Intrigue and illness in Myanmar’s junta

Intrigue and illness in Myanmar’s junta

 

 BANGKOK – This month’s surprise announcement in Myanmar of a planned national referendum on a new constitution in May and multi-party democratic elections by 2010 are all part of Senior General Than Shwe’s game plan to hold onto power and ensure his family’s interests are secured. The question now is whether or not the junta leader’s health will hold out that long.

A major turning point in the competition occurred nearly six months ago, when Maung Aye was replaced as the head of the junta’s powerful Trade Council, right before the beginning of the August unrest. Maung Aye was also reportedly replaced as military chief during last year’s protests, where Thura Shwe Mann took charge of security arrangements, including suppression of the demonstrations, and commenced chairing crucial National Security Council meetings on Than Shwe’s orders.

Since the crackdown, however, the wheels of government have reportedly ground to a halt. “Ministers have been told directly by Than Shwe that he does not need to be consulted on any issue, other than those related to political or foreign policy issues,” said a military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But because officials fear making any moves that could be perceived as a challenge to Than Shwe’s power, decision-making is in gridlock, according to the source.

“There’s total inertia in [the capital] Naypyidaw. No one dares make a decision, even in regard to the smallest matters without approval from the top, which is rarely forthcoming,” a senior government official recently confided to a Western diplomat who spoke with Asia Times Online.

Read more Larry Jagan

Myanmar democracy activists urge Olympics boycott

Myanmar democracy activists urge

Olympics boycott

BANGKOK (AFP) –

Myanmar democracy activists called Monday on people across the world to boycott televised coverage of this summer’s Olympics in Beijing, in protest at China’s support for the ruling military junta.

The 88 Generation Students group, which includes some of the country’s top pro-democracy leaders, also urged viewers against buying any merchandise linked to the Games.

The Olympics are set to open on August 8, the 20th anniversary of a pro-democracy uprising led by students in Myanmar.

The military, which has ruled the country formerly known as Burma since 1962, opened fire on the crowds, killing an estimated 3,000 people.

Leaders of the uprising were handed lengthy prison sentences, but when released they formed the 88 Generation Student group.

The group began new protests in August last year, harnessing public anger at a surprise hike in fuel prices that left many unable to afford even meagre bus fares to work.

Many of the leaders were again arrested, but Buddhist monks took over the protest movement, which swelled into the biggest anti-government uprising since 1988.

In a statement issued by leaders now in hiding, the group called “for citizens around the world to pressure the government of China to withdraw its unilateral support of the Burmese military junta and to boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”

“China is a major trade partner, major arms supplier and major defender of the junta in the international arena,” it said.

“The military junta in Burma is still in power to this day, despite strong and continuous resistance by the people of Burma, because of China’s support.”

The group said that instead of supporting the regime, China should help to facilitate a national dialogue among the military and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest.

The military last week announced that it had completed drafting a new constitution that it plans to bring to a referendum in May. The document would bar Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize winner, from running in elections now slated for 2010.

Some of China’s Recent Actions

Some of China’s recent pre-Olympics actions that have been viewed as positive by the United States:

  • _ Agreeing to a U.S. request for access to sensitive military records that might resolve the fate of thousands of American servicemen missing from the Korean War and other Cold War-era conflicts.
  • _ Putting pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.
  • _ Addressing repression with Myanmar’s military rulers.
  • _ Supporting a United Nations and African Union joint peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s Darfur region.
  • _ Agreeing to an increase in sanctions on Iran and urging Tehran to engage with the world on its nuclear program.
  • _ Making contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association, from which it received grants until 1999.
  • _ Releasing a Hong Kong journalist charged with spying for Taiwan after he was detained for nearly three years.
  • _ Expressing a degree of willingness to open itself for limited human rights scrutiny.

Singaporean, 10 firms under US Myanmar sanctions

Singaporean, 10 firms

under US Myanmar sanctions

SINGAPORE (AFP) – A Singaporean citizen and 10 of her companies have been targeted under fresh US sanctions aimed at the Myanmar junta, adding to a list of city-state firms hit by US sanctions.

Cecilia Ng is the wife of Steven Law, whose father Lo Hsing Han is “known as the ‘Godfather of Heroin’,” according to the US Treasury Department.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) named the three individuals on Monday under additional economic sanctions against supporters of Myanmar’s military regime, which the US accuses of grave human rights abuses.

The OFAC notice says Ng, born in 1958, is a Singaporean citizen who owns 10 companies including Golden Aaron Pte Ltd.

State media in Myanmar reported in December 2004 that Singapore’s Golden Aaron Pte Ltd was part of a consortium that signed an oil and natural gas exploration contract with military-ruled Myanmar.

OFAC listed Ng’s other companies as: G A Ardmore Pte Ltd, G A Capital Pte Ltd, G A Foodstuffs Pte Ltd, G A Land Pte Ltd, G A Resort Pte Ltd, G A Sentosa Pte Ltd, G A Treasure Pte Ltd, G A Whitehouse Pte Ltd, and S H Ng Trading Pte Ltd.

The Treasury Department accused Law and Lo Hsing Han of a history of involvement in illicit activities.

“Lo Hsing Han, known as the ‘Godfather of Heroin,’ has been one of the world’s key heroin traffickers dating back to the early 1970s,” it said.

“Steven Law joined his father’s drug empire in the 1990s and has since become one of the wealthiest individuals in Burma.”

Ng could not be immediately contacted for comment on the allegations.

A woman who opened the locked door at Ng’s offices in Singapore’s business district said she was not there. A plaque visible through the door listed Golden Aaron, S H Ng Trading and another firm, Kokang Singapore Pte Ltd.

Attempts to locate Ng at the condominium complex listed as her residence were also unsuccessful.

Singapore strongly denies allegations that it allows banks based here to keep illicit funds on behalf of Myanmar’s secretive generals.

Asked for comment, the foreign affairs ministry referred AFP to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which said the city-state, like all other leading financial centres, operates “a strict and rigorous regime” against money laundering.

“Banks and financial institutions in Singapore are required to institute strict procedures, including the need to identify and know their customers, and monitor and report any suspicious transactions,” MAS said.

“Our rules are vigorously enforced. Should there be links with illicit activity, MAS will not hesitate to take necessary action.”

In early February the US named Singaporean resident U Kyaw Thein, 60, as among those targeted under sanctions aimed at Tay Za, who the Treasury Department called an alleged “henchman” and arms dealer for Myanmar’s junta.

A Singaporean company, Pavo Aircraft Leasing Pte Ltd, was also named.

US President George W. Bush last year named three other firms with offices in Singapore as among those targeted under initial sanctions that followed the junta’s deadly September crackdown on protests led by Buddhist monks.

The city-state led regional criticism of the crackdown but rights activists accused it of not taking economic action against the regime.

The US action freezes any assets the individuals and firms have under US jurisdiction and bars Americans from conducting business with them at the risk of heavy fines and prison sentences.

My two cents’ advise to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

My two cents’ advise to

Hillary Clinton  and Barack Obama

Dear presidential hopefuls:

Mrs Hillary Clinton and Mr Barak Obama,

Please stop fighting the almost useless, unnecessary and self destructive infighting in your party. You two should combined force to fight the Senator John McCain. 

It will be a great force if Hillary Clinton could be offered Vice President by Mr Barack Obama. 

Hillary Clinton should opt for the Vice President and use that as a stepping stone to become the next president. 

Then, we could see a coloured person becoming the first President of USA and a women sworn in as a Vice President. How nice and beautiful to add in the history of a great democracy.

And later we could put Hillary Clinton as the first woman President of USA. 

If they keep on washing the dirty linens in the public those could be use by John McCain as free gift ammunitions.

Actually I am writing this because I hate Mr Bush’s policies on world Muslims. But anyway, John McCain is known to be campaigning for Burma a lot, I would be glad to even see him as the President of USA.

 

Dear John Letter to the Dear Nan letters and Burma Digest

 Dear John Letter to the Dear Nan letters and Burma Digest

Dear Nan @ Burma Digest, 

We  first met and fall in love in April 2006, National Day of Burma and Shan National day. You even proudly published my first letter.

Since then, I started and continue to write my compassionate letters to you, followed by more than  300 letters. I thought that our union and love would last forever. Alas, it sadly last roughly two years only. I was quite stupid not to take the numerous comments criticizing my eleventh letter because I wrote about the history of Burmese Muslims. So I sadly stopped my series of love letters or compassionate letters to my estranged wife Nan, who represents the Shan State. Although I am a practicing Muslim, I took the place of a Buddhist Burmese and tried to stop the separation of the Shan State. 

I know that our different faith would tear us apart one day but never expect it to be too soon.

I tried to translate some of these letters about you into Burmese on our first anniversary that fell on 2007. This year on the second anniversary, I have done a great research, spend a lot of time and wrote 8 letters about you, SHANS. I think no one had done for the Shans like this in SHAN/BURMESE HISTORY.

But once there is no more love, hatred even blinded you and you dare to even blame me for those 8 Shan letters as unnecessary venturing into past. If you care enough, I have tried to write on all of your given topics or themes that you had requested in two years. Your words are my command Nan (Burma Digest). But all is finished now. (Even to call them theme was my idea given to you Nan.)

Although they said that “Rome could not be built in one day” but now I understand that it could be destroyed in one night.

But may be because of my daring revealing to be a mixed blooded Muslim, I know, your parents, relatives and and friends had pressured you, so you decided to write a quite rude “Dear John” letter to me.

We have known each other for not a very long time, but this poem describes our short lastest relationship.

We may have known each other for just a short time, but it feels like we’ve been together forever. But that’s water under the bridge now.

Goog bye Burma Digest or Shans or Nan.

With regards

Your ex-husband

 

Dr San Oo Aung

 

The following was my letters theme heading. 

Valentine Present with Love

aaa.png

Please read the concept of MM daughter of Tun Dr M.
  1. I have no interest in joining any political party.
  2. I just have this thing against political parties;
  3. they all have a tendency to be a bit like organised religions_
    • where dissent is not tolerated
    • and dissenters condemned to hell.
                  
  4. If anyone agrees with me, that is welcomed but purely coincidental. If anyone doesn’t, well, that’s normal and to be expected. I only wish people had less problems with me disagreeing with them, than I have with them disagreeing with me. :-)
      Marina Mahathir     

    NOTE:
    Although I wrote this letter as if I was writing to my wife, I am just referring to the Shan State at first. These letters are purely political and it comes out from my heart which love the UNION OF BURMA AND SHAN STATE.
    But in this particular letter I am writing to Burma Digest and its Chief Editor. I even do not meant the Nan that represents Shan. I will never say good bye to my Shan State.
    And I never, never  had meant or aim to write to any one else through these letters.
    Sorry, if I have offended my own wife with this,  “Dear John Letter.”
    GOD KNOWS THE TRUTH!
    SOA

Differences between Muhammad and Jesus

Muhammad and Jesus

Differences between Muhammad and Jesus

Read at Comparative Religion:

Although some similarities exist between Muhammad and Jesus, their differences are far greater. Let’s look at a few of the most important.

Different Claims

Muhammad said he was just a man; Jesus claimed to be God. In fact, Muhammad never claimed to be more than a man, a prophet of Allah. His following prayer reflects that:
“O Allah! I am but a man.” (Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 6, pg. 103)

Although Jesus was fully a man who felt pain, became hungry, tired, and was tempted like us, Jesus also claimed to be fully God, equal with his heavenly Father. He said that prior to becoming a man, he and the father had always existed as one God, and had jointly created the universe.

Several popular conspiracy theories, like The Da Vinci Code, have asserted that the church invented Jesus’ divinity, but historical evidence indicates the earliest Christians believed that Jesus is both Lord and God.

Christianity would not be the same if Jesus’ disciples hadn’t truly believed he was God. (The term, “Son of God” does not mean a biological offspring, or that Jesus is inferior to his Father, it only reflects their relationship with one another within the godhead). All the evidence points to the fact that the disciples totally embraced his deity.

Different Character

As a mortal man, Muhammad sinned like us. Jesus was said to be “without sin” (John 8:46). Even his enemies were unable to accuse him of breaking any of God’s Commandments. But Muhammad admitted he had erred, and asked Allah for forgiveness three times (Sura al-Ghafir 40:55; 47:19 al-Fath 48:2).

Different Authority

Muhammad never performed a miracle (Qur’an 29:50), but Jesus exhibited complete authority over nature by performing numerous miracles (Mark 3:9,10).

Different Credentials

Jesus fulfilled ancient Hebrew prophecies; Muhammad did not. Muhammad offered no credentials but his revelation. Yet, nearly 300 Old Testament prophecies with 61 specific details were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Only God could have brought all those details to pass. Thus, Jesus is a perfect match for each of them. Jesus’ divine credentials were established by his fulfillment of God’s prophetic Word.

Different Power

Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated divine power; Muhammad died and his bones are reportedly within his grave at Medina. Jesus, on the other hand, came back to life three days after he was crucified and confirmed dead by Roman executioners. Both Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are historical facts for which there is compelling evidence.

Different Message

Jesus taught love and grace; Muhammad taught submission and rules. Muhammad taught that we must attain salvation by adhering to Islam’s Five Pillars of the Faith. In other words, our salvation depends on our own efforts. Even then, one has no assurance of forgiveness, and must depend upon the mercy of Allah for forgiveness. Some Muslims believe that the Qur’an teaches that becoming a martyr for Allah will gain them favor and they will be rewarded by a heavenly harem.

Jesus said God created us for a relationship with Himself. His plan is to adopt us into His heavenly family as His beloved children. However, we rebelled against Him and broke His moral laws. The Bible calls this sin. Such disobedience against a holy God requires judgment. Our good deeds, money, or prayers cannot take away our sins.

The Bible tells us God is a pursuing God who devised a plan to free us from our sin debt. God’s solution was to pay the price Himself. In order to accomplish that, Jesus became a man who would die in our place (Philippians 2:5). Jesus said: “God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us” (John 3:16). Jesus taught that salvation is a free gift which must be embraced by faith in him alone, not our deeds. It is our choice to accept or reject God’s free pardon.