Saturday, October 20, 2007


Hello again,

I don't know how much of it is to our credit, but part of what i hoped for has happened in regards to Mynamar/Burma.

"Bush announced Friday that Washington would expand sanctions imposed last month to punish the military-run government and its backers for the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

"Bush ordered the Treasury Department to freeze the U.S. assets of additional members of Myanmar's ruling junta, and tightened controls on American exports to the country. He also urged China and India to do more to pressure the government of neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma."

- from

Japan adds to pressure on Burma

Japan is halting $4.7m (£2.3m) in funding for a human resources centre in Burma, as economic pressure mounts on the military government there.

The move follows the death of a Japan's journalist during the Burmese military's bloody suppression of anti-government protests last month.

It reflected Japan's "strong concerns" over the situation, a minister said.

On Monday, the EU upped sanctions on Burma and the US urged "consequential" action against its leaders.

Japan is a leading aid donor to Burma and has been criticised in the past for failing to take a harder line against the military government.

The funding, promised in 2005, was to have been used for a centre at Rangoon University, where courses in economics, management and Japanese would have been taught.

But the shooting of video journalist Kenji Nagai, 50, sparked outrage in Japan and has led to a tougher position.

''Japan has to show its stance and we can't effectively be supporting the military junta at this point in time,'' said Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.

The funding represented about one sixth of Japan's annual aid to Burma.

But Japan stopped short of ending all aid and remains one of the military junta's significant trading partners - leaving it unclear exactly what effect the cancellation might have.

- from

I don't know how many of you signed a petition, e-mailed diplomats, or encouraged others to do so (if you did I'd love to know), and i don't know if I or any of you reading this made any difference in the outcome. But we might have :) We'll never know if it would have been any different without us, but we know we didn't sit still.

I really hope things get cleared up over there. It would be so cool to look back in a year or two and see that the crisis was resolved and the people of Mynamar now have freedom and stability. If you haven't done anything to help yet, I have the link to one petition and two diplomats' email addresses here. And if you know of any other petitions out there, let me know.


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