a lawyer for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her trial next week, the attorney said Saturday.

"Yangon Judge U Aung Soe informed me Friday evening at 8:15 pm that the Supreme Court at Naypyitaw dismissed me from being a defence lawyer for Daw [Mrs] Aung San Suu Kyi," Aung Thein told the German Press Agency dpa.

"This dismissal letter came by fax from the Supreme Court in Naypyitaw stating that my license was revoked," he added.


Myanmar democracy icon on trial for breaking detention rules

Myanmar democracy icon on trial for breaking detention rulesYangon  - Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was set to go on trial Monday for breaking the terms of her detention by allowing a US national to swim to her home-cum-prison this month.

Suu Kyi's lead attorney, Kyi Win, arrived at 9:35 am (0305 GMT) at Yangon's Insein Prison, where a special court was set up to try Suu Kyi; her two house helpers, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma; and American John William Yettaw.

A car from the US embassy was also seen entering the prison compound, witnesses said.


Suu Kyi denies violating Burmese regime’s house arrest rules

Suu Kyi denies violating Burmese regime’s house arrest rulesYangon (Myanmar), May 18 : Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is to deny breaking the terms of her house arrest as imposed by the country's military junta.

Suu Kyi, 63, who has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest, faces up to five years in jail after an American man swam across a lake to reach her house.

"She asked me to tell her friends and everyone that she is quite well," The Telegraph quoted her lawyer, Kyi Win, after meeting her on Saturday.


Pro-Aung San Suu Kyi protest held outside Myanmar embassy to Thailand

Pro-Aung San Suu Kyi protest held outside Myanmar embassy to ThailandBangkok  - Dozens of Thai and Myanmar pro-democracy activists gathered outside the Myanmar embassy to Thailand Monday to protest Myanmar's military junta putting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on trial.

About 50 members of the group Peace for Burma, which is Myanmar's former name, waved banners outside the embassy in Bangkok and shouted, "Free Aung San Suu Kyi," who was to go on trial Monday at Yangon's Insein Prison for breaking the terms of her house detention.


EU eyes new sanctions as Myanmar opposition leader goes on trial

EU eyes new sanctions as Myanmar opposition leader goes on trial Brussels - European Union foreign ministers Monday called for fresh sanctions against Myanmar and urged regional players such as China to put pressure on the country's regime to release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The meeting in Brussels came as Burma's pro-democracy icon went on trial in Yangon for allegedly breaking the terms of her house arrest.

"We are ready to discuss the reinforcement of sanctions," said Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, whose country holds the EU rotating presidency, ahead of the meeting.


Thailand expresses ASEAN's "grave concern" about Aung San Suu Kyi

Thailand expresses ASEAN's "grave concern" about Aung San Suu KyiBangkok  - Thailand, in its position as chair of the Assocation of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed the group's "grave concern" about the trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, officials said Tuesday.

"The government of the Union of Myanmar, as a responsible member of ASEAN, has the responsibility to protect and promote human rights," Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.


Trial of Aung San Suu Kyi enters second day

Aung San Suu KyiYangon- The trial of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi entered its second day Tuesday amid growing concern that the case would result in a new jail sentence for the opposition leader.

The court cases against Suu Kyi; her two house helpers, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma; and American John William Yettaw resumed at 10:30 am (0400 GMT) at Yangon's Insein Prison and were expected to wrap up four and a half hours later, sources said.


Second Myanmar man dies of infection in Malaysian detention camp

Second Myanmar man dies of infection in Malaysian detention campKuala Lumpur - A second illegal immigrant from Myanmar held in a Malaysian detention centre has died from leptospirosis, a rare disease caused by a bacteria found in animal urine, news reports said Tuesday.

Camp officials said 26-year-old Sa La Hin, who had been detained in Juru camp in the state of Penang since January, died late Sunday just six days after a fellow Myanmar national and detainee, Thang Hoih Ping, died of the same disease.


Aung San Suu Kyi trial opens to diplomats, journalists

Aung San Suu Kyi trial opens to diplomats, journalistsYangon - Diplomats and a handful of journalists were permitted Wednesday to attend the third day of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's trial, providing a rare opportunity for her to meet with the international community.

"I have been seeking permission to see you," Suu Kyi told about 30 foreign diplomats who attended the trial at Yangon's Insein Prison. "I hope to meet you in better days."


No diplomats invited to fourth day of Aung San Suu Kyi trial

Aung San Suu KyiYangon - Diplomats and journalists were not invited to the fourth day of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's trial Thursday after the junta allowed them to attend proceedings a day earlier, sources said.

Suu Kyi herself did not attend the morning session, military sources said. At those proceedings, persecutors presented evidence against American national John William Yettaw, 53, who stands accused of violating various laws for swimming to Suu Kyi's home-cum-prison in Yangon on May 3 and staying there until May 5, they said.


Myanmar consulate suggests Suu Kyi's US visitor was boyfriend

Myanmar consulate suggests Suu Kyi's US visitor was boyfriend Hong Kong  - Myanmar's consulate in Hong Kong on Friday posted a mocking online message suggesting the US national caught visiting detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi might have been a "boy friend."

The message, headed Secret Agent or Boy Friend?, was posted on the consulate's website and signed by the consulate general of the Union of Myanmar.


Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi pleads "not guilty"

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi pleads "not guilty"Yangon - Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday pleaded not guilty to charges that she broke the conditions of her detention by allowing an American national to swim in to her compound-cum-prison earlier this month.

"I am not guilty," Suu Kyi told a court being held in Insein Prison. "Because I didn't commit any crime."


UN Security Council shows concern for Myanmar's Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi New York  - The UN Security Council issued Friday a statement expressing "concern" over the trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi by Myanmar's military junta, calling for her release as well as the release of "all political prisoners."

The council issued a press statement rather than a more formal statement from the council president as demanded by Britain. The 15-nation council ranks a presidential statement more important because it carries the authority of the head of that body.


Myanmar rejects ASEAN statement of concern over Suu Kyi

Myanmar rejects ASEAN statement of concern over Suu Kyi Yangon  - Myanmar's military government Sunday lodged a complaint with the chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) over the organization's statement of concern over the health of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to state-run Myanmar TV, the announcement said the ASEAN "statement (last week) interferes in Myanmar's internal politics, and also deviates from the ASEAN charter."


EU praises ASEAN's "remarkable" statement on Myanmar

EU praises ASEAN's "remarkable" statement on MyanmarBangkok - The European Union Monday praised Thailand's "remarkable" statement of concern last week on Myanmar's new trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which over the weekend drew a rebuke from the ruling junta.

"I found it a remarkable statement at the moment when we all want to see Aung San Suu Kyi relased and hope that she isn't imprisoned again," European Union external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.


EU governments ask Myanmar to free Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu KyiHanoi - European foreign ministers attending the multilateral Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi Monday met with their Myanmar counterparts to ask that jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi be freed.

Representatives of the European Union met with Myanmar's delegation for roughly an hour on the sidelines of the ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting to discuss Suu Kyi's recent imprisonment and upcoming national elections.


Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to testify Tuesday

Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to testify TuesdayMyanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to testify TuesdayYangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to testify in court Tuesday against charges that she broke her terms of detention by allowing a US national to swim to her lakeside house-cum-prison, her lawyer said Monday.

At least 30 diplomats and 25 journalists will be invited to the trial Tuesday, court sources said.


Myanmar junta clarifies Aung San Suu Kyi detention date

Myanmar junta clarifies Aung San Suu Kyi detention dateYangon - Myanmar's junta on Tuesday denied that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's current detention period will expire on Wednesday, although officials claimed they had considered freeing her until a US national swam to her home-cum-prison in Yangon this month.


Singapore politician says ASEAN should consider expelling Myanmar

Singapore politician says ASEAN should consider expelling MyanmarBangkok - South-East Asia's main political grouping has failed in its efforts to make Myanmar more democratic and should consider expelling it, as well as imposing limited sanctions, a Singaporean politician said Tuesday.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) intended to reform Myanmar, also known as Burma, when it voted it into the regional grouping in 1997, but that has failed, Charles Chong, a 21-year member of Singapore's parliament, said Tuesday.


At Asia summit, Germany sees progress on Myanmar

Hanoi - Asian governments have become more willing to join European ones in criticizing the authoritarian government in Myanmar, a senior German diplomat said Tuesday.

German Minister of State for Europe Guenter Gloser said European and Asian diplomats meeting this week in Hanoi had come closer than usual in reprimanding Myanmar's leaders for jailing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"I think that at this conference we found a language that was different from those of previous conferences," Gloser told the German Press Agency dpa.


Myanmar opposition party calls for Aung San Suu Kyi's release

Aung San Suu KyiYangon - Myanmar's main opposition party on Wednesday called for the release of all political prisoners and their leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent the past six years in detention and faces another three to five years in jail if found guilty of new charges.

Hundreds of National League for Democracy (NLD) members gathered at their party headquarters in Yangon to commemorate the 19th anniversary of their victory in the
1990 general election.

Although the NLD won more than 80 per cent of the contested seats in the 1990 polls, they have been blocked from assuming power by Myanmar's junta for the past 19 years.


Myanmar tells ASEAN, EU not to interfere in Suu Kyi trial

Myanmar tells ASEAN, EU not to interfere in Suu Kyi trialPhnom Penh - Myanmar's foreign minister Thursday warned a meeting of European and South-East Asian leaders in Cambodia not to interfere in the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, currently under way in Yangon.

In his opening address to a meeting of European Union and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers in Phnom Penh, Nyan Win said Suu Kyi's trial was an internal legal matter and "international interference" threatened Myanmar's sovereignty.


Myanmar junta allows only one witness for Aung San Suu Kyi defence

Myanmar junta allows only one witness for Aung San Suu Kyi defenceYangon - Attorneys for Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday were allowed to present only one witness in what has been dubbed a "show trial" of the democracy icon.

Kyi Win, an advocate for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party, was the lone witness permitted to testify in her defence against charges of breaking the terms of her detention at her lakeside home, said Nyan Win, one of her lawyers.

A special court set up in Yangon's Insein Prison rejected three other defence witnesses Wednesday.


Suu Kyi’s lawyers optimistic she won’t be jailed

Suu Kyi’s lawyers optimistic she won’t be jailedYangon (Myanmar), May 29 : Lawyers for Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi say they are optimistic about their client not being sent to jail for five years for allowing an American to stay illegally inside her house for two days.

The case will be heard on Monday.

The defence has argued that there is no legal basis for the charge that Suu Kyi, 63, had broken the terms of her house arrest when an uninvited American swam to her home.


Aung San Suu Kyi suffers cramps in Myanmar prison

Aung San Suu Kyi suffers cramps in Myanmar prisonYangon - Myanmar's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party on Friday raised concerns about the health on their leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently standing trial at Insein Prison on charges of breaking the terms of her house arrest.

"Daw (Mrs) Aung San Suu Kyi is seriously suffering from leg cramps every day and has not been able to sleep well at night," the NLD statement said.

It added that she needed proper health care.


Suu Kyi meets with lawyers, discuss closing arguments in trail

Suu Kyi meets with lawyers, discuss closing arguments in trail Yangon - Myanmar's opposition leader currently on trial for allegedly breaking the terms of her house arrest met with her lawyers Saturday, one of her three lawyers said.

They met to discuss closing arguments with the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate for about two hours at Insein Prison on the outskirts Yangon, said Nyan Win, one of her lawyers.


Ancient pagoda collapse in Yangon kills two, injures dozens

Ancient pagoda collapse in Yangon kills two, injures dozens Yangon  - An ancient pagoda that was damaged by Cyclone Nargis last year collapsed over the weekend, killing at least two people and injuring dozens, official and eyewitness sources said Sunday.

Danok Pagoda, situated in Dalla township across the Yangon River from the former capital, collapsed about 4 pm Saturday, killing at least two people on the spot and injuring up to 100, military and eyewitness sources confirmed.


Britain calls for release of Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

Britain calls for release of Myanmar's Aung San Suu KyiSingapore  - Britain challenged Myanmar's military rulers to release imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and implement democratic reforms in the isolated state Sunday.

"Now is the time for transition to democracy starting with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi," Britain's Minister for International Defence and Security Ann Taylor told a summit on Asian security in Singapore.


Thai foreign minister: Change in Myanmar would stabilize region

Thailand's foreign minister Kasit Priyoma Dhaka  - Thailand's foreign minister urged the creation of an "open society" in neighbouring Myanmar, saying that an end to repressive government in the military-run nation would help "stabilize" the south-east Asian region.

Kasit Priyoma said during an official visit to Bangladesh that "change in Myanmar is very much needed. It is not only a necessity for the security of Myanmar, but also for all the neighbouring countries."

The minister is on a two-day official visit to Dhaka, where he met Monday with his Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni.


Thai parliament women speak out for Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu KyiBangkok - Twenty-two female members of Thai parliament on Wednesday petitioned Myanmar's junta to drop current charges against democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and free her immediately.

"As a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and as a longstanding democracy advocate, Daw (Mrs) Aung San suu Kyi has been an inspiration not only for women MPs in Thailand but also for all adherents and participants of democratic ideals worldwide," the 22 Thai women said in a statement.

Altogether there are 62 women MPs out of 474 total seats in Thailand's Lower House.


Myanmar court mulls more witnesses in Aung San Suu Kyi case

Myanmar court mulls more witnesses in Aung San Suu Kyi caseYangon  - A Yangon court is to decide Friday whether to allow more witnesses to testify in defence of democracy-icon Aung San Suu Kyi who stands accused of breaking the terms of her detention, opposition sources said Thursday.

Originally, the prosecution and defence were scheduled to make their final arguments Friday at a special court set up at Yangon's Insein Prison to try Suu Kyi, her two household helpers and US national John William Yettaw.


Two Myanmar monks injured in second temple accident within a week

Two Myanmar monks injured in second temple accident within a week Yangon - Two prominent Buddhist monks were injured in an elevator crash while inspecting the country's tallest Buddha statue in the second temple-related accident within a week, monastry officials said Friday.

"Sayadaw (Abbot) Ashin Sandar Dika and Sayadaw (Abbot) Yawainwe-Innma were injured on Thursday at about 6 pm when the temple lift suddenly dropped," an official from the Bawdi Ta Htaung monastery said.


Myanmar court postpones decision on more witnesses in Suu Kyi case

Myanmar court postpones decision on more witnesses in Suu Kyi caseYangon - A Yangon court on Friday postponed a decision on whether to allow more witnesses to testify in defence of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who stands accused of breaking the terms of her detention.

The Yangon Divisional Court told Suu Kyi's four attorneys that it would decide the matter Tuesday, said Nyan Win, one of the lawyers.


Myanmar airplane crash lands in Sittway, one injured

Myanmar airplane crash lands in Sittway, one injured Yangon - A Myanmar Airways plane crash landed Saturday in Sittway, a port town in the Rakhine State, injuring at least one person, state media reported.

The Myanmar Airways XY-ADW flight departed Yangon at 7 am and crash-landed in Sittway, at about 8:20 am Saturday, the state-run Myanmar TV eneving news reported.

One co-pilot was injured, it said.

The flight was carrying six crew and 62 passengers to Sittway, about 320 kilometres north-west of Yangon. (dpa)


Myanmar court accepts one new witness in Aung San Suu Kyi case

Aung San Suu Kyi suffers cramps in Myanmar prisonYangon - A Yangon court Tuesday overruled a lower court decision to allow another witness to testify in defence of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who stands accused of breaking the terms of her house arrest.

The Yangon Divisional Court allowed female attorney Khin Moh Moh to appear as a witness in Suu Kyi's case, but rejected a defence request for senior opposition leaders Win Tin and Tin Oo to testify, according to defence lawyer Nyan Win.


Suu Kyi unhappy over continued guarding of her lakeside home

Suu Kyi’s lawyers optimistic she won’t be jailedYangon (Myanmar), June 11 : Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader, is dissatisfied that her lakeside home is still guarded by authorities despite her house arrest officially ending in May, The Telegraph quoted her lawyer, as saying.

The Nobel laureate, currently held in Rangoon''s notorious Insein prison, said friends had been denied access to her residence despite the fact that police told her in May that the house arrest had been cancelled.


Myanmar imposes condition to repatriate Rohingyas from Bangladesh

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni Dhaka  - Yangon on Thursday said it would consider the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladeshi camps if Dhaka provided proof that the migrants were Myanmar nationals.

"We will think of rehabilitating them if Bangladesh provides strong evidence that they are citizens of Myanmar," Phae Thann Oo, the Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka said concerning the Rohinjyas, a Muslim minority from Myanmar's Rakhaine state.


Trial of Aung San Suu Kyi to resume June 26

Trial of Aung San Suu Kyi to resume June 26Yangon  - Court proceedings against Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi are to resume June 26 after the defence won permission to present at least one new witness in her case, opposition sources said Friday.

A special court set up in Yangon's notorious Insein Prison set June 26 to hear the testimony of defence witness Khin Moh Moh, said Nyan Win, a member of the Suu Kyi's defence team.


Myanmar-China trade reaches 2.6 billion dollars in 2008

Myanmar-China trade reaches 2.6 billion dollars in 2008 Yangon  - Myanmar-China trade reaced 2.6 billion dollars in 2008, and is expected to increase slightly this year thanks to efforts by Beijing to support the South-East Asian country, The Myanmar Times reported Monday.

"We attach great importance to trade between China and Myanmar," Tang Hai, economic and commercial counsellor at China's embassy in Yangon, told The Myanmar Times, a weekly.

"If we continue to work together, trade volume will not decline," he said.


Myanmar signs two agreements with Sri Lanka

Myanmar signs two agreements with Sri LankaYangon  - Myanmar and Sri Lanka strengthened diplomatic relations over the weekend with the signing of two agreements that eased visa restrictions and pledged cooperation in the tourism sector, media reports said Monday.

The two agreements were signed Sunday when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid an state visit to Myanmar's new capital of Naypyitaw at the invitation of junta chief Senior General Than Shwe, The New Light of Myanmar, a government mouthpiece, reported.


Aung San Suu Kyi's house is free, but she isn't

Aung San Suu Kyi's house is free, but she isn'tYangon - Myanmar's junta has dropped its guard over opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's compound in Yangon since her house detention officially ended on May 27, but she has meanwhile been transferred to Insein Prison, opposition sources said Monday.

"Daw (Mrs) Aung San Suu Kyi's house is already free from control by the authorities," Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's lawyers, said.


Forced recruitment into border guard drives Karens into Thailand

Forced recruitment into border guard drives Karens into ThailandBangkok - Forced recruitment by the Myanmar military has driven 3,000 Karen refugees into Thailand, and is likely lead to a bigger exodus soon, the Karen Human Rights Group said Tuesday.

The group, which has been monitoring the plight of Karen refugees on the Thai-Myanmar border since 1992, blamed this month's exodus from Pa-an district in Myanmar's Karen State on a forced recruitment drive combined with a military offensive led by the pro-junta Democratic Karen Buddhist Association (DKBA).


Myanmar military offensive forces thousands to flee into Thailand

Myanmar military offensive forces thousands to flee into ThailandMae Sot, Thailand - Thousands of ethnic Karen villagers have been forced to flee across the border into Thailand over the past few weeks as the Myanmar army steps up its assault on the Karen rebels.

Myanmar's army and a pro-government militia called the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) attacked the border region near Thailand in a final push to destroy the Karen National Union (KNU), which has been fighting for independence for the last 60 years.


Myanmar Supreme Court considers more witnesses in Suu Kyi case

Myanmar Supreme Court considers more witnesses in Suu Kyi caseYangon - Myanmar's Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted an appeal by lawyers acting for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to consider allowing two more witnesses at her trial for breaking the terms of her household detention.

"They have accepted our appeal but we still need to wait for a hearing date," Nyan Win, one of the Suu Kyi's lawyers said.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Myanmar in July

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Myanmar in JulyYangon - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit Myanmar in early July to promote democratization in the country ruled by a military junta, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

"So far as we know, the Myanmar government has generally accepted a request by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his visit is highly possible in earlier July," said an Asian diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous.


Bangladesh to go to UN in maritime row with India and Myanmar

DBangladesh to go to UN in maritime row with India and Myanmarhaka - Bangladesh will formally complain to the United Nations against claims of India and Myanmar in a row over maritime waters in the Bay of Bengal, the country's
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed said Wednesday.

The dispute centres on the extended continental shelf in the bay which Bangladesh shares with its neighbours - over 22000 square with India and 22,000 nautical miles with
Myanmar.


EU joins the movement to hail Suu Kyi's sixty-fourth birthday

EU joins the movement to hail Suu Kyi's sixty-fourth birthdayBrussels - The European Union's leaders joined a worldwide push to hail detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's sixty-fourth birthday on Friday by issuing a 64-word statement in her honour and projecting an image of her face on to a key EU building.

"The European Council calls for the immediate unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has tirelessly defended universal values of freedom and democracy. Unless she is released, the credibility of the 2010 elections will be further undermined," a


Rebel says only China can put pressure on Myanmar to free Suu Kyi

Rebel says only China can put pressure on Myanmar to free SuuChiang Mai, Thailand - Fears that Myanmar's rebel groups will disrupt next year's planned election and cause greater instability in the military-run nation may lead China to put greater pressure on the regime to free Aung San Suu Kyi, a rebel spokesman said Friday.

"China will try its best because they don't want full-scale war to break out again in Myanmar," Khuensai Jaiyen, editor of the Shan Herald News Agency, said.


Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi turns 64 in prison

Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi turns 64 in prisonYangon - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrated her 64th birthday Friday in Yangon's Insein prison where she is being held to stand trial for allegedly breaking her terms of detention.

About 300 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party, which she leads, released doves outside the party's headquarters in Yangon, wishing for her quick release.

Mostly wearing yellow many also shouted; "Free Daw (Mrs) Aung San Suu Kyi."


Protesters in Bangladesh demand Suu Kyi's release

Protesters in Bangladesh demand Suu Kyi's release Dhaka - More than 200 people gathered in Bangladesh's southern Cox's Bazar sea beach Friday asking the Myanmar junta to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing trial for her alleged breach of the terms of her detention.

"Peace and democracy in Myanmar are impossible with the pro- democratic leader behind bars. We want Suu Kyi to be freed immediately," Mra Razalinn, the chairperson of Rakhaine Women's Union.


UN chief to visit Japan for talks with officials

UN chief to visit Japan for talks with officials New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans to visit Japan in late June for talks with government officials and business leaders in that country, a UN spokesperson said Friday.

Ban will be in Tokyo June 30 to July 2 to meet with the prime minister and foreign minister. He will hold a townhall debate with students of the Tokyo University.

His itinerary after Japan is still undecided, but a visit to Myanmar is a "possibility," said Michelle Montas.


UN special envoy to visit Myanmar 25 June

UN special envoy to visit Myanmar 25 June Yangon - United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari is scheduled to visit Myanmar on June 25, a government official said.

The official, who requested anonymity, said Gambari will discuss national reconciliation, but his visit is also seen as preparing for a probable visit by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in July.

Ban will be in Tokyo from June 30-July 2 to meet government and business leaders. His itinerary after that is undecided but a visit to Myanmar is a "possibility," UN spokeswoman Michelle Montas said in New York on Friday.


Myanmar postpones Aung San Suu Kyi court hearing again

Myanmar postpones Aung San Suu Kyi court hearing again Yangon - Myanmar court authorities Wednesday postponed the next hearing in the controversial trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been scheduled to appear in court Friday.

The special court set up in Insein Prison delayed the hearing indefinitely as it awaits a decision by the Myanmar Supreme Court on whether it will allow more defence witnesses, Nyan Win, a member of Suu Kyi's defence team, said.


Myanmar: North Korean vessel due in Yangon not suspect cargo ship

Myanmar: North Korean vessel due in Yangon not suspect cargo ship Yangon  - A North Korean ship due to arrive in Yangon this weekend from India is not the Kang Nam, a vessel suspected of carrying illicit weapons, Myanmar state media reported Thursday.

"MV Dumangang, a cargo vessel of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is due to arrive in Myanmar from Kolkata of the Republic of India around 27 June for a shipment of about 8,000 tons of rice," The New Light of Myanmar reported.


Myanmar police say American swimmer is in good health

Myanmar police say American swimmer is in good health Yangon  - Myanmar police on Thursday denied claims that the American national who swam to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's lakeside house-cum-prison last month, setting her up for a possible five-year jail sentence, was suffering from diabetes.

Myanmar Police Major General Khin Yi told a press conference that although US national John William Yettaw, 53, had claimed to be suffering from diabetes, medical examinations had proven otherwise, and he was in good health.


UN special envoy arrives in Myanmar to pave way for boss

UN special envoy arrives in Myanmar to pave way for bossYangon - United Nations special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari arrived in Yangon Friday to pave the way for a visit by his boss, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expected early next month.

On this trip Gambari is expected to deliver a formal response from Ban to an invitation by Myanmar's junta to visit the country in early July, sources said.


UN special envoy departs in Myanmar quietly

UN special envoy departs in Myanmar quietly Yangon - United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari departed Myanmar Saturday after a two-day visit reportedly designed to pave the way for a visit to the pariah state by his boss, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Gambari, who arrived Friday, departed for Bangkok on Thai Airways Internatioanl flight TG-306 Saturday night, government sources confirmed.

He did not reveal the outcome of his two-day visit to the local press. United Nations sources in Yangon also refused to comment on the trip.

Gambari did not meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


Myanmar reports first H1N1 case

Myanmar reports first H1N1 case Yangon  - Myanmar reported its first case of H1N1 in a 13-year-old girl who recently visited Singapore, state media said Sunday.

The National Health Laboratory on Saturday confirmed that the girl, who has been kept in isolation at Yangon General Hospital for a week, was infected with New Influenza A (H1N1), the New Light of Myanmar reported.

The girl returned from Singapore on June 21, showing no signs of fever or flu.

The newspaper claimed that a teacher providing the girl with private lessons noticed she had developed a cough, and sent her to hospital Friday.


Myanmar Supreme Court rejects new witnesses in Suu Kyi case

Aung San Suu Kyi,Yangon - Myanmar's Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow two more witnesses to appear in defence of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing charges of breaking the terms of her detention and a possible five-year jail sentence, her lawyer said.

Court judges rejected a request by Suu Kyi's defence team to allow Tin Oo and Win Tin, two senior opposition politicians, to appear as witnesses in the controversial case, Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's attorneys, said.


UN secretary-general to visit Myanmar this week

UN secretary-general to visit Myanmar this weekNew York  - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Myanmar this week to discuss the issue of political prisoners including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the UN said Tuesday.

Ban will visit Myanmar on Friday and Saturday, his office said.

Spokeswoman Michele Montas said Ban "looks forward to returning to Myanmar to address directly with the senior leadership a broad range of issues, including longstanding concerns to the United Nations and to the international community."


Myanmar court postpones Aung San Suu Kyi's trial again

Myanmar court postpones Aung San Suu Kyi's trial againYangon  - A Myanmar court postponed the controversial trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, minutes after the arrival of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the military-run country.

"The trial has been postponed until July 10," Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's lawyers, said.


Myanmar junta snubs United Nations secretary-general

Myanmar junta snubs United Nations secretary-generalYangon  - Myanmar's junta on Saturday snubbed United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's requests to free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, or even to visit the Nobel peace laureate, who is currently in a Yangon jail, sources said.

Ban arrived in Yangon midday Saturday from Naypyitaw, Myanmar's military headquarters, 350 kilometres north of Yangon, where the UN chief met twice with junta supremo Senior General Than Shwe.


China ranks as Myanmar's top investor in fiscal 2008-09

China ranks as Myanmar's top investor in fiscal 2008-09Yangon - China was Myanmar's top foreign investor in the fiscal year 2008-09, official statistics revealed Tuesday.

China's total investments in Myanmar last fiscal year, ending on March 31, amounted to 856 million dollars, compared with the country's total of 985 million dollars in foreign direct investment, according to figures released by the Central Statistical Organization.

Much of China's investments were accounted for by the China Metal Mining Group, which signed a nickel-production contract in 2008 with a mining company under Myanmar's Ministry of Mines.


Myanmar authorities seize nearly one ton of heroin

Myanmar authorities seize nearly one ton of heroin Bangkok  - Myanmar authorities intercepted nearly one ton of heroin in Shan state, one of the biggest drug busts in recent history, Thai media reports said Wednesday.

The massive seizure, netting 950 kilograms of heroin and 340,000 methamphetamine pills, was made Monday in Tachilek, in north-eastern Myanmar, the Bangkok Post reported, citing Thai narcotics suppression officers who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Case is "totally unfair," says Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu KyiYangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi feels the junta's latest case against her, which may see her behind bars for five years, is "totally unfair," one of her lawyers said Friday.

Suu Kyi stands accused of allowing US national John William Yettaw to swim to her lakeside house-cum-prison on May 3 and stay there uninvited until swimming away on the night of May 5.


Myanmar junta imposes tight security for low-key Martyr's Day

Myanmar junta imposes tight security for low-key Martyr's Day Yangon  - Myanmar's ruling junta on Sunday imposed tight security for the commemoration of Martyr's Day - honouring among others the father of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi - including a ban on television coverage of the annual event.

Martyr's Day is a national holiday commemorating the assassination of Myanmar independence hero Aung San, his brother Ba Win, six cabinet ministers and three others on July 19, 1947, on the orders of rival politician U Saw.


Myanmar opposition leader Suu Kyi awarded Gandhi peace prize

Myanmar opposition leader Suu Kyi awarded Gandhi peace prize Durban  - Myanmar opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace at a ceremony on Monday night in South Africa, where the Indian independence hero once lived.

The Gandhi Development Trust in the port city of Durban made the award, which was accepted on Suu Kyi's behalf by one of her relatives, SAfm public radio reported.


Focus of Asian security forum on North Korea and Myanmar

Phuket, Thailand  - Asia's main security forum opened Thursday in Phuket with North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and Myanmar's ongoing political instability high on the agenda.

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum - which has drawn 26 foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to Thailand's Phuket island - was expected to issue tough statements on those countries, considered Asia's two bad boys.


Trial of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi set to end

San Suu KyiYangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is "ready for the worst" as the final arguments are made Friday in the military junta's latest legal action against her, her lawyers said.

Suu Kyi, who has been confined for 13 of the past 19 years, faces an additional five years for breaching the terms of her house arrest after the May intrusion of US national John William Yettaw, who swam to her lakeside house-cum-prison and stayed there uninvited for two days.


Lawyers to wind up arguments in Aung San Suu Kyi case

YLawyers to wind up arguments in Aung San Suu Kyi case angon  - The final hearings began at a special court in Yangon's Insein Prison Monday in the controversial trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, her two aides and a US national who swam into her lakeside compound three months ago.


Myanmar's beleaguered Aung San Suu Kyi faces new court case

Myanmar's beleaguered Aung San Suu Kyi faces new court caseYangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, currently on trial for breaking the terms of her house detention, now faces a civil court case in which she must fight for ownership of her house, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Suu Kyi's cousin, retired army officer Lieutenant Colonel Khin Maung Aye, on July 24 posted a public notice in the Mirror newspaper, claiming that he owned a portion of Suu Kyi's compound in Yangon and had already sold it.


Verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi case expected on Friday

Verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi case expected on Friday Yangon  - A verdict in the trial of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for violating the terms of her house arrest is expected to be delivered on Friday, her lawyer Nyan Win said.

Final arguments for Suu Kyi's case were presented last Friday, while defence and prosecution lawyers presented their final arguments Monday and Tuesday in the case against Suu Kyi's two housekeepers, Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, as well as John William Yettaw, who swam to Suu Kyi's house-cum-prison on May 3 and stayed there until May 5.


Verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi case expected on Friday

Verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi case expected on FridayYangon  - A verdict in the trial of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for violating the terms of her house arrest is expected to be delivered on Friday, her lawyer Nyan Win said Tuesday.

Final arguments in Suu Kyi's case were presented last Friday, while defence and prosecution lawyers presented their final arguments Monday and Tuesday in the case against Suu Kyi's two housekeepers, Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, as well as John William Yettaw, who swam to Suu Kyi's house-cum-prison on May 3 and stayed there until May 5.


Myanmar court likely to find Aung San Suu Kyi guilty, observers

Myanmar court likely to find Aung San Suu Kyi guilty, observersYangon - While hope may spring eternal, the likelihood of a Myanmar court finding opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi innocent Friday is slim, analysts said on the eve of the expected verdict.

Suu Kyi, 64, stands accused of breaking the terms of her house detention by allowing US national John William Yettaw to swim to her home-cum-prison on May 3 and stay, albeit uninvited, in her compound until the night of May 5.


Myanmar court starts reading verdict on Aung San Suu Kyi and others

Myanmar court starts reading verdict on Aung San Suu Kyi and others Yangon  - A special court at Yangon's notorious Insein Prison on Friday began reading the verdicts against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, her two housekeepers and a US national who stand charged of violating Suu Kyi's terms of house arrest, sources said.

Witnesses saw 16 foreign diplomats, including representatives from the US, British and German embassies, enter the prison shortly before 10 am (0330 GMT) to attend the final day of the controversial trial, which has been closed to the local press.


Myanmar court postpones verdict on Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar court postpones verdict on Aung San Suu KyiYangon  - A Myanmar court on Friday postponed until August 11 its verdict on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and three others charged with breaking the terms of her house arrest, officials said.

"The judges said they needed more time to review the laws," said a government official who attended the trial at a special court set up in Insein Prison. The session lasted only 10 minutes.

Foreign diplomats, including representatives from the US, British and German embassies, attended the trial which was expected to issue a guilty verdict on Suu Kyi, 64.


Suu Kyi stocks up on le Carré, French history books as part of her prison reading list

Suu Kyi stocks up on le Carré, French history books as part of her prison reading listYangon (Myanmar), July 31 : Resigned to the prospect of spending five years in a Burmese jail cell, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is stocking up on books, including a biography of Winston Churchill, novels by John le Carré, books on French history and Burmese-language works on Buddhism, The Guardian reports.

"She has said that if she has to stay in prison for a long time, she has only one thing to do, and that is reading," her lawyer, Nyan Win, said.


Filipino activists call for immediate release of Suu Kyi

Filipino activists call for immediate release of Suu KyiManila  - Dozens of Filipino activists protested Friday outside the Myanmar embassy in the Philippine capital and demanded the immediate release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The mostly women activists held the protest as they awaited a court verdict on Suu Kyi on the charge of breaking the terms of her house arrest. The verdict in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, was later postponed for a week and a half.


Defectors detail Myanmar's nuclear ambitions, says report

Defectors detail Myanmar's nuclear ambitions, says report Bangkok - Myanmar's military regime has collaborated in recent years with North Korea and Russia to develop a reactor capable of producing one nuclear bomb a year by 2014, a news report based on the testimony of two defectors claimed Sunday.


Myanmar fascinates with its play of light and shadow

Myanmar fascinates with its play of light and shadowYangon  - Gazing down upon the visitors to the temple complex at Bagan in Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a very mysterious Buddha figure. The 10-metre-high statue in the southern niche of Ananda temple smiles benevolently on everyone who approaches, but as you approach the statue its facial expression changes with every step.

When you stand just in front of the Buddha and look up you see a very serious face. The change is due to a play of shadow and light but the optical illusion could be emblematic of the entire country.


US national charged in Suu Kyi's case hospitalized

US national charged in Suu Kyi's case hospitalized Yangon  - A US national who swam to pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's house-cum-prison in May resulting in an ongoing court case against her has been hospitalized, staff at Yangon General Hospital said Tuesday.

John William Yettaw was taken from Insein Prison in a Yangon suburb to hospital Monday night and his condition is improving, staff at the hospital said.

He has heart disease and diabetes, his lawyer U Khin Maung Oo said, but no further details were given.


Aung San Suu Kyi meets with lawyers as verdict nears

Aung San Suu Kyi meets with lawyers as verdict nearsYangon  - Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with her lawyers Thursday ahead of a verdict expected next week, but which could be delayed again, a security official said.

Four lawyers, including U Nyan Win who is also the spokesman for the National League for Democracy that Suu Kyi leads, met with her at Insein Prison for nearly two hours, the official said.

They discussed the verdict expected on August 11. Suu Kyi and three others have been charged with breaking the terms of her house.


Road crash kills 8 and injures 23 on Myanmar highway

Road crash kills 8 and injures 23 on Myanmar highwayYangon - Eight people died and 23 were injured in a head-on collision on the road between Yangon and Mandalay in northern Myanmar, state-run media reported Friday.

The accident between two trucks left seven of the 40 passengers dead at the scene with one more dying later, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.

The accident happened on the evening of August 3. The drivers are being investigated, the newspaper reported. (dpa)


Police chief denies plot against Suu Kyi involving US national

Police chief denies plot against Suu Kyi involving US nationalYangon - Myanmar's police chief on Friday denied foreign media reports that the government plotted with a US national to keep pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under arrest.

In a rare press conference, police chief Major General Khin Yi repeatedly denied the junta used American John William Yettaw as a tool to keep Suu Kyi under arrest.


Myanmar court lets reporters hear verdict on Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar court lets reporters hear verdict on Aung San Suu KyiYangon  - A Myanmar court on Tuesday invited journalists and foreign diplomats to hear its verdicts on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, her two house aides and a US national on charges of violating Suu Kyi's terms of detention three months ago.

Myanmar journalists representing foreign media were invited to attend the court session at the last moment. Foreign diplomats were also in attendance, raising hopes that the court would be lenient.


Suu Kyi declared guilty, three year sentence commuted to 18 months'' house arrest

Suu Kyi declared guilty, three year sentence commuted to 18 months'' house arrestRangoon (Myanmar), Aug. 11 : Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years'' jail and hard labour by a court today, but the head of the ruling military junta commuted the punishment to 18 months'' house arrest.

The court sentenced Suu Kyi on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest after a bizarre incident in which an American man, John Yettaw, 54, swam to her lakeside house in May this year.


Britain condemns Aung San Suu Kyi conviction after "sham trial"

Britain condemns Aung San Suu Kyi conviction after "sham trial" London  - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday he was "saddened and angry" at the conviction of Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for a violation of the house arrest imposed on her by the country's military junta.

Brown said he was "saddened and angry" at the conviction following a "sham trial."


EU to stiffen Myanmar sanctions over "unjustified" Suu Kyi verdict

EU to stiffen Myanmar sanctions over "unjustified" Suu Kyi verdict Brussels  - The European Union said Tuesday it would stiffen its sanctions against the Myanmar regime following the "unjustified" sentencing of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"The European Union condemns the verdict against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and the unjustified trial against her," the EU's Swedish presidency said in a statement issued on behalf of the bloc's 27 member states.


Norway criticizes Suu Kyi verdict

Norway criticizes Suu Kyi verdictOslo  - Norway criticized the sentencing Tuesday of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi saying Myanmar's military rulers "missed" a chance to show they wanted a democratic development.

"With this sentence the regime missed an opportunity to show that it wanted an inclusive and democratic development in the country," Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store said in a statement.

"Releasing Aung San Suu Kyi would have been a step in the right direction before the elections planned next year," Store added.


Obama calls for Suu Kyi's release

Obama calls for Suu Kyi's release Washington - US President Barack Obama called on Myanmar's ruling junta to immediately release human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who received an additional 18 months of detainment on Tuesday for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest.

Obama issued a statement saying the conviction and sentencing "unjust" and a violation of human rights. The trial that handed Suu Kyi, 64, another 18 months of house arrest and effectively sidelined her for the upcoming elections has drawn worldwide condemnation.


UN council meets to discuss Myanmar's Suu Kyi verdict

UN council meets to discuss Myanmar's Suu Kyi verdictNew York  - The United Nations Security Council met Tuesday to discuss a Myanmar court's verdict against the country's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but failed to agree immediately on a common reaction.

Council president, British Ambassador John Sawers, said following a closed-door meeting of the 15-nation council that a draft statement reacting to the verdict received "considerable support."

But "some countries" were seeking instructions from their capitals and the council may resume discussion on Wednesday, he said.


Aung San Suu Kyi to appeal verdict, attorney says

Aung San Suu Kyi to appeal verdict, attorney saysYangon  - An attorney for Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Wednesday that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate plans to appeal the guilty verdict that placed her under house detention for another 18 months, outraging the international community.

"I will try to get a certified copy of the verdict, and after I've got it, we will appeal to the Divisional Court for Daw [Mrs] Aung San Suu Kyi to overturn the guilty verdict," lawyer Nyan Win said.


US Senator Jim Webb to visit Myanmar

US Senator Jim Webb to visit Myanmar Yangon  - United States Senator Jim Webb is scheduled to visit Myanmar Friday to meet with the country's military leaders, Myanmar government officials confirmed Thursday.

"He will arrive here on Friday for a three-day visit," said a government official who requested anonymity.

Webb, who is chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Committee, is due to travel to the junta's headquarters in Naypyitaw to meet with military leaders, but it is uncertain whether he will meet with the regime's head, Senior General Than Shwe, the source said.


UN voices "serious concerns" over Myanmar's verdict of Suu Kyi

UN voices "serious concerns" over Myanmar's verdict of Suu Kyi New York - The UN Security Council belatedly issued a statement on Thursday expressing "serious concerns" over the sentencing of opposition Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for a further 18 months under house detention.

The 15-nation council had considered a stronger statement that would have condemned the conviction and verdict by a Myanmar court against Suu Kyi, leader of the National Luegue for Democracy.


US Senator Jim Webb arrives in Myanmar's military capital

US Senator Jim Webb arrives in Myanmar's military capital Yangon  - US Senator Jim Webb arrived in Myanmar's military capital Naypyitaw Friday for high-level talks with the country's ruling junta that are expected to include a meeting with Senior General Than Shwe, government sources confirmed.

Webb, a Democrat from Virginia who is chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, flew direct to Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of Yangon, in a chartered plane from Vientiane, Laos.


US senator talks with Myanmar's junta chief, might meet Suu Kyi

US senator talks with Myanmar's junta chief, might meet Suu Kyi Yangon  - US Senator Jim Webb, on a mission to "re-engage" Washington in South-East Asia, met Myanmar's military supremo Saturday and was scheduled to meet with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Sunday, government officials said.

"Jim Webb will meet Daw [Madame] Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday just before his departure," said a government official who requested anonymity.


US senator thanks Myanmar junta for American's release from jail

US senator thanks Myanmar junta for American's release from jail Yangon - US Senator Jim Webb expressed gratitude Sunday to Myanmar's junta chief for honouring his request to free an American national who swam to the house-cum-prison of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on May 3, providing a pretext for both to be jailed.

Webb held talks with Myanmar's military leader Senior General Than Shwe on Saturday during which he requested the release of John William Yettaw, 54, sentenced to seven years in jail for swimming to Suu Kyi's family compound in Yangon.


US senator thanks Myanmar junta for American's release

US senator thanks Myanmar junta for American's releaseBangkok  - US Senator Jim Webb on Sunday expressed gratitude to Myanmar's junta for freeing an American national whose "regrettable" swim to the house of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in May provided a pretext for both to be jailed.


First-ever Japanese fashion show opens in Yangon

First-ever Japanese fashion show opens in YangonYangon - In an effort to promote Japanese-Myanmar friendship, the first-ever Japanese fashion show was held at the posh Strand Hotel in Yangon Sunday, featuring a collection by well-known designer Junko Koshino.

"I hope friendship between Myanmar and Japan can be promoted through this event," Japanese Ambassador Yasuaki Nogawa said. The Tokyo government sponsored the event as part of the Mekong-Japan Exchange Year 2009.

"It is a very good opportunity for sharing culture between two countries," Koshino said.


Myanmar military moves to crush Kokang Chinese

Myanmar military moves to crush Kokang ChineseBangkok  - The Myanmar Army has occupied Laogai, the capital of the Kokang region in its eastern Shan State, sending thousands of refugees into neighbouring China while splitting the Kokang army into two opposing forces, media and resistance sources said Thursday.

Laogai has been under Myanmar Army control since Monday, said Khuensai Jaipen, editor of the Shan Herald News Agency, a resistance media that monitors news in the remote Shan State.


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to appeal

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to appealYangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has agreed to appeal a recent court decision that put her under house detention for the next 18 months, her attorneys said Thursday.

"We will file the appeal to the Divisional Court for Daw [Madame] Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday or Tuesday next week," Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's three lawyers, said after meeting with the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to discuss her appeal.


More refugees pour into China amid fighting in Myanmar

More refugees pour into China amid fighting in MyanmarBeijing - More refugees poured across the border from Myanmar into China's Yunnan province, joining thousands displaced by escalating fighting in Myanmar's Kokang region of the Shan State, Chinese government media said on Friday.

The escalation in fighting between Myanmar government troops and a faction of the local Kokang militia had "caused panic among Myanmar citizens along the border" and the flood of refugees was "still increasing" as of Thursday afternoon, the Yunnan provincial government reported on its official website.


US congressional delegation in Myanmar for foreign policy review

US congressional delegation in Myanmar for foreign policy reviewYangon - Three staff members of the US House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee met Friday with leaders of Myanmar's main opposition party.

"They wanted to know the political situation of Myanmar and also the health of the political prisoners, including the condition of Daw [Madame] Aung San Suu Kyi," National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Nyan Win said after meeting with the three Americans, Lynne Weil, Jessica Lee and Dennis Halpin.


One killed on Chinese border as refugees flee fighting in Myanmar

One killed on Chinese border as refugees flee fighting in MyanmarBeijing - One person was killed and several others injured after a bomb exploded on the China-Myanmar border, as fighting in Myanmar's Kokang region continued to push refugees into China's Yunnan province, state media reported Saturday.

The bomb was thrown onto the Chinese side of the border, He Yongchun, deputy president of the Red Cross's Yunnan provincial branch, was quoted as saying by the state-run China Daily.


Myanmar opposition leader Suu Kyi to renovate home-cum-prison

Yangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi plans to renovate her lakeside home-cum-prison, where she has spent 14 of the past 20 years under detention, media reports said Monday.

Suu Kyi was last month sentenced to a new term of 18 months under house arrest at her family compound on Inya Lake, after being found guilty of breaking the terms of her detention for allowing US national John William Yettaw to swim, albeit uninvited, to her home on May 3.

"Now that her trial is over, Daw (Madame) Aung San Suu Kyi wants to repair her house," Nyan Win, Suu Kyi's spokesman, told The Myanmar Times.

"She wants to mount iron grills in the windows," he said.


Suu Kyi keen to boost security at her home, says lawyer

Suu Kyi keen to boost security at her home, says lawyerYangon (Myanmar), Sep. 1 : Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi plans to repair her dilapidated two-story home to improve security, after an American''s high-profile intrusion led to her house arrest being extended.

According to The Telegraph, the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate was ''very keen to have her house repaired, mainly for security reasons, her lawyer Nyan Win said.


Lawyers of Suu Kyi to appeal against her conviction

Lawyers of Suu Kyi to appeal against her convictionYangon (Myanmar), Sep 3 : Lawyers of detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have said that they will file an appeal against her criminal conviction.

According to reports, Suu Kyi''s main lawyer, Kyi Win, has said that the appeal would be submitted to the Divisional Court in Yangon.

The appeal argues that the law cited by authorities is invalid, as it applies to a constitution abolished two decades ago. Following the submission, the court will give a date for arguments to consider whether it will accept the appeal.


Myanmar court accepts opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal

Myanmar court accepts opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal Yangon  - A Myanmar court has accepted the appeal of Aung San Suu Kyi against last month's court decision that put her under house detention for the next 18 months, her lawyers said Friday.

"The Yangon Divisional Court has accepted our case, and hearing of arguments will start on September 18," said Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's lawyers.

The attorneys submitted the appeal Thursday on behalf of their client, who has spent 14 of the past 20 years under detention and is currently being detained at her Yangon family compound.


Burmese court accepts appeal against Suu Kyi’s conviction

Burmese court accepts appeal against Suu Kyi’s convictionYangon (Myanmar), Sep 4 : A Burmese Court has accepted the appeal filed by lawyers of detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her criminal conviction, and has scheduled the appeal for September 18.

Earlier, Suu Kyi’s main lawyer, Kyi Win, had said that they submitted an appeal against the conviction to the Divisional Court in Yangon.


Myanmar claims Chinese intelligence led to Kokang confli

Myanmar claims Chinese intelligence led to Kokang confliLashio, Myanmar  - A Chinese intelligence tipoff about an illegal arms factory led to fighting that caused 30,000 ethnic Kokang refugees to flee across the Myanmar border into southern China, a Myanmar government source claimed Wednesday.

The remarks by Myanmar Deputy Home Affairs Minister Brigadier General Phone Swe, seemed designed to defuse China's annoyance at last month's influx of thousands of Kokang refugees into Yunnan province.


Pipeline pumps billions in Myanmar government's pocketsb

Pipeline-pumpsBangkok  - Myanmar's ruling junta is hiding billions of dollars in revenue from natural gas sales in two Singapore banks, a Washington-based human rights group claimed Thursday.

EarthRights International (ERI) said international pressure would not work against the military government as long as it has vast sums of easily available funds and the world community needs to put pressure on the banks in question.


Myanmar military urges ethnic groups to become frontier forces

Myanmar military urges ethnic groups to become frontier forces Yangon  - Myanmar's junta on Sunday used state-run media to urge the country's myriad ethnic-minority armies to transform themselves into frontier forces before the 2010 general election.

An article titled "They will choose the correct way" in The New Light of Myanmar called on the 17 main ethnic militias and 20 smaller ones to abide by past agreements to transform themselves into "frontier forces" before next year's elections.


Dissident questioned over pacemaker in Myanmar

Dissident questioned over pacemaker in Myanmar Yangon  - Myanmar's military junta have summoned a known dissident for questioning to establish who had paid for his pacemaker, one of his friends said Sunday.

Win Tin, 80, who was released from prison last September after serving 19 years, was picked up by police without warning on Saturday, Maung Maung Khin said in Yangon.

The officers demanded that he provide information on who had paid for and fitted the artificial device that regulates his heart, his friend said. Win Tin was released after several hours.


Spate of small bombs in Yangon

Yangon  - A series of small bombs went off in the suburbs of Yangon Wednesday and Thursday in what appeared to be an act of defiance against the ruling junta, military sources said.

Altogether six explosions were reported in Hlaing Tha Yar and Shwe Pauk Kan townships at about midnight Wednesday or early Thursday morning. There were no reported injuries or damage from the bombs, which were placed in isolated areas away from crowds, sources said.

Political observers speculated that the bombs might be a show of defiance against the ruling junta, marking the 21st anniversary of the Myanmar's military's crackdown on a pro-democracy movement.


Myanmar junta releases 600 prisoners from notorious Insein Prison

Myanmar junta releases 600 prisoners from notorious Insein PrisonYangon - Myanmar authorities on Friday were to release an estimated 600 inmates, including some political prisoners, from Yangon's notorious Insein Prison as part of an amnesty for 7,114 inmates nationwide.

Insein authorities invited journalists to witness the release of a first batch of 359 prisoners. Altogether, 600 were scheduled to be freed Friday.


127 political prisoners among 7,000 freed, Myanmar group says

Bangkok  - Myanmar freed 127 political prisoners in an amnesty of 7,114 jail inmates last week, a prison-watch group based in Thailand said Tuesday.

Myanmar's junta announced a general amnesty Thursday for the prisoners "on humanitarian grounds" and began freeing inmates Friday.

But according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), a group based on the Thai-Myanmar border, only 127 political prisoners were released under the amnesty, of whom 43 were members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, who remained under house detention.


Myanmar arrests US national, dissidents

Myanmar arrests US national, dissidents Yangon - Myanmar's military junta this month arrested a US national of Myanmar decent and two ethnic Rakhine dissidents on suspicion of involvement in sabotage acts, a media report said Thursday.

Myanmar authorities arrested Nyi Nyi Aung, a former Myanmar student activist and naturalized US citizen, September 3 at Yangon International Airport on charges of entering the country "to create unrest," the government-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.


Myanmar issues largest kyat currency denomination

Myanmar issues largest kyat currency denomination Yangon  - Myanmar's central bank has issued a new 5,000-kyat bill that is to go into circulation Thursday, state media reported.

The bank's announcement Friday of its release of Myanmar's highest denomination note came at a time when inflation has been rather stable in Myanmar, one of the world's poorest countries.

The black market rate for the kyat is now 1,100 to the US dollar, compared with 1,200 kyat to the dollar two years ago.


Suu Kyi backs Obama’s policy shift of talks with Burmese junta

Burmese court accepts appeal against Suu Kyi’s conviction Yangon (Myanmar), Sep 25: Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has backed the Obama administration’s initiative to carry out talks with Burma''s rulers.

Suu Kyi comments came after indications from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the US is set to engage directly with Burma''s military rulers in an effort to push for democratic reforms.


Myanmar premier travels to attend UN General Assembly session

Myanmar premier travels to attend UN General Assembly session Yangon  - Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein left for New York on Saturday afternoon to attend the 64th session of United Nations General Assembly, an official source confirmed.

"Prime Minister General Thein Sein left from Nay Pyi Taw via Yangon international airport on Saturday afternoon. He will be heading to New York via Bangkok," an official who requested anonymity said.


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi pushes sanctions talks

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi pushes sanctions talksYangon - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has requested permission from the ruling junta to talk about lifting economic sanctions with the Australian, US and European embassies, opposition sources said Monday.

Suu Kyi, who is currently under house detention, made the request in a letter sent to junta chief Senior General Than Shwe, the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party revealed.


US to open dialogue with Myanmar

Assistant Secretary of State Kurt CampbellWashington  - The United States plans to open dialogue with Myanmar in the near future but will not lift sanctions until the military regime takes "concrete" steps toward reform, a senior US diplomat said Monday.

Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said the United States wants to see Myanmar, also known as Burma, introduce democratic reforms and improve human rights conditions while signalling greater cooperation in confronting challenges associated with the proliferation of dangerous materials.


Ban: Onus is on Myanmar for credible, inclusive elections

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonNew York  - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday renewed a call for the Myanmar government to hold democratic elections next year by involving all parties and freeing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

Ban said following a meeting with Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein that he was still expecting an answer from the regime's senior leadership "in a timely manner" to his proposals regarding democratic reform and political prisoners' release.


Myanmar court rejects Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal

Myanmar court rejects Aung San Suu Kyi's appealYangon  - A Myanmar court on Friday rejected an appeal lodged by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi against an 18-month detention sentence, government sources said.

Suu Kyi's lawyers had opened the appeal case at the Yangon Divisional Court in a bid to overturn a court verdict in August that found Suu Kyi guilty and placed her under house detention for another 18 months.

Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's lawyers, has promised to appeal the case up to the Supreme Court level.


Burma court rejects Suu Kyi’s appeal to end her house arrest

Burma court rejects Suu Kyi’s appeal to end her house arrestYangon, Oct. 2 : A court in military-ruled Burma has thrown out opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi''s appeal against her house arrest sentence.

According to the Daily Express, Suu Kyi had appealed against her conviction in August for breaking terms of her last period of house arrest.

But government sources said the Rangoon division court had ruled against the appeal.


Myanmar opposition leader meets junta liaison for more talks

Myanmar opposition leader meets junta liaison for more talksYangon - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met Wednesday with a representative of the ruling junta to discuss her proposals to get sanctions dropped against the regime that has kept her under house arrest for 14 years, sources said.

Relations Minister Aung Kyi met the Nobel laureate at the Seinle Kantha Guesthouse for about 25 minutes Wednesday afternoon, government sources confirmed. The two also met on Saturday.


Myanmar opposition leader holds rare talks with diplomats

Myanmar opposition leader holds rare talks with diplomatsYangon  - Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday held a rare meeting with foreign diplomats, presumably to discuss Western sanctions imposed on the pariah state, sources said.

Suu Kyi was escorted from her home-cum-prison Friday morning to the state-owned Seinle Kantha Guesthouse where she met with US Deputy Head of Mission Thomas Vajta, British Ambassador Andrew Heyn, who represented the European Union, and Australian Deputy Head of Mission Simon Christopher Starr, government sources said.


Aung San Suu Kyi on "remarkable form," says British envoy

Aung San Suu Kyi on "remarkable form," says British envoy London  - Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was on "remarkable form" and "very engaged" during a meeting with Western diplomats, British ambassador Andrew Heyn said Friday.

"She was in remarkable form for someone who has been through what she has been through. She was very, very engaged in the subject, very interested in going into the detail of what she wanted to talk about, and she seemed, as ever, very eloquent and very, very engaged," Heyn told the BBC in an interview.


Myanmar to hold elections in 2010, junta chief says

Myanmar to hold elections in 2010, junta chief saysYangon  - Myanmar's military supremo has confirmed that a general election is scheduled for 2010, state media reported Saturday.

"Elections will be systematically held in 2010 for Hluttaws [parliaments] that will emerge in accordance with the constitution," Senior General Than Shwe said Friday in a speech to the Myanmar War Veterans Organization, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.


Myanmar opposition leader to appeal sentence at Supreme Court

Myanmar opposition leader to appeal sentence at Supreme CourtYangon - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday agreed to allow defence lawyers to appeal to the Supreme Court against her recent sentence to 18 months under house detention.

"We will appeal the case up to the Supreme Court level and are preparing the appeal now," said Nyan Win, one of four attorneys in Suu Kyi's defence team.

Nyan Win met with Suu Kyi Friday afternoon at her house-cum-prison in Yangon, where she had spent 14 of the past 20 years under detention.


Mobile phones allowed in Myanmar's capital

Yangon  - Myanmar's ruling military junta gave the green light to the use of mobile phones in the capital, Naypyitaw, beginning Thursday, four years after the country's administration and military headquarters moved there.

"CDMA mobiles are allowed for communication from today," an official from Naypyitaw who requested anonymity said Thursday, referring to a technology used to transmit mobile phone signals. "Other mobile systems are being tested."

The use of mobile phones in Naypyitaw, 320 kilometres north of Yangon, had been banned since the junta moved its capital there from Yangon in November 2005. The reason for the prohibition was unknown, but there was speculation that it was because of security concerns.


Dhaka, Yangon play down troop build-up at border

Dhaka, Yangon play down troop build-up at borderDhaka, Oct 22 - Bangladesh and Myanmar have sought to play down the tensions along the border in the past three weeks and have calling their troop movements "routine".

Myanmar's border guard Nasaka Wednesday trashed reports of troop build-up along the Bangladesh border at a battalion commander-level flag meeting with Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) at Maungdaw in Myanmar, The Daily Star newspaper said Thursday.


US envoy unlikely to meet with Myanmar junta chief on visit

US envoy unlikely to meet with Myanmar junta chief on visitYangon  - US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell is unlikely to meet with Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Than Shwe on his two-day visit to the military-ruled country this week, government sources said Monday.

Campbell is scheduled to arrive in Myanmar's former capital of Yangon Tuesday morning and fly directly on to the military's new headquarters of Naypyitaw, government sources confirmed.


Yangon bans environmentally unfriendly plastic bags

Yangon bans environmentally unfriendly plastic bagsYangon  - Myanmar's former capital of Yangon has banned the manufacture and import of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bags for environmental reasons, media reports said Monday.

Businesses will be banned from manufacturing, importing, trading in or distributing HDPE plastic bags from November 30, the Myanmar Times English-language weekly reported.

The ban, announced by the Yangon branch of the ruling junta, does not apply to low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene (PP) plastic bags, which disintegrate more quickly.


US envoy arrives in Myanmar's capital on engagement mission

Yangon  - US Assistant Secretary of State Kuhttp://www.topnews.in/files/kurt%20cambell.jpgrt Campbell arrived in Myanmar's military capital of Naypyitaw Tuesday for high-level talks with the ruling junta as part of the US's new engagement policy with the pariah regime, sources said.


US envoy meets Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi

US envoy meets Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu KyiYangon - US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell - the highest ranking American official to visit military-ruled Myanmar in 14 years - met Wednesday with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Campbell, accompanied by US Deputy Assistant Secretary Scot Marciel, met with Thein Sein in the capital Naypyitaw Wednesday morning before flying to Yangon where he was allowed a rare interview with Nobel laureate Suu Kyi.


Former Myanmar foreign minister dies in jail

Former Myanmar foreign minister dies in jailYangon  - Former Myanmar foreign minister Win Aung died in Insein Prison where he was serving a seven-year sentence for corruption, police and personal friends confirmed on Thursday.

Win Aung, 65, died Wednesday morning from a cerebral hemorrhage, close friends of the former minister said.

Bespeckled and fluent in English, Win Aung served as foreign minister and the civilized face for Myanmar's pariah military regime from 1998 to 2004.


Early days for thaw in US-Myanmar ties, US envoy says

Yangon - This week's visit by senior United States government officials to military-ruled Myanmar is not expected to result in a quick thaw in US-Myanmar ties, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of States Scot Marciel said Thursday.

"This is early days," Marciel said in Bangkok after his two-day visit to neighbouring Myanmar. "I think it's going to take some time."

Marciel and US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell visited Myanmar on Tuesday and Wednesday, meeting with senior government and opposition figures including pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.


US envoy snubs pro-government party on Myanmar visit

US envoy snubs pro-government party on Myanmar visitYangon  - A high-level US delegation visiting Myanmar on an "exploratory" diplomatic mission this week failed to meet with representatives of the pro-junta National Unity Party (NUP), state media reported Friday.

US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and his deputy in charge of South-East Asian affairs Scot Marciel visited Myanmar on Tuesday and Wednesday on what they called an "exploratory mission" to explain the Washington's new policy of engagement towards the country's pariah regime.


China starts gas pipeline project in western Myanmar

China starts gas pipeline project in western MyanmarYangon  - China has started building a workboat wharf as a first step in its project to construct a 771-kilometre overland gas pipeline from Myanmar's Rakhine state to Yunnan, state media reported Saturday.

Chinese National Petroleum Corp on October 31 began the wharf in Madekyun in the western state as the first step in the pipeline project, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.


Myanmar expects to export 1 million tons of rice this fiscal year

Myanmar expects to export 1 million tons of rice this fiscal year Yangon  - Myanmar exported 670,000 tons of rice in the fiscal year that ended March 31 despite the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis and expected to export up to 1 million tons this fiscal year, media reports said Sunday.

"The export volume of rice is expected to increase this year, maybe reaching a million metric tons by the end of the 2009-2010 financial year," an official from the Myanmar Rice and Paddy Association told the English-language Myanmar Times.


Myanmar transforms ethnic minority armies into border guard forces

Yangon - Myanmar's military junta has persuaded two ethnic minority armies to transform themselves into "border guard forces," an important step toward holding a peaceful general election next year, state media claimed Wednesday.

Ceremonies presided over by Myanmar generals were held Sunday to officially convert the armies for the Kachin ethnic minority in the northernmost state of Kachin and the Kayah ethnic group in the eastern state of Kayah, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

All the new border forces would receive salaries, uniforms and other benefits afforded to the Myanmar military, the government mouthpiece said.


Aung San Suu Kyi to deliver "positive" message next week

Aung San Suu Kyi to deliver "positive" message next weekYangon - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is due to issue an "important and positive" statement next week, her lawyer Nyan Win said Wednesday.

Suu Kyi, who is still under house detention in her Yangon home, is expected to deliver the statement in the name of the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party on November 17, Nyan Win said, without divulging details on the contents of the pending message.


Clinton: No US conditions for democratic reform in Myanmar

Clinton: No US conditions for democratic reform in MyanmarSingapore - United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday the US would not impose any conditions on Myanmar's military junta to force democratic change, but its sanctions would remain in place until significant progress had been made.

"The US is committed to a process to try to encourage and support Burma's [Myanmar's] path to democracy," Clinton said after a ministerial meeting at a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Singapore.


Aung San Suu Kyi appeals against her 18-month sentence

Aung San Suu Kyi appeals against her 18-month sentence Yangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi filed an appeal Friday with the country's highest court against her 18-month house arrest sentence.

Her detention in her Yangon family home was extended by a special Insein prison court in August after she was found guilty of breaking the terms of her house arrest by briefly sheltering an uninvited American eccentric, John William Yettaw.


Global Fund returns to Myanmar with 110 million dollars

HIV/AIDS, Yangon - The Global Fund has agreed to provide Myanmar with 110 million dollars to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, after pulling out of the country four years ago, media reports said Sunday.

Total funding for Myanmar could rise to almost 290 million dollars if the grants are extended to the maximum five-year period, The Myanmar Times reported, citing documents provided by The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.


Myanmar's August gas exports to Thailand earn 588 million dollars

Myanmar military offensive forces thousands to flee into ThailandYangon - Myanmar earned 588.7 million dollars off natural gas exports to neighbouring Thailand in August, media reports said Sunday.

In August, 92,000 million cubic feet of natural gas was piped overland to Thailand from the Myanmar's Yadana and Yetagun reserves in the Gulf of Martaban, according to the National Planning and Economic Development, The Myanmar Times reported.


Democracy icon asks to meet junta leader for "sake of country"

Yangon  - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked to meet the leader of the ruling military junta in a possible sign of easing political tension.

Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, told General Than Shwe that she would like to meet the senior generals with the aim of working together to help the country. The message was conveyed in a letter seen Monday by the German Press Agency dpa.

She also asked to meet the executive committee of her National League for Democracy in her own house. The letter did not mention the possibility of political talks, but stressed the need to "cooperate."


Ferry sinking claims up to 50 lives in Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta

Ferry sinking claims up to 50 lives in Myanmar's Irrawaddy deltaYangon - A wooden river ferry carrying 176 passengers sank after colliding with a barge over the weekend in Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta, leaving about 50 people dead or missing, officials said Tuesday.

The single-deck Nay Myo Tun Gyi ferry sank on Sunday evening after leaving from Pathein, capital of the Irrawaddy division, provincial officials said.

It went down in the Ngawun river, 190 kilometres west of Yangon, after colliding with an oil barge near Shan Su village in the Pathein area.


Myanmar mulls railway link with China

Myanmar mulls railway link with China Yangon  - Myanmar has opened discussions on building a railway link between its north-eastern Shan State and China's Yunnan province, media reports said Wednesday.

"The Myanmar-China railway link will connect Lashio, capital of Shan state in the north, and Jiegao town of Yunnan province, China," The Yangon Times weekly reported.

Officials from China's Railways Ministry recently visited Myanmar to discuss the proposed link, the Burmese-language weekly said.


National Geographic Channel focuses on Myanmar elephants

National Geographic Channel focuses on Myanmar elephantsYangon  - The National Geographic Channel is due in Myanmar this month to shoot a documentary on the country's hard-working elephants, sources close to the project said Thursday.

"They will come here this month to document the state of Myanmar's domesticated elephants - how to catch wild elephants, how to tame and train them," said an official from the politically well-connected Htoo Trading Company, which will facilitate the production.


Myanmar, Laos sign travel and tax treaties

Myanmar, Laos sign travel and tax treatiesYangon  - Myanmar and Laos strengthened relations with the signing of visa-exemption treaty for their respective citizens and a double-taxation avoidance agreement, state media reported Saturday.

The two agreements were signed Friday in the military's capital of Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of the old capital Yangon, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

Myanmar Prime Minister General Thein Sein received the visiting delegation led by Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.


Thai activists demand pull-out from Myanmar dam project

Bangkok  - Thai civil society leaders representing 189 organizations demanded Monday the government withdraw from the controversial Hutgyi dam project in Myanmar or face dire consequences.

The group delivered a letter to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva saying that international talk of engagement with Myanmar's military regime in no way negated the many objections to the Hutgyi dam and others along the Salween River that are designed to supply power to Thailand.

"We are extremely worried that local people will be devastated if dams like the Hutgyi go ahead because outsiders mistakenly think there has been a political breakthrough of some kind," said Pianporn Deetes, coordinator of the Living River Siam-Southeast Asia Rivers Network.


Myanmar cultural troupe to perform in northeast India

Myanmar cultural troupe to perform in northeast IndiaImphal, Nov 27 - A 15-member cultural troupe from Myanmar will visit India's northeastern region Saturday to showcase their country's traditional art and culture, officials said here Friday.

"During their 10-day (Nov 28 to Dec 7) visit to three northeastern states --- Nagaland, Manipur and Assam -- the Myanmar cultural troupe will perform various traditional dances in Kohima, Imphal and Guwahati," a Manipur government official said.


Myanmar Supreme Court agrees to hear Suu Kyi’s appeal

Myanmar Supreme Court agrees to hear Suu Kyi’s appealYangoon, Dec. 4 : The Burmese Supreme Court has decided to hear detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal against the 18-month extension of her house arrest.

The Nobel peace prize laureate was found guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest after she allowed an American citizen to stay when he swam across a lake to her villa.


12th Ministerial meet of BIMSTEC begins in Myanmar

12th Ministerial meet of BIMSTEC begins in MyanmarNay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), Dec 11 : The inaugural session of the 12th ministerial meet of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) nations has begun in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital city of Myanmar.

The Prime Minister of Myanmar, General Thein Sein, addressed the inaugural session.

On the sidelines of the Inaugural Session of BIMSTEC, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had informal talks with General Thein Sein.


Regional BIMSTEC grouping adopts a convention to combat terrorism

Regional BIMSTEC grouping adopts a convention to combat terrorismNay Pyi Taw (Myanmar)/On board, Dec 12 : The seven-nation Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grouping adopted a convention to combat terrorism and insurgency at its ministerial meeting in Myanmar on Friday.

Foreign Ministers of BIMSTEC countries signed the Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Trans-National Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking at the 12th ministerial meeting at Nay Pyi Taw.


India raised insurgency issue with Myanmar: Krishna

India raised insurgency issue with Myanmar: KrishnaOnboard, special aircraft, Dec. 12 : External Affairs Minister S M Krishna revealed on Friday that India raised the issue of insurgents groups operating from Myanmarese soil with the Government of Myanmar on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC meet.

"We discussed the issue of insurgent groups working against India from the soil of Myanmar. He assured me of full cooperation in this regard," Krishna told the media onboard his aircraft.


Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz to advise Myanmar

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz to advise MyanmarYangon, Dec 14 - Nobel laureate and former chief economist at the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz is due to visit Myanmar this week to advise the government on its development policies, media reports said Monday.

On Tuesday the renowned economist is to attend a seminar in Nay Pyi Taw, the military's new capital, which will also be attended by Myanmar Minister for National Planning and Economic Development Soe Tha and Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation U Htay Oo, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) said in a statement.


Accept appeal against detention, Suu Kyi tells court

Accept appeal against detention, Suu Kyi tells courtYangon, Dec 20 - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's legal team Monday asked the Supreme Court to accept her appeal against an 18-month sentence of house detention that would make it impossible for the democracy icon to participate in next year's planned election.

"My client Daw (Madame) Aung San Suu Kyi is not guilty," Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's attorneys, said before he entered the court.


Myanmar junta hikes salaries ahead of election

Myanmar junta hikes salaries ahead of electionYangon, Jan 3 - Myanmar's junta raised the salaries of civil servants and military staff Jan 1, ahead of a general election planned this year, official sources confirmed Sunday.

"We have obtained information for the raise of our salaries from Nay Pyi Taw (the military's capital) and I think we can draw the new salary at the end of January," a senior official who requested anonymity told DPA.

For most civil servants, special increments of 20,000 kyats (about $20) will be added to their monthly salaries.


Myanmar officials sentenced to death for secret leak

Myanmar officials sentenced to death for secret leakYangon, Jan 8 : A court in Insein Prison sentenced two officials to death and a businessman to 15 years in jail for revealing state secrets, officials said Friday.

Army Major Win Naing Kyaw and Foreign Ministry official Thura Kyaw were sentenced to death by the prison court Thursday for leaking information last year about a trip to Pyongyang by a senior general, said the source who asked anonymity.

Myanmar businessman Pyan Sein was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for his involvement in the case.


Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to compromise on sea boundary dispute

Dhaka, Jan 9 : Bangladesh and Myanmar Saturday agreed to compromise to resolve a long-standing maritime border dispute in the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The lack of a clear boundary has caused tensions between the two neighbours over offshore hydrocarbon exploration in the bay in 2008.

"We have decided to demarcate maritime boundary in a process combining the principle of equity and principle of equal distance," Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Khurshid Alam told reporters at the end of a two-day talks between Dhaka and Yangon over sea boundary demarcation.


National League for Democracy in Myanmar dissolves itself

Aung San Suu KyiAccording to the official reports, the National League for Democracy, the major opposition party in Myanmar, dissolved itself Friday in an apparent protest against upcoming elections.

The New York Times has reported that the party, whose best-known member is its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, refused to register to run candidates. It has criticized the elections as a sham.


Myanmar, India step up cooperation in health sector

Myanmar, India step up cooperation in health sectorYangon, Aug 3:  Myanmar and India are stepping up bilateral cooperation in the health sector, a media report said.

Talks have taken place between the Myanmar Union Health Minister Pe Thet Khin and Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Villur Sundararajan Seshadri in Nay Pyi Taw, Xinhua reported Wednesday.


Thai company to explore oil in Myanmar

Thai company to explore oil in MyanmarYangon, Feb 13 - Thailand's state-owned PTT company will explore oil and gas in Myanmar's two onshore blocks, a media report said.

PTT Exploration and Production Plc, Thailand's largest energy company, was last month awarded a licence for the PSC-G and EP2 petroleum blocks, covering 13,000-sq km.

The company is already developing a gas field in the Gulf of Martaban.

It is expected to produce 300 million cubic feet daily by the end of next year.


World Bank approves grant to Myanmar

World Bank approves grant to MyanmarThe Board of Directors of the World Bank Group have approved package of credit and grants to Myanmar through a new Interim Strategy.

The new support plans are aimed at backing the government's reforms for improving the lives of its people. The financial institution will offer an $80 million development grant to the country ahead of a multilateral effort by the international financing community to clear the county's backlog on payments to creditors.


Suu Kyi says she and Jawaharlal Nehru had many things in common

Suu Kyi says she and Jawaharlal Nehru had many things in commonMyanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has visited India after 25 years, has said that she and Jawaharlal Nehru had many things in common.

Suu Kyi, who is on a five-day visit to India, said that many of the challenges faced by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru during their struggle for India's independence had also been facing by her over the course of her struggle.


Myanmar, US to cooperate in wide range of sectors

Myanmar, US to cooperate in wide range of sectorsYangon, March 9 - Myanmar and the US have vowed to cooperate in a wide range of sectors, official media reported Saturday.

This came up during a meeting between Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun and Administrator of US Agency for International Development (USAID) Rajeev Shah in Nay Pyi Taw Friday, reported Xinhua.

The Myanmar-US cooperation programs cover control of HIV/AIDS, healthcare services for children and women and reduction of mortality rate, development of research work and higher education in linking universities of the two countries.


Myanmar riot death toll is 40

Myanmar-riotYangon, March 26 : The death toll in a communal riot in Myanmar has risen to 40, according to an official media report Tuesday.

The toll rose from 32 as eight more bodies were found when troops cleared the wreckage in the wake of the riot which lasted three days in Meikhtila from March 20, leaving 9,600 people homeless.

Meikhtila is in Myanmar's northern Mandalay region, Xinhua reported.

The situation is now normal following the declaration of a state of emergency and with the intervention of the army to help bring about peace.


Myanmar may use force to curb riots

Myanmar may use force to curb riotsYangon, March 29: Myanmar President U Thein Sein has warned of using force as a last resort to suppress the current rioting in the country and protect people.

"In general, I do not endorse the use of force to solve problem. However, I will not hesitate to use force as a last resort to protect the lives and safeguard the property of general public," the president said.


Myanmar, Indonesia target $1 bn trade

rice-exportYangon, April 3 : Myanmar and Indonesia are making efforts to promote the trade volume, which is targeted to reach up to $1 billion in 2016, official media reported Wednesday.

During a meeting between Myanmar Minister of Commerce U Win Myint and visiting Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday, the two sides focused on signing a memorandum of understanding on rice trade, said the New Light of Myanmar.


32 killed, 190 injured in Myanmar water festival

myanamr-water-festivalYangon, April 20 : At least 32 people were killed and 190 others injured during a water festival held on the occasion of the new year in Myanmar, state media reported Saturday.

The water festivals called "Thingyan" were held across the country from April 13 to 16, Xinhua reported citing the New Light of Myanmar daily.

During the festival, there occurred 177 incidents including murders, car accidents, fights, theft and arson among others.


Myanmar visit to turn new page in history: Japanese PM

Shinzo-AbeYangon, May 25 : Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a message published in Myanmar official media here Saturday that his current official visit to Myanmar will bring Japan-Myanmar cooperation to even higher level and serve as an opportunity to lay down a foundation for turning a new page in history.

Abe said he will exchange views with President U Thein Sein in the forthcoming meeting, expected to take place Sunday in Nay Pyi Taw, and engage in and offer cooperation in four areas, reported Xinhua.


Myanmar posts trade surplus

trade-surplusYangon, Aug 16 : Myanmar posted a trade surplus of $8.65 million in July, official media quoted the Central Statistical Organisation as saying Friday.

With a total foreign trade of $1.586 billion, Myanmar's export amounted to $797.78 million, while its import stood at $789.13 million during the month, reported Xinhua.

However, in the first four months (April-July) of the 2013-14 fiscal year, Myanmar's foreign trade totalled $6.5 billion, of which export stood at $2.964 billion, while import represented $3.536 billion.


Australia to assist Myanmar in reform process

Quentin BryceYangon, Nov 6 : Australia has vowed to assist Myanmar in its political reform process and a wide range of sectors, including education and health, media reported Wednesday.

It was pledged by visiting Governor-General of Commonwealth of Australia Quentin Bryce when she met Myanmar President U Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday, reported Xinhua.

Quentin offered to provide scholarships to outstanding Myanmar university students, technical assistance for capacity building of lectures, teaching aid in basic education schools, access to modern teaching methods, construction of schools in rural and border areas in the country.


PM Manmohan Singh to meet neighboring countries heads in Myanmar

Manmohan-SinghNaypyidaw, March 3 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is on his last foreign visit of his tenure would be meeting leaders from the neighboring countries as he arrives to attend the BIMSTEC summit.

Singh's first engagement here is with the host Myanmar President U. Thein Sein. Sources tell ANI that both leaders will discuss cooperation in security related to the presence of insurgent groups present on both sides of the border. They will also discuss disputes in the demarcation of border, and the issue of 9 disputed pillars is expected to come up during the Thein - Singh talks.


Treat our fishermen humanely: Manmohan to Rajapaksa

Manmohan-SinghNay Pyi Taw, March 4 : Even as the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 32 more Indian fishermen, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raised the issue with the neighbouring country's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, here Tuesday, calling for a humane approach to the issue.

Meeting on the margins of the BIMSTEC Summit, the two leaders also spoke about the upcoming US-led resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the text of which was released to member countries late Monday.


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