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Thursday, Jan 29th

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‘In solitary: I wanted to talk with people: that was the biggest desire’

(Interview) –  Su Su Nway, a rights activist for farmers, workers and child soliders in Burma, was recently released from a 12-year prison sentence in the presidential amnesty. She served a long period of time in solitary confinement. She was in Insein, Kalay and Khamti prisons. While she was in solitary confinement, she urged the authorities to improve prison conditions. Mizzima talked to her after her release about her experiences and current issues.


India wants to invest in Burma’s agricultural and energy sectors

(Interview) – Tun Lwin, the chairman of the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association, who accompanied President Thein Sein to India says that India is looking for ways to invest in Burma’s agriculture and energy sectors. India also wants to expand airline services between the two countries. India is Burma’s fifth largest trading partner, and it exports more than one million tons of beans annually. However, bilateral trade is not good because of poor transportation, lack of security on the Indo-Burmese border and banking issues. Mizzima correspondent Te Te talks with Tun Lwin about the meetings during the presidential visit, the difficulties in bilateral trade and future prospects.


‘Mr. President, please don’t eat aloo puri’

(Interview) – Mizzima reporter Myo Thein interviews the popular Burmese comedian Zarganar, who was granted amnesty in the political prisoner release last week. A well-known critic of the military regime, he was arrested while helping victim of Cyclone Nargis. He talks about voting, finding good political candidates, the comedy troupe Thee Lay Thee and performing again.


Released KNU prisoner regrets defecting to gov’t under ‘arms for peace’

(Interview) – Saw Tar Be, who was freed under last week’s amnesty, defected from the KNU to the government under the “arms for peace” program, only to face an 8-year prison sentence. Mizzimareporter Ko Wild talks to him about his regrets and his prison experience.


‘I hope I will never see monks in prison again’

(Interview) – During the “Saffron Revolution” in 2007, the army and police raided Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery in South Okkalapa Township in Rangoon and arrested many monks. U Ithiriaya (Ngwe Kyar Yan), one of the monks, was charged as one of the leaders of the Saffron Movement. He was disrobed and sentenced to six and one-half years in prison. He was released from Kengtung prison on Wednesday under the presidential amnesty after serving four years. Mizzima reporter Kyaw Kha talks to him about the monk- lead movement, politics and his future.


‘I will continue my activities as a member of ABFSU’

(Interview) – Phyo Phyo Aung, a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), was arrested while helping villagers in the cyclone-hit delta in 2008. She was released from Mawlamyine Prison in Mon State on Wednesday under Burma’s presidential amnesty. Phyo Phyo Aung and her father Dr. Nay Win had cremated cyclone victims in devastated areas in Bogale Township in Irrawaddy Region in June 2008 and when they returned from Bogale to their home in Rangoon, they were arrested by a Military Affairs Security Unit. Her colleagues Shein Yarzar Tun and Aung Than Zin Oo were also released from Taungoo Prison in Pegu Region and Bhamo Prison in Kachin State respectively on Wednesday. They were sentenced to four years under the Association Act. They served three years and four months. Mizzima correspondent Phanida interview Phyo Phyo Aung about her political views and the condition of women in Mawlamyine Prison.


Some members of VJ network resign over financial scandal

The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) Executive Director Aye Chan Naing and Assistant Executive Director Khin Maung Win have temporarily resigned from their posts while police in Norway are investigating the loss of around US$ 300,000 (300 million kyat) in the Norway-based organization. Acting Executive Director Harn Yawngshwe said, “This embezzlement mainly took place in the Mae Sot, Thailand, DVB branch.” Mizzima reporter Kyaw Kha interviewed DVB Mae Sot-based branch In-charge Ko San a.k.a. Aung Tun, one of the founders of the Mae Sot branch, started in 2006. He is also one of the members of the Burma VJ [Video Journalist] network. 


Bauk Ja to sue Chinese company building Myitsone Dam project

(Interview) – Despite President Thein Sein’s decision to halt the Myitsone dam project, National Democratic Force member Bauk Ja said that she would sue China Power Investment Corporation for losses and damages on the project.


Responsible Tourism in Burma

(Interview) – In early September, Dr. Andrea Valentin accompanied a Thailand-based organization dedicated to promoting community projects in Southeast Asia and gave a series of workshops on responsible tourism and how to address both positive and negative impacts in Burma. She spoke to representatives from the government’s Ministry of Tourism in Bagan, and to members of the National League for Democracy at their headquarters in Rangoon.


Myitsone Dam study should be made public: Dr. Htin Hla

(Interview) – The chairman of the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA), which conducted a study of the ecological and environmental impact of the Myitsone Dam project, has urged the Burmese government and Chinese company behind the project to allow the study to be made public. Under an agreement, BANCA does not have the authority to release the study, he said. BANCA studied the ecological and environmental impacts on the Irrawaddy valley for five months. A portion of the study was submitted to a government workshop in Naypyitaw on September 17. Mizzima reporter Tun Tun interviewed Htin Hla on the study and its findings.


The KIO prison break out

(Interview) – Fifty-five prisoners in a Burmese government labour camp in Muse in northern Shan State were set free by soldiers of the Kachin Impendence Organization 4th Brigade of the 9th Battalion on Wednesday. According to KIO spokesman La Nang, soldiers were passing near the Shwe Pyi Thit labour camp when prison guards shot at them, forcing the Kachin rebels to respond. The incident occurred on September 21 (the International Day of Peace). Meanwhile, the Burmese government is preparing a major offensive against the KIO. Mizzima reporter Phanida talked with La Nang about the incident and the government’s offensive.


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