Weekly Diary, No.498 (3-9 June 2010)


Tips for the Sernior General: You don’t need any here!

Think Piece
“We don’t have mentors. Journalism in Myanmar has lost a few generations,” said a chief of a news unit. At Eleven Media, every senior newsroom position up to news editor is filled by people under 30, excepting one who is 31. In most other countries, these people would be just interns. When I taught some of them the “telephone call” trick of writing the lead news paragraph. “If you have 20 seconds to tell your mother what happened, what you tell her is your first paragraph”, they were so grateful it made me feel embarrassed.

Tulsathit Taptim, The Nation, 7 June 2012

When you are the majority in a society, then you are the strong party. If you are strong, then you must be generous and sympathetic. I would like to see all people in Burma get along with each other regardless of their religion and ethnicity.

Aung San Suu Kyi, on the killing of 10 Muslims brutally killed in Taunggoke on 3 June, DVB, 6 June 2012

If you have a fish in fresh water, you cannot put it in salt water (right away) so we need to take time for tansformation and progress. When the time is appropriate, there would be changes and this 25% participation (in Parliament) could be reduced.

Defense Minister Hla Min, speaking at the 11th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, 2 June 2012, Mizzima News

The hat merchant wears leaves
The drum merchant beats bamboo-tube

Shan saying, on Burma selling gas and electric power but the country itself facing power shortage, SHAN, 8 June 2012

The World
6 June 2012
Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Europe’s largest anti-virus company, told a gathering of technology company executives last month in Sydney that cyber weapons, “a thousand times cheaper than conventional armaments, are the most dangerous innovation of the century.” (AP)

6 June 2012

Venus passes between the earth and the sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event. (Agencies)

International Relations
1 June 2012

Burma chosen to host the 2013 World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, on the last day of the 3-day conference in Bangkok. (Mizzima)

2 June 2012
Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies at 11th Asia Security Summit, defense minister Gen Hla Min says the country’s primitive nuclear program has been abandoned and its ties with North Korea reduced. The 25% seats in parliament can also be altered as the country develops.

US defense secretary Leon Panetta also says his country will open to forging ties with Burma’s military if the country continues on a path of democratic reform. (Mizzima)

7 June 2012

Australian FM Bob Carr, after meeting President Thein Sein in Naypyitaw, announces Australia is lifting its remaining travel and financial sanctions against Burmese military figures involved in past rights abuses. Australia cut the number of names on its blacklist from 392 to 126 in April. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Thai-Burma Relations
5 June 2012
Thailand’s PTT is planning to open petrol service stations in Burma next year. Myanmar Petroleum Products Enterprise (MPPE) has already been privatized, selling most of its 400 service stations to local operators while keeping 12 for its own. (Bangkok Post)

6 June 2012

Thai FM Surapong Tovichakchaikul says Aung San Suu Kyi, during her 6-day visit, was allowed to address only issues such as labor and refugees. She was not allowed to meet ethnic leaders or hold political talks during her visit to Tak. (Bangkok Post)

Politics/ Inside Burma
3 June 2012
Win Myo Thu, head of the Myanmar Affairs website, launched first polls before the 2010 elections. He says the exercise helps officials to learn more about the needs of the general public. But the lack of a census means one does not have a baseline population from which to sample from, according to a dean at University of Essex. (AFP)

4 June 2012
State media urges Ms Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein to “cooperate”, saying the future of the nation “depend completely” on the two working together. (Bangkok Post)

6 June 2012

Tint Lwin, Deputy Minister for Post and Telecommunications and Soe Aung, Deputy Minister for Energy “allowed to resign from their posts of their own volition”, announces the presidential office in state-run news papers. (Reuters)

7 June 2012
State television news broadcast a brief statement announcing 15 June release of 10,000 kyat ($ 12) bank note. Current highest denomination 5,000 kyat ($ 6) was introduced in 2009. (AP)

Ethnic Affairs
5 June 2012
Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian work group, says there are 50,998 displaced people living in 45 temporary camps in Kachin are and an additional 10,000 more people not in camps. There are also an estimated 120 battalions, around 8,000 troops, in Kachin State.
Fighting started on 9 June 2011 after the Army set out to remove a KIA post near 2dams under construction by the China Datang Corporation along the Taping river.
KIA is conducting joint operations in Lashio-Muse road area with troops from Palaung and Shan State Army North. (Mizzima)

8 June 2012
Kachins hold seminar on Kachin conflict report prepared by Kachin Women Association of Thailand (KWAT) that has displaced 75,000 victims. Burma’s National Human Rights Commission announced earlier it would consider not ethnic issues. (Bangkok Post)

Shans/ Shan State
31 May 2012
Shan State elders, NGOs and Ceasefire groups call for increased share in revenue and election of chief minister of state. (SHAN)

4 June 2012
Mongla reopened for tourism. (SHAN)

8 June 2012
Workers at Namtu silver mines end their protest after Win Myint Mo, a subsidiary of Asia World company, agreed to their calls for increased wage and better treatment. (Kawli Media)

Economy/ Business
3 June 2012
Minister for Industry and Investment Commission chairman Soe Thein, speaking at Rangoon’s Chatrium Hotel, calls for formation of trade unions, “the sooner the better”. (Mizzima)

Human Rights
5 June 2012
New Light of Myanmar publishes government statement retracts use of “Kalar”, a racial slur for persons of Indian appearance. It urges readers to refer to the Sunday victims as “Islamic residents.” (DVB)

6 June 2012
Employees of 6 factories in Hlaing Thaya Industrial Zone return to work after reaching agreement on higher wages and improved working conditions. (Irrawaddy)

7 June 2012
New Light of Myanmar says Brig-Gen Kyaw Zan Myint, deputy home minister, will lead the probe into the 3 June killing of 10 Muslims in Rakhine State “to expose the truth and take legal actions.” (AFP)

7 June 2012
Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC), in its report to Asian Human Rights Councils, says:

  • Almost daily, news media report of people being forced out of their homes or losing land, sometimes being offered paltry compensations, sometimes nothing.
  • Most of those involved are MPs from the ruling party and the Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Limited (UMEHL)
  • Administrative officials continue to behave as they have for decades
  • New Farmland Law 2012 has not corrected the problem and should be revised

The Law still maintains the state is the ultimate owner of all land and all natural resources, and the state can take over any land in the national interest. (Mizzima)

7 June 2012

VOA Burmese Service Director David Ensor, during his 4-day visit to Burma, met information minister Kyaw Hsan. He was told by his host VOA as well as media groups in exile will be allowed to open Burmese bureaus after a new media law is approved in July or August at the latest. The two signed agreement VOA journalists would be allowed multi-entry visas. (Irrawaddy)

5 June 2012
China’s law enforcement authorities warned severe situation in curbing cross-border drug smuggling. Satellite monitoring data says poppy growing area expanded from 31,700 hectares in 2011 to around 44,866 hectares this year, a 41% increase. More synthetic drugs seen smuggled from Burma. By contrast, area used to grow poppies in Afghanistan grew by 7% to 131,000 hectares, with a total output of about 5,800 tons of opium. (Mizzima)

6 June 2012

  • Burma accounts for 23% of poppy cultivation worldwide in 2011, says UNODC, in May. 246,000 households are involved in opium cultivation, 91% of the cultivation occurring in Shan State.
  • Two of UNODC alternative development initiatives focus on 10 villages in Hopang and Loilem townships. Three project interventions involve collaboration with Burmese government agencies, local ethnic leaders and communities, and a close partnership with World Food Programme (WFP)
  • 91% of all surveyed households in Hopong suffer from some level of food deficiency and 77% have to borrow money to buy enough food to eat
  • In Loilem, food shortages in nearly 70% of sampled villages with over 53% of households in debt



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