Saturday, July 28, 2012

HRW Report Presentation on Arrakan Crisis

(This post is direct Email from Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, HRW)

Phil Robertson, HRW Asia.
New Human Rights Watch Report: The Government Could Have Stopped This: Sectarian Violence and Abuses in Burma’s Arakan State

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
10:30 a.m. to 12 noon
Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT), Bangkok

Presented by Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch.

In June 2012, deadly sectarian violence erupted in western Burma’s Arakan State between Arakan Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. Rohingya and Arakan mobs attacked unsuspecting villages, killed an undetermined number of people, and destroyed homes, shops, and houses of worship. Over 100,000 people were displaced.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Killing of Yakhine Buddhists in Malaysia

Murder victim Soe Naing's ARRC Card.
Taliban was quite late in issuing threats against Burma since their terrorist-brothers the Al-Qaeda had already issued death threats against Burma just after the Buddhist mob killing of ten Bengali-Muslims on June 3 in Taunggup as a retaliation for the brutal rape and murder of young Buddhist Yakhin girl by three Bengali-Muslim men in Arrakan.

Even the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has sent a warning letter to Burmese President Thein Sein to be careful in his treatment of illegal Bengali-Muslims after U Thein Sein bluntly told the visiting UNHCR High Commissioner Antonio Guterres on July 11 that Burma does not and will not recognize the Bengalis as an indigenous group of Burma.

Taliban Threatens Burma over Rohingyas

A Taliban protester at Burmese embassy in Bangkok.
The Pakistani Taliban on Thursday threatened to attack Myanmar to avenge crimes against the Muslim Rohingya, unless Pakistan halts all relations with the government and shuts its embassy in Islamabad.
In a rare statement focused on the plight of Muslims abroad, the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) group sought to present itself as a defender of Muslim men and women in Myanmar, saying “we will take revenge of your blood”.
Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan demanded that the Pakistani government halt all relations with Myanmar and close down its embassy in Islamabad.
“Otherwise we will not only attack Burmese interests anywhere but will also attack the Pakistani fellows of Burma one by one,” he said in a statement.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Population Explosion in Bangladesh!

Extremely crowded trains in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi population, now at whopping 160 millions for a very small and slowly-sinking country, doubles every 30-40 years.

Bangladeshi illegal immigrants to its neighboring countries cause great alarm in India and Burma. The illegal immigrants’ issues have rocked Indian Parliament many times and caused strong protests from students, civil societies and many intellectuals.

The illegal immigrants pose great danger to the Arakanese people in western Burma, and the large influx of immigrants without any check could endanger Arakanese or cause minority in their own land. Some humanitarian activists are supporting these illegal immigrants without taking account of venerable people whose populations are very small.

There were 67,906 tribal people out of the total population of 91,765 in 1876 in Tripura State in India (Naih). The tribal population of Tripura was reduced to minority people by these illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stock Exchange & Massive Cloud Network from Daiwa

Low-Tech Main Board of Myanmar Stock Exchange (2012).
(Reuters) - Daiwa Securities Group aims to spearhead a $380 million investment in Myanmar to build an information technology backbone for the government in partnership with major Japanese tech companies.

The ambitious plan underscores the drive by Japan to stake out a competitive position in Myanmar, a resource-rich and infrastructure-poor country of 60 million that began opening its economy just a year ago after nearly 50 years of army rule.
Daiwa, which has long-standing links in Myanmar and has already been chosen to help set up a local stock exchange, has been selected by the central bank to draw up plans for the computer network and is seeking Japanese government aid to offset the cost, a Daiwa executive said.

Riots between Bengali-Muslim Illegals & Natives in Assam

Rioting Bengali-Muslim Illegals in Assam.
In civil unrest that echoes the violence witnessed in Myanmar, at least 19 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the eastern Indian state of Assam over the weekend in clashes between indigenous Assamese Bodo tribes and Muslim immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

The disturbances have also led to an estimated 50,000 people fleeing their homes from the state’s western Kokrajhar district to take refuge in relief camps.

The violence reportedly erupted on Friday night when four youths of the Bodo tribe were killed by persons unknown -- in retaliation, armed Bodos attacked Muslims, which led to a spiraling of bloodshed between the two groups who have long been in conflict. In the carnage, cars were overturned and burned, and houses and schools were set ablaze.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Naval Arms Race between Burma and Bangladesh?

(This post details the rapidly accelerating Naval Arms Race between Burma and Bangladesh the neighbouring twos of the poorest nations on earth after their bitter maritime territorial disputes over the off-shore exploration and extraction of natural gas right on their disputed maritime border line.)

New F-22B Frigate of Bangladeshi Navy (2012).
Population-exploding and slowly-sinking Bangladesh, one of the most poorest nations on this planet and the recipient of US$ 2 billion worth of international aid last year alone to feed its half-starving populace of 160 millions, has recently purchased two brand new Jiangwei II (053 H3) guided-missiles frigates from China at the cost of US$ 200 million each frigate.

The 324 ft (108 M) long frigate displaces 2,400 tons and carries 200 km range C-803 ship-to-ship guided missiles and 8.6 km range surface-to-air missiles. The brand-new missile frigates are newest additions to the two type 53H2 used-frigates already purchased from China. Bangladesh Navy was known to have six missile-capable frigates in 2008.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Warships of Burma Navy

5-series Fast Attack Crafts of Burma Navy (2012).
At present the most interesting warships for people who closely follow the developments of the Burma’s Navy are the 5-series Patrol Boats classified as the 5-series Fast Attack Crafts being built in Navy’s own dockyard.

According to the people from Navy circles there are already 20 warships of that class starting from 551 to now 570 operating in the Burmese Navy. Navy is building these 5-series Fast Attack Crafts also in the civilian-controlled Sin-ma-laik Dockyard in Rangoon.

Burmese Navy now has guided-missiles-armed large frigates and modern corvettes in addition to these Fast Attack Crafts to guard Burma’s territorial waters and her long coast line.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stateless People of Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees begging to let into Bangladesh.
For many years, Bangladesh has hosted several stateless populations, including the Urdu-speaking minority (also known as the Biharis or “stranded Pakistanis”), Rohingya refugees (the returnees from Burma’s Arrakan), and individuals of Indian origin. In 2008, the High Court provided a remedy for many of the Biharis.
For 37 years, at least 200,000 and as many as 500,000 Urdu speakers have lived in urban camps throughout Bangladesh, where they have suffered discrimination, demographic stress, poor conditions, and lack of basic amenities.

Aung Thein Lin’s Interview with Chinese Newspaper

(This post is direct from the Network Myanmar on 18 July 2012. Titled “Myanmar MP: Some people want to setup a puppet regime (of the West) in Myanmar” by Zhang Zhe and Ye Weimin, Southern Weekend (China) – 5 July 2012. This is an unofficial translation from the Chinese original.)

Burmese MP Aung Thein Lin.
Editor: Different political forces in Myanmar are trying to consolidate and reconcile. But on the other hand, the game among them and the under the table confrontations never stopped.

For Myanmar today, the ruling party- USDP- is without question the most important leading force. Will USDP step out of its historic shadow? In the “new” parliament, how will USDP and the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi co-exist with each other?

With these questions, the reporters from Southern Weekend interviewed Aung Thein Linn, executive member of the Central Committee of USDP, chairman of the Reform and Modernization Supervisory Committee of the Myanmar parliament, and a former mayor of Yangon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Armed-Bengali Intrusion from Bangladesh

Burmese naval boats off  Arrakan Coast.
There was a violent clash between Burmese naval boats and the armed-motorboats manned by Bengali-Muslim intruders from Bangladesh at the dawn of July 15 in the Burmese Waters near the The-khone Village in the Pauk-taw Township of Arakan State.

“At about 5:30 in the morning of July 15 we got the news of three Bengali motorboats coming into Sit-ke village at the west of Pauk-taw town. So our naval boats went out to check and ran into one of them Bengali boats near the village of The-khone. According to the navy men that boat started shooting at them and they had to shoot back. And they wounded one Bengali in the chest and captured the rest with the boat,” relayed the news by one Pauk-taw local who heard the whole incident.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Burmese Fairy Tale by Ma Thanegi

(This article originally appeared on now-defunct FEER on 19 February 1998.)

Prominent Burmese Writer Ma Thanegi.
Like many Burmese, I am tired of living in a fairy tale. For years, outsiders portrayed the troubles of my country as a morality play: good against evil, with no shade of grey in between -- a simplistic picture, but one the world believes.

The response of the West has been equally simplistic : It wages a moral crusade against evil, using such "magic wands" as sanctions and boycotts.

But for us, Burma is no fairy-tale land with a simple solution to its problems. We were isolated for 26 years under socialism and we continue to lack a modern economy. We are tired of wasting time. If we are to move forward, to modernize, then we need everyone to face facts.

That may sound like pro-government propaganda, but I haven't changed since I joined the democracy movement in August 1988. I have lived most of my life under the 1962-88 socialist regime -- another fairy tale, this one of isolation.

In 1988 we knew it was time to join the world. Thousands of us took to the streets and I joined the National League for Democracy and worked as an aide to Aung San Suu Kyi.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Indonesian Islamic Hard-Liners Vow Jihad against Burma

Islamic Protest in front of Burmese Embassy in Jakarta.
Hundreds of Islamic hard-liners protested outside the Myanmar embassy in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Friday to “stop the genocide” of Rohingya Muslims in the wake of deadly communal unrest.

Around 300 hard-liners from organizations, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), threatened to storm the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta as some 50 police officers guarded the building.

“If embassy officials refuse to talk with us, I demand all of you break into the building and turn it upside down,” a leader on a loudspeaker told protesters, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fake Rohingyas from Bangladesh Arrested!

Arrested fake-Rohingyas in Chittagong.
Forty eight Bangladeshi nationals and two human traffickers were arrested in the early morning of July 8 by the Bangladeshi Police’s Special Crime Suppression Squad in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

According to the Bangladeshi Police the arrested men were found staying at four hotels in the Chittagong’s Kadamtali Ward just before on their way to Malaysia on a motorised fishing boat arranged by a criminal human-trafficking organization.

“As per the intelligence received our No-7 Rapid Action Battalion raided the hotels on early morning Sunday and nabbed the fifty individuals,” said Major Reckkibul Armi.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Japan Makes Up for Lost Time in Burma!

After the debt, the deluge? Three months after Japan agreed to waive much of the money owed to it by Myanmar, clearing the way for normalised economic relations after a 25-year lending freeze, Japanese companies are beginning to make up for lost time.

On Tuesday Marubeni, Japan’s fifth largest trading house, said it had been awarded a contract to overhaul a gas-fired power plant it built seven years ago, before tighter Western sanctions took hold.

Marubeni described the award to upgrade the creaking Ywama plant as the first infrastructure order to a Japanese company since the government of president Thein Sein took over in March 2011, ushering in democratic reforms.

Investing in Burma by Derek Tonkin

Former British Ambassador Derek Tonkin.
British oil and gas companies currently visiting Burma include British Gas, BP and Shell. Premier Oil, who originally had a stake in Yetagun which they sold to Malaysia's Petronas, have also maintained their interest. British companies offer more advanced and cleaner technology than Russian, Chinese or Indian companies, and are likely to much more transparent  and responsible in their operations. A delegation from the Extracting Industries Transparency Initiative Secretariat is due in Burma later this month - Suu Kyi herself announced this pending visit in her speech to the British Parliament last month. MOGE and the Government are expected to sign up soon to the EITI Convention.
Total's contracts with MOGE were made public some time ago. Meanwhile the Ministry of Energy has included all their expected off-shore earnings in the National Budget 2012-2013 (See Item-14 of Table-5 at  which shows revenues of Kyats 2,639,705.580 million converted at the new floating rate at the time of Kyats 800 = US$1 to provide US$ 3.299 billion) but expenditure is estimated to reach 1,643,553.802 million or US$ 2.054 billion which would be government investment in the pipelines to China and offshore installations.

Hate Mails From the Bogus Asylum Seekers?

Just four days days ago on 7 July I translated a very interesting article, written in Burmese, called “Come to UK to get Asylum” from an anonymous Burmese blog called “SimpleViewOnMyLand” and labelled it “Burmese Asylum Industry in London” and posted it on my blog.

And shit hit the fan! That post has so far attracted thousands and thousands of hits and quickly reached the Most Popular Post of the Week within three days.

I think the reason was a very influential Burma-related site the Network Myanmar has picked that post and made it their front page post on 8 July and the result is many other WWW sites and Burmese Facebook Accounts found the post and relayed among them.

Even the British Immigration too has supposedly found that post from my blog. Right now I am famous or infamous among the people of certain circles in London without stepping on the land of British not even once in my 56 years life.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

This Could Happen In Future Muslim-Arrakan?

A man armed with AK-47 prepares to fire.
Internet footage of an Afghan woman being executed in front of villagers by a suspect Taliban gunman is being investigated by authorities in Kabul amid international outrage.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “shocked and disgusted” by reports of the execution. The British Government condemned the “deplorable” action and called upon Afghanistan's rulers to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“I am shocked and disgusted by (the) reports,” Mr Hague said in a statement. “Such deplorable actions underline the vital need for better protection of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.”

The 22-year-old woman from a village in Parwan province, north of the Afghan capital where there is little government control, was reportedly accused of adultery.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Burmese Asylum Industry in London!

I started this post just after the meeting of Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese community in UK especially London at the very end of her well-celebrated Euro-trip, but I couldn’t finish it for all sorts of reason. Only now I decided to finish this critical article as I really want people back home in Burma to know about these so-called Burmese political activists here in London, especially their well-run Asylum Industry here.

I got to London naively few years ago and this is my simple view of what’s going on here.

The group most active in Burmese politics here in London is the NLD-LA. We all know what NLD is but the LA tail is quite mind boggling. The Liberated Area tag was sort of okay for the KNU’s long-lost Manerplaw but here in London, I hope they are not implying they a bunch of Burmese miscreants, intentionally displaced, have liberated London. From whom, the much-hated Burmese army? Funny, ha ha ha.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Burmese Kyat Depreciating 10% in 2 Months!

Exchanging Kyats to US$ at Thein Byu Centre.
Many business-people in Burma are now fearful that the Kyat is fast becoming unstable as it has depreciated more than 10% since freely floated two months before in April.

Since the Kyat has been floated under managed-floating-exchange-rate-regime on April 1 this year the Kyat to US$ exchange rate has gone up from about 812 kyats/dollar to nearly 900 kyats/dollar as the Burmese currency has depreciated nearly ten percent.

The exchange rate was only about 819 kyats/dollar at the highest in April after the new exchange-rate regime was put into action and it was trading at the range from 817 to 840 kyats/dollar in the whole May. But the rate shot up constantly in June and touched the highest 900 kyats/dollar on June 27.