Thursday, May 22, 2008

ျပည္ေျပး.....

ျပီးခဲ့တဲ့အပတ္ကဘေလာ့စာမ်က္နွာတခုမွာျပည္ေျပးဆိျုပီးတင္လာတာေတြ႕လိုက္ရတယ္။ရဲရင့္သိတာကျပည္ေျပး
ဆိုတာနိုင္ငံေတာ္ႏွင့္အစိုးရအေပၚသစၥာေဖါက္၍္ထြက္ေျပးသူဟုျဖစ္သည္။၁၉၈၈မွယေန႕အထိအႏွစ္၂၀အတြင္းအ
သက္အရြယ္အမ်ိဳးမ်ိဳးအလိုက္ျပည္ပသို႕ျဖစ္သည့္နည္းႏွင့္ထြက္ခြာ၍စစ္အာဏာရွင္ဆန္႕က်င္ေရးလႈပ္ရွားေနသူအား
လးံုတဦးတေယာက္မွျပည္ေျပးမဟုတ္ပါ။နိုင္ငံေတာ္အေပၚသစၥာေဖါက္ျခင္းအလ်ဥ္းမရွိသလိုသစၥာေဖါက္စရာအစိုးရ
မရွိခဲ့တာလည္း၄၆ႏွစ္ရွိခဲ့ပါျပီ။(အစိုးရဟူသည္စီမံခန္႕ခြဲရန္ျပည္သူမွေရြးခ်ယ္ဖြဲ႕စည္းထားေသာအဖြဲ႕တခုသာျဖစ္သွ္။)
ီီီီိ္္ယခင္ကနယ္ခ်ဲ႕၊ယခုအာဏာရွင္တ႕ိုကိုဆန႕္က်င္ရန္ဗိုလ္ခ်ဴပ္ေအာင္ဆန္းနွင့္ရဲေဘာ္သံုးကိ်ပ္ဟိုင္နန္ကြ်န္းသို႕တိတ္
တဆိတ္ထြက္ခြာသလိုထြက္ခြာ၍ျမန္မာျပည္အေရးအတြက္ကိုယ္စြမ္းရွိသ၍ဥာဏ္စြမ္းရွိသ၍ၾကိဳးစားလႈပ္ရွားေနသူ
မ်ားျဖစ္သည္။(ဒီစကားေလးႏွင့္ျပည္ပေရာက္တကယ့္ဒီမိုကေရစီအေရးလႈပ္ရွားေနသူအားလံုးအားဦးညြတ္ဂုဏ္ျပဳ
လိုက္ပါသည္။)အခ်ိန္တန္လွ်င္ျပည္ေတာ္ျပန္၀င္ၾကရပါမည္။ဘယ္အခိ်န္လည္းဟုမေမးပါႏွင့္.။.ေမးသူ၏ပါ၀င္ၾကိဳးစား
မႈေပၚမူတည္သည္။ကိုယ္တိုင္၀င္ေအာ္လိုက္ပါ၊ဒီေမးခြန္းေပ်ာက္သြားပါလိမ့္မည္။၈၈တြင္ေတာင္ငူေဆာင္ေရွ့အလံ
ကိုင္၍အေရွ့မွခ်ီတက္မည့္ေက်ာင္းသားေက်ာင္းသူမ်ားကိုယခုလိုေျပာခဲ့သည္။သူကိုယ္တိုင္လည္း
ေရွ႕မွဥးီေဆာင္ခဲ့သည္။လက္ရွိအခ်ိန္တြင္ေတြ႕ဆံုေရး၊သင့္ျမတ္ေရးလမ္းေၾကာင္းမွာကြ်န္းခံေနျပီးနအဖကရုတ္မက္
ဆိုရင္ ..မက္...မက္..မက္...ရက္ဖရက္ဒန္ဆိုရင္လဲ...ဒန္ဒန္ဒန္...ဘီလူးဇတ္ကရာတရႈိက္မက္မက္လိုက္ၾကည့္ေန
ေသာပြဲၾကိဳက္ခင္မ်ားျဖစ္မွန္းမသိျဖစ္ကုန္သည္။အဂၤလိပ္အခက္ဗမာအခ်က္ဆိုျပီးေခာတ္ကာလအေျခအေနအရ
ဗိုလ္ခ်ဴပ္ေအာင္ဆန္းတို႕ကဂ်ပန္အကူအညီနွင့္ျပည္ေတာ္၀င္ခဲ့သည္္။ဒီေခာတ္တြင္ကုလသမၼဂကိုယ္စားလွယ္ရွိွိ
ွိသည္။ၽR2Pပတိမ္ညာဥ္စာတမ္းရွိသည္။ျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးတပ္ဖြဲ႕ရွိသည္။ေနာက္ဆံုးက်ည္ဆံျပင္သစ္၊အေမရိကန္ရွိ
သည္။ဒီအဆင့္ေတြေရာက္မွာစိုး၍ေတြ႕ဆံုေရး၊သင့္ျမတ္ေရးလုပ္ေပးပါ...လုပ္ေပးပါတိုက္တြန္းခ့ဲၾကသည္။ Photobucketပါးေစါင္းတီးသလိုျဖစ္ေနသည္။ဒီအခ်ိန္မွာသူေၾကာက္သည့္ၾကိမ္လံုးနွင့္ပတ္ၾကမ္း
တိုက္ရမည့္အခ်ိန္ျဖစ္သည္။တရစ္ျပီးတရစ္ကုလသမၼဂမွၾကား၀င္ေစ့စပ္ေပးနုိင္ေရးမွာခိုင္လံုသည့္အေထာက္အ
ထားေတြလိုသည္။ျပည္တြင္းျပည္ပေအာ္သံေတြလိုသည္။စက္တင္ဘာမတိုင္ခင္ေလးတြင္ကိုမင္းကိုနုိင္နွင့္အဖြဲ႕
နယ္လွည့္စည္းရုံးေရးဆင္းစဥ္ေျပာခဲ့ေသာစကားကိုရဲရင့္ဒီလိုဘာသာျပန္ထားသည္၊Photobucketဒီအခ်ိန္သည္အရြက္အားလံုးအပင္ေပါက္၇မည့္အခ်ိန္ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း
အရုိးထဲကလာသည့္ဆႏၵျဖင့္တိုက္တြန္းလိုက္ပါသည္။


Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
“The idea that sovereign states have responsibility to protect their own citizens from avoidable catastrophe, but that when they are unwilling or unable to do so, that responsibility must be borne by the broader community of states.”
-International Commission on Intervention and Sovereign States (ICISS).



<<<<<<<<<<<<<<........................................................>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

U.S. Senate passes US$165 billion Iraq war funding bill

May 22, 2008 02:34
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate has passed $165 billion to fund the war in Iraq until President Bush's successor takes over.The 70-26 vote came just minutes after a majority of Republicans voted to add tens of billions of dollars for veterans college aid and extending unemployment benefits to the war funding bill.
But Bush has promised to veto the bill if it contains the domestic measures, and the president still has enough Republican support to sustain a veto.The Senate also voted 63-34 to block a Democratic plan to urge Bush to begin redeployment of combat troops and place other strings on his ability to conduct the war in Iraq.
The House still has to act on the bill. Last week, the House voted to reject money for continuing the war.

A Traffic Ticket Away from Deportation

Should a driving conviction ever be enough to deport a permanent resident from Canada?
This is essentially the question that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is asking in an appeal filed last week with the Federal Court of Appeal.

The case involves Shazam Ali who emigrated from Guyana to Canada in 1995 with his mother, brother, and four sisters.

In March 1998 he robbed a woman at knifepoint in the underground garage of his apartment building in an apparent attempt to feed his recently acquired addiction to crack cocaine. He forced her into the back of his car, tied her up, and drove her to a bank machine where he used her bankcard to withdraw $400.00 in cash. He then drove to a hotel and left her in the back seat with the motor running while he tried to check in. His victim succeeded in loosening her bonds and escaped.

In January 1999 he was convicted of kidnapping and robbery and was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment including ten months of pre-trial custody.

Consequently, a deportation order was made against him in March 2000.

He appealed the order to the Immigration and Refugee Board where he got very lucky. The Board noted that Ali had no previous criminal record and that although the offence was serious it was also “aberrant” and found that “it is not likely the appellant will re-offend”. The Board granted him a 5-year stay on the condition that he “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”.

The order meant that as long as Ali behaved himself for 5 years, he would be allowed to stay in Canada. If he breached the stay in any way, he would automatically be sent home without any further recourse.

As the five-year mark approached, Ali had avoided any further criminal activity and must have been looking forward to the cancellation of his deportation order.

However, just eight days before the completion of the stay-period, the Minister served notice that Ali’s stay should be cancelled.

The reason?

Ali had been convicted of five traffic offences during the five-year stay period, namely: driving with no plates, operating an unsafe vehicle, fail to surrender insurance, unsafe lane change, and speeding…70 km in a 50 km zone.

The Minister argued that these offences, although not criminal, breached his undertaking to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”. The Minister took the position that with respect to any federal, provincial, or municipal statutes “any failure to abide, no matter how trivial, is a breach of [this] condition.”

The IRB and the Federal Court Trial Division disagreed with the Minister who is now appealing those decisions to the Federal Court of Appeal.

No doubt, Ali scored big when he won himself a second chance at the IRB. While many would no doubt love to see him go, if Ali loses the appeal it will have a tremendous impact on other permanent residents in similar circumstances who are bound by the same provision but who have been convicted of far less serious crimes and who are clearly deserving of a meaningful second chance.

They may not be aware that the next time they go 20 kms over the speed limit they could be losing their “second chance” to stay in the country.

Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as an immigration specialist. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at metro@migrationlaw.com

$300,000 damage award for fly in water bottle

OTTAWA - The country's top court has swatted down a $300,000 damage award to a man who says he became depressed, anxious, obsessive and phobic about flies after finding a dead insect in his bottled water.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in a 9-0 judgment Thursday, agreed that Martin Mustapha, a hair stylist from Windsor, Ont., suffered real psychological harm as a result of the incident.

But Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, writing for the court, said his reaction was so "unusual or extreme" that the bottling company, Culligan of Canada Ltd., shouldn't have to pay compensation.

The ruling means Mustapha, who won a judgment for $341,000 plus interest three years ago, won't get to collect that money. In fact, he'll have to shell out thousands in court costs assessed against him.

Mustapha, reached at his hair salon in Windsor, expressed disappointment and continued to insist that he's been treated unfairly.

He used to drink bottled water precisely because it was supposed to be better than the liquid that came out of the tap, he said. Finding that it wasn't as pure as advertised devastated him.

"I'm just the type of person that is very clean and cautious about the health and well-being of myself and my family. . . . It was a breach of trust (by Culligan), it was a betrayal of that trust."

Hillel David, the lawyer representing the bottling company, warned at a court hearing in March that upholding Mustapha's claim could open the door to a flood of spurious lawsuits for vaguely defined psychological damages.

But Paul Pape, the lawyer for Mustapha, said Thursday there is no question his client's case was sincere and serious.

"Because the circumstances of how this happened were so unusual, people giggled," Pape said from his Toronto law office.

"It put him in a difficult position, but he was strong enough to stand up and be heard and take his turn in court. Unfortunately, he came up short."

Eric Rosenthal, vice-president of marketing at Culligan's head office in Rosemount, Ill., wouldn't comment in detail on the case but welcomed the Supreme Court decision.

"One of our biggest priorities is to make sure we deliver a safe drinking product," said Rosenthal. "This was an unusual lawsuit. . . . We have not faced anything similar to this in our history."

Mustapha sued after he spotted a dead fly - and later half of another one - in a large, unopened bottle of water delivered for use in his home dispenser in 2001.

He never drank any of the water, but said he became obsessed with thoughts of dead flies, couldn't sleep and was constantly on edge - to the point where his business and even his sex life suffered.

He was diagnosed by several doctors as suffering from severe depression, anxiety and phobias and was awarded damages by Ontario Superior Court in 2005.

That decision was overturned a year later by Ontario Court of Appeal, which ruled the trial judge had applied the wrong legal test for compensation.

The appeal panel also ordered Mustapha to pay Culligan's court costs of roughly $30,000 to that point. He will be hit with the bill for costs at the Supreme Court as well, under the "loser pays" formula that applies to most such cases in Canada.

McLachlin, in her ruling, agreed that medical evidence presented at trial established that Mustapha suffered a "psychiatric illness (that) was debilitating and had a significant impact on his life."

She also noted that it's clear a supplier of bottled water "is under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the water is not contaminated by foreign elements."

But the legal test for damages, she said, is whether a person of "ordinary fortitude" would suffer psychological harm. In Mustapha's case, she concluded, the reaction was so unique that Culligan couldn't reasonably have foreseen the consequences and thus shouldn't be liable for compensation.

products labelled "made in Canada" will no longer be allowed


BEAMSVILLE, Ont. - Food products labelled "made in Canada" will no longer be allowed to use a substantial amount of foreign ingredients, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday as he announced new guidelines that consumer advocates hailed as a "big step in the right direction."

Under current rules, it's legal to call a product "made in Canada" if 51 per cent of the production costs were incurred here and the final transformation of product was in Canada, Harper said.

"The truth is, foods marked 'product of Canada' or 'made in Canada' actually may not be very Canadian at all," he said.

"A bottle of apple juice could have a 'made in Canada' label on it and be made from apples grown in China. A bar of chocolate might say 'product of Canada,' but the cocoa beans could come from the Ivory Coast."

The new guidelines will better reflect the origin of goods sold in grocery stores, Harper said.

Under the new rules, a "product of Canada" label will mean all or virtually all the contents are Canadian in origin.

If the ingredients of the product come from another country, the label would reflect that as well. For example, a label might say "made in Canada with imported ingredients," Harper said.

"This qualified 'made in Canada' label will let shoppers know they are supporting Canadian jobs and the Canadian economy, but also inform them that not all of the contents necessarily come from Canada," he said.

Mel Fruitman, vice-president of the Consumers' Association of Canada, said the guideline changes are good news provided Ottawa follows through with appropriate legislation.

"It's hard to tell where (Harper's) planning to take it with the announcement," he said. "What we want to see is in fact legislation, support staff as required to ensure legislation is enforced, and penalties for violators."

Overall, Fruitman said he was pleased with the regulation, which he said was long overdue.

"It's a very big step in the right direction," he added.

Fruitman said the new guidelines were along the lines proposed by his organization when he presented to the Commons agriculture committee last month during hearings on labelling.

"We were hearing a lot of concern about, 'What does this really mean?' Anecdotal information about things like pineapple labelled 'product of Canada'," he said.

"We were hearing stories about things like that and let's face it, we don't grow pineapple in Canada."

John Cranfield, an associate professor of food economics at the University of Guelph, said while the changes are a step in the right direction, it may result in more confusion on the part of the consumer in the short term.

"If a consumer doesn't know the difference between 'product of Canada' and 'made in Canada,' then how are they really able to determine whether or not the goods that they're buying are composed of goods purely of Canadian origin?," he said.

"The 'made in Canada' logo or moniker could be misinterpreted by some, I would imagine, and I would hope that the government actually puts effort out to try to differentiate in the eyes of consumers what these two phrases mean."

A new study released Wednesday by the University of Regina said Canada is doing a better job than most other countries but added the federal government needs to toughen food labelling rules.

Professor Sylvain Charlesbois said when it comes to food labelling, some companies in Canada use such information as marketing tool than providing accurate information - a move that needs to change.

"There is a lot of misleading information on food labels in Canada," he said. "When you look at Europe, a lot of the information on labels is monitored, checked and validated by third parties. That really helps consumers make proper decisions."

Blake Johnston, vice-president of government affairs, Food and Consumer Products of Canada, said the 51 per cent rule is a long-standing practice and a fairly standard one internationally, but said the organization can live with the new changes.

Johnston said one of his organization's members had expressed concern about the phase-in because they produce products and labels on packaging that sometimes doesn't make it to market for months.

"You want to do it in a way that doesn't make people recall or re-label existing products," he said. "You want to phase it in appropriately, and I think that's probably what they'll do."

The new guidelines come from the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan announced by Harper in December.

Couple facing abandonment charges for baby left in frigid Toronto stairwell

TORONTO - A couple from Toronto is facing several charges for allegedly abandoning their infant daughter in a frigid parking garage stairwell in January.

The discovery of the girl, dubbed Angelica-Leslie by authorities because of her angelic features and the street where she was found, prompted an outpouring of support from the public.

Shortly after pictures of the girl were released, the Children's Aid Society was flooded by more than 80 offers of adoption. She is still in their care.

A married couple who police say are the baby's biological parents were arrested Wednesday in Kitchener, Ont., where they moved in April.

The man and woman are both 30 years old, but their names won't be released to protect the baby's real identity.

They were charged with abandoning a child, fail to provide necessaries of life, assault causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

The girl, believed to be about eight months old at the time, was found by a passerby after being in the stairwell in -14 C weather for about two hours.

Earlier this month, the Children's Aid Society postponed the adoption process after police indicated they might be closer to finding her family.

Det. Keith Moxley said police don't yet know why the baby was left in the stairwell, but that the investigation continues.

A tip from the public led to the arrests, Moxley said, and it was a relief for the many officers who had been working on the case for several months.

"It was frustrating because it is quite frankly looking for a needle in a haystack," he said.

The parents were known to police but do not have criminal records, Moxley said, adding they had each been interviewed twice previously in the investigation.

Heart disease increases probability of death after Taser shock: expert

VANCOUVER - A biomechanical engineer says heart disease increases the probability of death after a Taser shock.
Pierre Savard, of Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique, also told a public inquiry into Taser use today that studies on healthy animals are insufficient to conclude the Taser is entirely safe.
Savard appeared at the inquiry via video conference.
He said his conclusion is in accordance with the product warnings issued by Taser International.
Company literature says there is a risk of injury or death due to individual susceptibilities."
Other heart experts have told the inquiry this week that Taser shocks may cause heart problems.

American war dodger pleads with Ottawa to rescind deportation order....Deserter ordered to leave

TORONTO - An American national guardsman who refused to redeploy to Iraq pleaded with the Canadian government on Wednesday to let him stay here now that immigration officials have ordered him to leave within three weeks.

Sgt. Corey Glass, 25, is said to be the first Iraqi war dodger from the U.S. to face imminent deportation from Canada.

"I don't think it is fair that I should be returned to the United States to face unjust punishment for doing what I felt morally obligated to do," Glass told a news conference.

"I appeal to the Canadian people and the Canadian government to honour their tradition of respect for human rights and support my decision not to participate in this unjust war."

Like other American soldiers who fled to Canada, Glass's claim for refugee status has been turned down on the grounds he faces prosecution in the U.S., not persecution.

A separate federal assessment concluded he might be punished for desertion but that didn't mean he was serious risk of abuse in the U.S.

"The applicant faces no more than a mere possibility of persecution," the immigration officer decided in a decision released Wednesday.

He was given until June 12 to leave or face forced removal.

Glass, of Fairmount, Ind., joined the U.S. National Guard in 2002 believing it was a "humanitarian organization." He said he was told he would never be deployed abroad to combat.

In 2005, he was sent to Iraq, where he spent five months in military intelligence. The job, he said, gave him broad insight into what was going on there.

"I realized innocent people were killed unjustly," said Glass, who is living in Toronto.

While on leave in the U.S., he decided to desert. After seven months in hiding, he fled to Canada because he knew it had become a destination for others in his situation, and had given refuge to tens of thousands of Vietnam War draft dodgers in the 1970s.

He arrived in August 2006, one of an estimated 200 American soldiers who have come to Canada rather than fight in a war they argue is illegal because it has no United Nations sanction.

Articling lawyer Alyssa Manning said Glass would likely seek a judicial review and stay of the deportation order because the immigration official failed to take into account new evidence related to punishment meted out to deserters in the U.S.

In one recent case, a soldier who went absent without leave for seven weeks was jailed for seven months and given a dishonourable discharge, which amounts to a criminal record.

Vietnam War draft dodger Lee Zaslofsky called it a "dark day," saying Canada, which refused to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, was disavowing its long tradition of welcoming American dissenters.

Ottawa was doing Washington's "dirty work" by rounding up those who don't want to fight in Iraq, said Zaslofsky, with the War Resisters Support Campaign.

Joshua Key, another deserter whose refugee claim is still winding its way through Canadian appeal courts, said the Glass decision was worrisome for those hoping to stay in Canada.

"We would face persecution of our own kind," Key said.

"There is persecution just as far as we are part of the military and what we'd receive and what we would deal with when we got back."

Several church groups issued a joint statement calling on the government to recognize the war resisters as conscientious objectors and let them stay.

"Sadly, Canada has failed Corey Glass," said Jane Orion Smith of the Canadian Friends Service Committee. "More than that, it has failed Canadians."

After a 22-month battle to earn a home in Toronto, a former American soldier was told yesterday he will become the first Iraq War resister to be deported from Canadian soil after his application to stay in the country was rejected.
A dejected Corey Glass, 25, stared blankly at the floor of a tiny room in Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church as members of the War Resisters Support Campaign informed media and other U.S. war resisters of his failed bid to remain in the country.
“He’s supposed to leave on his own by June 12,” said the group’s co-ordinator, Lee Zaslofsky.

UN chief strives for reinforcing cyclone relief efforts for Myanmar

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2nd L) arrives at Yangon Airport May 22, 2008.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) talks with Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win after arriving at Yangon
YANGON, May 22 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived at Yangon Thursday morning to reinforce Myanmar's post-storm relief efforts after some parts of the country were devastated by cyclone Nargis early this month.

Ban, who was greeted at the Yangon International Airport by Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win, proceeded first to the Myanmar Foreign Ministry and signed book of condolence for thousands of Myanmar victims killed in the cyclone.
After visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda, Ban will meet Myanmar Prime Minister General Thein Sein and Minister of National Planning and Economic and Development U Soe Tha, and will then be taken to cyclone-hard-hit areas in southwestern Ayeyawaddy division's delta region and Yangon division under government arrangement, according to official sources.

During his two-day visit, Ban is also expected to meet Myanmar top leadership in Nay Pyi Taw Friday and discuss channels for scaling up quick relief efforts and prompt distribution of the aidsupplies especially to reinforce partnership between Myanmar and the international community, including ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and key neighboring countries.

Bringing his sympathy to and support for the Myanmar government and people and claiming that it is a critical moment for Myanmar, Ban said before his departure for Myanmar that he will do his utmost to save the lives of Myanmar people and source more "non-politicized" assistance.

He stressed his and UN role "to work closely with ASEAN and the Myanmar government to ensure that all these efforts are well coordinated and as effective as they can be under these difficult circumstances."

In response to his call to quickly allow more international relief teams in to provide direct aid in a critical moment, Ban also said that Myanmar has allowed the U.N. to operate nine WFP (World Food Program) helicopters to ferry relief supplies to cyclone victims stranded in largely inaccessible disaster-hit areas.

Ban is scheduled to leave Myanmar on Friday evening for Bangkokwhere he will meet Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundarvej and ForeignMinister Noppadon Saturday and be back to Yangon on Sunday to join the International Pledging Conference co-organized by the U.N. and the ASEAN.

In his efforts days ahead to pave way for Ban's arrival, UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, who is also emergency relief coordinator, had visited Myanmar and toured some three cyclone-hit areas of Laputta, Bogalay and Wakemain the Ayeyawaddy delta region.

Holmes said Myanmar needs much more international aid for relief after disaster and most of the survivors, who face with food and shelter needs and healthcare, are still not kept in relief camps although there has been a large number of them already accommodated.

He pointed out that a lot of aid supplies are still badly needed, especially food and shelter materials, for such an enormous number of people, estimating that it takes three to six months for rehabilitation.

He also believed that between 1.6 million and 2.5 million people were severely affected by the cyclone and doubted the number of the homeless.

Meanwhile, agreed by Myanmar, an ASEAN-led coordinating mechanism, chaired by Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Surin Pitsuwan, has been established in accordance with the decisions made on Monday's Special Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers in Singapore.

The move is to facilitate the effective distribution and utilization of international assistance for Myanmar cyclone victims and a pledging conference involving the U.N. is scheduled for Sunday, May 25 in Yangon to raise fund for cyclone-affected victims.

As a pre-move, Surin visited Yangon two days ahead of Ban's arrival to take ASEAN's lead in coordinating and liaising with the UN system and international community in assisting Myanmar to recover from cyclone Nargis.

Following initial lifting of some restrictions on accepting foreign aid workers, five foreign medics respectively from neighboring Thailand, India, Laos, China and Bangladesh have been allowed in to render direct medical aid to Myanmar cyclone victims.

In last weekend, resident representatives of UN agencies, along with those of ASEAN Secretariat and foreign diplomats traveled under government arrangement to relief camps in Dedaye, Kungyangon, Pyapon, Bogalay Maubin, Mawlamyinegyun and Laputta in Yangon and Ayeyawaddy divisions.

Days after the cyclone hit Myanmar, international humanitarian aid has been pouring the country with aircraft carrying various relief materials from different countries and organizations landing at the airport one after another for Myanmar's homeless cyclone survivors.

Up to now, 27 countries or region, which sent in the aid supplies, include Thailand, China, the United States, Singapore, India, Russia, Italy, Bangladesh, Japan, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Ukraine, Greece, Pakistan, South Korea, Sweden and Australia.

International organizations, which provided Myanmar similar relief goods, comprise World Food Program (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Chinese Red Cross and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) among others.

Deadly tropical cyclone Nargis, which occurred over the Bay of Bengal, hit five divisions and states -- Ayeyawaddy, Yangon, Bago, Mon and Kayin -- on May 2 and 3, of which Ayeyawaddy and Yangon inflicted the heaviest casualties and massive infrastructural damage including religious buildings, schools, hospitals, vessels, animals, crops cultivation, forest and ration.

Hard-hit coastal towns in the southwestern Ayeyawaddy division include Haing Gyi Island, Laputta, Mawlamyinegyun, Bogalay, Phyarpon, Kyaiklat, Ngaputaw, and Dedaye, while worst-hit areas in Yangon division include Kungyangon, Thanlyin, Kyauktan, Twantay, Kawmu and the Yangon city.

According to an updated official death toll, as many as 77,738 people have been killed with 55,917 still missing, totaling 133,655 in the disaster. The number of the injured went up to 19,359.

UN chief, bringing 'message of hope,' tours Myanmar's cyclone-hit delta


U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon flew over the cyclone-ravaged landscape of Myanmar's heartland on Thursday, touching down to learn from officials' briefings and heart-to-heart chats with storm victims of the misery that he hopes more foreign assistance can alleviate.

Before his helicopter tour of the stricken area, Ban said he was bringing a "message of hope," to Myanmar's people. By the military government's count, some 78,000 people were killed by the May 2-3 Cyclone Nargis, and another 56,000 are unaccounted for.

The firsthand look at the devastation wrought by the storm left Ban shaken, even though the areas to which he was taken were far from the worst-hit.

"I'm very upset by what I've seen," Ban told reporters, after a walk through a makeshift relief camp where 500 people huddled in blue tents at Kyondah village in Dedaye township, about 75 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Yangon, Myanmar's largest city.

Myanmar's military regime have been keen to show it has the relief effort under control despite spurning the help of foreign disaster experts, and trotted out officials to give statistics-laden lectures to make their point.

But the U.N. says up to 2.5 million cyclone survivors face hunger, homelessness and potential outbreaks of deadly diseases, especially in the lower-lying areas of the Irrawaddy Delta close to the sea. It estimates that aid has reached only about 25 percent of them.

The places Ban visited, the Kyondah Relief Camp, and the town of Mawlamyinegyun, an aid distribution point, seemed orderly and well organized.

But the destruction in the areas around them was relatively mild compared to that further southwest in the townships of Labutta and Bogalay. Officials gave no explanation of why Ban was not taken to those areas, where the preponderance of dead and missing are reported.

The International Red Cross said rivers and ponds in Bogalay remain full of corpses, and that many people in remote areas had received no aid.

Kyondah _ which has electricity and clean water _ is somewhat of a showcase. The camp's inhabitants had cooking pots and blankets that appeared to be new. It was also selected for visits by senior junta members and representatives of foreign embassies and international aid organizations last week.

An idea of the storm's destructive force was more obvious from the air.

The two helicopters carrying Ban's party flew over seemingly endless fields that had been flooded, villages with destroyed houses, rivers swollen past their banks, people huddled on rooftops, in tent villages or taking to boats.

There was flooding as far as the eye could see, people still trying to make do in damaged homes that looked completely cut off.

So far, no one at the U.N. has ventured an estimate of how long the delta is expected to remain vastly submerged. But on Thursday, Ban said he expects the relief operations to be needed for at least six months more.

Much of the area is rice paddies _ but the level of water is way too high to grow rice and the paddies are inundated with salt water that also is damaging, U.N. officials said.

The monsoon, bringing seasonal rains, is part of the normal cycle, but they don't usually cause flooding in the delta, they said. Heavy rains followed the cyclone.

Ban expressed hope that the heavy rainfall since the cyclone _ though it is causing more flooding because the ground can't absorb it _ might also cleanse the rice paddies of the salt water.

"I praise the will, resilience and the courage of the people of Myanmar. I bring a message of hope for the people of Myanmar," he said before embarking on his carefully orchestrated four-hour tour. He is the only foreign leader so far allowed into the disaster zone.

Following Ban into the delta will be representatives invited from 29 nations, including Japan, Singapore and Thailand. The group, which includes government officials, aid officials and private-sector donors, will visit the region Friday.

Also Thursday, the first World Food Program helicopter was allowed to fly to Yangon to assist in relief operations to the delta. WFP officials in Bangkok confirmed 10 flights would be allowed beginning Thursday.

In a meeting earlier with Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, Ban stressed international aid experts should be rushed in because the crisis was too much for Myanmar to handle alone, according to a U.N. official at the talks.

"The United Nations and all the international community stand ready to help to overcome the tragedy," Ban said.

U.N. officials traveling with Ban said they were discussing with Chinese authorities whether Ban could tour the earthquake zone in Sichuan directly after leaving Myanmar. The officials requested anonymity, citing protocol.

The trip, which has not been finalized, would give Ban the chance to compare the two countries' responses and urge China _ Myanmar's biggest ally _ to put its weight behind opening the flow of aid workers.

Ban tried to keep political issues off his plate.

Activists called on Ban to meet with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and seek her release. The Nobel Peace prize laureate has been confined to her Yangon villa for most of the last 18 years and her current period of detention is due to expire Monday.

But such a meeting was not on Ban's official itinerary.

As Ban began his visit, foreign aid agencies stressed the need to quickly reach survivors suffering from disease, hunger and lack of shelter.

"In 30-plus years of humanitarian emergency work this is by far _ by far _ the largest case of emergency need we've ever seen," said Lionel Rosenblatt, president of U.S.-based Refugees International. "And yet, right offshore, right here in Thailand, we have the means to save these people."

In a meeting before Ban traveled to the delta, Thein Sein said the relief phase of the government's operation was ending and that the focus had shifted to reconstruction, according to the U.N. official at the talks who requested anonymity for reasons of protocol.

U.N. official Dan Baker said junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe would meet with Ban on Friday at Naypyitaw. Ban earlier said Than Shwe had refused to take his telephone calls and did not respond to two letters.

Yangon citizens did not seem optimistic that Ban's visit would make a difference.

"Don't just talk, you must take action," said Eain Daw Bar Tha, abbot of a Buddhist monastery on Yangon's outskirts. "The U.N. must directly help the people with helicopters to bring food, clothes and clean water to the really damaged places."


Canadian company to invest $4.2 billion to build casino and beach resort in Vietnam

A Canadian company is investing US$4.2 billion to build a casino and sprawling beach resort in southern Vietnam, the company and Vietnamese government said Thursday.


The Asian Coast Development Ltd., which has offices in Toronto and Vancouver, said its Ho Tram Strip project in the southern province Ba Ria Vung Tau _ 125 kilometers (78 miles) east of Ho Chi Minh City _ has been licensed by the Vietnamese government.

Plans call for the complex to consist of two luxurious hotels with 2,300 rooms, a casino and a golf course, scheduled to be completed in 2011 in the first phase of the project, ACDL said on its Web site.

The entire 169-hectare (420-acre) resort is planned to be operational in 10 years, it said.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who is visiting Vietnam, will attend Saturday's ground breaking ceremony, the Vietnamese government's Web site said.

Gambling is banned for Vietnamese, but the communist country allows foreigners to gamble at several casinos that have popped up around the country.



ASEAN chief pushes for transparency ahead of donors' conference for cyclone-wracked Myanmar

2008-05-23 00:04:33
The success of an upcoming conference soliciting aid for cyclone-hit Myanmar will depend on its government's transparency in assessing storm damage, the head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations said Thursday.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan urged Myanmar's military rulers to relax restrictions on foreign aid workers and present a coherent spending plan for money pledged at a May 25 conference in Yangon, the country's main city.

ASEAN is a regional political bloc comprising 10 countries, including Myanmar.

"The outpouring of goodwill depends very much on the facts, on the realities that are verifiable," Surin told reporters at a news conference in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

The "concern is we don't know the extent of the damage. We don't know the numbers of the dead, the number of the missing or the number of the displaced."

Unless those figures are independently verified ahead of the conference _ organized by ASEAN and the United Nations _ donors could prove reticent to open their pocketbooks, he warned.

Myanmar authorities have said at least 78,000 people died in Cyclone Nargis but have restricted foreign aid workers' access to the hardest hit area, the low-lying, heavily populated Irrawaddy Delta.

Some humanitarian groups have suggested the death toll from the May 2-3 storm could be much higher _ particularly because three-quarters of the estimated 2.5 million survivors are thought to have received no aid.

Under fire for shunning international assistance, Myanmar agreed earlier this week to open its doors to medical teams from ASEAN member countries. Each will send a 30-member team shortly, Surin said.

Myanmar's government has said the relief and rescue phase of the operation is over and that it's time to think about reconstruction. Surin said Myanmar has estimated losses from the storm at about US$11 billion (€7 billion).

Surin cast doubt on the figure.

"Eleven billion dollars. ... Based on what facts, what verifiable information and what accessibility?" Surin asked. "Without independent assessments, the government's figures are but a guesstimate."

Surin said he briefed Myanmar's prime minister, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, on ASEAN's expectations ahead of the conference during a meeting Wednesday.



U.N. Chief Sees Myanmar Devastation

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, center, visited a camp for cyclone survivors on Thursday in Kyondah village, Myanmar.
BANGKOK — The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, had a first-hand look Thursday at some of the damage caused by Myanmar’s cyclone as a limited program of international aid gained momentum.

Removing his shoes and socks as a sign of respect at Myamar’s holiest temple and with the country’s prime minister standing nearby, Mr. Ban called on the government to coordinate with international donors “so that the flow of aid and aid workers’ activities can be carried out in a more systematic way.”

The United Nations says that the Myanmar authorities are still barring foreign relief workers from the hardest hit areas, in the Irrawaddy delta, and that nearly three weeks after the May 3 cyclone, only about 25 percent of those in need have received aid.

But relief agencies in Bangkok said that they were finally breaking through a logjam created by Myanmar’s suspicious and inefficient government and that a small but steady flow of aid had begun.

“We are seeing positive indications that channels of relief into Myanmar are opening up,” said Steve Goudswaard, Cyclone Nargis response manager for the humanitarian agency World Vision.

The first of 10 helicopters from the United Nations World Food Program arrived Thursday under an agreement in advance of Mr. Ban’s visit, said Marcus Prior, a spokesman for the agency.

Relief flights into Myanmar have increased to about 10 a day, officials said; a distribution system is taking shape; trucks and barges have been contracted to carry supplies into the delta, and international relief workers are mostly receiving visas, although they are still barred from traveling outside the main city, Yangon.

"We are scaling up, but less quickly than we would have done if we didn’t have the same red tape restrictions," said Richard Horsey, a spokesman for the United Nations.

Though the increase in relief flights was a step forward, he said, an unfettered operation would involve "something like one flight every half hour."

"We are still not where we need to be, given that 2.4 million people are in need, in the latest United Nations numbers, of which 1.4 million are in urgent need of assistance," he said. "These are fairly big numbers we are talking about."

Cyclone Nargis, which struck in the early hours of May 3, killed 78,000 people, with another 56,000 missing, according to official government figures. According to the United Nations, the number of deaths may have exceeded 100,000.

On the first day of his visit Thursday, Mr. Ban met with Prime Minster Thein Sein as well as with international aid agencies, and he was scheduled Friday to meet the leader of the military junta, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, according to officials traveling with him.

His itinerary did not include a meeting with the pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years. Mr. Ban has emphasized the non-political nature of this visit and it appeared that he would be the first United Nations official in many years not to request a meeting with her.

Since the early 1990’s, the United Nations has sent a series of envoys to Myanmar to address the junta’s record of political and human rights abuses. One result has been a strained relationship between the generals and the United Nations.

On Sunday Mr. Ban was scheduled to attend a multinational donors’ conference in Yangon, to be coordinated by both the United Nations and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar.

.

Details of Mr. Ban’s visit were reported by international news agencies, which had been invited to travel with him. Myanmar has mostly been closed to foreign journalists although a small number have slipped into the country.

Myanmar’s foreign minister told Mr. Ban that the government had already completed the relief phase of the operation and was focusing now on reconstruction, according to a United Nations official who requested anonymity for reasons of protocol.

Critics of the junta have said this position is a ploy to extract reconstruction materials and machinery from donors although relief aid is still urgently needed.

The government has put the cost of the cyclone at $10 billion, although it is not clear how it arrived at this figure.

Brad Adams, Asia director for the group Human Rights Watch, said Mr. Ban should avoid the junta’s "time-tested trap of dangling petty concessions as a delaying tactic."

At the donors’ conference, Mr. Adams said, “The diplomats shouldn’t be talking about reconstruction when they still need to be talking getting access for emergency aid.”

Half a million people lost their homes in the cyclone, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Save the Children estimates that 30,000 children in the delta are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and will die by the first week of June unless they are rescued.

"With the fast-approaching monsoon season and the end of the planting season in 5 to 7 weeks, prompt action is necessary if further unnecessary suffering is to be avoided," the relief agency Oxfam said in a statement.

Rangoon - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived on Thursday to inspect areas devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which hit the Burmese coastal region 20 days ago, and to talk to the ruling junta about speeding up disaster relief for the people.

Ban was greeted at Rangoon airport by Foreign Minister Nyan Win and UN officials.


The UN secretary-general toured the tourist-friendly Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon before meeting with Prime Minister Thein Sein for one hour at the Sedona Hotel. Details of the meeting were not released.


In the afternoon Ban was scheduled to visit the Irrawaddy delta, the area hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis on May 2-3.


"It's most likely that he's going to the Irrawaddy delta but his itinerary is changing every minute," said Aye Win, spokesman for the UN Information Centre in Rangoon. It has been estimated that nearly 60 per cent of the Irrawaddy's infrastructure was destroyed or damaged by the storm.


The region is also Burma's traditional rice bowl, accounting for the lion's share of the annual rice crop which needs to planted in coming weeks.


At a press conference in Bangkok Wednesday, Ban said he was going to Burma "to see for myself the affected areas and to meet the people who are in need."


Almost three weeks after the cyclone hit Burma, an international disaster relief effort has only been able to reach about 25 per cent of the 2.5 million people affected by the storm, Ban noted.


According to government estimates the cyclone left at least 133,000 dead or missing, ranking it as the worst natural calamity in the reclusive country's history.


The disaster has also brought in to the world spotlight the military dictatorship which has lorded over its people for the past 46 years, earning the country pariah status among Western democracies and proving an embarrassment for even its closest Asian allies.


The State Peace and Developemnt Council (SPDC), as the junta styles itself, has drawn international criticism for failing to facilitate international aid for its own people in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, and for refusing to hand out more visas to foreign aid workers and allow those inside the country to work in the most affected areas such as the Irrawaddy delta.


On Friday, Ban is scheduled to head to the military's new capital of Naypyitaw, about 350 kilometres north of Rangoon, to hold talks with junta head Snr Gen Than Shwe.


The UN chief said his priority for the trip as to "expedite all arrangements for facilitating the free movement of international relief aid and workers."


He will return to Bangkok Friday night in order to hold talks on Saturday with Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and other Thai ministers.


Thailand has turned into the main logistical and organizational hub for the international relief effort currently underway.


While thanking the Thai authorities, Ban said on Wednesday that he wanted to set up forward logistical bases inside Burma as well, "in coordination with the government, to speed up the delivery of supplies and better coordinate our mutual assistance efforts."


The UN secretary-general will return to Rangoon on Sunday to preside over a UN-Asean pledging conference for Burma, for the country's short-term and long-term needs.


On Monday, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to act as a liaison between the international aid community and the junta. The grouping includes Brunei, Burma Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win has estimated losses to Cyclone Nargis at more than 10 billion dollars. (dpa)




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Earlier report:


"It is the worst natural disaster in the history of their country," said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the eve of a life-saving trip to Rangoon. "This is a crucial time." Finally, junta leader Snr Gen Than Shwe has at least answered his phone call.



Mr Ban said that he wants to "reinforce cooperation" with the military junta in scaling up disaster relief during his visit this week to the cyclone-devastated country.


"I hope we will be able to scale up the operation, specifically to expedite all arrangements in the aid effort," said Ban, who noted that 19 days after Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, 25 per cent of the affected people had received assistance.



Ban, who arrived Wednesday in Bangkok, was scheduled to fly on to Burma Thursday, when he planned to travel to the Irrawaddy Delta, the region hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis, which swept over the central Burmese coast on May 2-3, leaving at least 133,000 dead and missing and an estimated 2.5 million in need of food, water, shelter and medicine.



"It is the worst natural disaster in the history of their country," Ban said, adding, "This is a crucial time."



The UN chief was to meet with the military supremo, Snr Gen Than Shwe, on Friday in Naypyitaw, the country's capital, situated about 350 kilometres north of cyclone-smashed Rangoon, the former capital, UN humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes confirmed earlier Wednesday.



"I hope that he [Ban] will be able to continue the discussions that I was having, in particularly about greater cooperation between Burmese authorities and the international community," said Holmes, who met with Prime Minister Thein Sein Tuesday in Rangoon.



"That should be an important meeting," said Holmes, talking to journalists in Bangkok after he met Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama.



Over the past two weeks, Thailand has become a major logistical and information hub for an international effort to funnel disaster relief into the western neighbour.



Ban thanked Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej for offering Bangkok's old international airport, Don Mueang, as a logistical hub for the UN relief effort in Burma although he noted that he still wanted to set up a forward base inside Burma.



More than two weeks after the disaster, the international community is growing increasingly irate with the ruling regime's reluctance to open up its devastated country to a full-scale emergency relief programme, complete with a logistical pipeline run by foreign aid experts.



The junta has refused to waive visa requirements for aid workers and has not permitted those allowed in to work in the Irrawaddy Delta, where most of the cyclone victims reside, many of them in remote areas inaccessible except by boat and helicopter.



In a minor breakthrough, Burmese authorities on Tuesday permitted the Word Food Programme (WFP) to bring in 10 UN helicopters to use in emergency food distribution, but hiccups remained even here.



"We received approval on Tuesday, but we still have not been able to work out the specific agreement with the (Burmese) authorities for bringing in ground operation crews for the helicopters and where the helicopters will be used," said Paul Risley, a spokesman for the UN agency.



The first UN helicopter, an M18P based in Malaysia, would be sent to Rangoon Thursday, but the remaining nine are likely to face several days of delays as they are flown in from various locations, reassembled in Bangkok and delivered to Rangoon - and only after details on where and how the aircraft may be used are hashed out with military authorities.



"Obviously, from our point of view, the need for the helicopters is urgent," Risley said.



The WFP estimated that it has reached one-third of the 750,000 cyclone victims deemed desperately in need of food.



After meeting Than Shwe Friday, Ban plans to return to Bangkok for talks with donor nations and Samak Saturday before presiding over a UN-Asean conference Sunday designed to get pledges of more assistance for the Burma relief effort and to find ways to accelerate it.



Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Burma is a member) has proposed itself as an intermediary between the international aid community and the generals.



"We don't want to force Myanmar because we are Myanmar's friend, but we want them to see the necessity of having more foreign aid workers in their country because the destruction there has been huge," Noppadon said after meeting Holmes. Thailand officially uses the junta's name for Burma.



Holmes said it was still unclear how many donor countries intended to attend the meeting in Rangoon. (dpa)


Canadian cargo plane to deliver helicopters to Myanmar

ROME — Canada will lend its biggest military aircraft, the C-17 cargo lifter, to the World Food Program to deliver WFP helicopters to Myanmar, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier announced last night.

Mr. Bernier offered the plane after Myanmar said it will let the WFP bring 10 helicopters into the country to deliver emergency supplies to stranded cyclone victims. "Canada is there to help the people of Burma and we have a C-17 available," he said after a meeting in Rome with Franco Frattini, his Italian counterpart.

The plane will make at least one long-range flight to take two WFP helicopters from Ukraine to either Myanmar (formerly called Burma) or Thailand. "I hope the plane will be allowed to go into Burma, but it may land in Bangkok instead," Mr. Bernier said. "We'll do this flight as quickly as possible."
He had no other details about the mission. The arrangement was made earlier in the day, when Mr. Bernier met WFP executive director Josette Sheeran. The WFP, which is based in Rome, is the United Nations' food relief agency. Mr. Bernier asked what assistance was required and Ms. Sheeran said the agency needed cargo planes more than money to buy food. The helicopters don't have the range or the speed to get to Myanmar quickly.

Canada has four C-17s, known as Globemasters, with cavernous interiors. They can carry a payload of 77,500 kilograms and can fly 4,400 kilometres without refuelling.

Ottawa has donated $2-million to the relief effort, which has been stalled by the military government's reluctance to allow relief flights and convoys into Myanmar. While it has welcomed the WFP helicopters, it is not allowing U.S. naval ships to deliver aid.

The May 3 cyclone has left 78,000 Myanmarese dead and another 56,000 missing, according to the latest estimates. As many as 2½ million more are said to be vulnerable to disease and famine.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon heads to Myanmar today to try to persuade the ruling generals to allow more foreign assistance into the country.

He urged the junta yesterday to focus on saving lives, not on politics, after it said it would not allow delivery of aid from U.S. naval vessels waiting offshore.

Myanmar's top generals have always viewed relations with the world through a dark, political prism.

The isolationist regime is deeply suspicious of outsiders. And the junta is antagonistic toward the United Nations over its lead role in international pressures to restore democracy, seeing the world body as a stooge of the United States and other Western nations.

Mr. Ban hopes to put those suspicions on the shelf for now, arguing that he is not coming to attack the military regime, but only to address overwhelming humanitarian needs.

"We have a functioning relief program in place. But so far we have been able to reach only about 25 per cent of the people in need," Mr. Ban said. European Union legislators said yesterday the world should force aid on the military government.

"The Burmese authorities are responsible for a crime against humanity," Polish EU lawmaker Urszula Gacek said.

With reports from AP and Reuters