Home Weekly Wrap-up Weekly Wrap-up Weekly Diary, No.609 (3-9 November 2012)

Weekly Diary, No.609 (3-9 November 2012)

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Tips for the President: You may sometimes find yourself feeling that way!

Think Piece
In order to have peace both sides must want it equally. One side cannot make peace; they can only surrender.

Dutchman’s Flat, Louis L’amour (1986)

On Myanmar Peace Center (MPC)

This Peace Center shall be an autonomous center. (There will be) transparency, accountability and inclusiveness. It shall be widely open and impartial in its outreach to all groups willing to join this platform for dialogue. And it shall be non-partisan in it activities. No single group or entity shall monopolies its agenda.

Jose Manuel Barrosa, President of the European Commission, speech at the Myanmar Peace Center, 3 November 2012

On ‘illegal’ migrants

Platform for International Cooperation on undocumented Migrants (PICUM) have requested the media:

To use ‘undocumented migrants’ or ‘irregular migrants’ instead of ‘illegal migrants’.

7 November 2012

The World
5 November 2012
9th Asia-Europe meeting welcomes Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland as new members, expanding membership to 51. (Bangkok Post)

6 November 2012

President Obama reelected for second term. (Agencies)

International Relations
3 November 2012
Switzerland opens new embassy in Rangoon. (Mizzima)

3 November 2012

Jose Manuel Barroso, EC president, says it has provided 700,000 euros in set-up costs for the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC). It will be followed by some 30 million euros to the country’s peace process the following year. (Mizzima)

4 November 2012
Norwegian and Danish prime ministers Jens Stoltenberg and Ms Helle Thorning Schmidt preside over ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of a joint diplomatic mission in Rangoon. (Mizzima)

7 November 2012
Representatives from 23 CSOs, in a press conference held in Rangoon, say the World Bank’s decision to provide funding to Burma for community-driven development lacks transparency. It does not take into account issues such as ethnic conflict and endemic corruption. (Irrawaddy)

Thai-Burma Relations
2 November 2012
Burmese authorities raid a house near Regina Hotel and Golf Club, where Thaksin will stay if his visit to Tachilek goes ahead. 3 RPG grenades, gun powder and 10 M16 rounds confiscated. A man in the house (later identified as Hsarm Pu) is detained. Burmese police say there is no apparent connection between the arms cache and Thaksin’s visit. (Bangkok Post)

4 November 2012
Heavy firearms, including rifles and machine guns, and more than 100,000 rounds of ammunition, seized by Thai soldiers in Mae Sot. They were believed to be heading for Border Guard Force (BGF) units in Karen State. (Bangkok Post)

6 November 2012
Senior police officer Min Kyaw Thu denies link between the weapons seizure and a plot to kill Thaksin. The weapons seizure was drug – related, he says. (Wall Street Journal / Bangkok Post)

7 November 2012

Visiting Vice President Nyan Tun, co-chairman of joint high-level committee for the Comprehensive Development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ), meets PM Yingluck Shinawatra and Deputy PM / Finance Minister Kittirat Na Ranong. They reaffirm commitment to joint development of the $ 50 billion SEZ as well as a deep seaport there. (Bangkok Post)

7-8 November 2012
Joint Boundary Committee (JBC) meeting, after 7 year hiatus, is revived in Naypyitaw, co-chaired by Vasin Teeravechyan, foreign ministry adviser, and Deputy FM Zin Yaw. (Bangkok Post)

8 November 2012

Thaksin Shinawatra pays one-day visit to Naypyitaw. He discusses many issues with President Thein Sein including the future of Asean, says his legal adviser Noppadol Patama. (Bangkok Post)

9 November 2012
Minister U Aung Min arrives in Thailand to meet the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) as well as representatives of ethnic armed groups. Hla Maung Shwe, facilitator, says he has not plans to meet the UNFC during this trip. (Mizzima)

Politics/ Inside Burma
3 November 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi says advocates on both sides are displeased with her, but the rule of law must be established as a first step before looking into other problems. (BBC)

8 November 2012
Aung San Suu Kyi, following a meeting of parliamentary committee on Rule of law and Stability, issues statement urging government to send more troops to Arakan to restore peace. (AFP)

Ethnic Affairs
2 November 2012
7 leaders of the 88 Generation Students arrive in Bangkok to meet with ethnic and exile groups “to talk about peace:” Mya Aye (peace), Pyone Cho, Ant Bwe Kyaw (information), Soe Tun (Education), Tun Myint Aung, Mi Mi Lwin and San San Maw. (Mizzima)

3 November 2012

Minister Aung Min, while meeting an alliance of 10 parties, says the government will commence political dialogue in December with the country’s armed groups that have signed ceasefire, according to NDF chairman Khin Maung Swe. (DVB)

3-4 November 2012
100 Kachins, mostly youths, hold conference near Myitkyina to discuss peace. Peace can take root after real reforms are introduced, says Awng Wa, former Kachin 88 generation student leader. (KNG)

5 November 2012
In a recent interview, KIA senior military leader Gun Maw says until Burma has a constitution that allows all of its people to coexist in peace, real progress is not possible. (Irrawaddy)

5 November 2012
Chin National Front (CNF) Supreme Council member Dr Lian Hmung Sakhong holds public consultation in Than Tlang. Similar meeting held in Hakha 31 October-2 November. (Khonumthung)

6 November 2012
Arakan State government says it has formed an 18 member committee targeting illegal aliens accused of playing role in recent unrest. (Irrawaddy)

6 November 2012
The dead line for Arakan fact-finding commission to submit report has been postponed from 16 November to 31 March, according to commissioner Zagana. An interim report will be submitted instead on 16 November. (Mizzima)

7 November 2012
88 Students Generation group let by Mya Aye meets UNFC’s Hkun Okker, Sinwa, Hkun Myint Tun and Nai Hong Sa in Chiangmai. They discuss how they could work together in the peace process. (KIC)

Shans/ Shan State
6 November 2012

Hkun Htun Oo says organization of the planned conference has been relegated to the CSO activists. (SHAN) Fact-finding teams will ask residents in Shan, Kachin, Sagaing and Mandalay to find out what issues to be discussed at the conference. (DVB)

7 November 2012
Ta-ang ‘Palaung’ Students and Youth Organization (TSYO) releases report 3,000 people in northern Shan State have been displaced by fighting along the route of the Sino-Burmese oil-gas pipelines. (Statement)

Economy/ Business
3 November 2012

Peter Maher, Visa’s country manager for Southeast Asia and Australasia, says it has signed agreements with 3 local banks: Kanbawza, Oriental and Co-operative to issue credit cards. (Wall Street Journal)

5 November 2012
Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) announced last week that starting 25 October any type of business can be registered as a public company. It must fall under one of 8 sectors: trading, service, manufacturing, construction, jewelry, hotels tourism and banking. (Mizzima)

7 November 2012
Global insurance giants Prudential, AIA and Manulife are preparing to enter Burma. (Reuters Trust law)

8 November 2012
Professional accounting service firms are setting up shop in Burma: KPMG last week and PwC this week. (Financial Times)

Human Rights
30 October 2012
More than 500 former political prisoners, wearing prison garb and chains, meet in Rangoon’s Bahan township to demand the release of the remaining prisoners of conscience. (Myanmar Times)

5 November 2012
Mya Aye, after meeting Women’s League of Burma, says they had sharp political views and equally confident as their male counterparts in expressing themselves. (Irrawaddy)

5 November 2012
Radical Buddhist groups are threatening doctors against delivering assistance to violence-affected western Arakan, says Doctors Without Borders’ Joe Belleveau. (New York Times)

7 November 2012
Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Support Team Chairman Tin Maung Swe says a total of 16 villages will be moved to new locations before next June. Two new villages are already under construction. Residents will be helped to reestablish their livelihood near their new homes, he adds. (Irrawaddy)

7 November 2012

Comedians: Moustache Brothers and Thee Lay Thee say they continue to have their performances restricted. According to Moustache Brothers, the government has allowed all cultural dancing groups to put on show except political satire. Thee Lay Thee meanwhile says authorities granted permission for their show only two days prior to the opening making it hard to find financial backers and sell tickets. (Irrawaddy)

7 November 2012
Apart from aid workers, tensions in Arakan is spilling over to another group: the media. Arakanese are angry with the media for portraying the Rohingya as victims rather than participants in the violence. Visiting displaced Muslim camps is easier, as they are willing to highlight their plight. (Irrawaddy)

9 November 2012
25 people killed and 62 other injured near Kantbalu, 800 km north of Rangoon, when a derailed tanker train bursts into flames. (AP)

4 November 2012
At Khaobin Central Prison in Ratchaburi is a Shan who has served 15 years of a life sentence reduced to 19. He has 4 more years to go. He has completed 2 bachelor’s degrees and is studying for a third. He used to be a student in Singapore and a businessman in Bangkok, with his own company. He doesn’t know what he’ll do when he gets out. (Bangkok Post)

6 November 2012
Intermediate People’s Court of Kunming announces verdicts for Mekong murder case:

  • Naw Kham – death sentence
  • 4 members – death with reprieve
  • 1 member – 8 year jail

They are charged with intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking. All say they will appeal to a higher court. (BJT)

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