Malaysian PM to Visit Burma
Malaysia's Bernama press has reported that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will arrive in Burma on Wednesday on a two-day visit aimed at enhancing bilateral relations. This will be Najib's first official visit to the country since becoming prime minister in April 2009. He will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, and several cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, Bernama reported.
Japan to Study IT Needs of Burma's Financial Sector
The Japanese government's overseas aid agency has awarded a contract to a consortium of leading Japanese IT companies to conduct a study on modernizing Burma's financial information and communication technology systems. The consortium, consisting of Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd., NTT DATA Corporation and Fujitsu Limited, will analyze the current situation in the country and propose an overall design tailored to the needs of Burma's financial sector, according to a report by the online Digital Journal. The project will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
AHRC Criticizes Burma's 'Cynical' Legal System
In a press release on Wednesday, the Asian Human Rights Commission assailed the “cynical manipulation” of Burma's courts, citing two recent cases that highlighted corruption and political influence. The first case, involving the murder of a taxi driver, demonstrated the ease with which those with money are able to get off lightly even after committing serious crimes. The second was the speedy prosecution and immediate pardon of Karen rebel leader Mahn Nyein Maung, which the AHRC said pointed to the court's “reduction to an apparatus for delivery of orders from the executive.”
Suu Kyi to Remain Off Campaign Trail
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is recovering well after falling ill while campaigning over the weekend, but will continue to rest ahead of next Sunday's by-elections, her party said.
“Although her health condition is improving, her family doctor advised that she needs to take a rest for four or five days,” said a National League for Democracy official quoted by Agence France Presse. Her doctor, Tin Myo Win, said Suu Kyi had become exhausted and suffered vomiting and low blood pressure after the boat she was traveling in got stuck on a sandbank for hours on Saturday.
Burma to Hold Energy Conference
Hundreds of delegates from 35 countries are expected to attend a two-day energy industry conference in Burma this week. At the meeting, which begins on Wednesday, Burma's Minister of Energy Than Htay and other top government officials will outline plans for the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. The gathering comes amid growing interest among Western companies eager for a share of Burma's resources, which remain off-limits because of sanctions. The conference will also look at other hurdles to investment, such as the lack of infrastructure.
Afghan Security Forces Kill 3 NATO Troops
Afghan security forces shot and killed three international troops on Monday in two attacks. They were the latest in a rising number of attacks in which Afghan forces have turned their weapons on their foreign partners. The killings reflect a spike in tensions between Afghan and international forces that follow an American soldier's alleged massacre of Afghan civilians, the burning of Muslim holy books at a US base, and uncertainty about Afghanistan's fate as foreign troops prepare to pull out. The US-led coalition plans to withdraw most foreign combat forces by the end of 2014.—AP
Japan Readies Missile Units Ahead of NKorea Launch
Japan's defense minister on Tuesday ordered interceptor missile units to prepare for North Korea's rocket launch next month. The “Unha-3” rocket is expected to fly over western Japan after it is launched from a pad on North Korea's west coast between April 14-16. That has raised concerns that a failed launch, or a falling stage of the rocket, could endanger Japanese lives or property. “We must be fully prepared to protect the safety of our nation,” Naoki Tanaka said after issuing the order.—AP