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Sat. 24 Oct 2009 1110 UTC

Pakistan Military Captures Taliban Leader's Hometown

Soldiers take Kotkai after days of heavy fighting in South Waziristan

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A wall covered with election posters in Kabul, Afghanistan 9File)

Taliban Threaten Afghan Voters Ahead of Presidential Runoff

In statement Saturday, insurgents denounce election as 'American process,' vow to take action to stop it


UN Inspectors to Visit Iran Nuclear Plant

Team from International Atomic Energy Agency due to arrive Saturday, tour nuclear facility in Qom next day

A technician at Iran's Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility south of Tehran talks to visiting Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) (File)

US Says Patience With Iran on Nuclear Issue Not Unlimited

Tehran government ignored Friday deadline to respond to UN-brokered deal aimed at easing concerns over its nuclear program

President Barack Obama speaking at MIT, 23 Oct 2009

Obama Pushes For Passage Of Energy Bill

President issues challenge to pass legislation to support clean-energy research and fight climate change in speech at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Smoke rising from what is believed to be Pakistani airstrikes
Pakistan's army says it has captured the hometown of the country's Taliban leader, in its South Waziristan offensive.

Germany's coalition allies agree on 24bn euros of tax cuts as part of an accord to form Germany's next government.

Police in Zimbabwe have raided a house belonging to PM Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party, a top party official says.

Burma Partnership
"Strengthening Cooperation for a Free Burma"

Burma Hot Topic at ASEAN Peoples' Forum and lead-up to ASEAN Summit
Dear Friends & Colleagues,
Before the ASEAN summit began, over 500 civil society leaders from throughout Southeast Asia gathered on October 18-20 at the 2nd ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF), with Burma dominating discussions about democratization, human rights, and regional stability. Officials from ASEAN governments were expected to come and dialogue with civil society, building bridges between governments and independent civil society and collectively finding solutions for the region. In the end, all but one government official backed out.

SPDC-backed civil society representatives from Burma, including such organizations as the USDA, were present at the ASEAN People’s Forum and insisted that Burma should not be singled out and that its problems are “internal issues." The APF is meant to be an independent forum, free from governments’ control and the comment was met with overwhelming disapproval from civil society from throughout the region, which insisted that armed conflict, refugee and drug crises were spilling over to neighboring countries.
Civil society groups attending the APF composed a collective statement aimed at ASEAN leaders that called on the military junta in Burma to take concrete steps towards national reconciliation. The statement supported the calls of the Task Force on ASEAN and Burma (TFAB), demanding that “ASEAN must take firm measures to ensure that before the 2010 elections in Myanmar/ Burma, there is genuine political dialogue between all stakeholders, as well as an inclusive review of the unilaterally written 2008 constitution.” The statement also reiterated a provision of the ASEAN Charter, which states that serious breaches of the Charter should be referred to the Summit.

At the APF, Venerable Ashin Sopaka from the International Burmese Monks Organization (IBMO) said that ASEAN’s policy of non-interference in regards to Burma is irrelevant and outdated. He went on to say ASEAN “cannot continue its policy of economic engagement without being responsible for a parallel political engagement.”

During the ASEAN People’s Forum, caucuses for each country convened to decide on a civil society representative for an “interface” with ASEAN heads of government, scheduled for October 23rd. Khin Ohmar was chosen to represent Burma at this important meeting. However, on the eve of the interface, it was announced that Burma’s civil society representative, along with those from Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, and Singapore, had been rejected for the meeting. In February’s interface, only Burma and Cambodia’s representatives were barred from the meeting.

It is time for ASEAN to stop fearing the independent voice of the people, and work to live up to the aim of the ASEAN Charter to create a truly "people-centered" region.
In Solidarity,
Burma Partnership Secretariat

ASEAN launches human rights commission
Examiner.com - USA
Andrew E. Mathis The member nations of ASEAN are: Brunei, Burma (known officially since its ... seems to be following the Burmese model — not good news. ...
Unlearning the CIA: the Education of Bob Baer
CounterPunch - Petrolia,CA,USA
The CIA had sponsored coups and fixed elections in Greece, Italy, Burma, ..... Its argument was commonsensical and certainly held no news: The CIA had ...

Asean Should Review Its Engagement Policy with Burma

Asean leaders meeting in Thailand must recognize that their own engagement policy with Burma isn’t working.
Creating a peaceful, just and inclusive solution is the key to sustainable reconciliation in Burma.
—Andrew Heyn, the new British ambassador to Burma

Asean Hopes for a Calm, Constructive Summit

As officials open the Asean summit meeting, hoping for a constructive session, the US captures some of the spotlight by announcing a “fact-finding” trip to Burma.

Thailand-Cambodia Dispute Overshadows Summit

Tensions between two neighboring members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have made the grouping’s latest summit uncharacteristically edgy.

Getting the Facts First

Andrew Heyn, the new British ambassador to Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi recently to discuss the issue of Western sanctions on the military-ruled country.

Thai King Makes Public Appearance

Thailand's 81-year-old King appeared in public for the first time since he was hospitalized more than a month ago, providing welcome relief among well-wishers in the politically divided nation.

No Decision on Dialogue with Burma: US

No decision has been taken on how the next round of talks between US and Burmese officials will be organized or who will be participating in it.

ASEAN inaugurates human rights commission

Leaders of Southeast Asian nations on Friday inaugurated a new regional human rights body as they kicked off the meeting at the 15th ASEAN summit in Hua Hin,...

Court hears witnesses in trial against Burmese-American

A special court in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison on Friday heard two prosecution witnesses in the trial of Burmese born American Kyaw Zaw Lwin (a.k.a) Nyi Nyi Aung. Kyi Win,......

Civil society representatives barred from ASEAN summit

Member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have rejected a proposed meeting with five civil society representatives, including a Burmese delegate,...

UN rights envoy to visit Burma in November

A United Nations human rights expert on Thursday announced he will make another visit to military-ruled Burma, whose human rights situation remains “alarming”. Tomás Ojea Quintana,...
Activists rejected from ASEAN summit

Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–Five activists from various Southeast Asian countries chosen to represent civil society groups today at a regional summit in Thailand have been rejected, one of the delegates said. - more

UN expert slams Burma impunity

Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–Widespread government impunity in Burma has allowed the country’s “alarming” human rights situation to continue unabated, the United Nations special rapporteur for Burma said yesterday. - more

Mobile phones allowed in Burma’s secretive capital

Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–The use of mobile phones in Burma’s jungle capital of Naypyidaw has been permitted by government authorities for the first time since it opened in 2005. - more

Regional heads urge fair Burma elections

Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–Southeast Asian leaders yesterday pressured the Burmese junta to hold free elections next year and raised doubts about the military generals’ commitment to a new civilian government. - more

Money for rights at the ASEAN summit

Joseph Allchin

Oct 22, 2009 (DVB)–In recent days civil society groups have convened in Thailand to thrash out their own version of the official regional summit, starting tomorrow, and plain to see was the frustration at the gulf between the two. - more

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