Weekly Diary, No.621 (9-15 February 2013)

Tips to Naypyitaw people: I agree, stop buttering up the senior General!

Think Piece
This big question (Secession) is for Scotland to decide. But the answer matters to all of our United Kingdom. Scotland is better off in Britain. We’re all better off together and poorer apart.

David Cameron, 10 January 2013, Reuters

Beijing sees Pyongyang as a crucial buffer against US troops. It also deeply fears a regime collapse could send swarms of refugees across its borders.

At the same time North Korea’s reluctance to reform its ranks and continued rocket launches and nuclear test plan rank among Beijing’s biggest frustrations.

AP, 11 February 2013

Asia can sleepwalk to war

While economic inter-dependence among countries in Asia continues to deepen, their diplomatic relations are burdened by rivalry and mistrust.

China’s diplomatic assertiveness is frightening others, making it easier for them to unite against it.

America’s foreign policy is also a key factor. If it pursues a confrontational approach, East Asia politics will become polarized. Unless it wants confrontation, it must try harder to engage China in shaping a viable regional security structure. Because war will be in no one’s interest.

Yoon Yong-Kwan, South Korea’s former foreign minister, currently Professor of International Relations at Seoul National University, Bangkok Post, 13 Februalry 2013

The World
10 February 2013

Chinese New Year celebrated around the globe. (Agencies)

10 February 2013
British PM David Cameron concedes Scotland has what it takes to be an independent nation, but implores not to break the UK apart. (Reuters)

15 February 2013

A meteor strike in central Russia leaves 1,000 people injured. Asteroid 2012 DA14 skims the earth later. No armageddon yet. (AFP)

International Relations
13 February 2013
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch warn Obama administration “to go slow and retain as much leverage as you can” in dealing with Burma as democratic reforms could be reversed. (Washington Times)

Thai-Burma Relations
9 February 2013

Visiting deputy labor minister Myint Thein asks Thailand to allow for more time for documenting an estimated 1 million migrants if the nationality verification process can’t be finished by 15 March. He also requests Thai authorities ensure the cost of completing the process is not too high. Ambassador Tin Win suggests if the cost is not to high, more would have turn up for the process. (Bangkok Post)

11 February 2013
Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) says around 10,000 workers are stranded in Myawaddy over the past 3 months after failing to find jobs. Security issues in Thailand and cancellation of contracts for foreign laborers without warning have been blamed. (Irrawady)

11 February 2013
Burma sends observers for Cobra Gold exercises in Thailand for the first time, says US embassy spokesperson Kristin Kneedler. (VOA)

12 February 2013
US consulate in Chiangmai under close watch against potential terrorist attack by an estimated 26 members of World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAWY). Some are said to be Rohingyas. (TNA)

13 February 2013
Two Burmese warships UMS 561 and UMS 562 will dock in Phuket, 20-23 February. It will be the first time Myanmar navy is visiting Thailand. (Bangkok Post)

Politics/ Inside Burma
11 February 2013

Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann, speaking on 13 January, said government and judiciary members don’t understand the parliament’s role to institute a system of check and balances and “have been unhappy” about it. (Myanmar Times)

11 February 2013
Senior members of NLD says Suu Kyi is counting the military for a constitutional change that will allow her to become president. “2015 is her first and last chance,” says spokesman Ohn Kyaing. (Bloomberg)

11 February 2013
NLD will be holding its first national congress on 8-10 March. Around 1,500 delegates are expected to attend, says spokesman Ohn Kyaing. (Bangkok Post)

13 February 2013
Two former generals appointed to the cabinet:
  • Lt-Gen Myat Hein        Telecoms ministry
  • Lt-Gen Thet Naing Win     Border Affairs Ministry

Ethnic Affairs
12 February 2013
United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), marking Panglong Agreement Day, says the country is still “federal in form, unitary in substance.” The 2008 constitution is not the answer to the ethnic issue. (Statement)

13 February 2013

President Thein Sein, meeting with 9 ethnic armed group representative in Naypyitaw, promises to hold a political dialogue aimed at national reconciliation. (Irrawaddy)

15-16 February 2013
Ethnic leaders discuss draft framework for political dialogue. (SHAN)

Shans/ Shan State
7 February 2013

Yawd Serk, Shan State Army (SSA) leader, says it can implement its plan to eliminate narcotics within 6 years if it is allowed to cooperate with the Burmese government. (Irrawaddy)

Economy/ Business
11 Februarly 2013
Kyaw Zaw Maung, director of Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, says $ 794.345 million was invested from 1 April-31 December. 62 foreign companies were recorded. (Mizzima)

Human Rights
9 February 2013
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) secretary Sit Myaing says translation of 9 Human rights conventions will be translated. Burma has adopted 3 of them: Rights of Child (CRC), Women’s (CEDAW) and Persons of Disabilities (CRPD). (Eleven Media)

10 February 2013
At least 12 reporters, including employees of Eleven Media, Bertil Lintner and a correspondent for AP, warned by Google that their email accounts might have been hacked by “state sponsored attackers.” Government spokesman Ye Htut denies it’s Naypyitaw’s policy. (New York Times / AP)

11 February 2013
Two new reports released last week say investors risk financial and public relations disasters if local inhabitants feel they are getting ripped off. One is “The financial risks of insecure land tenure: An investment view,” published by Munden Project and founder Lou Munden. Disruptions include:
  • Roadblocks
  • Acts of sabotage
  • Other forms of violence
Example: Liberia, Chile and Tanzania where companies incurred huge losses. (AFP)

12 February 2013
Than Lwin Times, Moulmein-based newspaper, carries three pages in Mon languages. (Mizzima)

13 February 2013
Villagers resume protests against Letpadaung copper mine project after Naypyitaw delayed the release of the fact-fending commission’s final report for the second time. (DVB)

14 February 2013
More than 2,000 people living in Pegu, some for more than 40 years, ordered on 28 January to leave before 1 March or face a month prison sentence. District chief says the Quarter # 9 residents are living on land owned by Industry Ministry # 1. (Mizzima)

14 February 2013
Burma Lawyers Network and US based Justice Trust says authorities forced villagers in Letpadaung to give up rights to their farmland. (VOA)

11 February 2013
Following establishment of Irrawaddy River Conservation Commission, environmentalists are pushing for formation of an all rivers conservation commission. “Irrawaddy is connected with many other rivers,” says Dewi Thant Zin. (Mizzima)

10 February 2013
A group of men enters Arakan village in Maungdaw township and assaults several villagers, killing 1 and seriously injuring 3 others. The group is allegedly wearing official Burma Border Security uniforms but believed to be Rohingyas. (Irrawaddy)


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