Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Burma to hold General Election 2010

Than Shwe in his message on Independence Day on January 4, did confirmed that the election would take place asked Burmese people to exercise the right choice. “Plans are under way to hold elections in a systematic way this year. In that regard, the entire people have to make correct choices,” Than Shwe said. The junta supremo has urged the Burmese people to make an all out effort to develop and achieve the so called disciplined democracy in the country in accordance with the new constitution which had been forcibly approved days after Cyclone Nargis devastated Burma’s delta areas. “The State’s seven-step Road Map designed for emergence of a peaceful, modern and developed nation is the sole process for transition to democracy. The programme is in the process of being implemented step by step,” he said. Burma's main opposition party the National League for Democracy held a separate ceremony in their headquarters to mark the country’s independence in 1948 after 63 years of British rule.Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein, General Secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), on Monday told Mizzima that with the electoral law still unannounced, the DP leadership is not even sure if they can still contest the planned election, as there will be limited time for party formation as well as campaigning. “We heard the electoral law will be announced only about three months ahead of the polls. If that is true, it will be difficult for us to contest. We are now rethinking and reviewing our position,” Cho Cho Kyaw Nyien said. “It is necessary to have national reconciliation and unity to address political, social and economic problems faced Burmese people in the country,” Khin Maung Swe, spokesperson of the NLD told Mizzima on Monday. “Only after talks between Than Shwe and Aung San Suu Kyi happen will the rest of the political problems be solved,” he added. Burma's another political outfit Democratic Party,the DP is a political party formed of veteran politicians, including Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein, daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister Kyaw Nyein, Than Than Nu, daughter of former Prime Minister U Nu, and Nay Yee Ba Swe, daughter of former minister Ba Swe. The trio are political contemporaries of detained Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, as their fathers fought alongside one another during Burma’s independence struggle against the British. Burma’s military rulers have declared the holding of a general election, the first to be held after two decades, they have not specified any dates and are yet to announce an electoral law, which will set guidelines for prospective candidates. “Our Chairman, Thu Wai, has requested Senior General Than Shwe to review their plan of announcing the electoral law only three months ahead of the actual poll. We have not received any response as yet,” declared Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein. She said, like other political parties, the DP also needs at least six months to a year or more for preparation for the election, as they need to identify who can represent the party as well as organize a campaign. “At this time, we are not even sure who would be eligible as a candidate, everything is uncertain,” she said. “And we even feel like we should drop contesting the election. But since some of our members think it would still be possible for them to contest, we are now reviewing our situation,” she added. According to her information, the electoral law will be announced sometime in April and actual polls likely to be held three months later. However, given the junta’s secretive nature, her information could not be independently verified. The DP was formed in late June 2009, comprising a 15-member Central Executive Committee headed by Chairman Thu Wei. Though the ruling junta is yet to announce an electoral law, sources said members of the junta-backed civilian organization Union Solidarity and Development Association have been seen in recent weeks taking an increasingly pro-active role in undertaking community development projects, which many believe to be an effort to win the people’s trust ahead of elections.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi meets junta minister

Than Shwe appointed the liaison minister as an interlocutor to Aung San Suu Kyi,the detained leader on Friday, for the first time in 2010, met with government liaison minister Aung Kyi at her house, according to party leaders.After the visit of United Nations Special Envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, on the heels of September’s Saffron Revolution,Friday’s meeting is process towards democracy.The meet came a day after the NLD announced its decision to expand its CEC from 11 members to 20, a move seen by some observers as a kind of preparation for a political tug-of-war leading up to and following this year’s scheduled general election. “If the meeting today is correct, I think it is a good step for the New Year. We are hoping that it will be a positive meeting,” Ohn Kyaing iterated, adding that they welcome such meetings and hope the process will continue. Burma’s present military rulers, in power for the past two decades, have announced they are set to hold a general election in 2010, but have yet to specify any dates. The NLD, meanwhile, say they will participate in the election only if the junta agrees to first amend the 2008 constitution, release all political prisoners and permit international monitoring of the polls. Retired Major Win Naing Kyaw, Thura Kyaw a.k.a. Aung Aung Ko and a commoner Go Byan Sein a.k.a. Ah See were arrested, tried and handed death sentence plus 20 years imprisonment, death sentence plus 15 years imprisonment and 15 years imprisonment respectively by Rangoon North District court sitting inside the Insein prison. Those sentenced Burmese are active and retired government employees. Two of them are uniformed officers. It shows that military personnel and government employees continue opposing the rulers. North Korea provided technology for secret underground tunnels around the new capital Naypyidaw. Nuclear technology is also shared by Kim Jong-il. Photographs of construction are available on Internet. And North Korea ships came to Burma water. Russia promised nuclear and military hardware. It proved correct as Russia has signed a contract to deliver 20 MiG-29 fighter planes to Burma on Christmas eve. The contract is worth 400m Euros. The regime spends less than 3% of national expenditure o­n health, while the military consumes 40%. What is there from the Republic of India? The 7-member delegation headed by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam would provide US$90 million for Kaladan project, US$10 million as loan for the same project, US$7 million for Cyber Optical Link, US$1.3 million for upgrading satellite ground station in Rangoon, establishment of ICT park in Mandalay, US$3 million for on-board training, (Physical Connectivity), (Electronic Connectivity), (Knowledge Connectivity) 50 officers form e-government training, 20 PhD students, upgrading science labs in Rangoon and Mandalay Universities, establishment of Entrepreneurship Development Center etc. The political assurance from India was gratefulness to the Roadmap and the promises given on 6 March 2006. India would defend Burma at the UN, ILO and UNHRC. India kept its promise and voted for SPDC at all three assemblies.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Free trade with Aseans begins

Thursday, December 31, 2009 India enters free trade with Asean countries India enters free trade with Asean countries- South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia country's market-opening pacts with three of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and South Korea will be operational from Friday.The remaining seven Asean members will take a few more months to get the India-Asean trade pact, which needs to be "internally approved or ratified by their parliaments," an official said. Indian exports to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia accounting for over 90 per cent of the India-Asean USD 44-billion trade, would also be given easy access on about 4,000 tariff items.Under the Indo-Korean Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which includes services, Indian professionals from as many as 163 sectors, including IT, English teaching, consultancy and engineering, would be eligible for temporary visas up to one year in Korea. Under this agreement, customs duties will also be reduced or eliminated on as many as 93 per cent of Korea's tariff lines which includes tyres, electrical goods, vehicle parts and petroleum products."Korea has taken commitments to give favourable considerations to Indian banks as well for opening their branches there," he said. However, India must also reciprocate on this front to move forward. In fact, half of the country's USD four billion exports to Korea would be exempted from duty right away.India and South Korea signed the CEPA on 7th August, 2009 in Seoul. The domestic industry welcomes the move saying the agreement would help double the USD 10-billion commerce between the two countries over the next five years. The CEPA with Korea is the second comprehensive deal for India after Singapore. Unlike a free trade agreement, which covers goods only, CEPA also covers investments, services and bilateral cooperation in other areas. The free trade agreement with Asean was signed on 13th August. DDNews

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