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Technical note:  Due to an outage on the primary server used by 
BurmaNet (Topica.com), this issue is being distributed via BurmaNet's 
former list server at egroups.com.  The subscriber list on the 
egroups server is now quite out of date and does not reflect 
subscriptions/unsubscription made in the last six months.  If you are 
receiving this issue despite having unsubscribed you have my 
apologies.  Topica says it will have the outage fixed in time for the 
Wednesday issue to go out normally.   


______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
________November 14, 2000   Issue # 1661__________


1.   "There is a catastrophe in Burma...It is what happens with an 
epidemic when you do nothing."

Dr. Chris Beyrer, Johns Hopkins epidemiologist on Burma's AIDS 
epidemic.  See New York Times: Grim Regime--For Burmese, Repression, 
AIDS and Denial 


# of international heads of law enforcement agencies attending a UN 
conference yesterday on narcotics control hosted by Burmese military: 
# of Burmese soldiers killed yesterday while trafficking a large 
quantify of methamphetamines to Thailand: 5. 
# of Burmese soldiers arrested yesterday in China for trafficking 66 
kilos of methamphetamine in a military jeep: 1.

See Bangkok Post: Five Burmese troops killed in clash with Shan 
fighters; Soldiers slain while delivering speed pills, AP: Report: 
Chinese police arrest Myanmar soldier in drug bust and AP: Myanmar 
slams U.S. for not attending drug conference


*New York Times: Grim Regime--For Burmese, Repression, AIDS and 
*Bangkok Post: Five Burmese troops killed in clash with Shan 
fighters; Soldiers slain while delivering speed pills 
*PYNG:  SPDC police officer sells narcotic drugs

*AP: Report: Chinese police arrest Myanmar soldier in drug bust
*AP: Myanmar slams U.S. for not attending drug conference
*Reuters: Myanmar leader's visit points to a ``pragmatic'' India
*DVB: Burmese student activist reportedly abducted

*The Hindu (India): NEEPCO set to sell power to Burma & Bangladesh 

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

New York Times: Grim Regime--For Burmese, Repression, AIDS and Denial 

November 14, 2000, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final 

Section A; Page 1; Column 3; Foreign Desk 



YANGON, Myanmar 

To inoculate themselves against any outbreak of democracy, the 
generals who run this hermit dictatorship have undertaken two urgent 
missions of self-preservation. 

Seeking support from the Buddhist majority in what used to be called 
Burma, the junta is sprucing up old pagodas and building new ones at 
a pace and on a scale that experts say is without precedent. 

Nearly every day, a top general travels by armed motorcade to a 
recently restored pagoda. As state television records his piety, the 
general removes his shiny shoes and inspects a newly gilded Buddha. 

The junta has a rather more robust Plan B. In an autumn that has been 
unkind to autocrats -- Slobodan Milosevic failed to steal an election 
in Serbia and the youngest son of Indonesia's ousted president, 
Suharto, was convicted of corruption -- the generals here are taking 
no chances. They have locked up nearly all their political opponents. 

In late September, they again ordered the house arrest of Daw Aung 
San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader whose party won a huge victory in 
a 1990 election that the generals ignored. Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, the 
winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has spent more than 6 of the 
last 11 years under house arrest. 

Senior leaders of her party have been imprisoned or placed under 
house arrest. Two of the most influential monks, who wrote letters 
that begged the generals to talk to Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, are being 
watched by military intelligence. 

The army halted huge pro-democracy demonstrations 12 years ago by 
killing several hundred people and jailing thousands more. Since 
then, the generals have doubled the size of the armed forces, to more 
than 400,000, though Myanmar, with a population estimated at 50 
million, faces no serious foreign threat and has made peace with most 
of its armed ethnic minorities. 

Military analysts say the buildup, which coincides with a steep 
decline in spending on schools and health care, is primarily aimed at 
preventing or, if need be, crushing civil unrest. Large numbers of 
troops are stationed in or around major cities. 

In the last five years, the junta has forcibly resettled tens of 
thousands of potentially restive poor people from city centers to 
distant slums. It has closed most urban universities and sent 
students off to remote rural campuses. Labor unions and private civic 
associations are banned. No elections are scheduled; none seem 

The generals have made it a crime to own a computer modem, send e-
mail, sign on to the Internet or invite a foreigner into a private 

Since seizing power 38 years ago, the military dictatorship has 
renamed the country, renamed this capital (formerly Rangoon) and 
renamed scores of other cities, towns and religious shrines. Every 
few years, the generals rename themselves. 

After the 1988 retirement of the founding dictator, Gen. Ne Win, his 
handpicked successors decided to call their junta the State Law and 
Order Restoration Council, known inside and outside the country as 
Slorc. In 1997, as the generals opened the country to foreign 
investors and tried to soften their image, the name was changed to 
the State Peace and Development Council. 

S.P.D.C., though, has not caught on. People seem to relish calling 
their self-appointed leaders "Slorc." 

The generals have also stopped allowing foreign journalists into the 
country, especially Americans. But Slorc, starved for foreign 
currency, began admitting sizable numbers of tourists after 1996, 
which it proclaimed "Visit Myanmar Year." 

This reporter visited the country in late October and early November 
as a tourist after the Myanmar authorities had failed for nearly five 
years to grant journalist visas requested by The New York Times. 
Citizens can go to prison here for talking to foreign reporters. For 
that reason, this article omits the names and blurs the identities of 
people who were willing to explain what life is like in a nation 
studded with giant green billboards that warn, "Crush all internal 
and external destructive elements as the common enemy." 
In Jail, Fried Rat Is a Delicacy 

A former political detainee had been in prison for about six years 
when a cellmate told him about "Visit Myanmar Year." On hearing the 
news, he remembers laughing for hours in his prison cell. "We said 
that if any foreigner visits our cell for one night, then he will 
know the real Burma," he said. 

He is in his 40's and was arrested by military intelligence for 
associating with a banned political party. He was sentenced to 10 
years in prison at a secret trial where there were no civilian 
witnesses. He did not have a lawyer. 

Human rights groups say his experience is typical. There are about 
1,400 political prisoners in Myanmar, according to an American 
Embassy count. 

The former prisoner's incarceration began when guards forced a 
stinking blue cotton bag over his head and asked him questions for 
four days without allowing him to sleep. He said the bag, which kept 
him from seeing the faces of his changing cast of interrogators, was 
fouled with sweat, mucous and blood. 

"It smelled very awful," he said, "so bad you can't even imagine it." 

He was later caught with a magazine in his cell. At the time, 
prisoners were not allowed to read or write. His punishment was three 
months in solitary confinement without access to a toilet or a 
shower. Unlike some unlucky prisoners who were not allowed to clean 
up after themselves, he said he was occasionally permitted to scrape 
excrement from his cell. 

For years after that, his only reading material was the odd scrap of 
newspaper he sometimes found in the wrapping of cheroots, local 
cigars that prisoners often traded for food. On one shard of 
newsprint, he said, he read the obituary of a cousin. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross began making prison 
visits here in May 1999 and some prisoners now have access to reading 

The prison where the man was confined is in an isolated rural area 
more than 200 miles from his hometown. His wife and mother could 
afford to visit him once every three months. They were allowed to 
talk to him for only 15 minutes in a room where one guard took notes 
and another made sure he never touched his wife or his mother. 

In the months between those meetings, he said, he rehearsed all the 
things he wanted to tell his family. After years of practice, he 
said, he and his wife and mother learned to talk and listen at the 
same time. 

The two women brought food that the former prisoner believes kept him 
and several of his prison friends alive. 

In the long gaps between their visits, he said, he and other 
prisoners supplemented their diet of beans by catching and eating 
toads, bats and rats. They fried their catch on tin plates heated by 
burning plastic bags. He said rats were the heartiest meal one could 
catch in prison. 

"Actually," he said, "it was very rare to see a rat. Everyone was 
after them." 
Deep Poverty, Still, Bright Smiles 

Half a century ago, Norman Lewis, a British travel writer, noted that 
the Burmese "emerge into the sunshine immaculate and serene." 

"There is no misery that manifests itself in rags and sores," he 
wrote in "Golden Earth" in 1952. 

Although badly damaged by World War II, Burma then had the best 
health care system, the best civil service and the highest literacy 
rate in Southeast Asia. It since has become one of the world's 
poorest, least developed and most disastrously governed countries. 

The World Health Organization this year ranked Myanmar second to last 
among 191 nations in the quality of its health care services. (Sierra 
Leone was last.) Most people here live on less than a dollar a day, 4 
out of 10 children are malnourished and the government spends 28 
cents a year per child on public schools, according to United Nations 
agencies and the World Bank. 

Yet the paradox of serenity and elegance persists. 

Most women and men still wear longyis, or sarongs, many woven in 
brilliant colors. At rush hour in city traffic, women have a poised, 
almost regal way of sitting sideways on the backs of bicycles. 
Passengers on insanely overcrowded buses don't become impatient. 
Children smile at strangers from faces that their mothers have 
painted with sweet-smelling sandalwood paste. 

Rural areas appear to exist outside of time. Surrounded by emerald-
green fields of rice, spotless bamboo houses are perfumed with 
garlands of flowers. Oxcarts outnumber cars. Every morning, 
preadolescent monks in crimson robes walk the streets, ringing bells 
and chanting -- and adults, in response, fill their bowls with rice 
and fruit. 

Unlike prosperous Thailand next door, where 90 percent of the forest 
has been cut down, this country still has about half its forest 
cover. There is almost no paper trash in the villages; people value 

The charming countenance of the people and the seductive beauty of 
the countryside, however, are misleading. 

Western governments and United Nations agencies say the generals 
preside over an increasingly toxic mix of heroin- and amphetamine-
smuggling, drug-money laundering, high-level corruption, forced 
labor, sexual exploitation of young women and an AIDS epidemic of 
African proportions. 

Some of this results from peace deals the junta has struck in recent 
years with armed ethnic groups in the northeast of the country. 
Partly because Slorc does not have the power to stop them, these 
ethnic groups grow opium that is smuggled to China and India and make 
amphetamines sold in Thailand. Myanmar is the world's second-largest 
producer of opium, after Afghanistan. Slorc is not believed to be in 
the drug business itself, but it welcomes money from those who are. 

"The government actively encourages the investment of narcotics 
profits in the Burmese economy, as part of a strategy to wean the 
ethnic organizations from heroin production and to offset the 
shortage of foreign investment," according to the Country Commercial 
Guide published by the American Embassy in September. 

Many of the country's new hotels and offices have been built with 
drug money, the report said, which added that laundered narcotics 
profits have also supplemented government spending on roads and 

The State Department and several human rights groups say the junta, 
despite repeated denials, continues to use forced labor to build 
government projects and supply porters for the army. 

"Porters who no longer can work often are either abandoned without 
medical care or assistance, or executed," said this year's State 
Department report on human rights, citing what it said were credible 

The experiment in allowing foreign investors into the country is 
floundering, as top generals have begun to seize the profits and 
assets of successful companies, according to local business 
executives and Western diplomats. 

Scores of foreign businesses, including major Japanese companies like 
Toyota and All Nippon Airways, have fled the country in the last 
year. A dentist who treats resident foreigners in Yangon said that in 
less than 12 months, the number of Japanese businesspeople in his 
patient pool has fallen to 300 from 700. 

Acting on orders of the prime minister, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, 
soldiers last year occupied a brewery in Mandalay after it became 
profitable with the help of $6 million in foreign investment. The 
main investor, Win Win Nu, a businesswoman living in Singapore, told 
The Far Eastern Economic Review in November that the success of the 
brewery made it "an easy target for greedy soldiers and bureaucrats." 
Denial Deepens an AIDS Plague 

By far the most serious public-policy problem in Myanmar is AIDS. The 
government's owns figures (which have not been made public inside the 
country) show that the infection rate among prostitutes has soared to 
levels that epidemiologists say compare to those in Africa. 

The infection rate among prostitutes in Myanmar's two largest cities 
averaged 47 percent last year -- three times the rate in Thailand. 

"There is a catastrophe in Burma," said Dr. Chris Beyrer, an 
epidemiologist and director of international AIDS training at Johns 
Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. "It is what happens with 
an epidemic when you do nothing." 

The epidemic followed a huge increase in heroin addiction among users 
sharing needles, said Dr. Beyrer, a specialist in AIDS in Southeast 
Asia. A Slorc-financed report four years ago found that heroin use 
jumped "dramatically" in 1988, the year the democracy movement was 
crushed. According to Dr. Beyrer, that was when a flood of cheap 
heroin hit the market. 

A uniquely Burmese culture of sharing needles in tea stalls has 
contributed to an addiction rate that Dr. Beyrer said is among the 
highest in the world. A government study in the mid-1990's, which was 
deemed to be too sensitive to be released in Myanmar but was made 
available to scientists abroad, found that 4 percent of men and 2 
percent of women were heroin users. 

About 57 percent of users injecting drugs have H.I.V., the virus that 
causes AIDS, according to the most recent government figures. The 
virus has since moved from drug users into the sex industry, which 
Dr. Beyrer said has grown rapidly in the last decade -- particularly 
among teenage girls -- because of increased poverty and government 
programs of forced relocation. 

Two prominent doctors in the country said the generals are in denial 
about AIDS. Counseling is virtually nonexistent; condoms, which were 
banned by the generals until 1993, are prohibitively expensive for 
most people. Free AIDS testing is rare, and most people cannot afford 
the $10 test to determine if they have H.I.V. 

Once a patient is diagnosed, the doctors said, he or she usually dies 
within three months. There are virtually no anti-H.I.V. drugs in the 
country. There is also an acute shortage of antibiotics for 
tuberculosis, the biggest killer of infected people here. 

The virus is also spreading in jails, where prisoners can obtain food 
(often, a single egg) for a blood donation and where transfusion 
equipment is often reused without cleaning, according to Dr. Beyrer. 

The disease is spreading, too, in monasteries around Mandalay, 
according to a doctor who lives there. He said many infected young 
men, shunned by their families, move into monasteries to die. The 
doctor said he has treated a number of monks with AIDS, several 
elderly. Before they died, some of the monks told him that they 
contracted the disease by shaving their heads with razors shared 
inside the monastery. 

News about the AIDS epidemic, the flight of foreign investors or the 
country's reliance on drug money never appears here. All publications 
are censored, in a process that takes about a month for magazines. 

State-controlled daily newspapers and the evening television news 
concentrate on flowery accounts of the generals' doings, as well as 
long interviews with senior officers instructing the masses on 
correct ways to grow vegetables. 

"The fact is people turn off the TV when the news is shown," Brig. 
Gen. Zaw Tun, a deputy minister for national planning, dared to say 
at an economic conference in July, according to American diplomats 
who have talked with people who attended. "Only after the news hour, 
they switch the TV on again to view Chinese movies." 

The general has since lost his job. 
Long Shadow of 'The Lady' 

"The lady," as people here who are afraid to whisper her name call 
her, has again been locked up. It is dangerous to go near her heavily 
guarded home in Yangon. 

But even inside her house, where each morning before dawn she 
meditates, exercises on a Nordic Trak and listens to the BBC World 
Service, the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, Mrs. Aung San Suu 
Kyi torments the generals. 

The official press can't quite decide what to call the 55-year-old 
woman, who returned here in 1988 after 20 years in England. They use 
a number of snide and vulgar nicknames: "the stunt actress of 
democracy," "puppet doll," "England returnee miss" and, in a sneering 
echo from the Clinton White House, "that woman." 

She often is called "Mrs. Aris," a reference to her late husband, Dr. 
Michael Aris, an Oxford historian who died last year of cancer, 
although in Burmese usage a woman is not called by her husband's 

The junta's problem with her actual name is that it invokes the 
memory of her father, the most famous and revered man in this 
country's history, Gen. Aung San. He effectively created modern Burma 
before he was assassinated in 1947. He was a gifted military leader 
who believed in democratic, civilian government. The day of his 
murder is an important national holiday. 

General Aung San's daughter also happens to be a fine public speaker 
and a knowledgeable student of Buddhism. Despite Slorc's campaign of 
pagoda-building and its effort to discredit Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 
several senior monks said she enjoys the loyalty of many of the 
country's 400,000 monks. 

When the generals do let her out of her house, she consistently 
demands that all negotiations begin with recognition of the 1990 
election. Her party won 80 percent of the seats; most of those who 
won are in prison. 

Until those negotiations begin, she says, she will support the 
sanctions on investment, travel and arms sales that have been imposed 
on Burma by the United States and several Western countries. (She 
insists that the country's name is Burma.) 

She has said, too, that her party will not be vengeful. The generals, 
however, do not believe her, according to Western diplomats who speak 
to them. They reportedly fear that they and their families will be 
forced to surrender their fortunes and will face prosecution or 

In the dismal stalemate, the government is still trying to explain 
why it never really lost that parliamentary election. 

"Some of the voters wrongly cast their votes," argued The New Light 
of Myanmar, a government daily, in a full-page post-election analysis 
that ran in October, a decade after votes were counted. The piece 
reasoned that citizens misunderstood their patriotic duty in 1990 
because they had been intoxicated by the "personality cult" of 
a "super political actress." 
How the Dead Make an Impact 

It has become a political act here to bury the dead. 

Slorc decreed in the mid-1990's that many urban cemeteries be closed. 
Some graves were moved, more were paved over. It was part of urban 
renewal in Yangon, Mandalay and several other cities, as Slorc geared 
up for "Visit Myanmar Year." 

The generals ordered new cemeteries built about 15 miles outside of 
Mandalay, far enough that bereaved families had to hire a motorized 
hearse. At $15 a funeral, many poor people in Mandalay found they 
could not afford to bury their loved ones. 

Private civic associations are illegal (as are private outdoor 
gatherings of more than five people), but two years ago about 20 
individuals in Mandalay decided to take a risk. They raised money to 
buy a hearse and found a senior monk who allowed them to park it at 
his monastery. 

For a while, censors refused to allow the funeral society to be 
mentioned in any publication or the broadcast media. But the burial 
movement became a word-of-mouth sensation in Mandalay, and word of it 
spread to other large cities where generals had closed cemeteries. 

Swamped with donations from Burmese who could spare a few dollars and 
are reared in the Buddhist tradition of giving, the Mandalay funeral 
society raised money for eight hearses and had lots of cash left 
over. Founders of the society began buying medicines for poor people 
in hospitals. Last month they distributed about $1,000 worth of drugs 
to, among other patients, a woman with an ovarian tumor, a child with 
amputated feet and a man with cancer of the rectum. 

Their success is apparently angering the generals. 

"They say it makes them look bad," said one member of the group who 
has been warned to stop giving medicine to the sick. "They think we 
are rivals, but we are not rivaling them." 

Censors now allow local magazines to mention the funeral society, but 
all references to the distribution of free drugs are strictly banned. 
Bleak Present, Bleaker Future 

Burmese people talk hopefully, but passively, about the propitious 
power of the number 13. It's been 12 years since the uprising that 
nearly toppled the generals, they say. Next year, surely, something 
good will happen. 

But the lockdown of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi and party leaders has, for 
the time being, halted all movement toward peaceful political change, 
opposition members admit. An armed insurrection against the army 
seems even less likely. The junta is stronger than ever. 

Outside leverage is limited. The generals maintain relatively 
peaceful relations in the region and are especially friendly with 
China, their principal source of arms. 

This country has perhaps the most fertile farmland in Southeast Asia, 
and usually produces enough rice and other food for its people. 

Finally, diplomats discern no significant divisions within the junta. 
They say the generals know they have too much to lose. 

Slorc, then, seems secure. The generals seem to have unlimited free 
time to inspect pagodas and make speeches about the glory of the 
precolonial past. That was when Burma was ruled by kings who built 
thousands of Buddhist shrines -- a crusade for which they expected to 
accumulate merit. 

Photographs now on display at many spiffed-up pagodas show grateful 
citizens bowing to their generals, as they bowed centuries ago to 
their kings. 

"It is propaganda," said an elderly monk in the north of the country. 

No matter how many pagodas they restore, he added, the generals will 
come back as rats. 


GRAPHIC: Photos: Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan has been partly restored 
by the junta to win popular support. (Blaine Harden/The New York 
Times)(pg. A1); A GLORIOUS PAST -- Two thousand pagodas grace Bagan. 
The military is restoring dozens of temples to recall the gracious 
times when Myanmar was still known as Burma, a name preferred by the 
opposition.; A 'DANGEROUS' WOMAN -- Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of 
the opposition, has spent 6 of 11 years in house arrest.; A DANGEROUS 
CUSTOM -- A young monk shaves another in Mandalay. The virus that 
causes AIDS has infiltrated Buddhist monasteries, spreading rapidly 
in monks who re-use razors without disinfecting them. (Photographs by 
Blaine Harden/The New York Times)(pg. A16) 
Map of Myanmar: WHAT BURMA WAS -- A junta seems to be gilding glories 
of Myanmar's distant past to conceal the awfulness of its present. 
(pg. A16) 

Bangkok Post: Five Burmese troops killed in clash with Shan fighters; 
Soldiers slain while delivering speed pills 

November 14, 2000


SHAN: Five Burmese soldiers were killed yesterday in a clash with 
Shan State Army troops near the Shan state border, opposite Pang Ma 
Pha district. 

Shan Herald Agency for News
Nov. 14, 2000

A source said Burmese soldiers and an SSA anti-drug team exchanged 
fire for almost an hour opposite Ban Mai Lan border pass. 

The SSA ambushed some 30 Burmese soldiers from the 316th Battalion 
who were delivering speed pills to Thailand from a drug plant in Ban 
Khai Luang. A large quantity of speed pills and two guns were seized, 
the source said. 

The attack was part of the SSA's anti-drug drive targeting the United 
Wa State Army and Burmese troops, who smuggle drugs to the border 
areas of Shan state for redistribution. 

Army chief Gen Surayud Chulanont yesterday visited 33 border 
villagers in Pai and Pang Ma Pha districts, which will be declared 
self-defence and anti-drug zones. 

In Tak, authorities plan to evacuate some 3,000 border villagers as 
fighting between Burmese troops and ethnic rebels is expected to 

Mae Sot district chief Satawat Sanmuk said Rangoon had sent some 
2,000 fresh troops to the area over the weekend after losing a base 
to the Karen National Union. 

- A senate sub-committee studying problems of ethnic refugees has 
urged talks on repatriation of Burmese refugees. Udon Tantisunthorn, 
its chairman, said Bangkok, Rangoon and the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees should move to expedite repatriations since 
fighting in Burma had ceased. 

Mae Hong Son 


PYNG:  SPDC police officer sells narcotic drugs

Palaung Youth Network Group


      Police Capt. Htin Kyaw from No.1 police station of Sit Ainn 
village, which is located 20 miles  from Lashio in Northern Shan 
State carried over 12,000 pills of  YABA by public bus to Mandalay, 
reported a source close to Capt. Htin Kyaw. The police Captain wore 
civilian clothing until he reached Kyauck Mae township and there, 
donned his police uniform and pistol.   He did this to evade a 
checkpoint. The source said that the Army and Police officers acted 
like that often because they want to increase their income for their 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AP: Report: Chinese police arrest Myanmar soldier in drug bust 

Nov. 14, 2000

BEIJING (AP) _ Police in southwestern China arrested a Myanmar 
soldier after finding 66 kilograms (about 150 pounds) of drugs hidden 
inside a jeep, the government's Xinhua News Agency said Monday.
 The arrest came on Sunday, when police in the city of Lincang found 
the drugs _ a form of methamphetamine known on the street as ice _ 
stashed in the jeep's gas tank and tires, Xinhua said. 

 The soldier was not identified. Lincang is near China's border with 
Myanmar and the so-called Golden Triangle, an area also including 
parts of Thailand and Laos that is notorious as a center for global 
narcotics production. 

 Meanwhile, a court in Beijing on Monday sentenced a 31-year-old 
Chinese man to death for trying to sell heroin, Xinhua said. 

 Police arrested Han Youfu in December at a hotel in Beijing. A 
search of his room turned up 3.5 kilograms (about eight pounds) of 
the drug, the report said. 


AP: Myanmar slams U.S. for not attending drug conference 

Nov. 14, 2000

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar criticized the United States for not 
attending a regional law enforcement conference that opened Tuesday 
in Yangon to discuss suppression of drug trade. 

 Heads of law enforcement agencies from 17 countries and two 
territories in Asia-Pacific are attending the conference sponsored by 
the United Nations Drug Control Program. 

 Home Minister Col. Tin Hlaing, speaking at its opening, said some 
countries ``which have decided to boycott the meeting for various 
reasons, do not harbor sincere intentions for cooperation.'' 

 ``It is sad to say that fight against drugs becomes blurred and out 
of focus when efforts of individual countries are viewed and tainted 
with political issues,'' Tin Hlaing said. 
 He did not refer directly to the United States but Myanmar officials 
said privately that the United States had been invited but it 
declined to attend. 

 The U.S. Embassy did not immediately respond to the criticism. 

 The United States has classified Myanmar as a nation with 
significant illicit drug production and trafficking whose government 
has failed to cooperate with Washington's efforts to suppress the 
drug trade. 

 The classification bars Washington from aiding Myanmar's anti-drug 
 Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the world second biggest producer 
after Afghanistan of opium and its derivative, heroin. 

 Washington has imposed other economic sanctions against Myanmar to 
show disapproval of human rights abuses by its military government 
and failure to turn over power to a democratically-elected government 

 Tin Hlaing, the home minister, said Myanmar is ready to work with 
any organization with ``doors wide open and stands ready to show 
Myanmar's efforts, achievements and shortcomings.'' 

 The four-day meeting will consider heroin and stimulant trafficking 
and abuse, the impact of electronic crime on drug-control strategies, 
drug smuggling by sea and means to improve cooperation. 

 Delegates from Australia, Azerbaijan, Fiji, China, Hong Kong, Macau, 
Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, New 
Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea are 

 Separately, a top member of Myanmar's ruling junta, Lt. Gen. Khin 
Nyunt, said at a drug abuse control meeting in Yangon Monday that 
despite Myanmar's comprehensive drug eradication programs, the 
country was being unfairly accused of conniving with narcotics 
traders as part of a plot to discredit the country.


Reuters: Myanmar leader's visit points to a ``pragmatic'' India

By John Chalmers 

 NEW DELHI, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The second most powerful member of 
Myanmar's ruling military was due to begin a week-long visit to India 
on Tuesday, demonstrating what commentators described as New Delhi's 
pragmatic approach to its eastern neighbour. 

 General Maung Aye, vice chairman of the State Peace and Development 
Council (SPDC) and commander-in-chief of the army, is the most senior 
Myanmar government member to visit India since the SPDC took power in 

 An Indian foreign ministry official brushed off the contrast between 
New Delhi's frosty relations with military-ruled Pakistan and its 
efforts to foster strong ties with Yangon. 

 She also played down the issue of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San 
Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy won Myanmar's elections 
in 1990 but has never been allowed to govern. 

 ``We are as a country committed to democratic ideals and we as a 
country are committed to non-interference in the internal affairs of 
other countries,'' she told reporters. 
 Myanmar has faced mounting international condemnation this year over 
its treatment of Suu Kyi and the NLD. 

 Suu Kyi, whose mother was Myanmar's ambassador to India in the 
1960s, has devoted admirers in New Delhi, where she went to school 
and university. 

 Relations between the two countries cooled when India gave sanctuary 
to anti-government Myanmar exiles after the military bloodily 
suppressed a 1988 uprising in Yangon. 

 But over the past decade New Delhi has put aside declarations 
placing Suu Kyi on a pedestal with its own independence heroes, and 
analysts say practical considerations have increasingly driven it to 
adopt a firm relationship with Yangon. 

 ``In rolling out the red carpet to a top gun from the military 
government of Myanmar, India is signalling a new phase in its 
relations with a very special neighbour and a readiness to pursue its 
interests in Asia with some vigour,'' commentator C. Raja Mohan wrote 
in The Hindu newspaper. 


 Four northeastern Indian states -- Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and 
Arunachal Pradesh -- lie along the 1,600-km (1,000-mile) border 
between the two countries. 
 India is looking to Myanmar to help curb separatist insurgencies in 
these states, whose rebels sometimes take refuge across the frontier, 
and both sides are working together to control a flourishing cross-
border narcotics trade. 

 They are also developing a 165-km (103-mile) road connecting India's 
national highway with Myanmar, opening the way for a boost to trade 
and linking the subcontinent to Southeast Asia. 
 Bilateral trade between India and Myanmar was around $216 million in 
1999/2000 (April-March). Most trade goes via Singapore because there 
are almost no shipping links between the countries. 

 ``When the new road link...opens in a few weeks, the two countries 
would have taken the first step in realising the huge potential for 
trans-regional cooperation in the transportation and energy 
sectors,'' Mohan said. 

 India says it is looking at whether there is scope for a cross-
border hydroelectric project, and could be interested in buying 
natural gas from Myanmar if there were viable reserves. 
 China's friendship with Myanmar is another consideration for India, 
which sees Beijing as a long-term potential threat despite a marked 
warming of relations in the past two years. 
 ``...engagement with the military government has become a strategic 
compulsion because of China's growing influence in Myanmar,'' The 
Times of India said. ``India cannot afford to have China get cosy 
with a country bordering its eastern flank.'' 

 India has said in the past that it is aware of ``military 
collaboration between China and Myanmar,'' and has accused China of 
building an electronic surveillance base in Myanmar's Coco Islands in 
the Bay of Bengal. 

 Myanmar denied the charge and China branded it ``ridiculous.'' 

 The foreign ministry official, asked about the Coco Islands 
question, said: ``We have said that the Myanmar government has told 
us that they would not allow their territory to be used by forces 
inimical to India's interests.'' 	


DVB: Burmese student activist reportedly abducted

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 12th November 

It has been learned that Ko San Naing alias Ye Thiha, the leader of 
the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors [VBSW], has been arrested by 
the Thai Military Intelligence which is on friendly terms with the 
SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] Military Intelligence. 
This was noted in yesterday's VBSW statement. Ko San Naing was 
instrumental in forming the VBSW that staged a siege on the Burmese 
embassy in Bangkok. Thai and SPDC intelligence personnel believed 
that Ko San Naing was the mastermind behind the sieges at the Bangkok 
Burmese embassy and the Ratburi Hospital. That is why Thai 
Intelligence has been making a very strenuous effort to arrest him. 

According to one VBSW member, Ko San Naing has disappeared since the 
first of this month while hiding and moving from one place to another 
in Thailand. He said while going to Bangkok on an errand Ko San Naing 
disappeared and he never reached Bangkok. The same VBSW member who 
wished to remain anonymous told DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] that 
until the disappearance the members always have contact with each 
other. He also attributed Ko San Naing's arrest to information 
provided by pro-SPDC Thai Intelligence and SPDC spies. He added that 
Ko Johnny, the leader of the Burmese embassy siege, was also tricked 
by pro-SPDC Thai Intelligence who said they would provide medical 
treatment for his wounded leg and he was never heard of since. 

Yesterday's VBSW statement noted that Ko Johnny is believed to have 
been silenced by the pro-SPDC Thai Intelligence. The statement 
declared that it is not known whether Ko San Naing will be handed 
over to the SPDC or meet the same fate as Ko Johnny. The statement 
cited that all those who are responsible for such lowdown acts in the 
disappearance of Ko San Naing and Ko Johnny will face dire 
consequences. The statement also affirmed that the VBSW will continue 
their struggle in the fight against the SPDC military government and 
their supporters. 

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 12 Nov 

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

The Hindu (India): NEEPCO set to sell power to Burma & Bangladesh 

By Our Special Correspondent 

The Hindu, Monday, November 13, 2000

GUWAHATI, NOV. 12. The Northeastern Electric Power Corporation 
(NEEPCO), the hydel giant, is poised for a massive increase in its 
generating capacity and is looking beyond the region and beyond 
India's borders. It is planning to sell power to the southern States, 
Bangladesh and Burma.  

The NEEPCO has been supplying about 50 MW to West Bengal State 
Electricity Board from May.  

Bangladesh also has ``appreciable need of power'' and has shown keen 
interest in buying power from India, Mr. P.K. Chatterjee, Chairman-
cum-Managing Director (CMD) of NEEPCO, told The Hindu in a chat here 
Transmission cost less 

Talks are now on with Bangladesh to take the transmission line from 
the Northeast to West Bengal through Bangladesh. NEEPCO had the first 
round of talks with Bangladesh engineers at Agartala two months ago. 
A team of NEEPCO engineers will visit Dhaka to carry on the talks in 
January next year.  

NEEPCO had approached the External Affairs Ministry in this regard, 
Mr. Chatterjee said. Exploratory talks have also begun with ENRON.  

The proposed line through Bangladesh will facilitate power supply to 
Burma as Dawki, on the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, is only 
about 100 km from the Burma border.  

Mr. Chatterjee said NEEPCO was now generating 700 MW of power but the 
seven northeastern States were taking about 600 MW. With Ranganadi 
(405 MW) in Arunachal Pradesh coming up by September next year, 
NEEPCO's generating capacity will be 1105 MW.  

Several other hydel projects are in the pipeline. These include 
Turial (60 MW) and Tuivei (210 MW) in Mizoram; Kameng (600 MW) in 
Arunachal Pradesh; Tipaimukh (1500 MW) on Assam-Manipur-Mizoram 
trijunction; and Ramchandrapur (500 MW) in Tripura.  

Planning for evacuation of power had to begin now because most of the 
projects would be completed phase by phase by the end of the Ninth 
Plan, though some projects might spill over to the Tenth and Eleventh 
Plans too, Mr. Chatterjee said. 


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