Weekly Diary, No.612 (22-30 November 2012)


Tips to leaders over 60: Time for repairs!

Think Piece
A human rights policy that is actually worse than nothing.
Bangkok Post, on Asean Human Rights charter, 25 November 2012

President Thein Sein announced on the eve of Obama’s visit his government is ready to sign additional protocol with IAEA. Current agreement requires little in terms of disclosure. How quickly it moves to sign depends on parliament’s approval. The military is likely to oppose scrutiny of sensitive sites.

Matthew Pennington, AP, reprinted by Bangkok Post, 25 November 2012

A Kachin woman living in Rangoon working in publishing says she’s told, “Stop speaking that monkey language” by Burmese friends when she and other Kachin speak in their native tongue.
Los Angeles Times, 21 November 2012

Though Asean countries have agreed to allow workers of 8 professions (doctors, nurses, dentists, engineers, architects, surveyors, tour guides and accountants) to freely move to other member countries, they still have to register and observe domestic requirements in those countries.
Nurses, dentists and doctors require tests done in the Thai language, while others need a certain amount of knowledge of Thai to work in the country. Tour guides, however, have no requirements.

Somkiat Tangkitvanich, President, Thailand Development Research Institute, Bangkok Post, 27 November 2012

The World
25 November 2012

Catalans vote for pro-independence Convergence and Union Alliance, led by Artur Mas, who has promised to hold a referendum on self-determination if he wins. Mas’s CU wins 50 out of 135 seats. Another pro-independence party Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) gets 21. (AFP)

27 November 2012
Unprecedented debate over how the internet is to be governed is set to dominate the 12 day Telecommunications Union (ITU), 3-14 December. (Reuters)

29 November 2012
New rules that take effect on 1 January 2013 will allow Chinese police to board and seize control of foreign ships which “illegally enter” Chinese waters, says official China Daily. (Reuters)

29 November 2012
UN General Assembly decides to accept Palestine as a non-member observer state. (AP)

International Relations
26 November 2012
UN General Assembly passes resolution expressing concern about rights abuses in Kachin and Arakan states. (KNG)

27 November 2012
Some 36,000 people displaced by Arakan violence will get additional $ 5.3 million assistance from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), UN announces. (UN News Center)

27 November 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein are jointly ranked in first place in the list of 100 global thinkers for 2012 released by Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine. (Irrawaddy)

27 November 2012
Burma’s importance to China will grow as Beijing’s dependency on Middle East oil increases, says International Energy Agency (IEA). For instance, in 2011, Iraq supplied 5% of China’s imports, around 275,000 barrels per day. But it will increase to 8 million barrels by 2035. (Irrawaddy)

Thai-Burma Relations
24 November 2012
To the relief of its neighbors, the Pitak Siam protest in Bangkok calling for the overthrow of the Yingluck government ends after an 8 hour rally. (Agencies)

26 November 2012

Visiting Deputy Minister Myint Thein asks Thailand to extend verification deadline for another 6 months. Employment department director general Pravit Kiangpol says Thai labor ministry’s hands are tied by cabinet resolution not to extend for the “third” time. Accordingly an estimated 1 million migrant workers who have yet to apply for nationality verification ahead of 14 December deadline could face deportation. (Bangkok Post)

27 November 2012

Burma has invited Airports of Thailand (AoT) to help develop and run its international airports in Rangoon and Naypyitaw, says Somchai Sawasdeepol, acting president of AoT. (Bangkok Post)

Politics/ Inside Burma
27 November 2012
The 5th session of Parliament in January will investigate whether $ 20,000 extra budget allocation for 70 retired officers is legal. (Irrawaddy)

Ethnic Affairs
26 November 2012
KNU 15th congress begins.
  • Aging chairman Tamla Baw, 93, steps down
  • Contenders for the office are Mutu Saypo who reportedly enjoys support from brigades 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and Zipporah Sein who is supported by brigades 2, 5 and the majority of current central committee

28 November 2012
Chin National Front (CNF) is due to meet government delegation let by U Aung Min, 7-8 December. (DVB)

29 November 2012
Mon leaders hold press conference in Rangoon asking House Speaker Shwe Mann to stop Burmese academics and state-run media from making claims that Suvarnabhumi was the town of Pyu, or “we will take to nationwide protests”. The Burmese historian eyeballed by them is Chit San Win. (Irrawaddy)

Shans/ Shan State
28 November 2012

Shan leaders present at the Press Conference call for:
  • Federalism
  • Amendment of 2008 constitution
  • International monitoring of agreements between government and Shan forces
They express appreciation for government’s permission to successfully hold the conference. “It means we will be able to carry out the peace process one step after another,” says Hkun Htun Oo. (Irrawaddy/Mizzima)

Economy/ Business
22 November 2012
Burma could emerge as Asia’s next rising star, says IMF mission chief Meral Karasulu, following 5-22 November visit. He signals the country could receive its Fund Monitoring Program in 2013. (One World South Asia)

Human Rights
22 November 2012
More than 500 students from Nationality Youth Resource Development Degree college in Mandalay demonstrate after their school was transferred to Sagaing. Lt-Gen Thein Htay, Minister for Border Affairs, meets them on 24 November. There are 1,289 students enrolled at campuses in Mardalay and Rangoon, according to Thein Htay. (Myanmar Times)

23 November 2012

Minister Aung Min tells activists demanding to close Letpadaung copper mines it would amount to being ungracious, after 1988, when food was imported from China through Muse “allowing us to survive.” The project is a joint venture between Wangbao and military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (UMEH), signed 2011. It has confiscated 7,800 acres of farmland and forced farmers in 66 villages to relocate. (DVB)

23 November 2012
UNHCR begins airlift of tents to the victims of recent violence in Arakan from Dubai. It is home to UNHCR’s emergency stockpiles. (Reuters)

25 November 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi, on the Letpadaung copper mines project, says:
  • A process transparency needed before implementing government projects
  • Unilateral break off of ongoing projects can put to loss international trust.

27 November 2012
Government orders protesters to cease occupation of Monywa copper mine (since 18 November) by midnight or face legal action. (AP)

27 November 2012
Local people in Pauktaw township are opposing plan to set up temporary shelter for Rohingyas displaced by June/October violence. (RFA)

29 November 2012
Security forces use water cannons, tear gas and smoke bombs to clear Letpadaung copper mine protesters. 27 monks and 1 layman admitted at Mandalay hospital. (AP)

29 November 2012
Leading members of University Lecturers Union in Mandalay have been transferred across Burma by education officials who dislike unions, says ULU joint secretary Dr Thet Naing. (DVB)

30 November 2012
Buddhist monks launch separate protests in Mandalay, Rangoon, Magwe and Bangkok to condemn crack down on anti-copper mine protest in Monyaw. (Irrawaddy)

30 November 2012
Since 8 November, immigration officials are collecting information about Rohingyas: birth dates and places, parents and grandparents in Paukhtaw township. (AP)

30 November 2012
Speaking to a crowd of 10,000 people in Monywa, Aung San Suu Kyi says authorities apologize for the violent crackdown while sticking to the government’s view that the commitment to the project should be followed through. (AP)

30 November 2012
Issues such as relocation, compensation, environmental protection and profit sharing regarding Monywa copper mine project have been jointly settled “by the two sides”, says press release by the Chinese embassy. (Press Release)

29 November 2012
Storm in Chin State has stunted rice output in Matupi and Thantlang townships. One farmer says his village which normally produces 30,000 tins a year is only able to scrape up 700 tins this year. (Khonumthung)

26 November 2012
According to Asahi Shimbun 24 November, a cargo of around 50 metal pipes and 15 high-specification aluminum alloy bars seized by Japan on 22 August. Some of the cargo was for a nuclear weapons program. President’s Office director Zaw Htay denies later of the existence of such a program. Bertil Lintner meanwhile says Burma has missile connections with North Korea, not nuclear connections. (Irrawaddy)


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