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Thread: Burma junta steps down

  1. Icon5 Burma junta steps down

    Ploy to run in sham election...

    Burmese junta leaders 'step down' from military posts
    27 August 2010 - Gen Than Shwe has ruled Burma since 1992
    Leaders of Burma's junta are reported to have resigned from their military posts, days before the deadline to register candidates in the country's first general election in two decades. Some reports said junta leader Gen Than Shwe was among those to have stepped down, but other reports denied this. Observers believe he may want to become civilian president after the election on 7 November.

    Critics say the election is a sham designed to entrench military power. But the junta has said the election is a crucial step in transferring power in Burma from the military to civilians. Burmese officials told journalists on Friday that there had been a major reshuffle in the military hierarchy.

    News organisations run by Burmese exiles, including the Irrawaddy and Mizzima, reported that Than Shwe had relinquished his military role, but would remain as head of the government until the election. The Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) quoted sources at the country's Foreign Ministry as saying Than Shwe and his deputy Gen Maung Aye were preparing to step down, but had not yet announced their retirement.

    More http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11114575

  2. Cool

    Ban speaks out on Burma...

    UN Chief Says He’s Frustrated Over Burma
    Friday, October 15th, 2010 - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed “grave concern” at Burma’s refusal to free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ahead of elections in November.
    Mr. Ban said Burma’s military government should release the opposition leader if it wants the November elections to have international credibility. He said this would be the clearest signal that the government is committed to a free vote.

    In a report on Burma’s human rights, Mr. Ban also described himself as frustrated by the Burmese government’s lack of engagement with the international community. He said he is disappointed that Burma has failed to meaningfully discuss the issues. The secretary-general urged Burma to make progress in overcoming what he called its legacies of political deadlock and armed conflict.

    The country is scheduled to hold its first elections in 20 years on November 7. The new legislature is likely to include critical voices for the first time in decades, but harsh restrictions on opposition parties have virtually ensured victory for a military-backed party. The election is the nation’s first since Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy won in a landslide in 1990. The military did not recognize the results of that election.


  3. Cool

    Burma 'facing political change'...

    Burma undergoing political change - UN envoy
    4 December 2010 : Vijay Nambiar met Aung San Suu Kyi during his last week's visit to Burma
    The UN envoy to Burma has said it is clear that political change is taking place in the country, despite UN criticism of last month's poll there. Vijay Nambiar told the BBC that parliamentary by-elections could now open up "opportunities" for broadening the political spectrum. The party of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi boycotted the election, won by the biggest military-backed party. She was not released from house arrest until after the poll.

    "Government formation is taking place (in Burma). I think there will be new spaces, new slots in the parliament which will open up for by-elections," Mr Nambiar, who visited Burma last week, told the BBC Burmese Service. He described the by-elections as "small opportunities for increasing the political space for a broader, inclusive involvement". Mr Nambiar's comments come despite strong criticism of Burma's poll by the UN, which said they were neither free nor fair.

    The elections on 7 November - the first to be held in Burma in 20 years - were won by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Six days later, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. Her now-disbanded National League for Democracy (NLD) won the last election in 1990, but was never allowed to take power. She has urged her followers not to give up hoping for change and has also said she is willing to talk to Western nations about lifting sanctions on Burma, which she previously supported.


  4. Thumbs up

    Aung Suu Kyi favored to win...

    Social media to play big role in Myanmar vote
    Sun, Apr 01, 2012 - STILL CENSORED: The print media are busy testing the limits of how far the regime will let them go in covering Suu Kyi’s activity amid today’s elections
    Myanmar’s journalists will take to Twitter and Facebook in their battle to beat press restrictions and deliver breaking news of today’s by-elections that for many will be the biggest story of their careers. The vote — the first contested by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and likely to propel her into parliament — is set to pose a host of challenges for news editors from the country’s long-censored media. All private news publications are weekly, after the previous military rulers nationalized dailies half a century ago and “everybody wants to be a Monday paper this week,” said Thiha Saw, editor of Open News, one of a number of papers to have applied for permission to print a day after the by-elections.

    Those newspapers not shifting their print runs will rely on their burgeoning social media pages to provide readers with up to date coverage. “Our paper will be [published] after the election, so we will post on Facebook and our Twitter account, so we will update all the news every hour after the polling stations open,” said Nyein Nyein Naing, executive editor of 7Day News, one of the country’s biggest weeklies with an estimated readership of 1.5 million. Until last year, prominent coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi — known in Myanmar as “The Lady” — was almost unheard of and people who spoke to reporters were taking a real risk.

    Front page pictures of the Nobel prize-winning opposition leader are now commonplace, while coverage of some other previously taboo subjects is also allowed after a new regime loosened censorship as part of wide-ranging reforms that have taken observers by surprise. Weeklies are still subject to pre-publication scrutiny that is described by media rights organizations as among the world’s most draconian, but Nyein Nyein Naing said newspapers were increasingly deciding not to send sensitive stories to the censors. “We are just trying to push our boundaries a little bit. We do something one week and nothing happens, so we do more the next week,” she said, indicating the latest edition of the paper, which carried a front page story about the controversial decision by authorities to postpone voting in three constituencies in Kachin State due to ongoing ethnic unrest in the northern region.

    She said when it comes to breaking news online, editors publish what they want. “For the Facebook and Twitter, we don’t think about censorship at all, we just put everything that we have got.” She said 7Day News had become increasingly reliant on Facebook to reach its readership. A story posted on the 7Day page of the social media Web site about electricity blackouts, an increasing problem during the summer months, had more than a hundred comments and 165 shares in just two hours — no mean feat in a country where only a fraction of the population has access to the Internet.

    However, while censors might not stop papers covering the election in real time — the Internet itself could pose a challenge in a country beset by outages during sensitive periods. “We all are worried about the Internet connection. Not only me but other journalists who are running their stories through the Internet,” said Nyein Nyein Naing. She added that her reporter could not send pictures during a recent Aung San Suu Kyi trip to the far north because the connection was down. “I don’t think that would be coincidentally,” she said when asked if the authorities were behind the outage.


  5. Icon6

    Myanmar comin' outta its dark ages...

    EU agrees to halt sanctions on Myanmar
    Fri, Apr 20, 2012 - JAPANESE HELP: Tokyo is reportedly planning to waive Myanmar’s US$3.7 billion debt and resume suspended assistance to the impoverished country
    EU governments are to suspend most sanctions against Myanmar next week, EU diplomats said yesterday, in recognition of rapid political and economic reforms after decades of military dictatorship. Envoys of EU governments reached a preliminary deal on the issue late on Wednesday and foreign ministers of EU states are expected to approve the move formally at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, after which it can take effect, diplomats said. The suspension of EU sanctions, which include a ban on investment and trade related to timber and mining, is likely to open doors to a flood of investment in the country that neighbors the world’s two biggest markets, China and India. “There is now agreement in principle [on] ... a suspension of all sanctions, except for the arms embargo,” one EU diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    EU diplomats say sanctions are being suspended — not lifted altogether — to maintain pressure on Myanmar’s quasi-civilian government to keep up democratic transition. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, long an advocate of sanctions imposed for human rights abuses by Myanmar’s military rules, has spoken in support of such an approach. British Prime Minister David Cameron also urged caution, when addressing parliament on Wednesday about Myanmar: “While it is clear that the ... regime is making some steps towards greater freedom and democracy, we should be extremely cautious and extremely careful,” he said. “We want to see the further release of political prisoners, we want to see the resolution of ethnic conflicts, we want the democratisation process to continue,” he said.

    EU governments are keen to ease access to Myanmar for their businesses, hoping to capitalize on the country’s rich natural resources, proximity to large markets and vast tourism potential. European firms fear Asian rivals are securing a foothold and already boosting their presence. The US Treasury on Tuesday relaxed sanctions on Myanmar to permit financial transactions to support certain humanitarian and development projects

    Meanwhile, Japan is to waive Myanmar’s ¥300 billion (US$3.7 billion) debt and plans to resume suspended assistance to the country, the evening edition of the Asahi Shimbun reported yesterday. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to announce the debt waiver during a meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein tomorrow in Tokyo, the paper said. “Following the debt waiver, [Japan] plans to resume full-fledged yen loans to the country for the first time in 25 years,” the daily said. Thein Sein will visit Japan from today through Tuesday, becoming the first Myanmar head of state in 28 years to make the trip. A foreign ministry official declined to confirm the report, but said: “It is true that the two countries are working on the debt issue as well as plans to pave the way for resuming Japan’s Official Development Assistance for Myanmar.”


  6. Icon5

    Economy grew at 5.5% in spite of sanctions...

    Did economic sanctions play a role in Burma's reform?
    22 April 2012 - Tourism to sites like the Shwedagon pagoda contributed to Burma's economic growth last year
    As a reward for those reforms and to encourage more of the same, foreign ministers from the European Union are set to suspend economic sanctions against the South East Asian nation. But what role, if any, did economic restrictions play in steering the military government onto the path of reform? Last year, in spite of the sanctions, the Burmese economy grew 5.5%, an increase on the previous year. To a large extent, that was thanks to sustained investment from neighbours China and Thailand, coupled with a leap in tourist numbers.

    The current sanctions regimen against Burma was assembled incrementally over two decades, as the world reacted to the continued house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and several brutal crackdowns on protesters. Europe's own restrictions are not the most stringent. While the US introduced a comprehensive package of trade and financial sanctions, the EU always stopped short of a ban on all business with Burma. Instead, targeted sanctions imposed visa restrictions and froze the assets of leading members of the Burmese government and military. Investment was also prohibited in companies with known links to those individuals. Listed in a long EU directive, they range from soap and juice factories to luxury golf courses.

    'Pathetic' measures

    But when big money was at stake, high principle was put to one side. Since 1992, the French energy giant Total has, in partnership with Chevron, invested billions of dollars in gas fields and pipelines 60km (37.3 miles) off the Burmese coast. Activists say much of the revenue raised has gone directly into the pockets of the military. In 2007, in the wake of worldwide outrage at the brutal ending of the 2007 protests dubbed the "saffron revolution", EU sanctions on the Burmese authorities were expanded. Once again, energy was conveniently excluded, even as trade and investment restrictions were imposed on the timber, gem and precious metals sectors.

    "Pathetic" is how Mark Farmaner, the director of Burma Campaign UK, describes the European measures. He would like to have seen restrictions also put in place on financial services such as insurance, which would have hampered Asian companies wanting to invest. Despite that, he still believes the sanctions have had an impact, and has argued against their hasty removal. "It's clear because government officials are constantly complaining about sanctions that they are causing them pain," he said. "They've got economic problems and they realise they are being left behind and the rest of Asia is moving ahead without them."

    Diplomatic stalemate

  7. Default

    The junta in Myanmar hasn't stepped down, they are still in power. They have only allowed the NLD to run in the next electons.

    The people will decide.
    Most murderers are caught and punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waltky View Post
    Myanmar comin' outta its dark ages...
    ....and entering the Rohingya dark hole.
    Last edited by reedak; Oct 28 2012 at 03:19 PM.
    "The Palestinian/Israeli issue (more accurately, the conflict between Jews and Muslims) could never be resolved permanently." -- reedak

  9. Cool

    Mebbe dey'll give him a Burmese python fer a pet...

    Myanmar says Obama to visit later this month
    Nov 8,`12 --- President Barack Obama will make a groundbreaking visit later this month to Myanmar, an official said Thursday, following through with his policy of rapprochement to encourage democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.
    The Myanmar official speaking from the capital, Naypyitaw, said Thursday that security for a visit on Nov. 18 or 19 had been prepared, but the schedule was not final. He asked not to be named because he was not authorized to give information to the media. The official said Obama would meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as well as government officials including reformist President Thein Sein. It would be the first-ever visit to Myanmar by an American president. U.S. officials have not yet announced any plans for a visit, which would come less than two weeks after Obama's election to a second term.

    Obama's administration has sought to encourage the recent democratic progress under Thein Sein by easing sanctions applied against Myanmar's previous military regime. Officials in nearby Thailand and Cambodia have already informally announced plans for visits by Obama that same week. Cambodia is hosting a summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Thailand is a longtime close U.S. ally. The visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, would be the culmination of a dramatic turnaround in relations with Washington as the country has shifted from five decades of ruinous military rule and shaken off the pariah status it had earned through its bloody suppression of democracy.

    Obama's ending of the long-standing U.S. isolation of Myanmar's generals has played a part in coaxing them into political reforms that have unfolded with surprising speed in the past year. The U.S. has appointed a full ambassador and suspended sanctions to reward Myanmar for political prisoner releases and the election of Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to parliament. From Myanmar's point of view, the lifting of sanctions is essential for boosting a lagging economy that was hurt not only by sanctions that curbed exports and foreign investment, but also by what had been a protectionist, centralized approach. Thein Sein's government has initiated major economic reforms in addition to political ones.

    See also:

    President Barack Obama to visit Burma
    8 November 2012 - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Burma in 2011
    Fresh from his election win, Barack Obama will this month become the first US president to visit Burma, the White House says. He will meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein. It is part of a three-leg tour from 17 to 20 November that will also take in Thailand and Cambodia. The government of Burma has begun implementing economic, political and other reforms, a process the Obama administration sought to encourage.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was previously the most senior US official to go to Burma when she visited in December 2011. The Burma stop is part of a trip built around the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia. The US has appointed a full ambassador to Burma and suspended sanctions to reward the country for political prisoner releases and the election of Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to parliament.

    America is also set to ease its import ban on goods from Burma, a key part of remaining US sanctions. Analysts say the Obama administration sees in the country's political changes an opportunity to help counter the influence of China in the region. Human rights groups are likely to criticise Mr Obama's visit as premature, given that the ruling government has failed to prevent outbreaks of communal violence in the west of the country.


  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waltky View Post
    Mebbe dey'll give him a Burmese python fer a pet...
    ....in exchange for a Skunk Ape.


    Skunk Ape

    The Myakka "Skunk Ape" Photographs
    "The Palestinian/Israeli issue (more accurately, the conflict between Jews and Muslims) could never be resolved permanently." -- reedak

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