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[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

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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.

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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

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