Friday, 23 April 2010

$1000 offered to catch Rangoon bomber

Published: 22 April 2010
A substantial reward has been offered by the Burmese government to the person who can pinpoint the culprit behind a series of grenade attacks in Rangoon last week that left 10 people dead.
Burmese media announced earlier this week that a tenth fatality had been confirmed, that of 19-year-old Soe Moe Htun, who had been in hospital since the blasts occurred on 15 April whilst thousands were celebrating the annual water festival. More than 170 were reportedly injured.
The Rangoon-based Biweekly Eleven News agency said today that a one million kyat ($US1,000) reward was being offered, a hefty sum in a country where the average annual wage is $US220.
According to sources in Burma, a graphic designer, Maung Maung Zeya and his son Sithu were also arrested and interrogated after taking photographs of the bomb site at the X20 pavillion, close to Kandawgyi lake in downtown Rangoon.
The two are accused of having links to foreign media, something eyed with great suspicion by Burmese authorities. Other foreign news correspondents had their camera’s memory cards seized by authorities.
State newspapers have pointed the finger at several opposition groups, including the Karen National Union (KNU) and the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF).
Rumours have also circulated that the attack was aimed at Nay Shwe Thway Aung, the grandson of junta supremo Than Shwe, who had been at the pavilion shortly before the incident.
“He arrived at the pavilion the day the blasts occurred; people were excited when they learned about his presence,” a Rangoon youth told DVB.
“He was later escorted back. The first bomb exploded after he left but not a lot of people were hurt. However, there were dead bodies and brains splattered all over the front of the pavilion when the second bomb went off.”
While the majority of news outlets have said the attack was carried out using grenades, to sources in the military said that bomb, made out of mobile phone handsets were used.
Military analysts said that such equipment is only available in the army but not among civilians.

India eyes $5.6bn Burma hydropower deal

Published: 22 April 2010
India’s state-owned National Hydro Power Company Limited (NHPC) will increase its investment in Burma to the tune of an extra $US5.6 billion as Burma aggressively expands its energy sector.
The head of the NHPC, S K Garg, told the Wall Street Journal the company was “inching towards Myanmar [Burma]. We have already sent our team to Myanmar for further survey and investigation for two projects.”
Little is known of the location of the projects, but the Wall Street Journal suggests that they could be two new 510-megawatt and 520-megawatt dams.
The NHPC already has a major presence in the country, primarily at the Tamanthi dam on the Chindwin river in Burma’s northern Sagaing division. The project has a capability of providing 1200 megawatts of electricity, 80 percent of which it is believed will go straight to India.
As of 2007, according to research by the Burma Rivers Network (BRN), over 380 families had been displaced by the Tamanthi dam and none had reportedly received compensation. It is estimated that the dam will eventually displace some 30,000 people in 35 different Kuki ethnic villages.
Sai Sai from BRN said that these people have absolutely no input or “right to participate” in the decision-making process for the dam, a fact that is clearly against the first recommendation of the World Commission on Dams: “Development needs and objectives should be clearly formulated through an open and participatory process, before various project options are identified,” it says.
Added to this, the Chindwin river is the only known habitat of the Burmese Roofed Turtle, a species that will be lost forever by the construction of the dam.
The Wall Street Journal further notes that within India “progress on hydroelectric power capacity addition has been slow due to environmental concerns and issues related to resettlement of people displaced because of the construction of dams”.
This would suggest a strong incentive for India investing in Burma’s hydropower sector, given BRN’s concerns about a lack of accountability in the process.
The Tamanthi dam is being constructed by the NHPC in collaboration with Swiss company Colenco Power Engineering Ltd. According to Garg, quoted in the Indian press, the NHPC is also involved in the 642-megawatt Shwezaye dam.
BRN believes that construction of the Tamanthi dam had been suspended after it began in 2007, suggesting that renewed investment of the sort mentioned by Garg may be needed to finish it, although at present details are not available.
It is believed however that consultants had been engaged by NHPC, but their findings had not yet been put to the government in Naypyidaw.
China is without doubt the leading investor in Burma’s hydropower sector, with numerous projects on rivers across the country, many of which have attracted international controversy and condemnation.
The drying of the Mekong river is partly blamed on Chinese dam construction, whilst Kachin organisations and individuals have strongly petitioned against forthcoming dam projects on the Irrawaddy river, including the Myitsone dam.

Burma News From

In the last 4 hours

In the last 8 hours

Wa Hosts Allies for Security Talks The Irrawaddy - News 14:00
$1000 offered to catch Rangoon bomber Democratic Voice of Burma 11:41
Irrawaddy water shortage fuelling disease Democratic Voice of Burma 10:59
India eyes $5.6bn Burma hydropower deal Democratic Voice of Burma 10:27

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama's foreign-policy ineptitude The Washington Times - Editorials 09:50
Obama Administration Defends Burma Policy The Irrawaddy - News 08:36
US rep says China ‘stealing Burma’ Democratic Voice of Burma 07:58

Waiting in the Shadow of Darkness Democratic Voice of Burma 05:26
Myanmar edge out Bahrain in Davis Cup clash Gulf Daily News - Sport 00:57

Bahrainis edged out by Myanmar Gulf Daily News - Sport 00:57
Drawing Your Last Breath Hungry The Nation - US Politics & Government 00:34  

Sanctions will force Burmese junta to negotiate The Age - Opinion 21:47 Wed, 21 Apr 10
Rebel who paid grim price for wanting peace The Dominion Post - Local 21:03 Wed, 21 Apr 10
UAE wins two Davis Cup games in two days Gulf News - Tennis 20:44 Wed, 21 Apr 10

Myanmar trio funded by taxpayer 18:02 Wed, 21 Apr 10
SM Goh in Tokyo, meets Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada Channel NewsAsia - Singapore 15:05 Wed, 21 Apr 10
Chinese embassies abroad pay silent tribute to quake victims People's Daily - China 12:49 Wed, 21 Apr 10
Canadian uni ‘spied’ on Burmese students Democratic Voice of Burma 12:45 Wed, 21 Apr 10

US Response To Sudan Election Omen for Burma? The Irrawaddy - News 11:45 Wed, 21 Apr 10
Final Days at NLD Party Headquarters The Irrawaddy - News 10:40 Wed, 21 Apr 10
Burma's Chin villagers face persecution by junta One World - South Asia 09:46 Wed, 21 Apr 10

NHPC Plans to Build Power Projects in Myanmar The Wall Street Journal - Asia 08:57 Wed, 21 Apr 10 
WSJ: NHPC Plans to Build Power Projects in Myanmar The Wall Street Journal - Europe Edition 07:23 Wed, 21 Apr 10 

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Myanmar state media report on bombs at dam site Ventura County Star, California - International 18:45 Tue, 20 Apr 10 
Immigrants from Myanmar ponder life after layoffs San Francisco Examiner - Business 17:40 Tue, 20 Apr 10

Wa Still Say 'No' to Border Guard Force The Irrawaddy - News 13:47 Tue, 20 Apr 10
List of registered parties Democratic Voice of Burma 12:16 Tue, 20 Apr 10
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US Senators Want Burma Policy Assessed The Irrawaddy - News 10:40 Tue, 20 Apr 10
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The ABSDF Split The Irrawaddy - Special Feature 09:18 Tue, 20 Apr 10
Kachin army holds mass public forum Democratic Voice of Burma 08:22 Tue, 20 Apr 10
Japan and Malaysia urge free elections Democratic Voice of Burma 06:19 Tue, 20 Apr 10
Rangoon bombings Democratic Voice of Burma 05:39 Tue, 20 Apr 10

The long march from fighting to freedom The Telegraph, Calcutta - Opinion 21:44 Mon, 19 Apr 10
Ethnic group in Myanmar gears up for war, peace Yahoo! US - Asia 18:04 Mon, 19 Apr 10
On Burmese New Year, a String of Bomb Attacks Yahoo! US 15:28 Mon, 19 Apr 10

Japan, Malaysia urge Myanmar The Straits Times 14:51 Mon, 19 Apr 10 
The 31 Armed Conflicts Of 2009 Aggravated By Sexual Violence Medical News Today 12:15 Mon, 19 Apr 10
Kachin dam bombing kills four Democratic Voice of Burma 08:58 Mon, 19 Apr 10