Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Burmese Military Intelligence arrested Kyaw Ko Ko, Leader of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions

Bangkok, 18 March, (Asiantribune.com): Burmese Military Inteligence Unit arrested on 17 March Kyaw Ko Ko, the leader of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, taken away from his hiding place. Earlier, with the help of supporters, Kyaw Ko Ko twice had escaped arrest. Nyan Linn Aung, another ABFSU leader, was also arrested together with Kyaw Ko Ko. It is not known where they were taken.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has expressed concern over the arrest of Kyaw Ko Ko and Nyan Lin Aung. Military authorities are notorious for torturing political prisoners, and often the most severe treatment occurs during the interrogation stage following the arrest.


Kyaw Ko Ko is a student who is attending in Economic University from Yangon for a master degree. He is 25 years old and a son of U Kyaw Gyi. He is a leader of All Burma Federation of Student Unions which was reestablished on 28 August 2007.

Burma’s first student union, the Rangoon University Students’ Union, was founded in 1931 by national independence hero Gen Aung San and his friends.

The group was renamed the All Burma Students’ Union in 1936 before switching to the ABFSU in 1951.Following Gen Ne Win’s military coup in 1962, the office of the ABFSU in Rangoon was demolished and hundreds of students were killed by the army.

During the nationwide pro-democracy 8888 uprising, the ABFSU resurfaced under the leadership of Min Ko Naing and other prominent student leaders on 28 August 1988.

During th Suffaron Revolution…..

“Today we reestablish the ABFSU to take on the shifting roles of former students in a new generation to fight for freedom, justice and the building of a democratic country,” Kyaw Ko Ko said on 28 August 2007 when the fighting peacock flag was raised again.

“I hereby encourage all students across the country to accept the shifting responsibilities on behalf of our former brothers and sisters,” he added.

The influential All Burma Federation of Student Unions has resumed its struggle against the country’s military government .

“Student unions must exist for the students in Burma,” said Kyaw Ko Ko.

Support and Encouragement


March 18, 2008

At 10am last Sunday, Zaw Min Htwe, Athein and few members of Democracy and Freedom students packed with all their Free Burma pamphlets were demonstrating in front of the Baker City Hall in Oregon.

Their protest was directed to the junta to hand over the government to a proper democracy, to free Aung San Suu kyi and all political prisoners. Athein and Zaw made the stop over in Baker City to rest their walking feet... Please visit their blog to view the photos, your Paypal support and encouragement is very welcomed. http://88portland.wordpress.com

NMSP must be ready: Mon leaders

By Loa Htaw, IMNA

March 18, 2008 - The New Mon State Party (NMSP) must be ready if it does not plan to either support the referendum or involve itself in the elections, said Mon revolutionary leaders.

"The NMSP must be ready for future movements if it does not plan to involve itself in the elections.

Whether the party involves itself or not, the situation will remain the same. It is better not to get involved," said a senior leader of the MNDF.

The former Army Chief of the NMSP General Aung Naing had also warned the party that the Burmese regime will crackdown on them soon if they do not support the referendum and get involved in the elections.

"Without disarming the NMSP the regime will not recognise it as a political party and will not allow it to get involved in the elections. Even if the junta does disarm, the government will not give equal rights or a federal state either unless NMSP can oust the military government," General Aung Naing had said.

"The ensuing election will usher in a new military government. If the NMSP does involve itself, they may not get a chance to do political movements anymore," said a MNDF senior leader.

Another senior MNDF leader predicted that there will be an uprising again if the government holds the referendum and elections and ignores what the people want.

The Chairman of the Mon Unity League Nai Sunthorn said that Mon people have invested their lives and properties in the Mon revolution for over half a century and NMSP must consider that in their decision making for the ensuing referendum and elections. Otherwise, we will lose what we have done and will have to begin the revolution from scratch.

New Mon State Party (NMSP) was formed in July 1958 just after a big surrender of the Mon People¢s Front (MPF) which took up armed resistance since 1948. The NMSP reached a ceasefire with the Burmese government in 1995 to solve political problems across the table.

Back to Child Recruitments

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Mar 18, 2008 (IPS) - Till last September, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office in military-ruled Burma had received few complaints about children being forced to join the army. But that is no longer the case.

In a new report, the ILO makes a pointed reference to the shift noticed since September 2007, the month when the Burmese junta launched a brutal crackdown on peaceful street protests led by thousands of Buddhist monks chanting a prayer for ''loving kindness.''

Prior to that month, the majority of complaints received about forced labour ''concerned public works under local administration with only a few military-related complaints and cases of underage recruitment,'' reveals a report submitted to the ILO's governing body, which is currently meeting at the labour rights agency's headquarters, in Geneva.

''Since September that pattern has been reversed with majority of complaints now being military-related and underage recruitment cases,'' adds the report prepared by the ILO's Rangoon office of the 15 ''child soldier/forced recruitment cases'' between Feb. 26, 2007 and Feb. 25, 2008.

What happened to an ILO account of a 14-year-old Burmese boy in late October may be typical. He had gone to a market in Rangoon, the former capital, to lend a hand at a stall run by his elder brother. But he was stopped by soldiers and taken in a truck to an army recruiting office.

In fact, the ILO admits that its record of young boys forced to swell the ranks of the 'Tatmadaw', the Burmese name for the armed forces, is not an accurate picture. ''We believe that the number of complaints we have received does not reflect the size of the problem. It is the tip of the iceberg,'' Steve Marshall, the ILO's liaison officer in Rangoon, said in an IPS interview.

''We understand there are some people who operate as brokers. They use force or trickery to take children to recruiting officers,'' he added. ''We have lodged complaints with the government and it has responded quickly, discharging the recruit and disciplining the recruiting officer.''

But human rights groups warn the international community not to be fooled by the junta's claims that it is trying to end the scourge of forced conscription. The London-based Burma Campaign UK has ''dismissed as total nonsense'' claims by a state-run newspaper that ''hundreds of children have been returned to their families in recent years''.

In 2004, the military leaders in Burma, also called Myanmar, responded to growing international criticism about the recruitment of child soldiers by setting up a high-powered group to deal with the problem. But the record of the Committee for Prevention of Military Recruitment of Underage Children has proved wanting, with its regular statements tending to denounce reports of child soldiers in the country than helping to curb this on-going violation of labour and children's rights.

A November 2007 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirms the failure of the junta's special committee to save children from the Tatmadaw. ''Children as young as 10 are being targeted by Burmese military recruiters and threatened with arrest or beaten if they refuse to join,'' revealed the report by the New York-based global rights lobby.

''Child soldiers are sometimes forced to participate in human rights abuses, such as burning villages and using civilians for forced labour,'' adds the report, 'Sold to be soldiers: The recruitment and use of child soldiers in Burma'. ''Those who attempt to escape or desert are beaten, forcibly re-recruited or imprisoned.''

The dismal tone of this report echoed a similar tone of a 2002 report by HRW dealing with the growing number of child soldiers in Burma. That report, 'My gun was as tall as me', estimated that ''70,000 or more of the Burma army's estimated 350,000 soldiers may be children.''

And the hunting ground for the army's recruiters to grab children has changed little over the last five years. Soldiers and civilians assigned the job target markets, railway stations, bus stations, ferry terminals, streets and festivals. The rewards for such forced conscription missions have varied, though, with some being paid in cash of up to 25 US dollars per child or given a bag of rice.

The gap between the junta's rhetoric and the reality in the South-east Asian country is stark, says David Scott Mathieson, HRW's Burma consultant. ''There is a massive disconnect between the laws and regulations the Burmese regime has made and the reality on the ground.''

''There is widespread forced recruitment of children into the army,'' he told IPS. ''It is part of a mercantile system. The battalions have to meet their quotas of recruits, and if they do so they are rewarded.''

The junta's hunger for young Burmese boys to fatten the ranks of the Tatmadaw is rooted in a shift in military policy after 1988. That year saw a pro-democracy uprising, drawing tens of thousands of civilians to the streets, to challenge a military dictatorship that had been in power since a 1962 coup. And the army responded with bullets, killing some 3,000 unarmed demonstrators.

Soon after, the Tatmadaw, which was a much leaner and smaller and had no record of child soldiers, was ordered to expand to strengthen the junta's grip on power. It went from being a force of some 180,000 to its current number of nearly 400,000 -- at least on paper.

Yet, as a Burmese military analyst notes, the Tatmadaw has been hit with a high desertion rate, adding to the number of soldiers it keeps losing in the on-going conflict in the border areas with ethnic rebel groups. ''A northern commander reported that during a four-month period in 2006 the army had lost an entire brigade of soldiers due to desertion,'' Win Min, who lectures at Payap University in northern Thailand, said in an interview. ''That is over 3,000 soldiers based on the strength of a battalion in Burma.''

It was worse during the previous year, when internal military records reveal that during a four-month period in 2005 the Tatmadaw was hit with 4,701 deserters across the country, adds Win Min. ''My estimate is that by the end of last year the situation may have got worse. The army may have been hit with nearly 15,000 deserters in 2007.''

But how many soldiers fled the Tatmadaw after being ordered to fire on the highly revered Buddhist monks who led last September's protest still remains unknown, he revealed. ''This may come out when the commanders have their next quarterly meeting, which has not been held since May last year.''

U.S. Congress Introduces Resolution Rejecting Burmese Junta Made Constitution

Daya Gamage
US Bureau Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 18 March 2008 (Asiantribune.com): The U.S. Campaign for Burma, a Washington DC-based organization mobilizing international support for freedom and democracy in Burma, March 17 welcomes and supports the introducing of Congressional resolution, House Res. 317, calling for the President to call for the United Nations Security Council to not accept or recognize the state constitution, unilaterally written by the Burmese military junta, and the outcome of the upcoming referendum, scheduled for May this year.

The resolution denounces the one-sided, undemocratic and illegitimate constitution drafting process and referendum by the Burmese military junta, known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), insists the SPDC engage in a tripartite dialogue with democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic representatives, and demands the immediate and unconditional releases of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners. It also urges the President Bush to call for the UN Security Council to not accept and recognize the SPDC’s constitution,

House Concurrent Resolution 317 was introduced by Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ), Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2008 and it was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration.

They introduced the resolution after the SPDC flatly rejected all recommendations made by the United Nations, which are the establishment of an all-party inclusive transparent process of constitution writing, meaningful and time-bound dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, releasing all political prisoners, establishment of a broad-based poverty alleviation commission, opening of an office in Rangoon for the UN Special Envoy, and an offer to provide UN assistance to help ensure the referendum is free and fair. During the last visit of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari on March 6-10, the five top leaders of the SPDC, Senior-General Than Shwe, Vice-Senior-General Maung Aye, General Thura Shwe Mann, General Thein Sein and Lieutenant General Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myin Oo, refused to meet with Mr. Gambari. The highest level official whom Mr. Gambari was allowed to meet was Bri-Gen Kyaw Hsan, the SPDC’s Minister of Information. On behalf of the SPDC, Kyaw Hsan rejected all of the UN’s recommendations and even complained that “The United Nations should stand fair and square without bias.”

Congressman Berman (D-CA) is Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who has succeeded Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), who was a champion for the Burmese democracy movement and passed away last month. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is Ranking Member of House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Congressman Holt serves on House Committee on Education and Labor, Committee on Natural Resources and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. All three Representatives are strong supporters of the non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights for the people of Burma, led by the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi.

Congressman Rush Holt, author of the resolution said, “The Burmese people are determined to enjoy the same rights and freedoms that so many of take for granted. The heroic efforts of opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and others have given hope to victims of terrible oppression, and they deserve our support. Passage of this resolution would send a strong signal to the people of Burma that we stand with them in their struggle for democracy.”

“We appreciate Representatives Holt, Berman and Ros-Lehtinen for this important initiative to not recognize the military junta’s illegitimate constitution, which is designed to perpetuate the military dictatorship in Burma by vesting supreme power in the hands of the Chief of the military, Commander-in-Chief,” says Aung Din, Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma. “People of Burma are determined to reject this sham constitution at any cost, which will make them slaves of the military for generations,” continues Aung Din.

On March 14, 2008, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma ridiculed the junta’s plan by saying that “if you believe in gnomes, trolls and elves, you can believe in this democratic process in Myanmar,” at a news briefing at the U.N.'s European headquarters in Geneva. However, Thai Prime Minister Samat Sundaravej, who recently came back from Burma, praised military leaders as strong devotees of Buddhism and killing and suppression in the country are normal. “Tragically, like the Thai Prime Minister, there are some governments in Asia and Europe who believe in myths. We need similar actions from other Members of Parliament around the world to urge their respective governments to reject the junta’s sham constitution and to apply more pressure on the Burmese military junta”, added Aung Din.

Two ABFSU leaders arrested

By Aye Nai
Democratic Voice of Burma

Mar 17, 2008 (DVB)–Two key leaders of the All-Burmese Federation of Student Unions, Ko Kyaw Ko Ko and Ko Nyan Linn Aung, were arrested by authorities on Sunday, group members said.

ABSFU spokesperson Ko Linn Htet Naing told DVB that Kyaw Ko Ko and Nyan Linn Aung were arrested last night by government officials but would not give the location of the arrest.

"ABSFU leaders Ko Kyaw Ko Ko and Ko Nyan Linn Aung were arrested last night," said Linn Htet Naing.

"Arresting people like this will not bring democracy to anyone."

Ko Kyaw Kyaw, leader of youth activist group Generation Wave, was also arrested by authorities on 13 March, Linn Htet Naing said.


Times of India

China has two options before it to deal with the protesters in Tibet. It could take a cue from Myanmar and use force to suppress the protests or negotiate with dissenters, who include a large number of Buddhist monks.

Reports suggest that Beijing might exercise the second option and offer concessions including amnesty to protesters to buy peace.

The temptation will be there to borrow a leaf from the Myanmarese junta's book and force the monks to disperse. But Beijing should ask itself if such an approach suits China's present interests.

China is not Myanmar. It is a global power and the world expects Beijing to conduct its affairs accordingly. Beijing has taken extra care to underplay the authoritarian features of the Chinese state and project the image of a responsible world power.

The Beijing Olympics, a few months away, are expected to showcase the new China. Blood on the streets of Lhasa would take the shine off China's achievements and pull down its international standing.

Many democracies might even withdraw from the Beijing Olympics. The US and its allies had boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, citing the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan.

Tibet, much as China may disagree, is an international issue. Support for the Tibetan cause is not limited to Tibet; friends of Tibet are spread across the globe.

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of the exiled community, is respected in world capitals, mainly because he has been more than reasonable in his dealings with Beijing.

He has not only held the community together but also articulated its genuine demands in non-violent language. Since the Chinese forced him to flee Lhasa and take refuge in India, the Dalai Lama has been forced to dilute his demand from freedom to autonomy under Chinese rule.

Beijing has not reciprocated this concession to negotiate an honourable deal for the Tibetan people.

Beijing should recognise that the Dalai Lama is its best bet to settle the Tibet issue. The Chinese leadership should invite him for talks. Such a gesture would go a long way to show China in a positive light.

It is fatuous for Beijing to imagine that it could sweep dissent under the carpet by enforcing a ban on foreigners in Tibet or YouTube in China. Even the Dalai Lama could run out of patience: it is significant that he has now asked for international agencies to investigate the situation in Tibet, which he describes as a state of cultural genocide.

Equally significant is the support monks in Lhasa have received from people in other Chinese provinces. China could risk international condemnation if it uses excessive force on protesters in Lhasa.

Beijing's dread of dissent

By John Lee

March 18, 2008 (The Australian)- WHEN the monks in Burma led protests against the military junta there last September, China initially reacted by making the usual call for calm and restraint from all sides.

As those protests escalated and the world's media responded with expressions of outrage, revulsion and shock, the Chinese Government responded by saying that "demonstrations would not only undermine the stability of the state but also tarnish the image of Myanmar's monks".

Why has Beijing taken a hard line in Tibet? The key is "stability of state".

Don't be fooled by the glamour of Shanghai or the magnificence of Beijing. There are large swaths of disunity and disorder in the country.

For example, China claims 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two special administrative regions: Hong Kong and Macau. Of these, Taiwan remains recalcitrant and is effectively a separate state. Many of the Uighurs in the western province of Xinjiang want out.

Residents in Hong Kong want guarantees that Beijing will not dismantle the rights they enjoyed under British rule. And traditional Tibetans, fearful of a complete Han Chinese takeover and the suppression of their culture and religion, want more and more autonomy.

Furthermore, there is widespread disorder even in provinces that pose no challenge to Beijing's right to rule. In 2006, the latest available figures, there were 87,000 officially recorded instances of unrest, which is defined as those involving 15 or more people.

These protests are overwhelmingly spontaneous and arise from the frustration of the one billion or so "have-nots": with the hardship in their lives, against illegal taxes and land grabs by corrupt officials, against job losses and so on.

Although these protests rarely call for the overthrow of the regime, they do express profound dissatisfaction with local officials.

This brings us back to Tibet.

Note that most Chinese do not support the separatist agendas of Tibet, Taiwan or Xinjiang. They would rather see a strong and unified China restored to historic glory. Indeed, most Chinese do not want to see their government give in to separatist agendas and would be critical of the leadership if it did so.

Therefore, as far as Beijing is concerned, when the regime's moral and political legitimacy is threatened, the leadership almost always chooses to take a hard, uncompromising line.

It is one thing to negotiate with protesters when the issue is about lost jobs in Chongqing. It is another thing completely when the protest is a direct challenge to the party's right to rule.

To be sure, the monks and their supporters cannot by themselves foment widespread protest throughout China. The protests will eventually be quelled and their leaders will no doubt be dealt with brutally.

However, President Hu Jintao, who incidentally earned early brownie points within the party by leading a crackdown of political dissidents in Tibet in 1989, deeply understands that authoritarian regimes appear weak at their own peril and losing face will only embolden the "enemies of state".

Even back in 2005, the Communist Party's Leading Group on Foreign Affairs, which is chaired by Hu, argued that "hostile foreign forces have not abandoned their conspiracy and tactics to Westernise China and to divide the country". Principles such as self-determination sought by provinces such as Tibet and Taiwan were part of these Western political weapons.

Elsewhere, the LGFA has spoken about the democratic and other "viruses" that were behind the "colour revolutions" in Ukraine and Georgia, and which could conceivably take root in places such as Xinjiang and Tibet.

This in large part explains why Chinese authorities are so deeply suspicious of any grouping with loyalties that might transcend the state and regime or at least cannot be easily controlled by the state, such as the Falun Gong, Catholics and independent trade unions.

While we see the Dalai Lama as a humble and peace-loving spiritual leader of a major world religion, Beijing sees him as a political agitator in league with influential Western agents who presents a clear and present danger to the "stability of state". In Beijing's eyes, these protests were, after all, preceded by the Dalai Lama's calls for greater Tibetan autonomy.

Beijing has written several manuals to counsel officials on how to manage protests in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in August. It details options to deal with protest leaders: namely the tactical use of permissiveness and repression, compromise and coercion, on a case by case basis.

This is designed to take the fuel out of the fire. Sometimes leaders of protests are taken away; other times they are paid off; and other times they are given what they want.

In this case, its handbook for managing protests has offered authorities few options.

Predictably, Beijing will feel that it has no room to move and has taken a hard line by cracking down on the protesters and declaring a "people's war" of security and propaganda against the Dalai Lama.

Hu will at least be relieved that this has happened now rather than in August when several thousand Western journalists will be in China.

John Lee is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. His book Will China Fail? was released by the CIS last year.

Increased security presence leads to clashes in Shan state

Mizzima News
March 17, 2008

New Delhi – The ruling Burmese military junta has significantly increased the presence of troops in Shan State to intensify security before it holds the referendum on the draft constitution in May, ethnic Shan rebels said.

The spokesperson of the Shan State Army (South), Sai Loa Seng, said they have exchanged fire with the Burmese Army at least thrice in March alone, when they bumped into each other.

"This month alone, we have clashed thrice with the Burmese troops and exchanged gun fire. But there were no casualties on either side except for one Burmese Army Major," Sai Lao Seng told Mizzima over telephone.

The SSA spokesperson said it was rare for the SSA and the Burmese Army to meet unintentionally, without launching an operation. This is a sign that the Burmese Army is increasing its presence in Shan state.

"In each of our encounters, there were about 60 to 100 soldiers on their side, and it does not seem like they are into any major offensive targeting us," Sai Lao Seng said.

He added that the Burmese soldiers seemed more like providing security to officials who have come to Shan state for registering villagers and ceasefire armed groups as a preparation to enable them to vote in the referendum.

Khun Sai, editor of the Thailand based Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N), who is following up on information in Burma's eastern State of Shan, confirmed the clashes between SSA cadres and Burmese troops.

He added that the Burmese Army troops are not on an operation but are providing security to officials, who travel across villages in Shan State to provide national identity cards, with which holders are eligible to cast their votes in the ensuing referendum.

Sources among the armed rebels, who have a ceasefire pact with the junta, said the Burmese authorities have began the process of registering villagers and members of the armed groups, and are providing them with temporary identity cards since the end of February.

In February, the junta enacted a law for the constitution approval process, in which one of the articles mentions that only Burmese citizens, who posses national identity cards, will be eligible to vote.

The junta has announced holding of a referendum in May and general elections in 2010.

Burmese monks call for stop to violence in Tibet

By Phanida
Mizzima News
17 March 2008

Chiang Mai – The 'International Burmese Monks Association' called on the Chinese authorities yesterday to stop using violence against Tibetan monks and people who are staging protests in Tibet.

The Chinese authorities used force against Tibetan monks and Tibetan people who staged protests for freedom of religion and releasing of detained monks. The crackdown started since March 14 and brute force is being used against the protesters.

The statement of Burmese monks said they are concerned about the security of their fellow Tibetan monks, their freedom of expression and freedom of religion in Tibet.

The Thai based Burmese monks association Vice-Chairman Ashin Pyinyar Tharmi said, "The persecution unleashed by the Chinese authorities insults Buddhism. We demand that the Chinese government stop it. They beat up Tibetan abbots and monks, and imprisoned them. We cannot accept these things for any reason. Monks, irrespective whether they are from Tibet or Burma, do not want violence. The Sasana Moli vehemently protested against the violence used in Tibet".

Ashin Pyinyar Tharami said that raiding and sealing monasteries by the Chinese authorities in Tibet are identical to the activities by the Burmese junta in Burma.

Sasana Moli General Secretary Ashin U Ottara said, "The Chinese and Burmese governments are waging a holy war. We'd like to appeal to the world family to help us in stopping this war".

The London based pro-democracy activists will launch a solidarity campaign along with the London based Tibet Campaign. And the London based monks will stage a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in London from 4 to 7 p.m. local time today.

Week's suspension of 7 Days News journal for reporting murders

By Nam Davies
Mizzima News
17 March 2008

New Delhi: Using its draconian laws the Burmese Censor Board under the Ministry of Information suspended the publication of '7 Days News' journal for reporting the multiple murders in Green Bank, Kamayut Township, Rangoon.

The Rangoon based '7 Days News' weekly journal reported the multiple murders in its 13th March issue with the headline 'Four souls taking order to find culprits'. It was made to suspend publication for a week, a source close to Journal told Mizzima.

The March 19 issue of the journal has been banned and will not be distributed to the market.

"They banned Wednesday's issue. This issue reported the funeral ceremony and what the police said besides having news photographs of the coffins. As far as we know, the censor board didn't allow both the news headline and the news photo, and ordered the editors to remove these. But we heard that the journal reported them as supplementary news," an editor of a weekly journal said on condition of anonymity.

Similarly the editors of 'The Voice' weekly journal published every Saturday were summoned to the censor board office and ordered to sign the pledge. The weekly journal also reported the news of the killing of five persons with news photographs.

"The editors of 'The Voice' journal were summoned and interrogated about the news photograph and ordered to sign on the bond. The news photograph of security personnel and police forces deployed at the crime scene appeared with the news report. They had to just sign on the pledge. That's all," the editor added.

"But we learnt that no action was taken against other weekly journals, like 'Weekly Eleven' and Flowers 'News Journal'. They too reported the multiple murders as it appeared in the state-run media," he added.

On March 3, four family members and a housemaid at a residence under tight security, near to the home of Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, were shot dead in broad daylight.

Businessman Charlie (Saw Kyipha), aged 60, and his wife San San Myint, 58, along with their two daughters, Mya Sanda, 36, and Hnin Pwint Aye, 27, and their housemaid Alphaw, 15, were all shot in the head inside the residence at No.126 Seinlaekanthar Street, Kamaryut Township.

The culprit, or culprits, is still at large and a police source says cash totaling at least $90,000 was missing from the victim's home.

Than Shwe's daughter pleads for furniture at fair

Mizzima News
17 March 2008

Rangoon – In an acute display of lack of self respect, Khin Thandar Shwe, daughter of Burmese military junta supremo Snr. Gen. Than Shwe, visited the Myanmar Furniture Fair, pleaded and took away furniture worth approximately USD 10,000 without payment, sources said.

She visited 'Myanmar Furniture Fair 2008' held at the Armed Forces Hall (Envoy Hall) in U Wisara Road, Rangoon on March 8. She took away a truckload of woodcrafts and furniture in a 'CANTER' truck. Most of the stuff was from 'Golden Pollen Myanmar'.

"She took away all she wanted without making any payment. The furniture companies did not dare ask for payment from her because most of these companies are running on import-export licenses issued by Myanmar Timber Corporation," a source in the industry said.

A staff member from another company said they gave the furniture to her free of cost.

The biennial furniture fair was scheduled to be held from March 3 to 7 but was extended for another two days.

Thandar Shwe, daughter of Snr. Gen. Than Shwe and Kyaing Kyaing, was married in July 2006. In the videotape of the wedding ceremony, she was seen wearing a lot of diamonds.

The lavish wedding ceremony where USD 50 million was rumored to have been spent in one of the poorest countries in the world became infamous. The physical possession of the video disc and video tape of the wedding ceremony carries a prison term and it was strictly banned in Burma.