10 Dead, 3 Missing in Delta Ferry Accident
A ferry accident in Burma's Irrawaddy Delta has left 10 people dead. Three people are missing, but 72 were rescued. State media reported on Wednesday that the “Pathein Thu” sank the previous day as it was about to dock at a jetty near the town of Ngapudaw. It had sailed from Pathein on the Pathein River about 135 km due west of Rangoon. The reports said six people were hospitalized. The cause of the accident was being investigated. Boat travel is often used in Burma's vast river deltas, and accidents are common.—AP
Court Rules on Missing Kachin Woman
The Burmese Supreme Court has reached a verdict in the case of a Kachin woman last seen in the custody of Burmese soldiers five months ago, but has yet to inform lawyers working for the woman's family. According to a report by Mizzima, the court reached its decision in early March. The woman, 28-year-old Sumlut Roi Ja, was arrested along with her husband and father on Oct. 28, 2011, and accused of spying for the Kachin Independence Army. The two men later escaped and filed suit against the army for the alleged abduction.
Vietnam to Invest $100 Million in Burma
The chairman of the association of Vietnamese investors in Burma announced a US $100 million agricultural investment on Wednesday during a visit by Burmese President Thein Sein. Tran Bac Ha, who is also chairman of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, said he also hoped for progress on a number of other fronts, including the untapped mobile telecoms sector. An Giang Plant Protection, a Vietnamese agricultural group, and fund manager VinaCapital signed an agreement with Burma's Eden Group to develop a $100 million agricultural processing factory.
Thein Sein Pledges Transparent Vote
Burmese President Thein Sein vowed to ensure that next month's by-elections are “transparent and acceptable,” a Cambodian official said following talks between Thein Sein and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday. Burma announced on the same day that it had agreed to allow the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as the US, the UN and the EU, to send observers to the April 1 polls. It will be the first time that the country has permitted international observers to play an official role in elections.
New Australian FM to Discuss Burma in Singapore
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr is making his first overseas trip in his new job, with stops planned in Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. Carr said in a statement on Thursday that he is looking forward to discussing political reforms in Burma while visiting Singapore, where he will meet his counterpart K. Shanmugam. While Australia imposes financial sanctions on Burma, two-way trade between Burma and Singapore reached $1.3 billion last year. In January, Burmese President Thein Sein made his first overseas trip of the year to Singapore—AP