Archive for the 'Burma solidarity' Category

Invitation: 1st Anniversary of Saffron Revolution in Burma on 27th September 2008

from: Burma Centre Delhi (BCD)
to: Burma Solidarity
date: Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 1:31 PM

subject:
[BurmaSolidarity] Invitation: 1st Anniversary of Saffron Revolution in Burma on 27th September 2008

Dear friends,

The 1st Anniversary to commemorate the Saffron Revolution in Burma is being organized worldwide under the banner of the Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association on 27th September 2008.


As you are aware, last year, when a peaceful nationwide protest was courageously staged by Burmese Buddhist monks, they were brutally crackdown by the military regime. Many monks, students and civilians were killed, arrested and tortured.


On this day, the Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association would like to honour all those who sacrificed their lives during the Saffron Revolution and remind the people of Burma and world that the official ex-communication campaign is still valid.


In Delhi, on this day, the India branch of the Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association will organize a peaceful march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.


We invite you to join us at the march. We urge you to show your solidarity and support to the people of Burma struggling against the repressive regime; struggling to have a life of dignity and basic human rights.

Date : 27th September 2008 (Saturday)

Time : 11 am

Venue : Mandi House to Jantar Mantar (New Delhi)


Organized by:

The Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association (India)


Contact Person:

U Aemon (Monk) : 9810-807592

Mr. Htun Htun : 9891-280954

——————————
BURMA CENTRE DELHI (BCD)
c/o X- 6, First Floor
Green Park Main
New Delhi – 110016
Telefax: + 91-11-26511207

Burma Centre Delhi (BCD) is a non-profit and non-partisan organization formed in August 2008 with the aim to restore peace, justice, democracy and human rights in Burma.

[BurmaSolidarity] Rights violations serious in Myanmar: U.N. investigator

from: Salong
reply-to: burmasolidarity@googlegroups.com
date: Tue, Jun 10, 2008 at 3:07 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] Rights violations serious in Myanmar: U.N. investigator

News Headlines

1. Rights violations serious in Myanmar: U.N. investigator

2. Myanmar Cyclone Response: Power-Lust and Lost Lives

3. Cyclone relief to Myanmar

4. Kentuckian Returns from Myanmar

5. Myanmar denies rumours of fish eating corpses

6. Medics wrap up Myanmar mission

7. Myanmar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry: Investment Opportunities, Analysis and Forecasts to 2012

8. Myanmar frees 15 members of opposition party

9. Myanmar or Burma? Apple’s dictionary had an opinion

==============================

Rights violations serious in Myanmar: U.N. investigator

Reuters

Published: 10 hours ago

GENEVA – The Myanmar military junta’s arrest of a popular comedian campaigning for victims of cyclone Nargis is part of continuing serious human rights violations in the country, a United Nations investigator said on Monday.

Tomas Ojea Quintana also told a news briefing there were political prisoners in the country, despite the regime’s insistence it imprisons law breakers.

“The latest information coming to me in the last few days builds up a picture of a serious situation of violations of human rights in Myanmar,” said Ojea Quintana, an Argentine lawyer who has just taken up his U.N. post.

A child stands outside a newly built house in the village of Pay Kunhnasay in the Kawhmu township May 30, 2008. REUTERS/Aung Hla Tung

News reports from Yangon said the comedian, known by his stage name of Zarganar, was detained last Wednesday by police who seized his computer and banned film and recordings of the devastation caused by the cyclone.

Ojea Quintana, whose own parents were political prisoners under a military regime in Argentina, said he had asked the Myanmar authorities for clarification and for information on Zarganar’s whereabouts, but had received no reply.

As special investigator for Myanmar, he reports to the U.N.’s 47-nation Human Rights Council at which he called last week for release of all political prisoners, starting with Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar’s ambassador in Geneva denied his government arrested people for political reasons. He also rejected another assertion by the investigator that soldiers had shot prisoners on the night of the cyclone on May 2.

Ojea Quintana said on Monday he understood the prisoners, in a jail at Insein in the Irrawady delta where Nargis struck with full force, were trying to flee the partially destroyed facility to save their lives.

In his report, he asked the Myanmar authorities to investigate assertions by a Thailand-based activist group that 36 prisoners had died when police and troops moved in to quell what they said was a riot.

The investigator said he hoped to be able to establish an open dialogue with the government on Myanmar and to be given permission to visit the country to check information coming into his office. But so far no clearance had come from Yangon.

© Reuters 2008

http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=9a0a6aa4-6e62-4410-aff8-a3d3143cecf8

========================

Myanmar Cyclone Response: Power-Lust and Lost Lives

Bill Haymin
June 09, 2008
By Byron Barlowe

Probe Ministries

www.probe.org

http://www.probe.org/hot-topics/myanmar-cyclone-response-power-lust-and-lost-lives.html.

Summary: One of this month´s top headlines features the cruelty of a little-known national government that is shockingly limiting delivery of adequate aid to its own people in the aftermath of a cyclone that killed tens of thousands and wreaked havoc that promises to sicken and kill many more. What drives this stubborn regime in the Asian nation of Myanmar? What explains the contrasting response of world powers to this humanitarian crisis? We briefly examine the worldview that allows for such rank inhumanity as compared to a biblical framework.

Corrupted Power

Climate of Fear and Repression

Myanmar, traditionally known as Burma, is a country where ten percent of the population lives “without enough to eat” on a normal basis.{1} The brutal military government is best known for the repression of a democratically elected opposition candidate, Aung San Suu Kyi, now under long-term house arrest. Burma watchers´ blogs and sites show grisly photos of alleged brutality (one shows the carnage of soldiers running over political dissidents with ten-wheeled trucks). Last fall, the junta put down protest marches, killing at least 13 and jailing thousands. “Since then, the regime has continued to raid homes and monasteries and arrest persons suspected of participating in the pro-democracy protests.”{2}

Now, a cyclone has inundated an entire region, the Irrawaddy Delta, killing tens of thousands, displacing at least a million and setting up a petri dish of putrid water and corpses where disease threatens to balloon the death toll. Within this maelstrom, the ruling generals who clutch political power at all costs refuse to allow experienced aid workers from around the world to help manage food distribution and relief efforts. The callousness of their stance has been decried on all fronts, including the often diplomatically soft United Nations (UN).

Feeding and assisting one’s own countrymen seems to be such a basic value that it transcends almost all belief systems. However, the Burmese ruling junta is arrogantly defying not only this basic tenet of decency, but world opinion as well.

Failure to Allow Rendered Aid

“The United Nations said Tuesday that only a tiny portion of international aid needed for Myanmar’s cyclone victims is making it into the country, amid reports that the military regime is hoarding good-quality foreign aid for itself and doling out rotten food,” reports the Associated Press.

It’s understandable if the government wants to lead in relieving victims of its own nation. Yet, characteristically, even in this dire situation the government is cracking down on anything not originating from its own authority while repressing its own people. Reports include:

Stockpiling of high-nutrition biscuits in government warehouses and distribution of low-quality biscuits made by the centralized Industry Ministry.

Old, tainted, low-quality rice distributed in lieu of high-quality, nutritious rice offered by aid groups.

Government demands of businesses in the capital to “donate” aid for victims to be distributed through the central government.{3} So much for central “planning.” Were there a desire to provide relief, it could have been budgeted before now.

Video feeds of military leaders show them in neat, trim uniforms placing relief boxes away from those in need―the very picture of micro-managing control, reminiscent of regimes like North Korea.

Like Cuba in its extreme isolationism, the interests of its people are at the bottom of the ruling party´s priorities.

Global Chorus of Criticism

A global chorus of critics has castigated Myanmar for its delays and mixed messages regarding large-scale aid and foreign experts. In what appears to be a show of cooperation, but without the needed effect, more supply flights have been allowed, critical days after the cyclone hit. Yet at this writing, food and relief supplies continue to stack up at the capital’s airport and, reportedly, in military storage facilities.

Aid offers from across the globe contrast starkly with the calculated deprivation and malfeasance exhibited by the military rulers. World leaders are simply appealing with the message, “Let us help.”

Another clear message to the leaders in Yangon: You are responsible for outcomes. “A natural disaster is turning into a humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions in significant part because of the malign neglect of the regime,” said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.{4}

The United States has been direct in offering help. “What remains is for the Burmese government to allow the international community to help its people. It should be a simple matter. It is not a matter of politics,” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters in Washington.{5}

Even the UN, often accused of appeasing dictatorial regimes, refused to allow the army-government to head up distribution efforts. “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he is deeply concerned and immensely frustrated at ´the unacceptably slow response. We are at a critical point. Unless more aid gets into the country very quickly, we face an outbreak of infectious diseases that could dwarf today’s crisis,´” he said.{6}

The UN has learned lessons from past dicatorships’ abuse of privilege.The Oil-for-Food fiasco under Saddam Hussein provides reason enough for UN reticence. Past humanitarian disasters in Africa saw regimes mismanaging aid for political reasons as well. Good intentions of the aid-provider must meet with realistic views of human nature. The foibles and sin of men, especially those in power, tends to validate a biblical view of fallen man much like the physics of a concrete sidewalk demonstrates gravity pretty convincingly.

Some Worldview Implications

The heartlessness of Myanmar´s leaders evokes sympathy and indignation among most people. But why? A naturalistic worldview―neo-Darwinism taken to its logical end, for example―would only be concerned with perpetuating those strong enough or “smart enough” to have survived. It might even be the case that the cyclone culled out the least-fit. This naturalistic worldview formed the basis of everything from the eugenics movement to Nazi death camps (not exactly consistent with an insistence on instant relief work).

The final goal of Theravada Buddhism, the strain claimed by 96 percent of the population of Myanmar, is complete detachment from the physical world, which is seen as illusory. Its practice is passive in nature; there is no ultimate reality, much less salvation or reward to attain. This is nothing like the practice of the Dali Lama, well-known the world over for human rights campaining. In his Buddhist sect, Lamaism or Tibetan Buddhism, acts of compassion make sense. Theravadic Buddhism as practiced in Burma, on the other hand, views man as an individual with no incentive for helping others. For Burmese monks and adherants alike, there is really no necessary motivation to provide aid in this or any situation.

Generally speaking, “According to Buddhist belief, man is worthless, having only temporary existence. In Christianity, man is of infinite worth, made in the image of God, and will exist eternally. Man’s body is a hindrance to the Buddhist while to the Christian it is an instrument to glorify God” {7}. While Christian missions like Food for the Hungry, Gospel for Asia, Samaritan’s Purse and others actively seek to assist the Burmese, few such wholesale efforts proceed from either Buddhist nations or in-country monks themselves.

A pantheistic view, rooted in Hinduism’s doctrine of karma, would only wonder what deeds were being dealt with in the recycling of life. This worldview provides no real cause for alarm or compassion at all.

Despite such competing underpinnings at a worldview level, something in the human spirit cries out for fellow humans who suffer. Unless tamped down or obliterated, natural sympathies exist. This leads to the inevitable question, “Why? From where does this universal reality spring?”

Persecution by the ruling junta in Myanmar against ethnic minorities has increased since their ascendancy in the 1960s. “The most affected ethnic minority is the mainly Christian Karen people. Large numbers have been forced to abandon their villages in the east of the country and many have fled to Thailand.”{8} Herein may lay a connection, although Christians are not alone in being oppressed there. Godless governments tend to hate or at least discriminate against Christians. Competing worldviews clash deeply.

Biblical Emphasis on Individuals, Human Dignity

“A Christian view of government should…be concerned with human rights…based on a biblical view of human dignity. A bill of rights, therefore, does not grant rights to individuals, but instead acknowledges these rights as always existing.”{9}

Of course the Myanmar government and culture does not recognize the biblical God, so this standard is not to be expected. However, such a presupposition grounds America’s reaction to Myanmar’s languid response to the cyclone. It also helps explain the rest of the world’s stance: the ideals of democracy, rooted in a largely biblical worldview, have greatly affected world opinion on topics of relief and disaster response. One would be hard-pressed to find historical examples, I’m sure, of a consensus like that described above in centuries or even decades past. But since the Marshall Plan, Berlin airlifts, reconstruction in Japan and a parade of other compassionate rebuilding efforts, the rush to aid has become the global norm. America´s Judeo-Christian model has taken hold.

Christians in the early Church, in utter contrast to the Greco-Roman paganism that surrounded them, extended dignity to the suffering individual regardless of class status and whether or not it benefited them. This new ethic transformed the world and set the stage for the rule of law, compassionate charity and a host of other values taken for granted in Western and now other societies.

Proper View of Man, Need to Limit Power

“While the source of civil government is rooted in human responsibility, the need for government derives from the need to control human sinfulness. God ordained civil government to restrain evil…. {10} Of course, if the ruling government is corrupt, although some restraining occurs and it can look somewhat just, the evil simply becomes concentrated at the top while it leaks out naturally elsewhere despite external restrictions. We saw this in spades in Communist dictatorships like the USSR, which spawned the gulags, and Albania, where repression and elite privilege reached monumental proportions. And the military leaders of Myanmar continue this tradition―inevitably, given the fallen nature of man.

Government based on a proper understanding of man is the hallmark of American representative democracy. Unlike Myanmar’s concentration of power into the hands of a few powerful elite, the American system makes room for the human dignity and rationality of the people while controlling human sin and depravity. Neither utopian schemes, which are based on man’s supposed innate goodness, nor controlling systems, which are built on sheer power, do right by human nature. Myanmar’s example of an unworkable government is all too clear in its tragic reaction to a devastating natural disaster.

As Probe’s Mind Games curriculum puts it, “In essence, a republic [like that of the United States] limits government, while a totalitarian government [like Myanmar’s] limits citizens.” And often, as with the estimated 170 million killed by regimes like those of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and others who fly in the face of a right understanding of man, the limits to citizens includes their very lives.{11}

Sanctity of Human Life

What offficials do during a crisis exposes their worldview. Do authorities do all within their means to save lives? What about prevention? Do investments in infrastructure belie a preoccupation with commerce, power or prestige―as in the case of China’s razing of entire neighborhoods to clear the way for the PR coup of the Olympics while political and religious dissidents are jailed? Are well-equipped fire and rescue, police, disaster recovery and even military personnel standing by to help at all costs to save even a few human lives? It seems obvious when certain governments act out of political peer pressure rather than a philosophy rooted in the value of every human being. And that value originates in the God in whose image humans are made. Without this doctrine as a basis for policy, people become mere workers, expendable state property and pawns for despots.

Nothing in Myanmar’s delayed, heartless response to the storm’s effects shows value of human life. In fact, the meager efforts of the regime in Rangoon (the capital, also called Yangon) have so far not only been ineffective in the immediate and for the future, but are insulting to human dignity.

Again, we can invoke first century parallels to help make the case that today´s outcry stems from a Christian heritage. Whereas callous Roman elite threw babies into the Tiber River, Christians rescued and raised them as their own. So committed were they to the notion that all people have value as God´s image-bearers, that ancient Christ-followers risked deadly disease to treat strangers. Ancient pagans, not entirely unlike the Myanmar government, left even their own kin to die during plagues.

Biblical Imitation of a Giving God

Hurricane Katrina evoked not only an immediate and massive response―however incompetent it may have been―from the local, state and federal governments in the U.S. Expectations for relief were sky-high. And the groundswell of private and religious response left a worthy legacy.

So why, we may ask, were expectations so great? Some may say expectations grew from a sense of entitlement. Some folks just think a handout is due them, so in dire circumstances, it goes without saying. After all, the ambulance always comes when called.

A strong case can be made that people have grown to expect help due to a residue of Christian care and compassion that lingers on in what many call post-Christian times. The Church´s centuries-long heritage of innovating institutions like hospitals, orphanages and eldercare has overhauled the way people are treated.

That is, the biblical worldview has so saturated the culture of the West and has since so affected the rest of the world, that it would be unthinkable for most civilized societies not to respond to catastrophes with aid. Yet, this was not the case in ancient cultures unaffected by the radical ethic of Jesus Christ, who took Old Testament compassion for the stranger, widow and orphan to new extremes. (See my radio transcript on the topic of Compassion and Charity: Two More Reasons to Believe that Christianity is Good for Society and listen online at Probe.org soon.)

As the world looks on to the tragedy in Myanmar and the coldhearted response of its government leaders, keep in mind that a humanitarian response is not a natural reaction. It is something introduced and modeled by the caring Creator of all men, Jesus Christ. A truly biblical worldview not only works, it works compassionately.

Notes

1. Reuters Foundation Alertnet, May 12, 2008, www.alertnet.org/db/crisisprofiles/MY_DIS.htm.

2. CIA, The World Factbook, www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bm.html

3. AP report via tinyurl.com/4cas2g.

4. Houston Chronicle, May 11, 2008, www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/world/5770860.html

5. Reuters Foundation Alertnet, “Myanmar under pressure, death toll may rise sharply,” May 7, 2008, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SP306038.htm

6. Reuters Foundation Alertnet, May 13, 2008, www.alertnet.org/db/crisisprofiles/MM_STO.htm

7. Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Handbook of Today’s Religions, Here’s Life Publishers, San Bernardino, CA 1983, pps. 308-309.

8. Ibid, May 12, 2008, www.alertnet.org/db/crisisprofiles/MY_DIS.htm

9. “Christian View of Politics, Government and Social Action, Mind Games College Survival Course, 1996, Probe Ministries.

10. Ibid, based on Romans 13: 1-7, NIV.

11. R. J. Rummel, Death by Government, Transaction Publishers, 1994, quoted in The Truth Project DVD-based curriculum, Focus on the Family, 2006. For partial online reading: tinyurl.com/3efqjr

About the Author

Byron Barlowe is a research associate and Web coordinator with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.S. in Communications at Appalachian State University in gorgeous Boone, N.C. Byron served 20 years with Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), eight years as editor and Webmaster of a major scholarly publishing site, Leadership University (LeaderU.com). In that role, he oversaw several sub-sites, including the Online Faculty Offices of Drs. William Lane Craig and William Dembski. His wife, Dianne, served 25 years with CCC and now homeschools their rambunctious pre-teen triplets.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe’s materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries

1900 Firman Drive, Suite 100

Richardson, TX 75081

(972) 480-0240 FAX (972) 644-9664

info@probe.org

www.probe.org

Copyright information

Copyright 2008 Probe Ministries

Copyright/Reproduction Limitations

This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2008 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.

Disclaimer: Posting articles does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article. All articles that are posted are aimed at getting people to think & consider the various issues, ideas & factual research presented.

Reprinted by permission

Presented by Bill Haymin, 2008

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/64308

=======================

Cyclone relief to Myanmar

By Kestur Vasuki, Bangalore, June 9 : As part of the humanitarian assistance to Cyclone Nargis ravaged areas of Myanmar under the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) 30 metric tonnes of food has been airlifted from Bangalore to save thousands of malnutrition children in Myanmar.

Talking to Asian News International Shyam S Dubey, Head Procurement and Logistics of WFP has said that this would help save thousands of children affected by cyclone in Myanmar.

WFP in collaboration with Indian manufacturers developed in innovative Ready to Use Food for Children (RUFC) by MTR, which has energy dense, protein-enriched, and fortified with an array of micronutrients that will help children maintain optimal growth.

One Daily ration will provide most of the required nutrients to meet the needs of these children.

The RUFC is in form of a paste, does not require cooking or addtion of water. It is to be consumed directly from the pouch. Thirty metric tonnes of the RUFC were airlifted from BIAL and sent to directly to Yangon for dispatch to delta region.

Overall, WFP estimates that its food assistance has reached over 500.000 beneficiaries in the cyclone affected areas of Myanmar.

Rice oil, high energy biscuits, ready to eat meals, cereals, has been airlifted.

WFP hopes to supply food for over 750000 people in a period of six months with an estimated cost of 70 million dollar.

— ANI

http://www.newkerala.com/one.php?action=fullnews&id=70977

========================

Kentuckian Returns from Myanmar
Monday, Jun 09, 2008 – 06:50 PM Updated: 07:53 PM
By Megan Skaggs
An estimated 133,000 people are dead or still missing after a cyclone hit Myanmar more than one month ago.

The area is still devastated today; a lack of food and disease is feared and relief from the United States has been blocked by authorities in Myanmar.

Terry Ham, knows all too well about the devastation in Myanmar. The Kentucky native has been teaching music there since last July. Ham says she woke up around three o’clock in the morning the night the storms hit. She says her fourth story apartment was flooded by all of the rain pounding at her windows, “It felt like an earthquake” Ham said.

Terry was lucky though, she was living in Yangon, just north of the area where thousands of people have died and are still missing. She says her school was closed for about a week, and when they opened back up, her classroom was used as a sort of relief station, where students collected food and supplies.

Terry’s parents Dick and Nancy Ham were relieved when they heard their daughter was okay. Today, Terry is back home, but only until July when she goes back to Myanmar to finish her teaching contract there. While she’s trying to enjoy her time home, what she’s thinking about now is the fear that disease could spread in the aftermath of the death and devastation. “I’ve never been through anything like this before” Ham said.

http://www.wtvq.com/midatlantic/tvq/news.apx.-content-articles-TVQ-2008-06-09-0011.html
================

Myanmar denies rumours of fish eating corpses

June 10, 2008 Edition 1

Yangon – A Myanmar government-affiliated group has denied rumours that fish from cyclone-ravaged areas are unfit to eat after supposedly feeding on human and animal corpses.

Since Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta last month, some people in Yangon – the country’s biggest city – have been reluctant to eat fish because of rumours they were feeding on the bodies of storm victims.

One rumour circulating was that some fish were found to have human fingers and pieces of jewellery in their stomachs.

“This is not true. We can guarantee that,” Toe Nandar Tin, an executive member of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation, told the Myanmar Times newspaper yesterday. “It is total nonsense. The fish from the delta come from fish farms, not from the rivers.”

She said samples of fish were tested to prove they were safe for consumption. She added that the rumours also resulted in the suspension of orders by some foreign buyers. The main buyers of Myanmar’s fish include China, Thailand and Singapore.

Massive waves from the cyclone devastated 15 000 hectares of shrimp farms and 1 200 hectares of fish farms. The cyclone killed more than 78 000 people and left another 56 000 missing. -Sapa-AP

http://www.pretorianews.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4446442

=========================

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Medics wrap up Myanmar mission

BANGKOK (Kyodo) Japan’s medical team has completed its emergency humanitarian mission in Labutta, southwestern Myanmar, one of the areas hardest hit by the violent cyclone in early May, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The team will hand over its makeshift facilities and medical equipment to local authorities and experts, including two doctors, the agency said.

The 23-member team, including four doctors and seven nurses, treated 1,202 people in nine days, JICA said.

Despite the large number of people suffering from diarrhea and fever ― and the presence of mosquito-transmitted infectious diseases such as dengue fever and malaria ― no illnesses spread widely among the local people, according to the agency.

The team was scheduled to travel to Yangon, Myanmar’s former capital and largest city, on Monday and report to the country’s health ministry Tuesday before leaving the country. The team is expected to return to Japan on Wednesday morning via Bangkok.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/rss/nn20080610b3.html

=========================

Press Release Source: Research and Markets

Myanmar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry: Investment Opportunities, Analysis and Forecasts to 2012
Monday June 9, 7:52 am ET

DUBLIN, Ireland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c94167) has announced the addition of Myanmar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry: Investment Opportunities, Analysis and Forecasts to 2012 to their offering.

Summary

This profile is the essential source for top-level industry data and information relating to the Exploration & Production industry in Myanmar. It provides asset level information relating to the active and planned oil and gas fields and exploration blocks in Myanmar. The profiles of the major companies operating in the upstream industry of Myanmar are also included in the report. The latest news and deals pertaining to the sector are also provided and analyzed.

Scope

– Updated information relating to all active and planned exploration blocks.

– Provides historical and forecast data and information for all the major operating and planned crude oil and natural gas fields.

– Details operators and equity partners of oil and gas fields and exploration blocks.

– Includes information relating to license round details, start and end dates, acreage, location, and reserves.

– Information on the top companies in the sector including business description, strategic analysis, and financial information.

– Product and brand updates, strategy changes, R&D projects, corporate expansions and contractions and regulatory changes.

– Key mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, private equity investments and IPOs.

Reasons to buy

– Obtain the most up to date information available on exploration licenses and oil & gas fields.

– Identify growth markets and opportunities in the industry.

– Facilitate market analysis and forecasting of future industry trends.

– Facilitate decision making on the basis of strong historic and forecast data.

– Assess your competitors exploration and production asset portfolio.

– Understand and respond to your competitors business structure, strategy and prospects.

– Develop strategies based on the latest operational, financial, and regulatory events.

– Do deals with an understanding of how competitors are financed, and the mergers and partnerships that have shaped the market.

– Identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the leading companies in each the country.

Companies Mentioned:

Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS)

PTT Public Company Limited

TOTAL S.A.

For more information, visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c94167

Source: Global Markets Direct

Contact:

Research and Markets
Laura Wood
Senior Manager
press@researchandmarkets.com
Fax: +353 1 4100 980

Source: Research and Markets

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080609/20080609005703.html?.v=1

=========================

Published Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Myanmar frees 15 members of opposition party

The Associated Press
Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party says Myanmar’s military leaders have freed 15 party members who were arrested for marching to the home of the detained Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Members of the National League for Democracy, some wearing shirts with pictures of Suu Kyi and holding a banner that called for her release, were detained on May 27.

Party spokesman Nyan Win said Tuesday that the 15 were freed the night before.

The group was held for two weeks inside a compound of government technical schools, which also was used to hold hundreds of people during pro-democracy protests in September.

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20080610/API/806100524/Myanmar_frees_15_members_of_opposition_party

=========================

June 7, 2008 12:12 AM PDT

Myanmar or Burma? Apple’s dictionary had an opinion

Posted by Graham Webster

Language Log notes that Apple’s Dictionary program (v. 1.02 running in Tiger) gave an interesting pronunciation for “Myanmar:” It’s pronounced “Burma.”

(Credit: Language Log)

I would tend to think this is an accident, but it’s an interesting one. I’ve edited articles that required the country to be called Burma for political reasons and others that follow the international convention of calling it Myanmar. Either way, if I were manufacturing this sort of thing I might flag all the controversial geographical terms for careful review.

Another reason it is probably an accident (and not someone’s intentional statement) is that it only appears this way in one phonetic system. According to TidBits, a Mac blog that apparently first reported this, “Dictionary has three different options for displaying the pronunciation key, which you can select in the Preferences window: U.S. English (Diacritical), U.S. English (IPA), and British English (IPA). It turns out that only the two IPA (international phonetic alphabet) choices show the pronunciation of “Burma”; the U.S. English (Diacritical) pronunciation is correct.”

Now, sitting as I am just a couple of kilometers from North Korea in Dandong, Liaoning Province, China, the question arises: Is it North Korea or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? China or the People’s Republic of China? Am I American, U.S. American, “from the United States,” or just a foreigner? Apple’s dictionary has no help for me there.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13908_3-9962664-59.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

===========================


——~~—————~——————–~~~————————~~——–
Mr. Salong
Coordinator
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581
Email: shweinfo@gmail.com
simtui@gmail.com
www.shwe.org

[BurmaSolidarity] Myanmar extends opposition leader’s detention

from: Shwe Campaign
reply-to: burmasolidarity@googlegroups.com
date: Tue, May 27, 2008 at 11:15 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] Myanmar extends opposition leader’s detention

Myanmar extends opposition leader’s detention

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s military junta extended opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention by one year Tuesday, ignoring worldwide appeals to free the Nobel laureate who has been detained for more than 12 of the past 18 years.

The move came as officials said that international aid workers had finally begun entering Myanmar’s cyclone-devastated delta area after being blocked for more than three weeks by the junta.

A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said that Suu Kyi’s detention was officially extended by one year on Tuesday afternoon.

Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest continuously since May 2003, has long been the symbol of the regime’s brutality and the focus of a worldwide campaign that has lobbied for her release.

The extension was issued despite a Myanmar law that stipulates no one can be held longer than five years without being released or put on trial.

Earlier Tuesday, police hauled away about 20 opposition party members who were protesting Suu Kyi’s detention. Witnesses saw riot police shove members of the National League for Democracy into a truck as they were marching from the party’s headquarters to Suu Kyi’s home.

The decision comes at a delicate time for the junta.

It already is facing international condemnation for the way it failed the Cyclone Nargis relief effort, with more than half of the 2.4 million survivors of the storm still desperately needing food, clean water and shelter more than three weeks after the disaster.

Official government estimates put the death toll at about 78,000 with an additional 56,000 people missing.

But few expected Suu Kyi to be released, despite urging by both the United Nations and some members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“Their failure to abide by their own law by refusing to release (Suu Kyi) … is a clear slap in the face to (U.N. Secretary-General) Ban Ki-moon and the ASEAN diplomats,” U.S. lawyer Jared Genser, hired by Suu Kyi’s family to push for her release, said earlier this week. “They are out of time to hold her under their own law.”

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962. The current junta seized power in 1988 and refused to honor the results of 1990 general elections that were won by Suu Kyi’s party.

Myanmar’s leaders are leery of foreign aid workers and international agencies because they fear an influx of outsiders could undermine their control.

The junta is also hesitant to have its people see aid coming directly from countries such as the United States, which it has long treated as a hostile power seeking to invade or colonize.

Officials said Tuesday that international aid workers had finally begun entering the hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta. The apparent breakthrough in the flow of aid came after promises made by Myanmar’s ruling generals to the U.N. Secretary-General, who returned to New York on Sunday after a four-day visit.

“International aid workers are starting to move to the delta,” said Richard Horsey, a spokesman in Bangkok for the U.N. humanitarian effort in Myanmar. Helicopters also began shuttling high-energy biscuits and ready-to-eat meals into the hardest hit area Tuesday, he said.

The French aid agency Doctors Without Borders said its teams had entered remote villages around the delta town of Bogalay where people had not eaten for three days.

The U.N. World Food Program said it has sent three international staffers into the delta since the weekend and hopes to deploy larger numbers in coming days.

The agency’s Paul Risley said Monday was a “record, red-letter day with seven visas applied for and seven issued.” Myanmar’s government had earlier denied many visa applications by U.N. and private aid agencies.

Relief groups are hoping to capitalize on the junta’s new openness to reach the 1.4 million people that are living in outlying areas who have so far received no international aid, said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“In the Irrawaddy River delta we have a logistical nightmare because of the hundreds of rivers and small islands,” Byrs told reporters in Geneva. “Some places are only reachable by inflatable boats. It’s a problem, a major problem.”

*****************************
Mr. Kim
Coordinator
Shwe Gas Pipeline Campaign Committee- India

Ph: +91-9810476273
Email: shwecampaign@gmail.com
shweinfo@gmail.com
www.shwe.org

[BurmaSolidarity] Myanmar junta tightens security near Suu Kyi home

from: Salong
reply-to: burmasolidarity@googlegroups.com
date: Tue, May 27, 2008 at 3:18 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] Myanmar junta tightens security near Suu Kyi home


News Headlines

1. Myanmar junta tightens security near Suu Kyi home

2. Myanmar’s junta expected to rule on detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

3. Indon exec urges Myanmar not to renew Suu Kyi’s house arrest

4. Indonesian foreign minister urges Myanmar not to renew Suu Kyi’s house arrest

5. India ready to help Myanmar in its rebuilding process

6. Conditions ripe for disease in Myanmar

7. Myanmar film industry takes on cyclone disaster

8. Myanmar Junta still waits

9. U.N.: Myanmar aid prospects good
==============================

Myanmar junta tightens security near Suu Kyi home

Myanmar’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, pays obeisance to monks chanting prayers in front of her residence in Yangon, Myanmar in this September 22, 2007 file photo. (REUTERS/Stringer)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + May 27, 2008

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military rulers tightened security around the home of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, the day her latest year-long stretch of house arrest is due to expire.

Few expect the military to do anything but roll over the 62-year-old Nobel laureate’s detention order, even though such a move is bound to create tensions with Western nations who have promised millions of dollars in cyclone aid.

Donors pledged nearly $50 million in aid at a landmark conference on Sunday in the wake of Cyclone Nargis which has left 134,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million clinging to survival.

A Reuters reporter saw at least six police trucks, a prison van and a fire engine parked near the headquarters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which is due to hold a ceremony at 2 p.m. (0730 GMT).

Amid rumors of a planned NLD march to Suu Kyi’s house, police moved a wooden and barbed-wired barricade across the road up to the nearest major intersection, making it impossible even to approach the lakeside villa.

Suu Kyi has spent more than 12 of the last 18 years in prison or under house arrest. Her party won more than 80 percent of seats in a 1990 election, but was denied power by the military, which has ruled since a 1962 coup.

Her latest stretch of detention started “for her own protection” after clashes between her supporters and pro-junta thugs near the northern town of Depayin on May 30, 2003.

However, her formal house arrest under a state security law did not start until November 27 of that year. It was renewed once for six months, and has since been renewed every year on or around May 27.

(Reporting by Aung Hla Tun, Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Ed Davies and Valerie Lee)

© Copyright 2008 Reuters. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Reuters or its third-party content providers. Any copying, republication, or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2008/05/27/myanmar_junta_tightens_security_near_suu_kyi_home/

==============================

Myanmar’s junta expected to rule on detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
AP
AP – 58 minutes ago
YANGON, Myanmar – Already under fire for its handling of cyclone victims, Myanmar’s military regime gave no indication Tuesday whether it would release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi after five years’ detention.

A decision to extend the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s latest period of house arrest _ which expires at midnight Tuesday _ would certainly ignite more criticism of the xenophobic regime.

Suu Kyi has been confined for 12 of the past 18 years to her home in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. Her latest period of arrest began in 2003.

An extension would add to the international community’s outrage and frustration with the junta, which is accused of blocking international aid to some 2.4 million survivors of Cyclone Nargis. Official government estimates put the death toll at about 78,000, with an additional 56,000 people missing.

The junta has given some ground, promising to allow foreign aid workers into the most devastated areas. U.N. officials have expressed hope they will soon be able to help survivors _ if the generals keep their word.

In its latest assessment report, the U.N. said the rate of 10-15 aid airlifts into Myanmar needed to be stepped up along with quick delivery to the hardest-hit areas.

“The critical danger remains of a potential second wave of deaths among those not so far reached or only reached with small amounts of assistance,” the report said.

The French aid agency Doctors Without Borders said its teams had entered remote villages around the Irrawaddy delta town of Bogalay where people had not eaten for three days.

“Thousands of people have not seen any aid workers and still have not received any assistance,” the group said.

More than three weeks after the May 2-3 storm, people still huddled along roadsides, desperate for any kind of handout.

The U.N. has estimated that less than half the 2.4 million people victimized by the storm have received emergency assistance.

In Pyapon, a coastal township southwest of Yangon, hundreds of makeshift huts were set up along a road. Women and children squatted outside as the children begged for food, their arms outstretched as vehicles passed.

The area can be reached quite easily, but the survivors said they had not received any aid from Myanmar’s military government and were surviving on donations from private citizens and Buddhist monks.

“I have no hope that the help will come,” said Aye Shwe, a 52-year-old farmer who has been living with his family of eight in a hut that he built with scrounged bamboo and thatch.

The family has relied on private donors who truck in rice and potatoes.

“We live from hand to mouth,” Aye Shwe said. “We have no buffaloes, no paddy fields.”

Myanmar authorities have been driving up and down the road since last week telling people by loudspeaker to go home. But Aye Shwe said the land on which his house stands, in a nearby paddy field, remained under waist- deep water.

Richard Horsey, a spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian operation in Bangkok, Thailand, told The Associated Press on Monday that assistance could start flowing to those who need it most in the next few days, if the junta quickly allows foreign experts into devastated areas.

Donor nations offered more than US$100 million (�63 million) Sunday to help the country recover, but they warned they would not fully open their wallets until given access to the worst-damaged areas.

Myanmar’s leaders are leery of foreign aid workers and international agencies because they fear an influx of outsiders could undermine control.

The junta is also hesitant to have its people see aid coming directly from countries like the U.S., which it has long treated as a hostile power seeking to invade or colonize.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ap/20080527/tap-as-gen-myanmar-d3b07b8.html

====================================

Indon exec urges Myanmar not to renew Suu Kyi’s house arrest

05/27/2008 | 01:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda urged Myanmar’s junta Tuesday to release detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi amid the good will the world has shown in helping the cyclone-devastated nation.

Wirayuda said, however, he was not optimistic that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate would regain her freedom soon, given the junta’s past rejection of such calls from the international community.

Suu Kyi’s five-year house arrest expires Wednesday, Nyan Win, spokesman for her National League of Democracy, said in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. The junta was expected to decide on her fate Tuesday.

“I hope for the best but to be frank I’m not optimistic,” Wirayuda told The Associated Press during a two-day visit to Manila.

Freeing Suu Kyi would be a “positive gesture to the good will of the international community,” which has helped the junta and Myanmar’s people deal with the massive devastation and loss of life wrought by the recent Cyclone Nargis, he said.

Suu Kyi’s detention has been at the center of friction between the secretive junta and many countries around the world, including Myanmar’s fellow member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Asean, a 10-country political and trade bloc, has constantly nudged Myanmar to rapidly move toward democracy and to free political prisoners including Suu Kyi — a futile call that has often dominated the group’s annual meetings.

Despite a bedrock policy of noninterference in each other’s domestic affairs, some Asean members — including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines — have increasingly voiced frustration over Myanmar’s intransigence.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo slammed Myanmar at a summit of Asean leaders in Singapore last November, warning that Filipino legislators could find it difficult to ratify the bloc’s landmark charter if the junta will not restore democracy and release Suu Kyi.

President Arroyo and other Asean leaders adopted the charter, which aims to transform the group into an EU-style bloc, at that summit. The pact will collapse if one country fails to ratify it.

Asean’s members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It admitted Myanmar in 1997 despite strong opposition from Western nations. – AP

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/97536/Indon-exec-urges-Myanmar-not-to-renew-Suu-Kyis-house-arrest

=====================================

Indonesian foreign minister urges Myanmar not to renew Suu Kyi’s house arrest

The Associated Press
Published: May 27, 2008


Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda urged Myanmar’s junta Tuesday to release detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi amid the good will the world has shown in helping the cyclone-devastated nation.

Wirayuda said, however, he was not optimistic that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate would regain her freedom soon, given the junta’s past rejection of such calls from the international community.

Suu Kyi’s five-year house arrest expires Wednesday, Nyan Win, spokesman for her National League of Democracy, said in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. The junta was expected to decide on her fate Tuesday.

“I hope for the best but to be frank I’m not optimistic,” Wirayuda told The Associated Press during a two-day visit to Manila.

Freeing Suu Kyi would be a “positive gesture to the good will of the international community,” which has helped the junta and Myanmar’s people deal with the massive devastation and loss of life wrought by the recent Cyclone Nargis, he said.

Suu Kyi’s detention has been at the center of friction between the secretive junta and many countries around the world, including Myanmar’s fellow member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

ASEAN, a 10-country political and trade bloc, has constantly nudged Myanmar to rapidly move toward democracy and to free political prisoners including Suu Kyi — a futile call that has often dominated the group’s annual meetings.

Despite a bedrock policy of noninterference in each other’s domestic affairs, some ASEAN members — including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines — have increasingly voiced frustration over Myanmar’s intransigence.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo slammed Myanmar at a summit of ASEAN leaders in Singapore last November, warning that Filipino legislators could find it difficult to ratify the bloc’s landmark charter if the junta will not restore democracy and release Suu Kyi.

Arroyo and other ASEAN leaders adopted the charter, which aims to transform the group into an EU-style bloc, at that summit. The pact will collapse if one country fails to ratify it.

ASEAN’s members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It admitted Myanmar in 1997 despite strong opposition from Western nations.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/27/asia/AS-GEN-Philippines-Indonesia-Suu-Kyi.php

===================================

India ready to help Myanmar in its rebuilding process

New Delhi, May 26: India has conveyed its willingness to help Myanmar in its reconstruction process in the wake of widespread devastation caused by the natural calamity after helping the cyclone-hit country in relief activities.

India, which was the first foreign country to land its relief material in Myanmar, asked the world community to give assistance to Yangon expeditiously in true humanitarian spirit and “keep the process apolitical”. New Delhi said it was in the process of sending in more aid early next week.

The commitments were conveyed by Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh who represented India at the ASEAN-UN International Pledging Conference in Yangon and met Myanmar’s Prime Minister U Thein Sein.

Ramesh expressed India’s full commitment to assist Myanmar in the reconstruction phase as well. It may be mentioned here that 45 countries and several international agencies participated in the pledging conference.

Ramesh told the conference that keeping in mind the two nations’ civilization, historic and expanding economic ties, it was natural that there has been a spontaneous outpouring of sympathy in India for the people of Myanmar.

It may be mentioned here that in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone in Myanmar, two Indian Navy ships and six aircrafts have carried immediate relief material, food, roofing material and medical supplies.

— SAMPURN

http://www.newkerala.com/one.php?action=fullnews&id=65175

====================================

The Associated Press

Conditions ripe for disease in Myanmar


A 93-year-old cyclone survivor, right, is seen, in Dedaye town, Delta region of Myanmar, Monday, May 26, 2008. (AP Photo)

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + May 27, 2008

DEDAYE, Myanmar—Myint Hlaing’s family bathes and draws cooking water from an irrigation ditch fouled by human waste and a rotting cow carcass. His 10-year-old daughter suffers from diarrhea, despite drinking bottled water donated by aid groups.

They are among hundreds of cyclone survivors in this town forced to endure daily rains beneath tattered thatch huts and use whatever water they can find — a recipe for disease in Myanmar’s low-lying delta as the monsoon season nears.

“Shelter is the most important thing we need,” Myint Hlaing said. “There are more and more mosquitoes here. We are afraid of getting dengue fever.”

The country’s ruling junta has insisted that health conditions are normal in the Irrawaddy delta pounded more than three weeks ago by the killer storm. But relief group Church World Service has reported finding elderly and child survivors dying from dysentery in some areas because many have no choice but to drink dirty water. Other organizations have detected a number of ailments including pneumonia, malaria, cholera and diarrhea.

Save the Children UK has warned that some 30,000 children in the delta were severely malnourished before Cyclone Nargis struck, with thousands facing starvation in the next two or three weeks. The monsoon season, which begins next month, adds yet another challenge.

“The rain is a real problem,” Eric Stover, lead author of a critical report published last year about Myanmar’s broken health system, told The Associated Press after visiting the delta. “The water is rising up, and the latrines are just outside (flowing) into the water, and there’s livestock around. That’s the perfect breeding ground for diarrhea and cholera.”

Stover, a professor from the school of public health at the University of California, Berkeley, managed to slip past military checkpoints twice to get a glimpse of the devastation. He was unable to assess the health situation in villages, but said conditions are ripe for outbreaks.

“It’s as bad as we all think it is, there’s no question about that,” he said. “I think for public health people and for U.N. personnel the frustrating thing is that they can’t see it.”

UNICEF has been canvassing the area and has reported a growing number of diarrhea cases — up to 30 percent of young children in one township. Myanmar’s Ministry of Health has started vaccinating some children in camps against measles, another big threat.

The World Health Organization says it still doesn’t have a clear medical picture because tight government restrictions have kept the delta off-limits to its foreign experts. Remote villages accessed only by boat remain the biggest question mark because many still have not been reached more than three weeks after the storm.

“We have no hard numbers,” said Maureen Birmingham, a WHO epidemiologist in Thailand. “We continue to remain concerned because it’s a high-risk situation for diarrheal disease, malaria and dengue.”

Myanmar’s xenophobic government has worked hard to keep foreign aid agencies from visiting the delta since the May 2-3 storm belted the region, killing some 78,000 people and leaving 56,000 others missing. It has not reported any disease outbreaks.

The regime has said it is able to handle relief efforts on its own, but its ruling general assured visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week that all international aid agencies would be allowed in to help. It remained unclear Monday how many foreigners would be permitted to travel beyond Yangon, the country’s largest city.

Access to regular supplies of safe drinking water and proper sanitation is essential for preventing waterborne diseases like cholera, which spreads rapidly through water contaminated with feces. Malaria and dengue fever outbreaks also will be a major concern in the coming weeks after mosquitoes have time to breed in the stagnant water that flooded the delta.

Myanmar was plagued by malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and other big killers before the disaster, in a country where one in three children is estimated to be malnourished. About 3 percent of the annual budget is spent on health, compared to 40 percent on the military, according to Stover’s report.

In 2000, the WHO ranked Myanmar’s health system as the world’s second-worst, ahead only of war-ravaged Sierra Leone.

——–

Associated Press medical writer Margie Mason contributed to this report from Bangkok, Thailand.

© Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

more stories like this

http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2008/05/27/conditions_ripe_for_disease_in_myanmar/

==============================

Myanmar film industry takes on cyclone disaster

Tue May 27, 2008 5:18 AM BST39

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military rulers have been slammed for their slow response to Cyclone Nargis, but the same cannot be said of the country’s tiny film industry, which is already busy turning the devastating storm into myth.

On a dusty road beside the People’s Park in central Yangon, still littered with fallen trees after the May 2 cyclone, an actor dances on the sidewalk dressed as a minor god with a headband and palm leaf tucked into it.

“We are telling the tale of the cyclone and what the gods have done to bring this terrible storm,” said the assistant director, Li Gong.

The film is being made by a private company but is for Myanmar television, which is tightly overseen by the military government in one of the world’s most reclusive and oppressive nations.

“We are saying how the actions of a god can bring suffering to the people,” Li Gong added.

Superstition runs deep in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar and everyone from strongman Senior General Than Shwe to stall-keepers in Yangon’s bustling market rely on the advice of soothsayers and astrologers to plan their lives.

Street myths after Nargis, retold by taxi drivers in Yangon, suspect the storm — which left 134,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million clinging to survival — can be traced to the unhappiness of the gods with the military’s 46-year rule.

(Editing by Ed Davies and Valerie Lee)

© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved. | Learn more about Thomson Reuters

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=entertainmentNews&storyid=2008-05-27T051821Z_01_BKK327106_RTRUKOC_0_UK-MYANMAR-CYCLONE-FILM.xml

====================================

Myanmar Junta still waits
Pioneer Press

Article Last Updated: 05/26/2008 11:32:53 PM CDT

YANGON, Myanmar — U.N. officials expressed hope Monday they will soon be able to get help to more than 1 million cyclone survivors still waiting for food and shelter. More than three weeks after the storm, people huddled along roadsides, desperate for any sort of handout. The U.N. estimated less than half the 2.4 million people victimized by the May 2-3 storm had received emergency assistance. A spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian operation in Bangkok, Thailand, said assistance could start flowing to those who need it most in the next few days if the junta quickly allows foreign experts into devastated areas. The isolationist government has barred nearly all foreign aid workers and international relief agencies from the hard-hit Irrawaddy River delta since Cyclone Nargis hit.

The Pioneer Press is happy to host community conversations about news and life in the Twin Cities. As hosts, we expect guests will show respect for each other. That means we don’t threaten or defame each other, and we keep conversations free of personal attacks. Witty is great. Abusive is not. If you think a post violates these standards, don’t escalate the situation. Instead, flag the comment to alert us. We’ll take action if necessary.

It’s not hard. This should be a place where people want to read and contribute — a place for spirited exchanges of opinion. So those who persist with racist, defamatory or abusive postings risk losing the privilege to post at all.

http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_9388226?source=rss

=================================

Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2008

U.N.: Myanmar aid prospects good

By JOHN HEILPRIN

Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar —

U.N. officials expressed hope Monday they will soon be able to get help to more than 1 million cyclone survivors still waiting for food and shelter, if Myanmar’s ruling junta keeps its promise to let foreign aid workers into the country.

More than three weeks after the storm, people huddled along roadsides, desperate for any sort of handout. The U.N. estimated less than half the 2.4 million people victimized by the May 2-3 storm had received emergency assistance.

In Pyapon, a coastal township southwest of Yangon, hundreds of makeshift huts had been thrown up along a road. Women and children squatted outside, the children begging for food, their arms outstretched as vehicles pass.

The area can be reached fairly easily, but the survivors said they had not received any aid from Myanmar’s military government and were surviving on donations from private citizens and Buddhist monks.

“I have no hope that the help will come,” said Aye Shwe, a 52-year-old farmer who has been living with his family of eight in a hut that he built with scrounged bamboo and thatch.

For sustenance the family has had to rely on private donors who deliver rice and potatoes with trucks.

“We live from hand to mouth,” Aye Shwe said. “We have no buffaloes, no paddy fields.”

Myanmar authorities have been driving up and down the road since last week telling people by loudspeaker to go home. But Aye Shwe said the land on which his house stands, in a nearby paddy field, remained waist deep in water.

Richard Horsey, a spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian operation in Bangkok, Thailand, told The Associated Press that assistance could start flowing to those who need it most in the next few days if the junta quickly allows foreign experts into devastated areas.

The isolationist government has barred nearly all foreign aid workers and international relief agencies from the hard-hit Irrawaddy River delta since Cyclone Nargis hit.

Referring to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement Friday that the junta’s leader agreed to let international aid workers into hard-hit areas, Horsey said: “It is critical that that gets translated to practical access on the ground. The signs so far are good.”

International aid groups were starting to move out to being operating in those areas, he said, “but of course it’s very early and we must make sure that this continues.”

Horsey said that if the agencies can quickly scale up their operations, “in the coming days we can start to reach all of those that need to be reached.”

The international Red Cross said Monday at least 1.5 million people, many of them hungry and ailing, remained homeless in the rain-swept, low-lying delta. Official government estimates put the death toll at about 78,000, with an additional 56,000 people missing.

“It remains a race against the clock and the logistical challenges grow with the rain. What reaches the cyclone-devastated areas can’t get there fast enough, and what does get through is not enough,” the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

Ban’s mission to open Myanmar’s doors to more assistance climaxed Sunday when donor nations offered more than $100 million to help the country recover. But donor nations warned they would not fully open their wallets until given access to the worst damaged areas.

Myanmar’s leaders are leery of foreign aid workers and international agencies because they fear an influx of outsiders could undermine control.

http://www.bradenton.com/193/story/632294.html

=====================================

Mr. Salong
Coordinator
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581
Email: shweinfo@gmail.com
simtui@gmail.com
www.shwe.org

[BurmaSolidarity] United Nations chief ends Myanmar mission

from: Salong
reply-to: burmasolidarity@googlegroups.com
date: Mon, May 26, 2008 at 6:43 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] United Nations chief ends Myanmar mission


News Headlines

1. United Nations chief ends Myanmar mission

2. $100 million offered to Myanmar

3. Fire at Myanmar embassy in Bangkok destroys consular offices

4. Hidden strings attached to feds’ pledge to match donations for Myanmar, China,

5. India committed to assist Myanmar in its reconstruction phase, says Jairam Ramesh

6. UN urges Myanmar not to alienate orphans

7. Myanmar’s charter sails through referendum

8. Cambodia provides $250,000 to help cyclone-hit Myanmar

9. PGMA sends off medical contingent to cyclone-devastated Myanmar

10. Aid workers ready for action after Myanmar promise

11. Myanmar monks beat controls to provide aid

==============================


United Nations chief ends Myanmar mission

Associated Press – May 26, 2008 4:33 AM ET
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (bahn kee-moon) is headed back to New York today, hopeful that more foreign aid workers will be allowed into Myanmar.
He helped lead a weekend conference in Myanmar where various countries offered more than $100 million to help the country recover from Cyclone Nargis more than three weeks ago. But nations warned Myanmar’s ruling junta they won’t fully open their wallets until they are given access to the hardest-hit areas.
Aid workers hoping to get visas hit another snag today when the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, closed down its visa section. A fire, blamed on an electrical short, destroyed the second floor. The Embassy is the main gateway to Myanmar.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Ban says if leaders keep their word about letting foreign experts in, it could be “a turning point for Myanmar to be more flexible, more practical.”
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=8378901

==============================

Published Monday May 26th, 2008

$100 million offered to Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar – Donor countries said they were ready to provide Myanmar with more than $100 million to help it recover from cyclone Nargis, but warned the ruling junta Sunday they will not fully open their wallets until they are provided access to the hardest-hit areas.
Caption
The Associated Press Photo
WAITING PATIENTLY: Cyclone survivors are receiving biscuits donated by volunteers at a monastery in Twante town, around 50 km southwest of Yangon, on Sunday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking to The Associated Press after a one-day meeting of 51 donor nations, said he believed a turning point had been reached in getting Myanmar’s isolationist junta to allow foreign aid

workers unhindered entry into the devastated Irrawaddy Delta.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this could be a turning point for Myanmar to be more flexible, more practical, and face the reality as it is on the ground,” Ban told The AP.

But Myanmar’s leaders – and potential donors – continued to take a guarded tone.

Myanmar’s Prime Minister Lt.-Gen. Thein Sein said international aid “with no strings attached” was welcome. But he hedged on the sensitive issue of direct access, saying only civilian vessels could take part in the aid operation, and they would have to go through Yangon.

“Relief supplies can be transported by land, air or sea,” he said. “But if relief supplies have to be transported by water, civilian vessels can come in through Yangon port.”

That seemed to nix plans for U.S., British and French warships loaded with humanitarian supplies to join in the relief operation. The ships have been off Myanmar’s coast for more than a week.

Myanmar’s leaders have virtually barred foreign aid workers and international agencies from the delta because they fear a large influx of foreigners could lead to political interference in their internal affairs.

The junta is also hesitant to have its people see aid arriving directly from countries such as the United States, which it has long treated as a hostile power seeking to invade or colonize the country.

Thein Sein, saying that about 3,000 tonnes of humanitarian supplies have already been delivered from abroad, presented a long list of urgent needs, including temporary shelters, rice seeds, fertilizer and fishing boats.

Official estimates put the death toll about 78,000, with another 56,000 missing.

Myanmar has estimated the economic damage at nearly $11 billion and the United Nations has launched an emergency appeal for $201 million.

At Sunday’s meeting:

* The European Community, which has already pledged $72.5 million, offered another $26.8 million.

* China boosted its pledge to $11 million.

* Australia pledged $24 million.

* The Philippines doubled its previous pledge to $20 million.

* South Korea upped an earlier pledge for a total of $2.5 million.

Ban said the relief operation would last at least six months.


http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/article/306294

===================================

Fire at Myanmar embassy in Bangkok destroys consular offices
+
15:59, May 26, 2008


The big fire at the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok on Monday morning destroyed the second floor of the Myanmar’s embassy in consular offices.

The blaze that engulfed the second floor of the two-story building in the embassy compound on Sathorn Road, was under control in 30 minutes. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

No one was injured in the incident as the fire broke out early in the morning before office hours, but the office was completely destroyed.

Visa applicants queued awaiting the opening of the consular offices were set to have a longer wait due to the embassy’s closure. Local radio FM 100 said many documents were destroyed in the fire.

Source:Xinhua

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6418518.html

=====================================



Hidden strings attached to feds’ pledge to match donations for Myanmar, China,
By Joan Bryden, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Sunday, May 25, 2008


Email this article
Printer friendly page



OTTAWA – The federal government’s offer to match Canadian donations to disaster relief efforts in China and Myanmar turns out to be nowhere near as generous as it initially appeared.

Humanitarian groups have been disappointed to discover the bulk of donations they’ve received thus far – in the immediate aftermath of the disasters – won’t be matched at all.

“It is certainly somewhat disappointing that we cannot count all the donations that we’ve received since the start of this crisis (in Myanmar),” said Kieran Green, communications manager for Care Canada.

“Nevertheless, matching funds certainly will help.”

When International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announced the matching funding May 15, she made no mention of any strings attached.

“Today, I am announcing that our government will match the contributions of Canadians to humanitarian organizations working in Burma and China,” she told the House of Commons.

“Let me assure all Canadians our government will do our share of the international effort and ensure that our help does get to the victims and their families.”

However, details subsquently posted by the Canadian International Development Agency revealed the government will match only those individual donations received by aid groups between May 15 and June 6.

That excludes all the donations that poured in immediately after the devastating May 2 cyclone in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and the May 12 earthquake in China.

Typically, humanitarian groups say the flow of donations is greatest within the first 72 hours of a disaster. Green said that was particularly true in the case of the Myanmar tragedy.

“In this case, particularly, we did see the bulk of our donations that we’ve received to date come in in that very early period and they diminished significantly by the end of the first week.”

Green estimated Care and its partner groups in the Humanitarian Coalition have thus far raised about $200,000 through private donations from individuals for the relief effort in Myanmar.

He said some donors have asked Care to refund their original early contributions so they can make new donations that will be matched by the government.

The Canadian Red Cross reported it pulled in $555,500 in private donations from individuals for Myanmar and $1.1 million for China, all before May 15. Hence, none of those donations will be matched by the federal government.

Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada, said his group received at least $500,000 to $600,000 prior to May 15, which won’t be matched by the federal government.

In the last two major international disasters – the Asian tsunami in 2004 and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005 – the federal government pledged to match donations received by aid groups starting on the very day the tragedies struck, World Vision said.

Still, humanitarian groups are reluctant to criticize the government’s response to the latest disasters, noting Ottawa is providing direct funding to various relief agencies in addition to the matching funds.

Oda pledged Friday an additional $12 million for relief efforts in Myanmar, in addition to the initial $2 million kicked in by the federal government. She has also pledged $1 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross to help in the emergency response to the earthquake in China.

However belated or limited, aid groups are hopeful the promise of matching funding will encourage a second wave of donations from Canadians.

“All in all, I still have to say this is a positive thing,” said Toycen.

“We know from past experience, when there is a match, it definitely lifts public giving. Even when it’s further away from the onset of a disaster, our understanding with our donors is that people appreciate knowing that their gift in a sense is going to be doubled in its value.”


http://www.chroniclejournal.com/stories_national.php?id=111669

==============================

India committed to assist Myanmar in its reconstruction phase, says Jairam Ramesh
5/25/2008


The Minister of State for Commerce and Power, Shri Jairam Ramesh led the Indian delegation to attend the ASEAN-UN International Pledging Conference in Yangon on 25th May, 2008. Forty five countries and several international agencies participated.

In his statement at the International Pledging Conference, the Minister conveyed that keeping in mind the civilisational, historic and expanding economic ties, it was natural that there has been a spontaneous outpouring of sympathy in India for the people of Myanmar. Recalling the prompt response of the Government of India to this catastrophe, he expressed satisfaction that, at a time when the international community was still in the process of getting its act together, India had already sent to Myanmar the much-needed relief and medical supplies. Shri Ramesh called on the international community to provide assistance to Myanmar expeditiously in the true humanitarian spirit and keep the process apolitical. He expressed India’s full commitment to assist in the reconstruction phase as well.

In the aftermath of the devastating cyclone in Myanmar early this month, India had rushed relief and medical supplies to Myanmar. Two Indian Navy ships and six Indian aircrafts have so far carried immediate relief material, food, roofing material and medical supplies. Two Indian medical teams, comprising of 47 personnel, are currently in Myanmar, stationed in Pyapon and Bogale towns located at the heart of the disaster areas. They have been treating an average of more than one thousand five hundred patients a day and their work has been greatly appreciated. India is in the process of sending in more relief material and another Indian aircraft will reach Yangon early next week.

The Minister met Prime Minister of Myanmar U Thein Sein and the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon. During his meeting, the Prime Minister of Myanmar expressed the gratitude of the Government of Myanmar for India’s prompt and generous assistance and commitment to assist in their rehabilitation efforts. He also commended the work of the Indian medical team.

PIB

http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?cdcb4316-2bd5-4c64-9487-3a323edf82a1

==============================

UN urges Myanmar not to alienate orphans
(Reuters)

26 May 2008

YANGON – The United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) is trying to convince army-ruled Myanmar not to place at least 2,000 youngsters orphaned by this month’s cyclone into state-run homes, a senior official said on Monday.

“We should try and place children within family environments as a priority, and not in institutions,” Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF’s child protection chief in the former Burma, told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

“We should try to keep them in their community and even in the interim, before we are able to trace families, we should be able to place children in temporary foster care families. That’s the message we are sending,” she said.

The junta said last week it would build orphanages in Labutta and Pyapon, two of the hardest-hit areas of the Irrawaddy delta, where the May 2 cyclone left 134,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million destitute.

In an attempt to reverse this policy, UNICEF is flying in its Asia head, Anupama Rao Singh, to speak in person to Welfare Minister Major-General Maung Maung Swe on Monday.

Despite government restrictions on aid workers in the delta, the United Nations says it has established that at least 2,000 children have lost both parents.

In Labutta, 282 children were separated from their families, and of those 50 now in the care of officials had no known family, UNICEF said.

Their story is repeated across the delta, where — as in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami — children made up a disproportionate number of the dead because they were unable to cling to trees or buildings when the storm surge swept in.

Even before Cyclone Nargis, children in Myanmar faced a challenge to stay alive. Infant mortality rates of 76 per 1,000 live births are among the highest in Asia and the U.N. says one in three toddlers is malnourished.

One of the few positives is that decades of military rule and international isolation have at least protected youngsters from the child trafficking networks that operate elsewhere in southeast Asia.

“If there is one area in Myanmar where we can say the government has taken positive steps, it is child trafficking,” Dufay said.

Even though a trickle of aid is getting through, Dufay said Nargis would affect families for months to come as poverty forced children to leave home in search of work, causing a so-called “second separation”.

“You have family breakdowns, poverty, single-headed households, women with five children and no husband to go fishing. Child protection issues tend to surface over many months,” she said.

As with nearly all outside aid agencies, UNICEF has had problems with access to the delta, although said it had been fortunate enough to have some emergency supplies already stockpiled in the area.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/darticlen.asp?xfile=data/theworld/2008/May/theworld_May1177.xml&section=theworld&col=

=====================================

Myanmar’s charter sails through referendum

Mon 26 May 2008, 7:53 GMT

[] Text [+]

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s army-drafted constitution sailed through this month’s referendum, with 92.48 percent of the vote on a turnout of 98.1 percent despite the carnage wrought by Cyclone Nargis, state media said on Monday.

The plebiscite, part of a seven-step “roadmap to democracy” that is meant to culminate in multi-party elections in 2010, was delayed by two weeks until May 24 in cyclone-hit Yangon and the Irrawaddy delta, where 134,000 people are dead or missing.

(Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Ed Davies)


http://africa.reuters.com/world/news/usnBKK316075.html

======================================

Cambodia provides $250,000 to help cyclone-hit Myanmar

PHNOM PENH, May 26 (Xinhua) — Cambodia will provide additional 250,000 U.S. dollars to help Myanmar after the cyclone disaster, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced here on Monday.
“Including the 50,000 U.S. dollars that Cambodia has already provided, we will provide up to 300,000 U.S. dollars to Myanmar,” Hun Sen said while addressing an inauguration ceremony at the National Institute of Education.
“The amount of money is from our honest heart to help Myanmar but it is still little because we are also poor,” he said.
He added that Myanmar used to help Cambodia with 500 tons of rice seeds in 2000 when Cambodia suffered from floods.
Editor: Bi Mingxin

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-05/26/content_8257210.htm

==============================

Source: Government of the Philippines
Date: 26 May 2008
E-mail Save
PGMA sends off medical contingent to cyclone-devastated Myanmar

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sent off today a 30-man medical mission to Myanmar to augment its government’s search and retrieval efforts as well as to provide medical and humanitarian service after cyclone Nargis devastated much of its landscape in early May.
The President was joined in the ceremonial send-off this morning by members of her Cabinet namely: Defense Secretary and National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Chairman Gilbert Teodoro, Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, and Social Welfare and Development Sec. Esperanza Cabral.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Alexaner Yano, Philippine Air Force Commanding General Pedrito Candungog and other government officials also joined the President in the send-off.
In her statement, the President said the sending off of a medical mission to Myanmar was part of the country’s obligation as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). She made an appeal to all countries for cooperation and brotherhood, they being part of a ‘community of nations.’
‘Bilang kalapit-bahay ng ASEAN, tungkulin natin ngayon na tugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng mga taum bayan ng Myanmar. Hangarin nating maging bahagi sa saklolo, tulong at ginhawa para sa mga taga-Myanmar sa mga araw na darating,’ the President said.
‘The Philippines knows by heart the tragedy that such calamities bring. We also know how the kindness of the international community and the private individuals can positively assist and uplift the spirit of the people in the affected area,’ the President added.
She thanked the government of Myanmar for allowing the entry of foreign aid to assist the victims of the cyclone.
‘Nagagalak tayo na tinanggap ng gobyerno ng Myanmar ang ating tulong para sa mga nagdurusa nitong mamamayan,’ the President said.
Dr. Arnel Rivera, leader of the Philippine medical team, said the ‘seasoned experts’ who comprise the medical team, are veterans of the numerous relief and rescue missions conducted by the government during natural disasters hitting the country.
He added that the team is well-versed in ‘multi-tasking’ so they will be able to work more quickly to administer aid to those who desperately need it.
The medical team, composed of general surgeons, internists, infectious disease specialists, pediatricians, sanitary engineers, psycho-social interventionists and paramedics from the Department of Health (DoH), will bring P13-million worth of aid which includes medicines, water, used clothing, blankets and family food packs.
Accompanying the team and aid on the six-hour direct flight from Manila to Yangon, Myanmar’s former capital, is a crack team of PAF personnel led by Majors Ramil Oloroso and Manuel Zambrano, Jr.
They will be backed up by Captains Michael Edrik Encarnacion and Rommel Padere as co-pilots, Technical Sergeants Ma. Majella Querubin and Constantino Lobrigas as flight engineers, Sergeant Arnold Diesta as crew chief, and Technical Sergeant Florentino Evengelista as flight mechanic.
Before boarding, the crew and team were blessed by PAF Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Eustacio Galindo who prayed for their safe journey to and from Myanmar.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/KHII-7EZ929?OpenDocument

==============================

Aid workers ready for action after Myanmar promise

By Aung Hla Tun 1 hour, 26 minutes ago

YANGON (Reuters) – Foreign aid workers saddled up for the cyclone-ravaged Irrawaddy delta on Monday to see whether army-ruled Myanmar will honor a promise made by its top general to give them freedom of movement.

We’re going to head out today and test the boundaries,” one official from a major Western relief agency told Reuters in Yangon shortly before his departure for a region that has been off-limits to nearly all foreigners since the May 2 cyclone.

Thousands of beggars have been lined up along the roads of the delta, where the storm left 134,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million clinging to survival.

Droves of children shouted “Just throw something” at passing vehicles. But police told drivers and volunteer donors not to give them anything as they were “just begging.”

“Go directly to where you want to go. Don’t throw anything from the car. Know your own people,” they shouted at the cars at one checkpoint on the way to the devastated town of Bogalay.

Three weeks after the disaster, there are still many villages that have received no outside help and waterways of the former Burma’s “rice bowl” remain littered with animal carcasses and corpses, either grotesquely bloated or rotting to the bone.

The stench of death is widespread, as are the swarms of flies.

ANOTHER $50 MILLION

Donors pledged nearly $50 million in aid at a landmark conference on Sunday but Western countries said much of the cash would be contingent on access to the delta.

Many of the donations are destined for the U.N.’s $201 million emergency appeal, which was nearly a third full before the meeting. It is meant to provide help for three months only.

Besides denying and delaying visas to aid officials, army and police checkpoints on roads leading out of Yangon have prevented all but a handful leaving the former capital.

However, junta supremo Than Shwe promised visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week that all aid officials and disaster assessment teams would be allowed in “regardless of nationalities.”

Given the army’s reputation for breaking its word during the 46 years it has held power, the reaction was cautious from aid agencies and countries such as the United States, which regards Myanmar as an “outpost of tyranny.”

Washington told the Yangon conference it was ready to raise its offer of $20.5 million in aid if the junta opened up, but added it was “dismayed” the generals went ahead with a constitutional referendum in the middle of the disaster.

The re-imposition, expected in the next couple of days, of a rolling, year-long house arrest order for opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is only likely to rile the Bush administration further.

Increasing the frustrations of aid agencies and governments, the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok was closed on Monday after a fire caused extensive damage to one building in the compound. Thai police said the blaze did not appear to be suspicious.

$11 BILLION PLEASE

The U.N. says three in four of those most in need have yet to receive any help — and that hunger and disease could send the death toll soaring if things do not change fast.

The junta, by contrast, says the relief phase of the disaster is already over, and is angling for $11 billion in long-term reconstruction assistance. Diplomats say they don’t know how the government arrived at that figure.

The disaster, one of the worst cyclones ever to hit Asia, has forced the reclusive generals to talk to the outside world but they have managed only in part to overcome their innate distrust of anything foreign.

In particular, there appears to be no chance of the generals ever allowing U.S. and French navy ships near the delta to deliver aid directly to survivors, either by boat or helicopter.

France said on Sunday it had ordered its ship, Le Mistral, to head for Thailand, where its cargo of 1,000 tons of drugs, food and tents will be unloaded into the care of the World Food Program (WFP).

(Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Sanjeev Miglani)


http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080526/wl_nm/myanmar_cyclone1_dc_49

=====================================


Myanmar monks beat controls to provide aid

Published: Monday, 26 May, 2008, 02:01 AM Doha Time

A cyclone-affected family build a shack in Kungyangon

YANGON: While big international donors try to persuade Myanmar’s military rulers to open their doors wider to aid, small groups of volunteers are getting past army checkpoints to reach desperate survivors of Cyclone Nargis.
Among them were Catholics and Buddhists seeking to fulfil a charitable mission under extreme circumstances three weeks after the devastating storm left 2.5mn people destitute, most of them in the hardest-hit Irrawaddy delta.
Yesterday, larger than normal crowds of worshippers gathered at Myanmar’s biggest Catholic cathedral to hear priests criticise the slow pace of aid “for our suffering countrymen”.
“We need the world to speak out because our people are dying every minute,” one priest, who asked not to be identified, said at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1899.
Small groups of parishioners had been able to get past military checkpoints in recent days and visited delta fishing villages where they found starving people, he said.
Elsewhere in Yangon, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was attending a donor pledging conference days after he received a promise from junta leader Than Shwe to allow more Western aid workers into the delta.
Critics say the seven-day visas already granted to some foreign relief workers are too short and that some Myanmar nationals have also been barred from the delta.
“One of the most disturbing things that we heard was even Burmese were being intimidated and harassed and prevented from helping their own people,” activist Debbie Stothard, co-ordinator of the Alternative Asean Network on Burma, said in Bangkok.
“They are also blocking communications and transportation equipment,” she said.
However, a European aid official said the generals had begun to talk about funding and the need for foreign advisers.
“So there are the first signs of a wider opening,” said the official, who declined to be named.
Army checkpoints on the main road south to the delta stood empty on Saturday on the Maha Bandula bridge, named after the Burmese general who fought against British colonial rule.
Army trucks carrying sacks of rice were seen driving across the Yangon river, but people in the town of Kyauktan, 30km from the former capital, said they had received little aid.
“We are homeless. Every time something goes wrong we get help only from the monks,” a woman said as she sat with hundreds of others on the wooden floor of a monastery.
Around 252 people, including scores of children, were crammed into the small building with 10 resident monks. Parts of the roof in three corners are missing.
Around them, the palm, coconut and betel nut trees look as if their trunks have been shorn by cannon fire. Houses and factories had their windows blasted out by the fierce winds.
Still, Kyauktan got off relatively lightly compared with the western delta, where aid workers have yet to reach many in need.–Reuters


http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=220599&version=1&template_id=45&parent_id=25

==============================

Mr. Salong
Coordinator
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581
Email: shweinfo@gmail.com
simtui@gmail.com
www.shwe.org

[BurmaSolidarity] Myanmar to allow foreign help for Cyclone victims

from: Salong
reply-to: burmasolidarity@googlegroups.com
date: Sat, May 24, 2008 at 8:24 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] Myanmar to allow foreign help for Cyclone victims

News Headlines

1. Myanmar to allow foreign help for Cyclone victims

2. China to give $10 million for Myanmar aid 29 minutes ago

3. Over 45 Nations, Groups To Attend Myanmar Aid Conference

4. Mercy Corps loads relief supplies for China, Myanmar

5. Myanmar votes across cyclone zone

6. Western navy help unwanted by Myanmar

7. Myanmar: Human rights lawyer recognised

8. Dubai Cares assists Save the Children in helping children in
Myanmar cope with deadly cyclone

9. EU official welcomes Myanmar’s willingness to accept aid workers

10. Canada to increase aid to Myanmar

11. Ask AP: Helping Myanmar; India and China’s cars

12. RAAF plane to ferry helicopters for aid in Myanmar

13. Manila parishes to have 2nd collection for Myanmar

14. Restoring natural habitats in Myanmar a priority

15. News Minute: Clinton’s RFK flap…Ban in China…Myanmar relief
=====================================


Myanmar to allow foreign help for Cyclone victims

Associated Press – May 24, 2008 1:53 AM ET

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar’s military government has agreed to
let foreign aid workers and commercial ships help survivors in the
country’s cyclone-ravaged delta region. But it’s still refusing to
accept aid from U.S., French and British military ships.

Those ships have been anchored off the coast for a week or more and
would be able to provide a huge boost in the aid effort because they
can send helicopters to hard-to-reach spots devastated by the cyclone
three weeks ago.

Myanmar’s ruling general Friday told U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon (bahn kee-moon) that he will allow aid workers to travel to
the Irrawaddy Delta, on condition that it’s clear what they’re doing
and how long they’ll stay.

The government has kept the delta virtually off-limits to foreign aid workers.

An estimated 2.5 million people remain in dire straights. The U.N.
says only about a-quarter of the survivors have received any kind of
aid.

The official death toll in Myanmar stands at about 78,000, with
another 56,000 people missing.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.katc.com/global/story.asp?s=8374748.

=====================================

China to give $10 million for Myanmar aid 29 minutes ago

YINGXIU, China – Premier Wen Jiabao says China will pledge $10 million
for Myanmar aid at an international donor conference.

Wen’s announcement Saturday came as he and United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited earthquake-hit areas of China.

Donor governments plan to meet Sunday in the Myanmar capital of Yangon
to pledge aid for survivors of the country’s devastating cyclone.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080524/ap_on_re_as/china_myanmar_aid_2

=====================================

Over 45 Nations, Groups To Attend Myanmar Aid Conference

(RTTNews) – Friday, the United Nations said more than 45 countries and
regional organizations have agreed to attend Sunday’s donors
conference in Myanmar to mobilize funds for immediate humanitarian
assistance for the survivors of Cyclone Nargis.
The U.N. and Association of Southeast Asian Nations-ASEAN are jointly
sponsoring the conference in Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon.
The United Nations launched an emergency appeal for US$187 million on
May 9 and then subsequently raised the amount to US$201 million. The
figure is likely to go up further once disaster relief experts are
able to gauge the full extent of the devastation after surveying the
hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta.
ASEAN has taken the lead in organizing the distribution of aid to an
estimated 2.5 million people urgently in need of relief following the
devastating storm on May 2-3.
U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said Friday though the conference
will focus on immediate aid but at the same time will also start
looking into medium-term and long-term needs of the cyclone survivors.
For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com

http://www.nasdaq.com/aspxcontent/NewsStory.aspx?cpath=20080524%5cACQRTT200805240126RTTRADERUSEQUITY_0004.htm&&mypage=newsheadlines&title=Over%2045%20Nations,%20Groups%20To%20Attend%20Myanmar%20Aid%20Conference

===================================


Mercy Corps loads relief supplies for China, Myanmar

PORTLAND (AP) — Portland-based Mercy Corps will send 17 pallets of
emergency supplies to help survivors in China’s earthquake and
Myanmar’s cyclone.

The pallets will be loaded onto a truck in Portland to fly out of
Seattle Thursday.

Mercy Corps staff in Bangkok, including a Portland-based aid worker,
will manage distribution of the supplies, valued at $300,000.

The shipment includes thousands of pairs of work gloves, rubber boots
and solar-powered flashlights.

It also includes soccer balls donated by Nike to help Chinese children
regain a sense of normal life.
DH Reader Comments

http://www.democratherald.com/articles/2008/05/24/news/local/4loc11_mercycorps.txt


==============================
=====


Myanmar votes across cyclone zone

Agence France-Presse
Saturday, May 24, 2008 (Yangon)
Myanmar voters in cyclone-hit regions went to the polls on Saturday
for a referendum on a new constitution, which the ruling junta says
was overwhelmingly approved in a first round of voting.

The regime opened polls at 6:00 am (0500IST) across the main city of
Yangon and the southern Irrawaddy Delta, where entire villages were
washed away by Cyclone Nargis three weeks ago.

The military says the constitution will pave the way for democratic
elections in 2010, but democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has
deplored the vote.

Her National League for Democracy says the constitution will enshrine
military rule, and has denounced the regime for focusing on its
referendum rather than on delivering aid to cyclone victims.

Some 2.4 million people remain in desperate need of food, shelter and
medicine in the wake of the storm.

About five million people are eligible to cast their ballot, but their
votes will have no effect on the outcome, after the military announced
a 92.4 per cent in the first round held on May 10 in regions spared by
the storm.

In Yangon, voters have complained of intimidation, saying that
military officers forced them to cast advance ballots, and to tick
their papers while officials watched.

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080050807&ch=5/24/2008%2010:08:00%20AM

=================================


Western navy help unwanted by Myanmar
Sat May 24, 2008

By The Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar — With their history of xenophobia, no one expected
Myanmar’s generals to welcome a flotilla of warships trying to help
bring relief to millions affected by Cyclone Nargis.

As a half-dozen military ships from the U.S., France and Britain laden
with aid and helicopters capable of reaching hard-hit areas waited
offshore, Myanmar said they were not needed or welcome.
Although the junta agreed Friday it would let commercial ships and
foreign aid workers help survivors of the May 2-3 cyclone, the
military — a major factor in relief after the 2004 tsunami — was
forced to sit on the sidelines.
“The strings attached to the relief supplies carried by warships and
military helicopters are not acceptable to the Myanmar people,” the
New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a mouthpiece for the ruling generals,
said this week.
It did not say what strings were attached, and U.S. military officials
have repeatedly said there were none.
“This is purely a humanitarian mission,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Powell,
a spokesman for the stalled Operation Caring Response. “We have no
ulterior motive other than to assist the Burmese people.”
What’s the concern?The media report hinted that Myanmar’s real fear is
that the U.S. would use the disaster as a pretext to invade and take
control of the country’s oil reserves. U.S. officials flatly deny any
such intent.
The junta appears particularly wary about allowing U.S. helicopters
into hard-hit areas because that would highlight the American effort
to the common people, who have been taught to see the U.S. as a
hostile aggressor.
In the meantime, U.S. military airlifts from Thailand continued.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Friday there have been 50 U.S.
C-130 transport plane flights into Yangon, carrying more than 485 tons
of relief supplies.

http://newsok.com/western-navy-help-unwanted-by-myanmar/article/3248141

=======================================

Myanmar: Human rights lawyer recognised

A lawyer in Myanmar has been awarded a prestigious human rights award
in recognition of his struggle for labour rights under extremely
adverse conditions. U Aye Myint, who has set up a legal aid group in
Myanmar to handle cases of forced labour, illegal land confiscation
and workers’ rights, was awarded the European Bar’s Ludovic-Trarieux
Prize for 2008. He has twice been imprisoned over cases that he has
brought to the courts and to the ILO, and has had his licence to
practice illegally revoked. On at least one occasion he suffered cruel
and inhuman treatment by being kept hooded, handcuffed and unfed for
days while detained, says this report.

http://csr-asia.com/index.php?id=11838


======================================

Source: Save the Children Alliance
Date: 23 May 2008
Print E-mail Save
Dubai Cares assists Save the Children in helping children in Myanmar
cope with deadly cyclone

Westport, Conn. (May 23, 2008) — Dubai Cares, a new charity based in
the United Arab Emirates, is helping Save the Children bring immediate
aid to thousands of children and families affected by the devastation
of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.
Launched in September 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid
Al Maktoum, Dubai Cares is the world’s largest foundation devoted to
improving primary education in developing countries.
In Myanmar, Dubai Cares has donated 200 tents large enough to create
temporary schools and sheltered play areas for children as well as
10,000 school kits for children who have lost all of their school
supplies.
In addition, Dubai Cares has provided thousands of LifeStraws —
individual water purifying devices that make standing water drinkable
— for cyclone survivors. The materials are being distributed by Save
the Children staffers in the hardest-hit areas of the delta region.
The donation to the Cyclone Nagris relief effort marks the second time
in a year that Dubai Cares has contributed to Save the Children
programs. In April, Dubai Cares pledged $16.6 million to provide
high-quality education for children in Sudan.
‘Once again the people of Dubai have demonstrated their generosity in
helping children who are in critical need of support. This gift will
greatly assist our efforts in helping children cope with the enormous
tragedy that continues to unfold in Myanmar,’ said Charles MacCormack,
president and CEO of Save the Children, based in Westport, Conn.
‘Our objective is to offer immediate aid to ensure that the children
could be placed on the path of recovery by helping them begin their
rehabilitation process, following the trauma suffered from the
devastating cyclone,’ said Her Excellency Reem Al-Hashimy, chairperson
of the Dubai Cares board of directors.
The death toll from the disaster continues to rise. Unofficial
estimates from the United Nations suggest that as many as 102,000
people have died, and up to 1.9 million people have been affected.
Authorities have declared five regions — with an estimated total
population of 24 million — to be in a state of emergency, including
Yangon Division, Pegu Division, Mon State, Karen State and the
Irrawaddy Division.
With the support of partners such as Dubai Cares, Save the Children
has reached more than 160,000 survivors, including about 50,000
children with food, water, hygiene kits, and other basic necessities.
The donated supplies from Dubai Cares will help provide temporary
schools and ‘safe spaces’ for thousands of homeless children.
Throughout the delta region, more than 3,000 schools have been
damaged, and many children have been separated from their families.

With the exception of public UN sources, reproduction or
redistribution of the above text, in whole, part or in any form,
requires the prior consent of the original source. The opinions
expressed in the documents carried by this site are those of the
authors and are not necessarily shared by UN OCHA or ReliefWeb.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/MUMA-7EX7P9?OpenDocument

==============================

EU official welcomes Myanmar’s willingness to accept aid workers
, May 24, 2008

EU official welcomes Myanmar’s willingness to accept aid workers Louis
Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid,
welcomed here on Friday the announcement that the Myanmar authorities
plan to allow international humanitarian workers into the country.

“I am relieved by this decision from the Myanmar authorities,” said
Michel in a statement.

“This means that the international humanitarian aid community can
finally provide the relief and assistance so badly needed to the
hundreds of thousands of people affected by the devastating Cyclone
Nargis,” he added.

He urged the Myanmar authorities to immediately provide the
international community with the practical details of the agreement.

The Myanmar authorities made the announcement to allow international
aid workers to get into the country to help victims of a devastating
cyclone that killed tens of thousands of people following talks with
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Source: Xinhua

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90856/6417484.html

==================================

Canada to increase aid to Myanmar
Friday, May 23, 2008 – 10:35 PM
By: 680News staff with reports from The Canadian Press

Canada’s International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda announced, Friday,
that the federal government will increase aid and provide an
additional $12-million in support to the Myanmar cyclone victims.
Canada has already pledged $2 million, plus has matched all Canadian
donations to registered charities, but Oda said that given the scope
of the disaster in Myanmar, it wasn’t enough.
A Canadian Forces plane delivered supplies, including 2,000 emergency
kits to the region last week.
Meanwhile, there has been a breakthrough in Myanmar, where military
rulers agreed to accept all foreign aid workers.
Three weeks after the devastating storm, United Nation’s Sec.-Gen. Ban
Ki-Moon, persuaded the country to finally issue visas to all foreign
aid workers who want to help save and shelter the estimated 2.5
million people left homeless by Cyclone Nargis.
Ban met with the junta leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, the country’s
most powerful figure on Friday morning for the crucial meeting. Shwe,
is known as “the bulldog” for his stubbornness, had originally refused
to speak with Ban.
Some people are concerned that this is too late for relief. The UN
said cyclone survivors face hunger, homelessness and potential
outbreaks of deadly diseases, especially in the lower-lying areas of
the Irrawaddy delta close to the sea. It estimated that aid has
reached only about 25 per cent of them.

http://www.680news.com/news/local/article.jsp?content=20080523_222558_4144


==============================
======

Ask AP: Helping Myanmar; India and China’s cars

Email|Print|Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.| Text size – + By
The Associated Press
May 23, 2008
They’re hungry. They’re homeless. And the U.N. says only about a
quarter of them have received any aid.
more stories like this
Survivors of the devastating cyclone that hit Myanmar nearly three
weeks ago are in desperate need of help. And until Friday, when U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the country’s rulers agreed to let
in “all aid workers,” the country’s reclusive regime had been
unwilling to allow more than a few such workers into the country.
So why hasn’t the U.S. just been flying over the hardest hit areas and
air-dropping supplies?
That’s one of three questions in this edition of “Ask AP,” a weekly
Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers’ questions about
the news.
If you have your own news-related question that you’d like to see
answered by an AP reporter or editor, send it to newsquestions@ap.org,
with “Ask AP” in the subject line. And please include your full name
and hometown so they can be published with your question.
——
Why are China and India suddenly huge players in the oil market? Did
the Chinese all go out and buy cars in one month and make oil jump
through the roof?
Andrew Guenther
Palm Harbor, Fla.
——
Actually, oil demand from China and India has grown steadily for
several years as their middle classes have expanded. So while that
demand is contributing to surging oil prices, it isn’t the only
factor.
Also at play are worries about future supplies, production disruptions
and geopolitical concerns, like unrest in Nigeria, a major oil
producer. The dollar’s decline has also encouraged some traders to buy
oil contracts, betting that future gains will offset weakness in the
dollar — and greater demand for oil contracts pushes prices up
further.
Oil production has barely been able to keep up with consumption from
the United States, Europe and Japan, so supplies are strained when
newcomers like China and India jump in.
With their vast populations, even small changes in spending in China
and India can dramatically increase thirst for oil. General Motors
Corp. says 10 million Chinese families already can afford a car, and
that will rise to 75 million by 2015 — an eye-popping number, and
still just a fraction of the total population of 1.3 billion people.
India trails China by a few years but is following the same trend.
Chinese oil producers are trying to increase total global supplies by
investing billions to develop oil and gas sources in Africa, Central
Asia and elsewhere that others consider too difficult or expensive.
Joe McDonald
AP Business Writer, Beijing
and
Malcolm Foster
AP Asia Business Editor, Bangkok, Thailand
——
Why didn’t the U.S. just do a massive air drop of storm relief
supplies directly to the remote areas of Myanmar to reach the people
most in need? Were we really concerned about how the military regime
of Myanmar might react?Continued…
Elaine Burke
Baton Rouge, La.
——
Pentagon officials are wary of air-dropping supplies without
permission from the closed regime because that could be considered an
invasion. They need permission to fly into a country’s air space, U.S.
officials say, because they respect sovereignty, whether it’s on the
ground or in the air.
Officials also say unauthorized air drops are often inefficient,
especially if there are no experts on the ground to monitor the
distribution of aid. Desperate people could riot over the assistance,
and there is the possibility that security forces might confiscate it
and keep it out of the hands of the needy.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he couldn’t imagine
air-dropping aid without permission from the military regime.
Christine Simmons
Associated Press Writer, Washington
——
When I was in college in the early 1960s, my business professor told
our class that 5 percent unemployment is considered full employment.
Now I read that 5 percent unemployment is considered bad times. What
happened? How come 5 percent in the ’60s was great and 5 percent in
2008 is bad?
Robert Evans
Sacramento, Calif.
——
Today’s 5 percent unemployment rate is equivalent to about a 7 percent
jobless rate 30 years ago, economists say. Here’s why:
There was a big influx of young people and women into the work force a
generation ago, but today’s labor force is older and more settled into
jobs, and female participation has leveled off. Labor force growth in
the ’70s was close to 3 percent; now it is closer to 1 percent,
analysts say. That slowdown in growth has caused the unemployment rate
to be lower than it otherwise would be.
That said, economists look at a range of things — besides the
unemployment rate — to gauge the labor market’s health. Employers
have been cutting jobs and trimming hours, and inflation-adjusted
wages are falling. And one of the reasons the jobless rate dipped to 5
percent in April was because there was a sharp increase in the number
of people holding part-time jobs.
Jeannine Aversa
AP Economics Writer, Washington
——
Have questions of your own? Send them to newsquestions@ap.org.
(c) Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Pentagon officials are wary of air-dropping supplies without
permission from the closed regime because that could be considered an
invasion. They need permission to fly into a country’s air space, U.S.
officials say, because they respect sovereignty, whether it’s on the
ground or in the air.
Officials also say unauthorized air drops are often inefficient,
especially if there are no experts on the ground to monitor the
distribution of aid. Desperate people could riot over the assistance,
and there is the possibility that security forces might confiscate it
and keep it out of the hands of the needy.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he couldn’t imagine
air-dropping aid without permission from the military regime.
Christine Simmons
Associated Press Writer, Washington
——
When I was in college in the early 1960s, my business professor told
our class that 5 percent unemployment is considered full employment.
Now I read that 5 percent unemployment is considered bad times. What
happened? How come 5 percent in the ’60s was great and 5 percent in
2008 is bad?
Robert Evans
Sacramento, Calif.
——
Today’s 5 percent unemployment rate is equivalent to about a 7 percent
jobless rate 30 years ago, economists say. Here’s why:
There was a big influx of young people and women into the work force a
generation ago, but today’s labor force is older and more settled into
jobs, and female participation has leveled off. Labor force growth in
the ’70s was close to 3 percent; now it is closer to 1 percent,
analysts say. That slowdown in growth has caused the unemployment rate
to be lower than it otherwise would be.
That said, economists look at a range of things — besides the
unemployment rate — to gauge the labor market’s health. Employers
have been cutting jobs and trimming hours, and inflation-adjusted
wages are falling. And one of the reasons the jobless rate dipped to 5
percent in April was because there was a sharp increase in the number
of people holding part-time jobs.
Jeannine Aversa
AP Economics Writer, Washington
——
Have questions of your own? Send them to newsquestions@ap.org.
(c) Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/05/23/ask_ap_helping_myanmar_india_and_chinas_cars/

====================================


RAAF plane to ferry helicopters for aid in Myanmar

21:52, May 23, 2008

Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said here on Friday night
that an Australian military aircraft will take part in the effort to
help Burma’s cyclone victims.

Fitzgibbon said in a statement the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
C-17 Globemaster plane would transport helicopters from South Africa
to Thailand, to be used for relief work in Myanmar.

The helicopters would help get aid and humanitarian assistance into
remote cyclone-affected areas.

“The World Food Program requested immediate support from a small
number of countries as commercial aircraft were not available in a
suitable timeframe,” Fitzgibbon said.

“The ADF has the knowledge and experience to make an immediate and
positive contribution to this humanitarian assistance effort,” he
said.

Source: Xinhua

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6417366.html

============================


Manila parishes to have 2nd collection for Myanmar

05/24/2008 | 07:27 AM
Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. | Error! Hyperlink reference not
valid. | Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. | MANILA Philippines –
Churches in the Archdiocese of Manila will conduct a second collection
during Masses on Sunday for the victims of a cyclone that hit Myanmar
earlier this month’)” target=_blank title=”Digg this story”Digg this |
MANILA Philippines – Churches in the Archdiocese of Manila will
conduct a second collection during Masses on Sunday for the victims of
a cyclone that hit Myanmar earlier this month’)” target=_blank
title=”Add to del.icio.us“Add to del.icio.us MANILA, Philippines –
Churches in the Archdiocese of Manila will conduct a second collection
during Masses on Sunday for the victims of a cyclone that hit Myanmar
earlier this month.

The collection was ordered through a circular by Archdiocese
chancellor Msgr. Roberto Canlas addressed to parish priests in the
archdiocese.

In his circular, Canlas also called for prayers from the faithful for
the victims of the cyclone.

“Aware of the tragic event that happened to our brothers and sisters
in Myanmar, we request that a second collection be made at all Masses
in the parishes, shrines and the communities in the Archdiocese of
Manila this coming Sunday, May 25, 2008, for the victims of the
devastating cyclone,” he said.

In his circular, Canlas also requested that all the collections be
remitted to the Treasury Department immediately “so we can send them
to the proper authorities.”

“Let us continue to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters,” he
added. – GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/97107/Manila-parishes-to-have-2nd-collection-for-Myanmar


==============================

Restoring natural habitats in Myanmar a priority
Saturday, 24 May 2008, 11:14 am
Press Release: IUCN
Restoring natural habitats in Myanmar a reconstruction priority, says IUCN
Gland, Switzerland, May 23, 2008 (IUCN) – IUCN (International Union
for Conservation of Nature) offers to share its broad environmental
experience to help with the reconstruction efforts in Myanmar. A vital
long-term environmental need is to restore coastal ecosystems,
following the catastrophic damage caused by the recent cyclone.
“While we, like the rest of the world, are worried about the pace of
the relief effort, we also believe we have to take a longer view as
the planning for reconstruction starts.” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre,
Director General of IUCN. “We believe that restoring healthy
ecosystems, particularly mangroves, should be on top of the
reconstruction priority list.”

Flooding in open Delta flood plains is inevitable, but the buffering
effect of healthy ecosystems disappears when natural barriers such as
mangroves, lagoons, coral reefs, beaches and strand forests are
destroyed or degraded.
Â
In order to avoid further problems later on, special attention should
also be paid to environmental issues in the immediate relief phase, as
disposal of debris and waste resulting from infrastructure
reconstruction efforts can lead to more difficult and costly longer
term environmental restoration. By approaching the reconstruction with
due consideration for the natural environment, disasters such as this
can be better mitigated in the future. IUCN strongly believes that
restoring mangroves and other coastal ecosystems is an important
investment to make for the future.
“Destruction of coastal systems, especially mangrove forests in
Myanmar, left coastal areas exposed to the devastating force of the
cyclone,” says Aban Kabraji, IUCN’s Regional Director for Asia .
“Especially in river deltas, mangroves prevent waves from damaging the
more productive land that are further inland from the sea. Restoring
mangroves should be a priority for all involved.”
IUCN and UNDP are lead partners in the regional Mangroves for the
Future (MFF) initiative which promotes investment in coastal
ecosystems to protect people when natural disasters strike and to
ensure sustainable use of coastal resources in normal times. In
addition, the Mangroves for the Future initiative, created in response
to the 2004 tsunami, has already established a forum for dialogue
among several coastal countries of the Indian Ocean. This network
could be vital to supporting the longer term restoration and
reconstruction efforts in Myanmar.
“Climate change and habitat destruction are making natural phenomena
like cyclones and floods more frequent and severe,” says Marcia Kran,
Head of Policy and Programmes, UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok. “To
avoid the catastrophic loss of lives and livelihoods we have witnessed
in Myanmar, it is crucial that we restore and protect the coastal
ecosystems that act as a natural barriers when tidal waves strike;
healthy coastal ecosystems also provide other valuable goods and
services essential to sustain livelihoods.”
UNDP has requested IUCN to advise on the rehabilitation of damaged
coastal areas, and to provide guidance on environmental safeguards for
post-disaster relief operations, in Myanmar. Working through the UN
system, IUCN and UNDP in their capacity as MFF co-chairs together with
the other MFF partners, bring a wealth of knowledge from the
post-tsunami experience in addressing coastal ecosystem restoration
needs, particularly with respect to the role of mangroves in providing
buffers to future natural disasters.
IUCN is fully aware that the first priority must be to get emergency
help to those still in need. Once this is done, however, the
government and international aid agencies should give priority to
restoring healthy mangroves forests in the Irrawaddy Delta. Investing
in coastal ecosystems is fundamental to sustainable socio-economic
development in the region, besides reducing the vulnerability of
coastal people to extreme events such as cyclones.
ends

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0805/S00340.htm


=============================

News Minute: Clinton’s RFK flap…Ban in China…Myanmar relief
KVOA.com, AZ – 1 hour ago
AP – May 24, 2008 1:03 AM ET SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) – Hillary Clinton
says she intended no offense when she referenced the 1968
assassination of Robert …

Associated Press – May 24, 2008 2:03 AM ET
NEW YORK (AP) – Millions of Americans are hitting the road this
holiday weekend, despite gas prices that are up 20% over what they
were a year ago. The average price of a gallon of regular has hit
$3.88, and one energy consultant says “we could go significantly
above” $4 a gallon.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – Hillary Clinton is apologizing for referring
to the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy in defending her decision
to stay in the race. Clinton had alluded to RFK’s death while he was
campaigning in June of ’68 in explaining why she can’t understand why
some Democrats are calling for her to drop out of the race now.
YINGXIU, China (AP) – China’s premier says the country’s earthquake
death toll has passed 60,000 and could surpass 80,000. Saturday’s
estimate is up from the 55,000 deaths the government had reported as
of Friday.
NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar’s rulers have agreed to let all
foreign aid workers into the country’s cyclone-ravaged delta region.
But they’re still barring military ships from the U.S., France and
Britain from assisting in the relief effort.
McALLEN, Texas (AP) – A minor leaguer is on his way from Calgary,
Canada, to Texas after being traded this week for the unlikely price
of a bag of bats. John Odom is headed to the Laredo Broncos who got
him from the Calgary Vipers for 10 maple-wood bats. Odom says he
“doesn’t really care” about his small price. And he says it’ll make a
better story if he makes it to the big leagues.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=278911&nav=HMO5Z8jn


===========================

Mr. Salong
Coordinator
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581
Email: shweinfo@gmail.com
simtui@gmail.com
www.shwe.org

[BurmaSolidarity] UN chief arrives in Myanmar in bid to gain relief access

from: Salong
reply-to: burmasolidarity@googlegroups.com
date: Thu, May 22, 2008 at 3:58 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] UN chief arrives in Myanmar in bid to gain relief access
mailing list:


News Headlines

1. UN chief arrives in Myanmar in bid to gain relief access

2. UN’s Ban in Myanmar to push for cyclone relief

3. Chevron sticking with Myanmar

4. ADB may support needs assessment after cyclone in Myanmar

===================================

UN chief arrives in Myanmar in bid to gain relief access

Associated Press – May 22, 2008 12:33 AM ET
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (bahn kee-moon) is on the diplomatic mission of a lifetime. He hopes to convince Myanmar’s military regime to open its border to international relief efforts.
Ban arrived in Myanmar’s capital early Thursday. Before leaving Thailand, he told reporters that this is “a critical moment for Myanmar.”
The military leadership is deeply suspicious of outsiders. It has been reluctant to accept more than a relative handful of foreign disaster relief experts.
By the government’s own count, at least 134,000 people are dead or missing from the cyclone that swept through the country’s heartland nearly three weeks ago.
The U.N. says up to 2.5 million survivors are hungry and homeless and there are worries about disease outbreaks.
Ban is scheduled to meet with government ministers and international aid agencies. He’s also to be flown by helicopter to the hard-hit delta area.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.kjct8.com/Global/story.asp?S=8363107

==============================

UN’s Ban in Myanmar to push for cyclone relief

May 22, 2008 – 4:09PM

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Myanmar on Thursday in a high-profile bid to convince the regime to welcome a major international relief operation three weeks after the cyclone disaster.

With around two million desperate survivors still facing dire shortages of food, water, shelter and medicine, the junta’s isolationist leader Than Shwe has stunned the world with his refusal to accept a major aid effort.

He was to meet with Than Shwe on Friday in the regime’s remote capital of Naypyidaw. Ban repeatedly failed to get the general to take his phone calls after the May 2-3 storm, which left at least 133,000 people dead or missing.

“Our focus is on saving lives,” he said in Bangkok on the eve of his trip, aimed at winning a bigger role for the international community in the relief effort. “This is a critical moment for Myanmar.”

The secretary general began his official programme by making an offering for the storm’s victims at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar.

Keeping with tradition, he removed his shoes and socks as he walked around the site, offering flowers to a golden statue of Buddha and donating money for the catastrophe’s survivors.

Ban also met Prime Minister Thein Sein in the main city Yangon before he was to set off to overfly some of the most devastated regions of the Irrawaddy Delta, which bore the brunt of the storm.

It is the first visit to Myanmar by a UN secretary general since 1964. The last trip was by U Thant, a Myanmar national, who led the world body when this country was still known as Burma.

Armed police lined the roads leading from the airport before Ban’s arrival, while soldiers busied themselves cleaning the storm-damaged streets of Yangon.

The United Nations estimates that only 25 percent of those in need have been reached by international aid.

Although the United Nations has been critical of Myanmar’s human rights record, Ban has insisted the aid effort should not be politicised.

The impoverished nation has accepted tonnes of donations from around the world, and has allowed US military planes to airlift supplies into the Yangon airport.

The regime this week also agreed to allow nine UN helicopters to work in remote regions hit by the storm, but still refuses to allow five US and French ships laden with relief supplies to enter the country.

Scores of medics from around Asia have been allowed to begin treating victims of the tragedy, but Myanmar has refused to issue visas to most disaster relief specialists, whose skills are needed to run a complex aid operation.

Ban said he wanted a logistics hub inside Myanmar, which has agreed to a joint mechanism between the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to coordinate the emergency effort.

Exactly how that mechanism would work remains unclear, but the United Nations and ASEAN are set to host a donor meeting Sunday in Yangon to raise money for the operation.

Despite the tragedy and the intense diplomatic manoeuvring, Myanmar’s junta is pressing ahead with its own political agenda.

Just days after the storm, the regime held a first round of voting on a new constitution, which dissidents say will entrench military rule.

The regime now insists on holding a second round of voting in the referendum Saturday in towns and villages that were devastated by the cyclone.

The regime’s main foe, Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, is under house arrest, and her detention is expected to be extended by Monday.

Aung San Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in Myanmar’s last national elections in 1990, but the regime has never recognised the result and instead has kept her locked up for more than a decade.

Her detention is a key reason for years of sanctions by the United States and European countries, which tightened their restrictions last year after Myanmar staged a deadly crackdown on anti-junta marches led by Buddhist monks.

© 2008 AFP
This story is sourced direct from an overseas news agency as an additional service to readers. Spelling follows North American usage, along with foreign currency and measurement units.

http://news.theage.com.au/world/uns-ban-in-myanmar-to-push-for-cyclone-relief-20080522-2h5a.html

===================================

May 21, 2008, 8:18PM


Chevron sticking with Myanmar

U.S. company delivering aid to battered nation

By TINA SEELEY
Bloomberg News

Chevron Corp. has no plans to leave Myanmar, where it is producing natural gas, a company executive said.

The company has committed $2 million in aid to Myanmar to help with the aftereffects of Cyclone Nargis, Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron, said Wednesday at a Senate hearing.

“We are delivering aid even though a lot of others cannot,” he said. “What Chevron can do, we’re doing. We have plans to stay in Burma.”

San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron owns a 28.3 percent stake in the Total-operated Yadana natural gas project in the Andaman Sea.

The company acquired the stake as part of its 2005 purchase of Unocal Corp. The Yadana project sells natural gas by pipeline to Thailand.

Legislation has been introduced in Congress to withdraw millions of dollars in tax breaks Chevron gets from the pipeline and prevent any future payments to the junta that rules Myanmar, formerly Burma.

“In the last few weeks, many American have gotten a glimpse into the insular and oppressive world of Burma,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a prepared statement after the hearing. “American taxpayers should not have to subsidize Chevron’s presence in Myanmar, which only helps to prop up a brutal, despotic regime.”

Before its 2001 merger with Chevron, Texaco divested from Myanmar in 1997 after protests by human-rights activists. Texaco sold a stake in the Yetagun gas project in Myanmar to Premier Oil before the asset was acquired by Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional in a share and asset swap.

“The Burmese government is benefiting from the fact natural gas is being produced,” Robertson said in response to questioning from Schumer.

If Chevron were to leave, it would only help the government, which would gain taxes from the sale of Chevron’s interest in the country, Robertson said.

The people in the region where Chevron operates “are better off by us being there than by anyone else being there,” Robertson said.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5795274.html

===================================

ADB may support needs assessment after cyclone in Myanmar
+
13:21, May 22, 2008




The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is exploring the possibility of providing experts to conduct an on-the-ground assessment of post-cyclone rehabilitation and reconstruction needs in Myanmar, the lender said on Thursday.

Based on the findings of the assessment, other additional assistance measures may be considered, ADB said in a press release.

Deadly tropical cyclone Nargis, which occurred over the Bay of Bengal, hit five divisions and states — Ayeyawaddy, Yangon, Bago,Mon and Kayin — on May 2 and 3, of which Ayeyawaddy and Yangon inflicted the heaviest casualties and infrastructural damage.

According to an updated official death toll, as many as 77,738 people have been killed with 55,917 still missing, totaling 133,655, in the disaster. The number of the injured went up to 19,359.

It is Southeast Asia’s worst natural disaster since the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, which killed more than 160,000 people, the majority in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

ADB, headquartered in Manila and established in 1966, is an international development finance institution whose mission is to help its developing members reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people. ADB is owned and financed by its 67 members, of which 48 (including Myanmar) are from the region and 19 are from other parts of the globe. Its main instruments for helping its developing members are low interest loans, grants, advice, and knowledge.

Source:Xinhua


http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6416209.html

===================================

Myanmar appears to nix US Navy help, saying ‘strings attached’


Thursday, May 22, 2008 01:20 PM

BANGKOK (AP)-With their history of xenophobia, no one expected Myanmar’s generals to welcome with open arms an uninvited flotilla of US warships trying to help bring relief to millions severely affected by Cyclone Nargis.

But on Wednesday, the situation grew even bleaker as state-run media said the ships a major force in relief efforts after the 2004 tsunami would not be allowed in, appearing to dash what few hopes remained of the helicopter-equipped flotilla joining the relief operation.

Instead, Myanmar gave a go-ahead for a far smaller operation of 10 helicopters from the UN’s World Food Program which must be chartered, flown in on cargo planes and reassembled in Bangkok.

“The strings attached to the relief supplies carried by warships and military helicopters are not acceptable to the Myanmar people,” said the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a mouthpiece for the ruling junta.

The announcement did not say exactly what strings were attached, and US military officials have repeatedly said that there were none.

“This is purely a humanitarian mission,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, a spokesman for the stalled Operation Caring Response. “We have no ulterior motive other than to assist the Burmese people.”


http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Global%20News&p=54&type=2&sec=3&aid=2008052213

====================================
Mr. Salong
Coordinator
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581
Email: shweinfo@gmail.com
simtui@gmail.com
www.shwe.org


Top Clicks

  • None

Blog Stats

  • 17,850 hits
August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

518 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

Categories