Weekly Diary, No.608 (27 October-2 November 2012)


Tip for everyone meeting the president confidentially: Sharp eyes and ears needed

Think Piece
We’ve no differences we can’t settle peaceably.

Silver Canyon, Louis L’amour (1957)

Your internal matter could be ours the next day, if you are not careful
Surin Pitsuwan, Asean Secretary General, to Burma on Rohingya, Bernama, 30 October 2012

New foreign investment law approved by President Thein Sein, 2 November 2012
  • Allows overseas firms to fully own ventures (except in some areas)
  • Offers tax breaks (tax holiday for the first 5 years) and lengthy land leases (up to 50 years)
  • Joint ventures will be permitted with any stake ratio agreed between partners
  • Enterprise formed under this law will not be nationalized during the contract term or its extension

Reuters, 4 November 2012

The World
1 November 2012
Beijing holds 370 member Central Committee of the Communist Party of China today to prepare for its congress, 8-14 November. 800 security volunteers plus 600,000 traffic-tourism-other tasks volunteers deployed to help keep order. (DPA)

International Relations
22 October-1 November
Cliff Richard, UK’s third best selling singer, tours Burma, where he says his father was born. He himself was born in India. (Irrawaddy)

30 October 2012
Border liaison officers (BLOs) from India and Burma holds inaugural meeting in Arunachal Pradesh. (ANI)

31 October 2012

Surin Pitsuwan, Asean Secretary General, says his effort to create a consensus within the grouping to address unrest in Burma failed after Burma says it is an internal matter. (Mizzima)

31 October 2012
Parliament, with support from UNODC and UNDP, is reviewing UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). It is the only Asean country yet to ratify it. (One World South Asia)

1 November 2012
World Bank approves $ 245 million in credit and grant funding for Burma under 18 month work plan, the first lending in 25 years. It also approves $ 80 million grant for community-driven rural projects. Another $ 165 million will be made available once the country has cleared its overdue $ 400 million debt. (Reuters)

Thai-Burma Relations
23 October 2012

Banharn Lungtoon, 19, a Shan from Wiang Haeng, caught in Chiangmai after he had robbed 3 7 Elevens and 1 gas station with a faked gun. (ASTV)

2 November 2012

Commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, following 6th JTC meeting with Burma in Bangkok, says the two sides have agreed to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers. Bilateral trade was up by 25% year on year to $ 6.1 billion last year. About 85% of this was in the form of cross-border trading. Thai investment in Burma, second biggest, is worth $ 9.5 billion. (TN)

8 November 2012
Boonruang Triruangworawat, director general of the Department of Health Service support, says as many as 17,000 positions would need to be filled as the country prepares for the advent of AEC reputation for meeting international standards, as patients on the border may cross over to use Thai hospital services. (Bangkok Post)

2 November 2012

Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra will be on a 3 day trip to Burma, 8-10 November:
8 November – Visits Naypyitaw
9 November – Meets leading Thai MPs and business people in Tachilek,
10 November – Makes merit at Shwe Dagon replica
(Bangkok Post) Latest data says he might postpone the trip – Editor

Politics/ Inside Burma
21 October 2012
Land disputes will be resolved according to law if negotiations fail to bring about a settlement, says President Thein Sein at his first press conference. (Myanmar Times)

Ethnic Affairs
23 October 2012
65 youth observers from Kokang Self- Administered Zone were at the 3rd day of the Pyithu Hluttaw 5th session. (NLM)

27 October 2012
KNU releases statement, following 25-26 October emergency meeting, saying its internal problem has been resolved. (Statement)

30 October 2012

Latest round of talks in Ruili between Naypyitaw and KIO ends with agreement for political dialogue. No breakthrough, reports border correspondent. (SHAN) Since 9 June 2011-6 October 2012, 1,820 clashes have taken place. The two sides also met 9 times: 3 state level, 3 union had level and 4 informal level. (Information officer La Nan)

31 October 2012
Karenni Civil Societies Network (KCSN) says government is not honoring its agreement made with the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP):
  • Fighting caused by Burma Army entry of KNPP controlled areas
  • Construction of Pruso military school on land confiscated from the people
  • Not allowing CSOs to visit Ywathit dam project to seek information

1 November 2012
Pending approval by its Central Committee, KIO will be meeting government negotiators this month either in Myitkyina or Bhamo, says KIO spokesman Lamai Gum Ja. (Mizzima)

1 November 2012
All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) says it will join hands with ethnic armed groups and democratic forces in working to achieve peace and national reconciliation. Reforms must be measured by health, education and land ownership rights being enjoyed by the people, says chairman Thankhe. (Mizzima)

2 November 2012
All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMRDP) and Mon Democratic Party (MDP) open single office in Mudon. (IMNA)

Shans/ Shan State
28 October 2012

Meeting in Tachilek of Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, UNODC and RCSS/SSA which began yesterday ends in 9 point agreement for a crop substitution pilot project in 2 townships. It still needs approval from Naypyitaw before implementation, says an SSA officer. (SHAN)

29 October 2012
Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) issues statement:
  • It supports Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD)’s opposition to adoption of geographical names to the non-Burman states
  • It supports mergence of Shan State parties into one single party

Economy/ Business
24 October 2012
Deputy Minister for Finance and Revenie Dr Maung Maung Thein, on the 5th day of the Pyithu Hluttaw Session, says:
  • Total foreign debt (including capital and interest) is $ 15.089 billion
  • Total domestic debt is K 9,988.9 billion

29 October 2012
In July, sportswear giant Adidas said it would close its only affiliated factory in Jiangsu province with plans to relocate to Burma. (Bangkok Post)

1 November 2012
Parliament passes more business-friendly foreign investment law. Earlier version rejected by the President was criticized as too protectionist. (Wall Street Journal)

1 November 2012
Long awaited foreign direct investment (FDI) bill passed by Union Parliament. Changes aim to lift limits on foreigners. (Irrawaddy)

Human Rights
19-26 October 2012
Naypyitaw holds 19th Myanmar National Races Traditional Performing Arts 2012. (Mizzima)

26 October 2012

Information minister U Aung Kyi says foreign media can be sued for defamation under the Law of Trot. He was replying to a question by an MP on the 5th day of the Amyotha Hluttaw session. (NLM)

29 October 2012
UNHCR says 22,587 were displaced and 4,600 homes destroyed in Arakan violence. State television meanwhile reports 84 dead and 129 injured in 9 townships. (Irrawaddy)

31 October 2012
Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) issues statement saying 10,000 people are forced out from their homes during the past year in eastern Burma, compared to 75,000 yearly over the previous decade. It estimates there are about 400,000 IDPs in southeastern Burma. (Irrawaddy)

31 October 2012
State television broadcasts announcement from President’s Office:
  • 89 killed, 136 injured, 32,231 made homeless and more than 5,000 homes burned between 21-30 October
  • Suspected instigators include a group or groups that previously signed ceasefire

31 October 2012

Jack Dunford, longtime executive director of TBBC, is stepping down effective next year. Sally Thompson is the next executive director. (Mizzima)

1 November 2012
Network for Human Rights Documentation (ND-Burma) issues bi-annual report saying land grabs and rights violations persisted throughout the country. The 2012 Farmland Law opens the door to confiscation on any pretext associated with a state project or national interest, said Asia Legal Resource Center. (Mizzima)

1 November 2012
At least 3,000 Rohingya who fled by boat from violence a week ago remain missing, according to Rohingya community. (Deutche Welle)

1 November 2012
Foreigners still aren’t allowed to enter the premises of the University of Rangoon, which now offers classes mainly just for graduate programs, without permission. The largely desisted campus is covered in lush overgrowth. Burma is suffering from shortage of trained workers. (Wall Street Journal)

31 October 2012
Opium cultivation has doubled since 2006, reports UNODC in Bangkok:
  • China alone has I million registered heroin users
  • Output in Burma soared to 690 tons from 610 tons last year
  • Price in Burma also rose to $ 520 per kg from $ 450 last year
  • There are 300,000 opium growing households
  • Officials destroyed 3 times more than they did last year

27 October 2012
Joint KIA-SSA-TNLA force clashes with Burma Army’s IB 144 – LIB 501 in Namkham. 3 killed and 8 wounded on the Burma Army’s side. (PSLF Statement)

28 October 2012
The United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), made up of the 1990 elections-winning parties, call for immediate end to armed conflicts and general amnesty. (Statement)

29 October 2012
Myawady News, Burma Army mouthpiece, reports arrest of 4 Shan State Army (SSA) North officers together with 44 new recruits in Namkham on 26 October. Their leader Khema escaped. (Myawady)

31 October 2012

Khun Myint, Vice Chairman of National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), passes away in Mongla. He was 82 on 29 October. (SHAN)


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