Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ေဒၚစုေနအိမ္ ခ်ီတက္ၾကေသာ လူငယ္မ်ားကို ဖမ္းဆီး


အဂၤါေန႔၊ ေမလ 27 2008 14:29 - ျမန္မာစံေတာ္ခ်ိန္
လူထုေခါင္းေဆာင္ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ ေနအိမ္သို႔ ခ်ီတက္ၾကေသာ NLD လူငယ္ ၁၅ ဦးကို အာဏာပိုင္မ်ားက လြန္ခဲ့သည့္ ၁ နာရီခန္႔က ဖမ္းဆီးေခၚေဆာင္သြားသည္ဟု အဖြဲ႔ခ်ဳပ္က ေျပာသည္။

အဖမ္းခံရသူမ်ားစာရင္း။

၁။ ထြန္းထြန္း၀င္း (စမ္းေက်ာင္းတာ၀န္ခံ - ၁)၊
၂။ ရန္ႏိုင္းထြန္း (ၾကည့္ျမင္တိုင္တာ၀န္ခံ - ၁)၊
၃။ ေက်ာ္မ်ဳိးႏိုင္ (တာေမြတာ၀န္ခံ - ၂)၊
၄။ ကိုထြန္း၀င္းသိန္း (မဂၤလာဒံ)၊ု
၅။ ကိုလွမ်ဳိးနိုင္ (မဂၤလာဒံု)၊
၆။ ဆရာေအာင္ေဖ (တြံ႔ေတး)၊
၇။ ထက္ထက္ဦးေ၀ (ေရႊျပည္သာ)၊
၈။ မ်ဳိးေက်ာ္ဇင္ (လိႈင္သာယာ)၊
၉။ သက္ႏိုင္ထြန္း (လွဳိင္သာယာ)၊
၁၀၊ ဆန္းႏိုင္ (လိွဳင္သာယာ)၊
၁၁။ ေက်ာ္ႏိုင္ (လိွဳင္သာယာ)၊
၁၂။ ျပည့္ျပည့္ (စမး္ေခ်ာင္း)၊
၁၃။ ထက္စိုးလင္း (ဒလတာ၀န္ခံ - ၁)၊
၁၄။ ေစာျပည့္ျဖိဳးေအာင္ (ဒလ)၊
၁၅။ ၀င္းျမင့္ေမာင္


လူငယ္မ်ားကိုို ကမၻာေအးဘုရားနားက ဘိုးဘြားရိပ္သာနားအေရာက္ အာဏာပိုင္မ်ားက ဒိုင္နာကားေပၚသို႔ အတင္းတက္ေစၿပီး ဖမ္းဆီးေခၚ ေဆာင္သြား ျခင္း ျဖစ္သည္ဟု သိရသည္။

ေနာက္ဆံုးအႀကိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္သက္တမ္း ၅ ႏွစ္ျပည့္ၿပီျဖစ္ေသာ လူထုေခါင္းေဆာင္ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္၏ ေနအိမ္သို႔ သြားေရာက္ၾကသည့္ NLD လူငယ္ႏွင့္ အရပ္သားျပည္သူမ်ားမွာ ၁ဝဝ ေက်ာ္ ရွိခဲ့သည္ဟု အဖြဲ႔ခ်ဳပ္လူငယ္တဦးက ေျပာသည္။

တကိုယ္ေတာ္ ဆႏၵျပသမား ဦးအုန္းသန္း ေထာင္တြင္း၌ က်န္းမာေရး စိုးရိမ္ဖြယ္ရာရွိ




ေမာင္ဒီး
အဂၤါေန႔၊ ေမလ 27 2008 19:10 - ျမန္မာစံေတာ္ခ်ိန္

နယူးေဒလီ။ ။ တသက္တကၽြန္း က်ခံေနရသူ တကုိယ္ေတာ္ ဆႏၵျပသမား ဦးအုန္းသန္းသည္ စစ္ကိုင္းတုိင္း ခႏၱီးေထာင္တြင္ တိုက္ပိတ္ခံရစဥ္ ဦးေႏွာက္တြင္း ငွက္ဖ်ားပိုး ဝင္ေရာက္သျဖင့္ က်န္းမာေရး အေျခအေန ဆိုးရြားေနသည္ဟု ႏိုင္ငံေရးသမားမ်ား၏ သတင္းရပ္ကြက္အရ သိရသည္။

ဦးအုန္းသန္းသည္ ကုန္ေစ်းႏႈန္း က်ဆင္းေရး၊ ျပည္သူကိုယ္စားျပဳ အစိုးရ ထူေထာင္ေရး၊ အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ ဖယ္ရွားေရး စသည့္ ေဆာင္ပုဒ္မ်ားျဖင့္ ရန္ကုန္ၿမ့ဳိရွိ အေမရိကန္သံ႐ံုး၊ ကုလသမဂၢ ႐ံုးမ်ားႏွင့္ လူစည္ကားရာ ေစ်းမ်ားတြင္ တကိုယ္ေတာ္ ဆႏၵျပခဲ့သူ ျဖစ္သည္။

“ခႏၱီးဘက္က သတင္းစကား ဝင္လာတယ္။ ဦးအုန္းသန္း တိုက္ပိတ္ ခံထားရတယ္။ ငွက္ဖ်ားပိုး ဦးေႏွာက္ထဲ ေရာက္ေနတယ္။ က်န္းမာေရး အေျခအေန ေတာ္ေတာ္ဆိုးတယ္။ အျမန္ လိုက္လာပါဆိုၿပီး မိသားစုကို အေၾကာင္းၾကားလာတယ္” ဟု ေရွ့ေနႀကီး ဦးေအာင္သိန္းက ေျပာသည္။

ဦးအုန္းသန္းကို ရန္ကုန္တိုင္း အေနာက္ပိုင္းခ႐ိုင္ တရား႐ံုးက ဧၿပီလ ၂ ရက္ေန႔တြင္ အစိုးရကို အၾကည္ညိဳ ပ်က္ေစမႈ ပုဒ္မ ၁၂၄ (က) ျဖင့္ ေထာင္ဒဏ္ တသက္တကၽြန္း ျပစ္ဒဏ္ခ်ခဲ့ၿပီး တလခန္႔အၾကာတြင္ မႏၱေလးေထာင္သို႔ ေရႊ႕ေျပာင္းခဲ့သည္။

သူသည္ မႏၱေလးေထာင္တြင္လည္း ေထာင္တြင္း အစာငတ္ခံ ဆႏၵျပမႈေၾကာင့္ စစ္ကိုင္းတိုင္း ခႏၱီးၿမ့ဳိရွိ ခႏၱီးေထာင္သို႔ ယခုလဆန္းပိုင္းက ေျပာင္းေရႊ႕ကာ တိုက္ပိတ္ထားျခင္း ျဖစ္သည္။

“ရန္ကုန္ကေန မႏၱေလးကို ေျပာင္းသြားတယ္။ အခု ခႏၱီးေထာင္ကို ျပန္ေရာက္ေနတယ္။ မိသားစုေတြ သြားမေတြ႔ႏုိင္ေအာင္၊ သြားေတြ႔ရတာ ခက္ခဲေအာင္ လုပ္ေပးလိုက္တာေပါ့။ ခုထိ သူ႔မိသားစုေတြက သြားမေတြ႔ႏုိင္ေသးဘူး” ဟု ဦးေအာင္သိန္းက ေျပာသည္။

စစ္အစိုးရက ေဒၚစု၏ ေနအိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္ သက္တမ္းတိုးျပန္




မုံပီး
အဂၤါေန႔၊ ေမလ 27 2008 23:26 - ျမန္မာစံေတာ္ခ်ိန္

နယူးေဒလီ။ ။ ႏိုင္ငံတကာ အသိုင္းအဝိုင္း ႏွင့္ တိုင္းသူျပည္သားမ်ားက ဒီမိုကေရစီ ေခါင္းေဆာင္ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ကို လႊတ္ေပးရန္ ေတာင္းဆိုမႈမ်ား ရွိေနေသာ္လည္း ျမန္မာစစ္အစိုးရက သူမ၏ ေနအိမ္အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္ သက္တမ္းကို ထပ္မံ တိုးျမွင့္လိုက္ေၾကာင္း အစိုးရ သတင္းရပ္ကြက္ တခုအရ သိရသည္။

အစိုးရ အရာရိွမ်ားက ရန္ကုန္ျမိဳ့ တကၠသိုလ္ရိပ္သာလမ္းရွိ အတိုက္အခံ ေခါင္းေဆာင္၏ ေနအိမ္ကို သြားေရာက္ျပီး ေနအိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္ သက္တမ္းတိုးျမွင့္သည့္ အမိန္႔စာကို ဖတ္ျပခဲ့သည္ဟု သတင္းရပ္ကြက္က ေျပာသည္။ သို႔ေသာ္ သီးျခား အတည္ျပဳခ်က္ ရယူနိုင္ျခင္း မရွိခဲ့ပါ။

ထပ္မံ တိုးျမွင့္လိုက္ေသာ သက္တမ္းသည္ ၆ လျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း သတင္းရပ္ကြက္က ေျပာသည္။ သို႔ေပမယ့္လည္း အျခားေသာ သတင္းဌာန အခ်ဳိ႔က တႏွစ္သက္တမ္းတိုးျခင္း ျဖစ္သည္ဟု ေဖာ္ျပၾကသည္။

ယေန႔သည္ ေဒၚစု၏ ပါတီျဖစ္ေသာ အမ်ဳိးသား ဒီမိုကေရစီ အဖြဲ႔ခ်ဳပ္၏ မဲအျပတ္အသတ္ အႏိုင္ရခဲ့သည့္ ၁၉၉၀ ခုႏွစ္ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲ က်င္းပရာ ၁၈ ႏွစ္ေျမာက္ ႏွစ္ပတ္လည္ေန႔လည္း ျဖစ္ျပန္သည္။

ဒီခ်ဳပ္ အဖြဲ႔ေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ားက ေဒၚစု၏ ေနအိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္ သက္တမ္း တိုးျမွင့္ျခင္းအေပၚ ၾကားသိရျခင္း မရွိေသးပါ။ ပါတီ ေျပာေရးဆိုခြင့္ရွိသူ ဦးဥာဏ္ဝင္းက သက္တမ္းတိုးသည့္ သတင္းသာ မွန္ကန္လၽွင္ စစ္အစိုးရသည္ ဥပေဒကို ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္လိုက္ျပန္ျပီဟု ျပစ္တင္ ရႈတ္ခ်လိုက္သည္။

"လုပ္ခ်င္ရာလုပ္တာ ဥပေဒမွာ မရွိပါဘူး။ သူတို႔ လုပ္ခ်င္တိုင္း ေလွ်ာက္လုပ္မယ္ဆိုရင္ ဒါဟာ ဥပေဒမရွိတာပဲ။ မင္းမဲ့စရိုက္ ပါပဲ။" ဟု ဦးဥာဏ္ဝင္းက မဇၩိမသို႔ ေျပာသည္။

သူက ဥပေဒကို ႏိုင္ငံသားတိုင္း လုိက္နာသင့္ေၾကာင္းႏွင့္ စစ္အစိုးရ အေနျဖင့္ သူတို႔ ဖန္တီးခဲ့သည့္ ဥပေဒကိုပင္ ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္ျခင္း ျဖစ္သည္ဟု ေျပာသည္။

ကမၻာတဝွမ္း ယံုၾကည္ခ်က္ေၾကာင့္ အက်ဥ္းက်ခံေနရေသာ ႏိုင္ငံေရး အက်ဥ္းသားမ်ားအတြက္ ရပ္တည္ ကူညီေပးေနသည့္ အေမရိကန္ အေျခစိုက္ Freedom Now အဖြဲ႔က ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ကို ေနအိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္ သက္တမ္း တိုးျမွင့္လိုက္ျခင္းသည္ ႏိုင္ငံတကာ ဥပေဒကိုပါ ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္ျခင္း ျဖစ္သည္ဟု ေျပာဆိုလိုက္သည္။

"အံၾသစရာေတာ့ မရွိပါဘူး။ အခုဟာက ကိုယ္ပိုင္ ျပဌာန္းထားတဲ့ ဥပေဒကိုေရာ ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္လိုက္တာ ျဖစ္တယ္" ဟု အဖြဲ႔၏ ဥကၠဌလည္းျဖစ္၊ ေဒၚစု၏ ေရွ့ေနလည္းျဖစ္သူ ဂ်ရတ္ကင္ဆာက ေျပာၾကားလိုက္သည္။

ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ ဥပေဒအရ "ႏုိင္ငံေတာ္ ေႏွာက္ယွက္ ဖ်က္ဆီးလိုသူမ်ားမွ ကာကြယ္ေရး ဥပေဒ" ျဖင့္ လူတေယာက္ကို အျမင့္ဆံုး ငါးႏွစ္အထိ တႏွစ္တခါ သက္တမ္းတိုးကာ ထိန္းသိမ္းထားႏိုင္သည္။

ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္သည္ ေမ ၂၄ ရက္၊ ၂၀၀၈ ခုႏွစ္တြင္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္သက္တမ္း ငါးႏွစ္ျပည့္ျပီး ျဖစ္သည္ဟု သူမ၏ အတုိင္ပင္ခံ ေရွ့ေန ကင္ဆာက အေျပာအရ သိရသည္။ ေဒၚစုသည္ လြန္ခဲ့သည့္ ၁၈ ႏွစ္အတြင္း ေနအိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္အားျဖင့္ စုစုေပါင္း ၁၂ ႏွစ္ေက်ာ္ ေနခဲ့ရၿပီး ျဖစ္သည္။

ယေန႔ အေစာပိုင္းက ေဒၚစုေနအိ္မ္သို႔ ခ်ီတက္သြားၾကေသာ ဒီခ်ဳပ္မွ လူငယ္ ၂၀ ခန္႔ကို ရဲမ်ားက ဖမ္းဆီးသြားခဲ့သည္။ မခံမရပ္နိုင္ ျဖစ္ေနၾကေသာ လူငယ္မ်ားက ေဒၚစုကို လႊတ္ေပးရန္ ေႂကြးေက်ာ္သံမ်ားတိုင္ ဆိုင္းဘုတ္မ်ား ကိုင္ေဆာင္ကာ ရဲဝ့ံစြာျဖင့္ ခ်ီတက္ခဲ့သည္။

Progress for Aid Workers in Myanmar


BANGKOK — Foreign aid workers have begun reaching remote areas of Myanmar hardest hit by the May 3 cyclone, relief agencies said Tuesday, after a promise the junta made to the United Nations last week to open the country’s doors. But the numbers reaching the remote areas — apparently fewer than 20 — are still small, the permissions uneven and the procedures still uncertain. The admissions represents a significant opening by the country’s military rulers, which for three weeks have delayed delivery of supplies to more than a million people in the remote and hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta. As many as 135,000 people are dead or missing, and the United Nations estimates that 1.5 million survivors have not yet received any aid.

The concessions followed an agreement announced on Friday by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, after a meeting in Myanmar with the leader of the junta, Senior Gen. Than Shwe. On Sunday, at an aid conference in Myanmar, international donors offered tens of millions of dollars in relief, but most made the aid contingent on access for foreign staff members into remote areas.

“The initial indications are that international staff are able to get out and things are looking quite positive,” said Richard Horsey, a spokesman for the United Nations disaster relief office in Bangkok. “But before celebrating victory, we should keep an eye on it.”

Among aid workers reaching the delta region were teams from United Nations World Food Program, Unicef and Doctors Without Borders. The medical aid group said its teams had reached remote delta areas where people had not eaten for three days. “Thousands of people have not seen any aid workers and still have not received any assistance,” the agency said.

Paul Risley, a spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program in Bangkok, said four international staff members had traveled in the delta beginning on Saturday. By Tuesday, he said, seven additional visas had been issued, and the delivery of aid had accelerated, with chartered boats and barges and a fleet of trucks loaded with rice, high-energy biscuits and ready-to-eat food.

In addition, he said, the government has given the food program permission to deploy 10 helicopters, of which one had arrived in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, and the others were being brought in transport planes from South Africa, Uganda and Ukraine.

News of the admissions came as the military government extended the year-to-year house arrest of the charismatic pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 62, has been confined for 12 of the last 18 years and the extensions of her term have become routine.

While opening its door to international donors, the military government has refused permission to United States, French and British warships loaded with supplies just outside its territorial waters. In denying entry, the government has said it fears that any such aid from Western powers would have “strings attached.” However, it has allowed more than 60 United States Air Force flights to bring supplies to the Yangon airport.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, which persuaded Myanmar’s junta to allow it to coordinate the relief effort with the United Nations, was cautious about the speed of progress. “We are not naïve enough to believe that a policy guideline given at the top will be translated into practice at all levels going into the delta,” said Surin Pitsuwan, Asean’s general secretary, at a news conference. “We are prying open. Step by step.”

Michael Bociurkiw , a spokesman for Unicef, said that his agency had received permission for six of its foreign staff members to travel into the countryside and that they departed on Monday. “We see this as an opening window, and we’d like to get more names into the pipeline to go out there,” he said. The first step is to do a rapid assessment of the needs in areas that have not yet been reached, he said. The priorities now for his agency are water, sanitation and child protection, particularly for separated and unaccompanied children, he said.

With an estimated 30 percent of children in the delta area already malnourished, aid workers fear that they are particularly susceptible to diseases like cholera that are spread by contaminated water. Monsoon season is approaching, Mr. Bociurkiw said, and aid workers fear a second wave of deaths from epidemics and untreated ailments.

“It’s really a race against time,” he said.

Seth Mydans reported from Bangkok and Alan Cowell from Paris.


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest extended




Burma's military government say the detention of the pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has once again been extended.

She was informed of the decision by military officials who visited the house where she's held in Rangoon.

A NLD's lawyer U Aung Thein told BBC Burmese that the reason and charge of the extension has yet to be known.

Earlier the authorities arrested about eighteen Burmese activists tryng to march to her house.

The protestors -- who were members of NLD -- were bundled into the back of a truck.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 12 of the past 18 years in detention.

The Indonesian foreign minister, Hasan Wirayuda, has called for her release, saying it would be a good way of thanking the international community for its generosity following Cyclone Nargis.

Meanwhile, NLD, which won the 1990 general election overwhelmingly only to be denied power by the army, marked the 18th anniversary of the victory with a ceremony at the headquarters in Rangoon.

BANGKOK — Almost lost in the clamor over Myanmar’s devastating cyclone, the house arrest of the charismatic pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, reaches a deadline for its annual renewal on Tuesday.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 62, has been detained at home on and off for 12 of the last 18 years and the year-to-year extension of her term has become routine. Most analysts expect the detention to be extended again this year.

In the aftermath of the cyclone, with many countries struggling to persuade the military junta that rules the country to allow in foreign aid and aid workers, the anticipated extension has drawn little international criticism.

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who recently met with top Myanmar officials and led a meeting of 52 donor nations on Sunday in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city, said he had not raised the issue of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention with the government because broader humanitarian conditions following the cyclone were more pressing.

“We must think about people just now, not politics,” he told reporters on Sunday.

The cyclone, which struck May 3, left 135,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million survivors in need of immediate assistance.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s current term of detention began in May 2003 after she and a traveling motorcade were attacked by government-sponsored thugs in what some analysts believed was an assassination attempt.

By some counts, more than 70 people were killed during the attack. Detentions of up to five years without trial are legal under Myanmar’s state protection law, according to Jared M. Genser, a lawyer who works on Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s case for Freedom Now, an American nonprofit organization that seeks to free political prisoners.

Mr. Genser said that by his analysis, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention actually expired on Sunday.

The military junta generally acts within the boundaries of its own laws or seeks legal justifications for its repressive actions. Since her first arrest, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detentions have been justified on a variety of legal grounds.

Almost from the time of her first detention, in 1989, the question of her freedom has been at the top of the agenda of the United Nations in its dealings with Myanmar.

Over the years, the United Nations has sent a series of envoys to Myanmar to address the detention along with the junta’s other abuses of human rights and political freedom.

Most of the envoys began their contacts with the junta with optimism about achieving results and some spoke of impending “breakthroughs.” But all ended their missions in disappointment.

The latest of the United Nations envoys was Ibrahim Gambari, who made a series of visits to Myanmar to convey the world’s outrage after a crackdown last September by the government on peaceful demonstrations led by monks. At least 31 people — and possibly many more — were killed during the crackdown.

Like most of his predecessors, Mr. Gambari was upbeat after meeting the generals, but came away in the end empty-handed and was not included in the United Nations delegation to Myanmar last week that was led by Mr. Ban.

Among other things, the junta promised Mr. Gambari that it would open a dialogue with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, and appointed a minister to be her contact with the government.

But after initial, highly publicized meetings, contacts with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi stopped.

Senior Burmese monks met Canadian ministers and senior officials


Ottawa (May 27, 2008) - The two Senior Burmese monks, Venerable U Pannavamsa, and Venerable Ashin Kawwida, met Canadian government officials including two Canadian ministers and Members of Parliament in Ottawa yesterday, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) hosting a high level of discussion with the delegates.

The Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB), along with Burma Cyclone Relief Committee and Burmese Buddhist Association of Ontario, thank the Government of Canada for its hospitality, courtesy and hosting a series of meetings with the two monks. They also expressed an appreciation to the government’s decision for the extension of cyclone fund matching mechanism. The retrospective announcement made yesterday by Hon. Beverley Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, rolling the date back to May 3 (from May 15) and stretching up to June 13 (from June 6), will add million of dollars more for relief efforts in Burma. This fund to be matched by the government based on individual donations will be poured into “Burma Cyclone Relief Fund” that will be made available for aid organizations working in Burma.

The urgency of relief efforts in Burma was the focal point of all discussions yesterday; however, an issue pertinent to another looming humanitarian crisis on Thai-Burma border was also raised in all meetings, given the fact that a double increase of food prices, especially rice, is making life difficult for 140,000 refugees, and that the major relief organization that is providing food and shelter in nine refugee camps along Thai-Burma border is reported to be facing a disruption of its operation unless international assistance are immediately obtained.

The two monks, accompanied by representatives of Canadian Friends of Burma, were first met by parliamentarians who are members of Parliamentary Friends of Burma (PFOB). Thereafter, meetings with Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier and with Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney followed. A meeting hosted by acting Director General Jim Nickel from Foreign Affairs Canada also took place with a number of officials from Foreign Affairs Canada and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Canadian women asked to send panties to Myanmar embassy to protest regime





May 27, 2008 01:10

MONTREAL - Canadian women are being asked to send their panties to the Myanmar embassy in Ottawa to protest the actions of the country's military regime.

The call for the underwear is part of the Panties for Peace! campaign, launched by rights activists in Montreal.

Activists say the campaign is meant to send a message to Myanmar's authoritarian leaders, who reportedly fear contact with women's underwear will sap their power.

The regime has violently suppressed democratic uprisings in the past and has come under fire recently for limiting aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis.

The Canadian edition of the Panties for Peace! campaign is being co-ordinated by Rights and Democracy and the Quebec Women's Federation.

They hope to use the campaign to also raise funds for the estimated 2.4 million cyclone survivors.

Backlog burden



Controversial plan won’t cut immigration wait times: Experts
TORSTAR NEWS SERVICES
May 25, 2008 10:44

Ahmed Ramahi first applied to come to Canada as a skilled worker in late 2001. At the time, he was 28, single, and had just finished his MBA at Sam Houston State University in Texas.


Today, the Jordanian-born mechanical engineer is 35, a married father of a two-year-old boy — and still waiting.


It is Ramahi’s story, along with the nearly million other cases caught in this country’s huge backlog, that has prompted what Immigration Minister Diane Finley called “urgent action” to modernize a dysfunctional immigration system. The government’s proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are to be voted on in the coming weeks.


No one disputes the long waits are unacceptable. But a growing number of immigration experts and community groups say Finley’s proposal will not reduce the backlog and will, in fact, lengthen the wait because the amendments only apply to new applications filed after Feb. 26.


The government has embedded the controversial changes in the 2008 budget bill, turning the immigration plan into a confidence vote — a move the Liberal Opposition was ill-prepared for.


The proposal has created a furor among its critics, who argue the current act already gives the minister power to reduce the backlog by altering the point system and giving priority to different types of applications, without compromising parliamentary oversight.


“With the blank-cheque power, decisions could be made in secret or not made at all, and rules could change retroactively. There would be no limit on the discretionary power granted to bureaucrats,” said immigration lawyer Richard Kurland.


A large contributing factor to the backlog is Canada’s popular open-door policy that literally allows anyone who can chalk up at least 67 points on its point-selection system to put an application in the pile.


Immigration experts say if it wants to get serious about the backlog, the government must do two things: Inject additional resources and vastly expand the yearly targets to let more people in.


Canadian immigration lawyer Tim Leahy said Canada could also “paper-screen” skilled worker applicants and, for those who meet the minimum criteria, issue open work permits that would allow them to finish the process inside Canada.


To avoid a future backlog, Immigration Canada could control intake by raising the pass mark prospectively.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Resigns


TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's embattled foreign minister resigned after leaving classified documents at a private residence, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Monday, calling it ''a serious error.''

Harper said that he accepted the resignation of Maxime Bernier, who came under fire in recent weeks amid reports that a former girlfriend had previous relationships with men linked to the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang.

''Mr. Bernier has learned and informed me that he left classified documents in a nonsecure location. This is a serious error,'' Harper said.

Harper said that Bernier's controversial relationship with the woman was not a factor in the resignation.

But it was announced as Bernier's former girlfriend, Julie Couillard, was preparing to go on a French-language television station to say that Bernier had been careless with classified documents.

''It's only this error. It's a very serious mistake for any minister. We must always accept responsibilities for the documents that are classified. The minister has immediately acknowledged the gravity of this mistake,'' Harper said.

The documents were left at a private residence, Harper said in a statement. He did describe the documents, say if they were shared with others or provide other details.

Bernier wrote in a letter of resignation that he became aware Sunday night that he had left behind classified documents at a private residence. He wrote that he asked for a thorough review of the situation.

''Prime Minister, the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions,'' Bernier wrote.

In her interview, Couillard said Bernier left a document at her home, which she declined to describe.

''Maxime came to see me and he left a document behind,'' she said, adding it was returned to the government.

Couillard insisted she was doing the interview to re-establish her dignity and credibility after intense media scrutiny.

The former model said she told Bernier about her involvement with Quebec motorcycle gangs. ''Maxime knew about it,'' she said.

Harper said David Emerson, the international trade minister, will take over as interim foreign minister.

Just hours before Bernier quit, Harper had dismissed the whole affair.

''I have no intention to comment on a minister's former girlfriend,'' Harper said earlier in the day. ''I don't take this subject seriously.''

Opposition Liberal Member of Parliament Ralph Goodale said the prime minister has a lot of explaining to do because he had dismissed the story for weeks.

Bernier has come under fire for a variety of gaffes, including promising aid for Myanmar on a plane that was not available.

Bernier first drew the attention of Canadians when he appeared at his swearing in ceremony last August with the provocatively dressed Couillard on his arm.


Burmese Police Seize Suu Kyi Backers


BANGKOK — Authorities in Myanmar were reported to have seized supporters of the pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday hours before a deadline for the annual extension of her house arrest.
Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 62, has been confined at home for 12 of the last 18 years. The renewal of the detention has become virtually routine but her supporters still press for her freedom.

About twenty members of her National League for Democracy were surrounded by riot police and driven away in a truck as they marched Tuesday from the party’s headquarters to her home, The Associated Press reported.

Police had earlier thrown up a barricade made of wood and barbed wire to block the march and a Reuters reporter saw at least six police trucks, a prison van and a fire engine parked near the headquarters of the National League for Democracy.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s plight has been overshadowed by the cyclone that hit Myanmar more than three weeks ago. International attention has been focused on the military junta’s reluctance to give foreign relief workers unfettered access to survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which left 135,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million survivors in need of immediate assistance.

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who met with top Burmese officials and chaired a donor conference last Sunday, was the first of a long series of United Nations emissaries not to raise the question of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s detention in meetings with the military junta.

Asked about this omission at a press conference, he said, “We must think about people just now, not politics.”

According to Myamnar’s State Protection Law, anyone who is deemed “a threat to the sovereignty and security of the State and the peace of the people” may be detained for up to a maximum of five years without trial, according to Jared Genser, an American lawyer who is an expert on the case.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s current term of detention began in May 2003 after she and a traveling motorcade were attacked in what some analysts believe was an assassination attempt on her. By some counts, more than 70 people were killed.

Many analysts expect her detention to be extended. But some legal specialists believe that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention has reached a statutory limit and the military junta will be breaking its own laws if it continues to hold her.

Within its repressive system, the military junta generally acts within the boundaries of its own laws or seeks legal justifications for its actions. Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detentions have been justified on a variety of legal grounds.

Almost from the time of her first detention, in 1989, the question of her freedom has been at the top of the agenda of the United Nations in its dealings with Myanmar.

Over the years, the United Nations has designated a series of envoys to Myanmar to address the detention along with the junta’s abuses of human rights and political freedom.

Most of the envoys began their contacts with the junta with optimism and some spoke of impending “breakthroughs.” All ended their missions in disappointment.

The latest of these was Ibrahim Gambari, who made a series of visits to Myanmar to convey the world’s outrage after a crackdown last September on peaceful demonstrations led by monks. At least 31 people were killed.

Like his predecessors, Mr. Gambari was upbeat after meeting the generals, but came away empty-handed and was not included in the United Nations delegation to Myanmar last week.

Among other things, the junta had promised Mr. Gambari that it would open a dialogue with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi and appointed a government minister to be her contact.

After initial, highly publicized meetings, the contacts with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi stopped.

Seth Mydans reported from Bangkok and Alan Cowell from Paris.


Myanmar Detention Overshadowed


BANGKOK — Almost lost in the clamor over Myanmar’s devastating cyclone, the house arrest of the charismatic pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, reaches a deadline for its annual renewal on Tuesday.
Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 62, has been detained at home on and off for 12 of the last 18 years and the year-to-year extension of her term has become routine. Most analysts expect the detention to be extended again this year.

In the aftermath of the cyclone, with many countries struggling to persuade the military junta that rules the country to allow in foreign aid and aid workers, the anticipated extension has drawn little international criticism.

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who recently met with top Myanmar officials and led a meeting of 52 donor nations on Sunday in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city, said he had not raised the issue of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention with the government because broader humanitarian conditions following the cyclone were more pressing.

“We must think about people just now, not politics,” he told reporters on Sunday.

The cyclone, which struck May 3, left 135,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million survivors in need of immediate assistance.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s current term of detention began in May 2003 after she and a traveling motorcade were attacked by government-sponsored thugs in what some analysts believed was an assassination attempt.

By some counts, more than 70 people were killed during the attack. Detentions of up to five years without trial are legal under Myanmar’s state protection law, according to Jared M. Genser, a lawyer who works on Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s case for Freedom Now, an American nonprofit organization that seeks to free political prisoners.

Mr. Genser said that by his analysis, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention actually expired on Sunday.

The military junta generally acts within the boundaries of its own laws or seeks legal justifications for its repressive actions. Since her first arrest, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s detentions have been justified on a variety of legal grounds.

Almost from the time of her first detention, in 1989, the question of her freedom has been at the top of the agenda of the United Nations in its dealings with Myanmar.

Over the years, the United Nations has sent a series of envoys to Myanmar to address the detention along with the junta’s other abuses of human rights and political freedom.

Most of the envoys began their contacts with the junta with optimism about achieving results and some spoke of impending “breakthroughs.” But all ended their missions in disappointment.

The latest of the United Nations envoys was Ibrahim Gambari, who made a series of visits to Myanmar to convey the world’s outrage after a crackdown last September by the government on peaceful demonstrations led by monks. At least 31 people — and possibly many more — were killed during the crackdown.

Like most of his predecessors, Mr. Gambari was upbeat after meeting the generals, but came away in the end empty-handed and was not included in the United Nations delegation to Myanmar last week that was led by Mr. Ban.

Among other things, the junta promised Mr. Gambari that it would open a dialogue with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, and appointed a minister to be her contact with the government.

But after initial, highly publicized meetings, contacts with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi stopped.

Seth Mydans reported from Bangkok and Alan Cowell from Paris.



In Myanmar, Loss, Grief and, for Some, Resignation


A family in Pyapon, in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta, on Monday. Few delta residents have received aid since the May 3 cyclone.
Daw Then Khin and her granddaughter Mah Myint Myint Kyi, describing on Saturday the loss of loved ones in the cyclone.


THAT KYAR, Myanmar — One of Daw Then Khin’s grandsons has gone insane. He wanders day and night through the fields looking for his wife and son, both swept away by the furious floodwaters that came with the cyclone. For two days, a granddaughter, 14-year-old Mah Myint Myint Kyi, could not speak. All her immediate family died: Her parents and her 7-year-old twin brothers.

The eldest granddaughter of Mrs. Then Khin, Daw Thit Khine, 31, who lost her husband and both her children, is haunted by the memory of her 2-year-old daughter. The child, Thwe Tar, clung to her mother’s neck until the storm snatched her.

In all, Mrs. Then Khin, 70, said, she lost 15 members of her family on May 3 when Cyclone Nargis swept through this village in an isolated and hard-hit part of the Irrawaddy Delta.

Her losses and those of this village have been bad enough. No better has been the mere effort to survive. On a weekend when a French ship full of relief supplies was turned away by Myanmar’s military dictatorship, no aid from international agencies had reached here.

Very little had come from the government itself, which claims it needs no help to feed and heal, only billions of dollars to reconstruct.

“I don’t expect anything from the government — I never have, and I don’t now,” Mrs. Then Khin said. “I heard on the radio about foreign help on its way, but I haven’t seen any in the past 20 days. It’s the same as before, nothing changed.”

As this remote area struggles to cope in the storm’s aftermath, the only government help Mrs. Then Khin has received was a small packet of rice, which she won by the luck of the draw.

The village authorities came only once, with some rice, blankets and other relief from the central government. The supplies were distributed by lottery, because there was so little. And the rice packet was not enough for even one meal for the 20 surviving family members who now crowd her hut.

The village of That Kyar, whose name means “Friday,” lies near the mouth of the Pyapon River, downstream from Pyapon, a major delta trading town about 60 miles southwest of Myanmar’s principal city, Yangon.

A motorboat that left Pyapon carrying several visitors to That Kyar reached the village after more than two hours on the river, navigating around capsized ships and broken jetties.

Upon reaching a point in the river where the sea air finally smelled of salt and where gulls could be seen, the boat moved into a tributary and chugged upstream for another 40 minutes. Once a picturesque hamlet lined with coconut trees, That Kyar is now a heap of rotting debris.

Unlike the cyclone victims who live near roads and receive help from private donors bringing supplies from the bigger cities, the people in villages like That Kyar have mostly been left to fend for themselves.

Three weeks after the cyclone came and went, the United Nations said that aid had reached less than one-fourth of the two million survivors in the areas of the delta that were hit the hardest hit. The cyclone left at least 134,000 people dead or missing.

In what many observers hope will be a breakthrough, Myanmar’s ruling generals told the United Nations last week that they will allow workers of all nationalities to go into the devastated areas to assess the damage. So far, virtually all foreign aid workers have been banned from the delta.

Many people there did not even know that last Saturday was the day they were supposed to vote on a new Constitution, a document designed to prolong the junta’s grip on power.

In That Kyar, a village of 300 families, a thin blue tent donated by the Russian government was the only obvious sign of foreign help.

With aid or without it, life was trying to return to normal. Along the tributaries, men were busy putting up bamboo frames for new huts. When a boat docked at one jetty, villagers rushed out to help the visitors ashore. Elderly men invited them for tea, while women tried to sell them eggs.

A few residents were relatively lucky.

The family of U Tin Swe, 69, had lost no one to the cyclone; a son paralyzed by a childhood illness survived by hanging onto a tree. But looking over a pile of contaminated seed rice rotting in the sun, Mr. Tin Swe wondered how he was going to regenerate his damaged field and replace the paddleboat, two water buffaloes and seeds he had lost, especially since prices for everything have soared since the storm.“This year’s harvest is gone,” he said.

In another delta village, Naut Pyan Toe, as the evening sun dipped behind the coconut trees, Mah Htat Ei Linn, 16, and her friends were out on the jetty, bathing.

They scooped water from the river and poured it over their hair. They gargled with the same dark brown water in which so many of their friends and neighbors had perished.

“I am still looking for the bodies of my grandmother and 8-year-old brother,” Ms. Htat Ei Linn said, matter-of-factly, as she brushed her hair.

For most delta villagers, recovering the bodies of lost relatives in the stormy and sweltering weather had at first been an urgent task. Urgent, but largely futile. So far, the grandmother Mrs. Then Khin said, she has found only two.

In the Burmese belief system, the spirits of the dead stay around their bodies for seven days. During this period, the bereaved family must pray to Buddha and make donations to monasteries and the needy on behalf of the dead, trying to ensure better fates in their next lives.

But now, with most of the bodies missing, this ritual cannot be performed.

Another of Mrs. Then Khin’s granddaughters, Mah Cho Mar, who is 19, said that at night, some villagers hear the voices of unblessed ghosts in the forest and fields. The voices are singing strange songs.

Ms. Cho Mar survived the storm by hanging on to the top of a tree for a whole day, and she could only watch as neighbors were swept away by the walls of water brought by the cyclone. She lost both parents and her 8-year-old brother.

“We were hopeless before, we are hopeless now,” she said. “This river, this delta, is our world. We will live and die in the same place where my parents lived and died.”