Weekly Diary, No.620 (1-8 February 2013)


Tips to the Lady: Hope it doesn’t happen to you

Think Piece
After Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD), so called “Ministry of Truth” is gone, a strict set of guidelines still remains:
  • The state shall not be negatively criticized
  • Things that will damage ties with other countries must not be published
Moreover, parliament passed a motion to investigate a blogger by the name of Dr Seik Phwa. Pe Myint, head of the complaints committee, newly formed Interim Press Council, found it difficult to answer about this, when asked.
Veteran journalist Fergal Keane’s advice to censors is to draw the line at the point which freedom of expression becomes a platform upon which to incite violence.

Al Jazeera, 6 February 2013

Before Aung San Suu Kyi is crowned, there are vital battles to be won, such as:
  • Three Ps: politics, peace and the people
  • A proper election law
  • Proper electoral register
  • Conditions for a fair campaign
  • Victory among ethnic Burman majority
  • Adequate preparations for government
  • Alliance with non-Burman ethnic parties

The Guardian UK, 6 February 2013

We do not agree with the Myanmar government fighting with the Kachin. You can’t have reconciliation just because you stop fighting with one group, but continue fighting with another. If the government wants peace, they have to stop fighting with every group.

Lt-Gen Yawd Serk, President, Restoration Council of Shan State, to Reuters, 7 February 2013.

The World
3 February 2013

About 2 million of South Africa’s 23 million electorate, called “born frees” because they were born after 1994, when Apartheid was abolished, will be voting next year. Many are speaking hopefully of their future but criticizing ruling African National Congress (ANC) for being stuck in the past and unwilling to fix current problems. (Reuters/Bangkok Post)

International Relations
1 February 2013

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director Human Rights Watch, hits out at the international community for “oversell and hasty praise” that have “hindered, not helped” Burma’s reforms. Laws that have been used to imprison peaceful activists, lawyers and journalists remain on the books. He calls for benchmark easing or lifting of sanctions. (Mizzima)

5 February 2013

Cai Jinyong, Vice President of International Finance Corporation, at a press conference in Rangoon, says it is giving an interest-free Loan of $ 165 million from the World Bank for power industry prioritized projects. (Mizzima)

6 February 2013

New US Secretary of State John Kerry will make no changes to US policy on Burma, says State Department. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Brock will travel to Burma next week. (Irrawaddy)

8 February 2013
Following meeting with President Thein Sein, visiting ADB president Haruhiku Karuda holds press conference and announces funding program of $50 million grant/ loan to be used for education, urban development, infrastructure and community development. (Mizzima)

Politics/ Inside Burma
1-3 February 2013
Irrawaddy Literary Festival at Inya Lake Hotel in Rangoon. Dozens of leading authors have gathered there including Jung Chang, Vikram Seth and more than 80 others. (Mizzima)

6 February 2013
Tin Shwe, upper house member from National Democratic Front (NDF) appointed as deputy minister of hotels and tourism, reports New Light. There was no negotiation and we didn’t know it in advance, says chairman Khin Maung Swe, The party nonetheless supports the appointment. (Australian)

Ethnic Affairs
1 February 2013

KIO spokesman La Nan says “there is no plan yet to hold meetings in Panghsang.” He calls for mediation of international governments or credible organizations. (DVB)

4 February 2013

Chinese officials as well as Karen and Shan representatives for the first time attend talks between Naypyitaw and KIO. (DVB/ SHAN)

Shans/ Shan State
17 January-2 February 2013

Sai Nyunt Lwin, General Secretary, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, on a medical visit to Thailand. He was suffering from hernia and piles. (SHAN)

7 February 2013
Shan State National Day marked officially for the second consecutive year with more people participating. Message from Shan State chief Sao Aung Myat read out. (SHAN)

8 February 2013
Meeting held in Taunggyi in preparation for next month’s trustbuilding for peace (state level) forum. (SHAN)

Economy/ Business
1 February 2013
Carlsberg, world’s 4th largest brewer from Denmark, says it has signed a deal with Myanmar Golden Star Breweries to build a new brewery. Carlsberg will own 51% of the joint venture. (Reuters)

3 February 2013
Police seize around $ 140,000 worth of pseudo-ephedrine based cold and flu tablets plus a large cache of weapons in Tamu. In India, those tablets can be bought cheaply and easily, because they are not restricted, says an official. (New Light of Myanmar/Irrawaddy)

6 February 2013
Suzuki will start manufacturing 100 small trucks a month in May, it says after receiving approval to resume production. (Reuters)

7 February 2013
Proposed legislation on the overhaul of the Central Bank, drafted with the help of Japan, Thailand, IMF, World Bank and ADB, is expected to pass and signed by the President next month, according to a lawmaker Win Myint. Previously only military officers were appointed to the bank. (Bloomberg)

Human Rights
2 February 2013
In his radio broadcast to the people, President Thein Sein says the government is undertaking farmland ownership registration process in order that farmers can obtain working capitals by putting up their farmland as securities when necessary. (Speech text)

5 February 2013
A new 600-acre plot land has been chosen for a hotel zone in the Inlay Lake area, says Soe Win Naing, secretary for the project land from 6 villages earmarked: Kanbe, Chaungpa, Ingyigone, Magyigone, Wetthakin and Thaleoo. Over 400 million kyat ($ 470,000) has been paid in compensation to 53 farmers, he says. (Mizzima) Some 100 villagers had protested against “confiscation by compensation” program on 29 January. (DVB)

6 February 2013
8 officials from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology are under instigation for corruption related to a project of the current administration, according a home ministry official. Current constitution prohibits taking any legal action against any member of the junta that held power until 2011. (Irrawaddy)

7 February 2013

President’s office says new committee, headed by minister Soe Thein will scrutinize the remaining “political prisoners” so as to grant them liberty. Representatives from government ministries, civil societies and political parties will also make up the committee. (VOA)

7 February 2013
Since October 2012, 5,899 Rohingyas have entered Thai territory, 1,752 of whom are in immigration holding centers, police stations or welfare shelters, according to the Thai military’s Internal Security Operations Command. (AFP)

7 February 2013
Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) General Director Arjan Hehankemp tells press conference in Rangoon government security forces restrict MSF visits and limit the movement of Muslim patients even if they are critically ill. MSF press release also says it has been accused of having pro-Rohingya bias by some members of the Arakanese community. (Irrawaddy)

7 February 2013
New Light says government has agreed to make arrangement to reconstruct houses, reopen schools and hospitals and allow aid to be delivered to IDPs. (Mizzima)

5 February 2013
Upper House votes to form new commission to address environmental problems facing the Irrawaddy. The idea was proposed by Myo Myint, a USDP MP, formerly deputy minister of agriculture and irrigation. (Irrawaddy)

2 February 2013
Participants of mobile drug forums led by Chalerm Kanjanapitak of Nakhon Srithammarat say:
  • Government drug policies are not well integrated
  • A central agency to lead a national drug crackdown is lacking
  • Authorities are not working in time to solve the problem
(Bangkok Post)


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