Latest News, March 29, 2011
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Latest News, March 29, 2011

By THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Dunkley Granted Bail for Health Reasons

Burma's court finally granted bail for Australian Ross Dunkley, the former CEO of The Myanmar Times, at his sixth court hearing on Tuesday. According to the statement of the judge, bail was granted due to testimony by Dr Saw Win, who stated that he is treating Dunkley for a health issue. The bail was set at 10 million kyat (about US $11,400). Dr Tin Htun Oo, the new CEO of The Myanmar Times, and Wai Lin, the manager, each paid 5 million kyat ($5,700) for the bail.

US Diplomat Discusses Sanctions with Opposition Group

A US diplomat met with members of Burma’s opposition on Monday to discuss economic sanctions but democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was not present, a political party leader, Khin Maung Swe, said. He is a leader of the National Democratic Force (NDF), which broke away from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) last year to contest elections in November. Khin Maung Swe told AFP that altogether eight political parties met with the US charge d’affaires Larry Dinger and discussed sanctions. The NDF has previously said it is against the punitive economic measures enforced by the US and the EU. Khin Maung Swe said that Dinger also asked for “concrete evidence” to support their stance. Opposition parties said that the US side explained the sanctions were in place to pressure the military government.

Report Points to Human Rights Abuses in Burma Pipeline Project

Burma's military regime has confiscated large swathes of land and committed other rights violations in the course of building a 1,000-km gas pipeline with the help of money from China, India and South Korea, a non-governmental organization said on Tuesday. EarthRights International, a human rights and environmental group, accused foreign investors in the project of complicity in widespread land confiscation, arbitrary arrest, detention and torture. China has provided Burma with a US $2.4 billion loan to construct the pipeline from Kyaukphyu, in Arakan State on Burma's west coast, to Yunnan Province in southern China. The most common abuses were widespread land confiscations with poor compensation, EarthRights said, basing its report on interviews and research conducted in the areas where the pipeline construction is under way.

Asean Offers to Assist Burma's Quake Victims

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) says it is ready to assist member-state Burma following last week's deadly 6.8-magnitude earthquake that hit a northeastern area of the country. Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan says Burma's government was able to act quickly after the quake by deploying food, medicine, blankets, clothes and other relief items. But he says the bloc will be on “standby” to support Burma with help in the coming days and weeks. Surin made his remarks during a meeting on Monday with Burma's representative to Asean, Nyan Lynn, in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. Asean says 74 people were killed and 120 injured in the earthquake, which struck on Thursday just north of the Thai border. Worst-hit areas were the towns of Tachilek, Tarlay and Mong Lin, all in Shan State. 

Ex-Khmer Rouge Prison Chief Appeals Sentence

The man who admitted to overseeing the torture and killing of 16,000 people as the Khmer Rouge's chief prison warden returned to the courtroom in Cambodia to appeal his 19-year prison sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kaing Guek Eav—also known as Duch—is the only person so far to be tried by a special UN-backed tribunal set up to investigate and prosecute officials from the brutal ultra-Marxist regime whose four-year rule in the 1970s led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people. The 68-year-old Duch was sentenced last July to 35 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the sentence was commuted to 19 years due to time already served and other technicalities. The sentence was widely criticized as too lenient. Victims and relatives of the Khmer Rouge have expressed outrage at the sentence, which could allow Duch to one day walk free.

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