Weekly Diary, No.641 (24-31 August 2013)

Tips for non-confrontationists: It’ll be useful to remember!

Think Piece
Three persons cross a fast flowing stream:
  • One goes with the stream
  • The other goes against the stream
  • The last one follows the middle path
Only the last one reaches the other shore. (Anonymous)

Myanmar’s honeymoon with the world is being built on the bodies of Muslim victims throughout the country.

Abdallah Yahya A. al-Mouallioni, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, July press conference, reported by Bangkok Post, 2 September 2013

The World
25 August 2013

66 men and 4 women from former communist rebels graduate from Nepal’s military academy and become officers in the national army they once fought against. (AP)

International Relations
28 August 2013
Burma announces foreigners holding its visas can freely choose to travel to the country via any of its 6 entry points: Tachilek, Myawaddy, Kawsawng as well as Rangoon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw. (Bangkok Post)

28 August 2013
Burmese embassy in Washington told Matt Rains and Alia Mehboob from Lux Capio Photography Agency earlier this month they were banned from returning to Burma after they visited conflict-stricken areas of Arakan State in April. (DVB)

28-29 August 2013
Dialogue between US Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DILS) led by Captain Robert Sanders meet Ministry of Defense officials led by Maj Gen Ye Aung. They discuss human rights awareness and values and activities of a modern military, says Ambassador Derek Mitchell. (Myanmar Times)

29 August 2013

Statement by US Defense Department says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met his Burmese counterpart Lt-Gen Wai Lwin on the sidelines of the Asean defense meeting in Brunei. Hagel had discussed “the importance of Myanmar severing military ties to North Korea,” defense spokesman George Little says. (UPI)

30 August 2013
William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, will be visiting Rangoon on 4 September, says State Department. (UPI)

Thai-Burma Relations
24 August 2013

Sutin Wannabovorn, former reporter for Reuters and AP, known for asking hard questions and challenging authority, has launched a book titled Nakkhao Sai Jon (Reporter on the bandits’ beat), sharing 40 years of his experience as a newshound. “Bandits” he has met included Khmer Rouge, Wa, Pulo, God’s Army and Khun Sa. (Bangkok Post)

Politics/ Inside Burma
23 August 2013
Union Election Commission sends out warning to political parties any party found to be accepting assistance in cash or kind from foreign countries will be banned under 407 (c) of the constitution. 2 Lower House MPs say assistance for social work should not be counted. (Mizzima)

23 August 2013
Election Commission’s bill debated in Lower House: Lawmakers can be removed if 1% of their constituents send complaints to EC. Shwe Mann and USDP lawmakers oppose the bill, but army representatives demand it should be approved. Debate suspended. If not approved, the president and union level high officials can be dismissed by parliament. If approved, lawmakers could be dismissed by the EC, made up of President’s men, says Hsipaw MP Ye Htun. (Irrawaddy)

27 August 2013
Union Parliament has approved plan to agree to $ 261.5 million loan from World Bank to support development projects. It is a 40 year loan at a fixed 0.75% interest rate. (DVB)

27 August 2013
Statement released by parliament says a 4-month review of the constitution has been approved:
  • The 109 member committee will be divided into small groups to review the charter by sections
  • It will also consider historical background, current realities, “political maturity of the people”, national reconciliation process, rule of law and stability
  • Findings will be submitted by 31 December
  • No punitive action will be taken against committee members criticizing the charter

27 August 2013
Lower House MP Pe Than, a member of Land Seizure Inquiry Commission, says Army’s decision to return 18,364 acres out of 297,000 acres seized is too slow, too less. At least another 19,000 acres should be returned. (Mizzima)

28 August 2013
Deputy defense minister Gen Kyaw Nyunt, in reply to MPs’ query, says veterans who sustained permanent disabilities receive only 30,000 kyat ($31) per annum. (Mizzima)

28 August 2013
Farmers rights bill approved by Upper House and Lower House. (Eleven)

30 August 2013
Burmese military erects No Child Soldiers billboard in downtown Rangoon. (Irrawaddy)

31 August 2013
President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi meet at presidential ranch in Naypyitaw. No details reported. (DVB)

Ethnic Affairs
25 August 2013

Mahn Nyein Maung, Karen leader, launches his book Against the storm, Across the sea, detailing his escape from Coco Islands in 1971 in a small boat. It was first published outside Burma in 2000. (Irrawaddy)

27 August 2013
UN special envoy Vijay Nambiar meets Shan community leaders in Myitkyina who say the KIO has worked only for the Kachin ethnic group and not for the Shan. (RFA)

28 August 2013

Vijay Nambiar visits Laiza and spends 5 hours holding talks with KIO officials and inspecting IDP camps. (RFA)

26-29 August 2013
Karen commanders hold conferences in Hlaing Bwe. Decides to uphold ceasefire with the government although the latter has refused to withdraw from 90 out of 300 outposts in KNU territory. (Mizzima)

29 August 2013
The UNFC and the government will meet in Chiangmai on 7 or 8 September to discuss: political framework and nationwide peace accord, according to Dr Khin Maung of UNFC, and Hla Maung Shwe of Myanmar Peace Center. (Irrawaddy)

31 August 2013

Shan-Karen delegation meets Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) led by Vice President Sai Mawk Kham. (SHAN)

Shans/ Shan State
23 August 2013
Meeting in Taunggyi announces trust-building conference in September. Karen, Karenni, Chin and Shan will be participants, according to spokesman Sai Leik. (DVB)

Economy/ Business
28 August 2013
Land prices in Muse, earlier 25 million kyat ($25,600) per acre, has climbed up to 100 million kyat ($ 105,000), following plans for 288 acre Central Economic Zone project was approved early this year. (Irrawaddy)

Human Rights
24 August 2013

42 houses and 15 shops burned down in Kantbalu, Sagaing region, following rumors that a Muslim man tried to sexually assault a young woman. (Irrawaddy)

26 August 2013
Teachers associations issue statement criticizing the sacking of a teacher in Naypyitaw for attending political rally and meetings. (Irrawaddy)

28 August 2013
Retired police officers’ criticism of today’s police force:
  • Capacity building trainings to enable them to handle conflict situations
  • Insufficient finances
  • Cases when policemen have to buy their own uniforms

29 August 2013

Monywa court sentences Naw Ohn Hla to 2 years in prison with hard labor for Letpadaung protest earlier this month. (Irrawaddy)
2 September 2013
Human Rights Watch (HRW) says draft law relating to the forming of organizations, made public on 27 July, fails to meet international norms and should be revised:
  • NGOs must obtain official registration
  • Hand over authority to military
  • Subject to decisions without appeal

2 September 2013
Sai Htun Yin, Minister for Electric Power, Shan State Government, says it is negotiating with Chinese Hanergy to begin Kunlong Hydro power project this year. The 1,400 megawatt project will be completed in 7 years under $ 1.4 billion investment. The government will receive 10% of the shares and 15% of electricity. (Mizzima)

1 September 2013
Lt-Col Sai Harn, head of RCSS’s Anti Narcotics Committee (ANC), says implementation of October 2012 agreement for a joint project in Mong Nai and Mongpan has yet to take off:
  • State government says they know nothing about the agreement and refuses entry to Mong Pan
  • Government’s militia groups are involved in trafficking
  • Further inaction will cause further suffering for the people
(Myanmar Times)


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