Monday, May 5, 2008

Democratic symbolism for Myanmar

Sein Win, left, cousin of Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accepts a certificate of honourary citizenship on her behalf from Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier during a ceremony on Parliament Hill yesterday.
Type your summary here.

Cousin of politician accepts
honourary citizenship for her
Torstar News Service
May 05, 2008 10:05
Awarding Canadian honorary citizenship to Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbol of democratic hopes in Myanmar, sends a strong message to the military regime ruling that country, says her representative abroad.

Sein Win, who heads Suu Kyi’s government in exile, thanked the federal government for the honour and urged Canada and other countries to continue pressing the military junta for democratic reforms.
“This is the time for sanctions, this is the time for keeping up pressure,” said Win, who accepted the award on Suu Kyi’s behalf in a ceremony on Parliament Hill.

The ceremony took on an urgent note because of the devastation caused in Myanmar by Cyclone Nargis.

Win urged international aid agencies to move quickly to bring relief supplies into Burma and expressed hope that the military regime would allow the agencies into the country.

“The time is running out, it is an urgent operation. We know how our people suffered. They have nothing to eat and in Ragoon, there is no drinking water.”

Bernier said Canada will continue to enforce the economic sanctions it imposed in November after authorities there mounted a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Language test for everyone
Skilled workers, business applicants
face new hurdle

Immigration by Guidy Mamann
May 05, 2008 11:41
The folks at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration in Ottawa are keeping real busy these days.
In addition to other recent announcements, they have just introduced their third major piece of legislation designed to amend our immigration regulations.
A recap is in order.
Firstly, the feds have Bill C-17 pending. This bill aims to deny work permits to foreign strippers headed for Canada with a view of protecting them from our licensed, but “exploitive,” strip clubs.
Then there is Bill C-50, which is also on a bumpy road to passage. Changes to our immigration regulations were tucked into this budget bill and seek to turn our minister of immigration, and her successors, into super ministers who can proclaim new immigration rules without parliamentary, cabinet, or public input or oversight.
Now, we have a third proposed regulatory amendment that introduces two main initiatives.
First, we’ll start with the good news.
CIC proposes to simplify the landing process for applicants in the skilled worker class and the business classes. These applicants will still be required to send their applications to visa posts outside Canada for processing. However, those who find themselves in Canada in lawful temporary status (i.e. as workers or visitors) at the time that their immigrant visas are issued overseas will be able to get landed here without leaving the country. Presently, they would have to drive or fly to the nearest Canadian port of entry to seek landing. This welcome change will, undoubtedly, avoid a lot of unnecessary schlepping.

Now, the not-so-good news.

It is proposed that all applicants in the skilled worker class, and in the business class (i.e. investors, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed) undergo a formal third-party language test in English or French regardless of their nationality, mother tongue, or language of instruction.

At present, applicants in these categories can elect to undergo such a test or submit other evidence of their abilities in one of our official languages.

However, the department feels that assessing such alternative evidence is slowing down its officers. The department considered issuing a narrow exemption for “native English or French speakers” but couldn’t find a “clear and fully defensible definition” of one. Instead, it proposes to require everyone to do the test.

While this is being touted as “fair,” I can’t wait to see the looks on the face of some American or British-born engineer or businessman, or perhaps a French poet, when I tell them they need to undergo language testing and they may have to fly or drive for hours to get to the nearest test site.

This doesn’t make us look “fair.” It makes us appear as if we lack basic common sense.
Given my own Canadian education and work experience I’d be miffed if I were to be asked to do an English test if I were immigrating to the U.S. or U.K.
Other countries have defined fair exemptions to language testing.
So should we.Technorati Profile

  • Latest News from Burma

Cyclone kills at least 351 in Myanmar, state-run TV reports
May 5, 2008
YANGON, Myanmar (Map, News) - A powerful cyclone killed more than 350 people, destroyed thousands of homes and knocked out power in the country’s largest city, state-run media said Sunday.
Tropical Cyclone Nargis struck early Saturday with winds of up to 120 mph, the military-run Myaddy television station said.

Shari Villarosa, the top American diplomat in Yangon, said trees and electricity lines were down in the city after the storm’s whipping winds and torrential downpour.

“Our Burmese staff have lost their roofs,” she told The Associated Press. “There is major devastation throughout the city.”

Five regions of the impoverished Southeast Asian country have been declared disaster zones.

At least 351 people were killed, including 162 who lived on Haing Gyi island off the country’s southwest coast, state-run television said. Many of the others died in the low-lying Irrawaddy delta.

“The Irrawaddy delta was hit extremely hard not only because of the wind and rain but because of the storm surge,” said Chris Kaye, the U.N.’s acting humanitarian coordinator in Yangon. “The villages there have reportedly been completely flattened.”

State television reported that in the Irrawaddy’s Labutta township, 75 percent of the buildings had collapsed.

The U.N. planned to send teams Monday to assess the damage, Kaye said. Initial assessment efforts have been hampered by roads clogged with debris and downed phone lines, he said.

“At the moment, we have such poor opportunity for communications that I can’t really tell you very much,” Kaye said.

Witnesses in Yangon said the storm’s 120 mph winds blew the roofs off hundreds of houses, damaged hotels, schools and hospitals, and cut electricity to the entire city.

The state-owned newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Sunday that the international airport in Yangon remained shut. Domestic flights have been diverted to the airport in Mandalay, it said.

“It’s a bad situation. Almost all the houses are smashed. People are in a terrible situation,” said a U.N. official in Yangon, who requested anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

“All the roads are blocked. There is no water. There is no electricity,” she said.

Yangon residents ventured out Sunday to buy construction materials to repair their homes. The price of gasoline jumped from $2.50 to $10 a gallon on the black market and everything from eggs to construction supplies had tripled, residents said.

Some people expressed anger that the military-led government in Myanmar, also known as Burma, had done little so far to help with the cleanup.

“Where are all those uniformed people who are always ready to beat civilians?” said one man, who refused to be identified for fear of retribution. “They should come out in full force and help clean up the areas and restore electricity.”

The Forum for Democracy in Burma and other dissident groups outside of Myanmar called on the international community to provide urgent humanitarian assistance and urged the military junta to allow aid groups to operate freely - something it has been reluctant to do in the past.

“International expertise in dealing with natural disasters is urgently required. The military regime is ill-prepared to deal with the aftermath of the cyclone,” said Naing Aung, secretary general of the Thailand-based forum.

A Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said it was difficult for other countries to help unless they received a request from Myanmar’s military rulers.

“We have to be welcomed by the host government,” the diplomat said. “The international community is willing to provide humanitarian assistance. There has been tremendous destruction. At the end of the day, the government needs to let in the assistance.”

Michael Annear, a regional disaster management delegate for the International Federation of the Red Cross in Bangkok, said his agency had teams in Yangon on Sunday distributing shelter kits and other relief supplies.

The cyclone came at a delicate time for Myanmar, which is scheduled to hold a referendum May 10 on the country’s military-backed draft constitution. Authorities have not yet said whether they would postpone the vote.

A military-managed national convention was held intermittently for 14 years to lay down guidelines for the country’s new constitution.

The new constitution is supposed to be followed in 2010 by a general election. Both votes are elements of a “roadmap to democracy” drawn up by the junta, which has been in power for two decades.

Critics say the draft constitution is designed to cement military power and have urged citizens to vote no.

Rescue crews take over in Rangoon

May 5, 2008

Big News Rescue operations are under way in Myanmar after cyclone Nargis killed an estimated 350 people and causing widespread damage.
The country’s military rulers have declared disaster areas in five regions, including the main city Rangoon.

The death toll is expected to soar once rescue workers reach isolated areas.

Worst hit is the Irrawaddy delta, where television footage showed damage to many public and government buildings, roofs blown off buildings, downed trees, and telephone poles blocking roads.

The powerful storm knocked out state-run radio, television, telephone and Internet services.

U.N. officials in neighboring Thailand say local and international relief workers have met to assess the damage.

There is no word whether the storm damage will affect next Saturday’s scheduled constitutional referendum.

The cyclone, which reached wind speeds of up to 240 kilometres per hour, is now headed for Thailand but is weakening.

မုန္တိုင္းေၾကာင့္ ေသဆုံး ၄၀၀၀ ၊ ေပ်ာက္ဆုံး ၃၀၀၀
May 5th, 2008 by admin
ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕အပါအဝင္ ဧရာဝတီတိုင္း ျမစ္ဝကြ်န္းေပၚေဒသမ်ားကို ျပင္းထန္စြာ ျဖတ္သန္းတိုက္ခိုက္ခတ္ခဲ့သည့္ နာဂစ္ ဆိုင္ကလုန္းမုန္တိုင္းဒဏ္ေၾကာင့္ လူ ၄၀၀၀ ေက်ာ္ေသဆုံး၍ ၃၀၀၀ ေက်ာ္ ေပ်ာက္ဆုံးေနၿပီးေထာင္ေပါင္း မ်ားစြာ အိုးမဲ့အိမ္မဲ့ ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ေနျပည္ေတာ္အစိုးရ ေရဒီယုိက ေၾကညာသည္။ရန္ကုန္ဆိပ္ကမ္းတြင္ မုန္တိုင္း ဒဏ္ေၾကာင့္ သေဘာၤမ်ား နစ္ျမဳပ္ခဲ့။
ယင္းမတိုင္ခင္ ဟိုင္းႀကီး ကြ်န္းတြင္ လူ ၁၆၂ ဦး ေသဆုံးမႈ အပါအဝင္ အနည္းဆုံး လူ ၃၅၁ ဦး ေသဆုံးေၾကာင္း အစိုးရ ႐ုပ္ျမင္သံၾကားကလည္း ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာသည္။ ဧရာဝတီ ျမစ္ဝကြ်န္းေပၚေဒသ ေျမနိမ့္ပိုင္းတြင္ တျခားေသာ ေသဆုံးသူမ်ားရွိေသးသည္ဟုလည္း ဆုိသည္။အဆိုပါ ျမစ္ဝကြ်န္းေပၚေဒသ လပြတၱာၿမိဳ႕နယ္တြင္ အေဆာက္အဦး ၇၅ ရာခိုင္ႏႈန္း ထိခိုက္ပ်က္စီးေၾကာင္းလည္း အစိုးရ ႐ုပ္ျမင္သံၾကားက ေၾကညာခဲ့သည္။
ဧရာဝတီတိုင္း ပန္းတေနာ္ၿမိဳ႕တြင္ အိမ္ေျခ ၆၀ ခန္႔ ပ်က္စီး၍ ဘုိကေလးၿမိဳ႕တြင္ ေသဆုံးသူမ်ား၏ ႐ုပ္အေလာင္း ၅၀၀ ခန္႔ ေတြ႕ရွိရေၾကာင္း ေဒသခံမ်ားက ေျပာဆိုသည္။
ယင္း ျမစ္ဝကြ်န္းေပၚေဒသသို႔ သြားေရာက္၍ သတင္းအခ်က္အလက္မ်ားယူရန္ ပထမ ႀကိဳးစားမႈ မွာ လမ္းမ်ား ပိတ္ဆို႔ေနၿပီး တယ္လီဖုန္းလိုင္းမ်ားျပတ္ေတာက္ေနသည့္အတြက္ မေအာင္ျမင္ေသာေၾကာင့့္ ယေန႔ အဖြဲ႕တဖြဲ႕ လႊတ္ရန္ စီစဥ္ထားသည္ဟု ကုလသမဂၢ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာမႈေရးရာ ပူးေပါင္းေဆာင္႐ြက္ေရး အရာရွိ ခရစၥ ေကရီက ေအပီ သတင္းဌာနသို႔ ေျပာသည္။
လူ ဦးေရ ၆.၅ သန္းခန္႔ရွိေသာ ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕တြင္လည္း ထိုေလျပင္းမုန္တိုင္းတိုက္ခတ္မႈေၾကာင့္ တၿမိဳ႕လုံးနီးပါး ႀကီးမားစြာ ပ်က္စီးဆုံး႐ႈံးမႈျဖစ္ခဲ့သည္ဟု ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕ခံမ်ားကေျပာသည္။
မုန္တိုင္းဒဏ္သင့္ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ား ေသာက္သုံးေရ ျပတ္လပ္မႈေၾကာင့္ ပုဂၢလိကပိုင္ ေရတြင္းမ်ားကိုသာ အားထားေနၾကရ။ (Photo: AFP)
ယေန႔တြင္ ရန္ကုန္ မဂၤလာဒုံ ႏိုင္ငံတကာ ေလဆိပ္ ႏွင့္ ေလေၾကာင္းလိုင္းမ်ား ျပန္လည္ဖြင့္လွစ္လိုက္ေသာ္လည္း အမ်ားျပည္သူသုံး ခရီးသည္တင္ကားမ်ား မေျပးဆြဲႏိုင္ေသးသည့္အတြက္ အခက္အခဲမ်ားျဖစ္ကာ ၾကားကား မ်ားျဖင့္ သြားလာၾကရၿပီး ယင္းကားခမ်ားမွာ အနီးအနားသြားရာ၌ပင္ က်ပ္ ၅၀၀ -၁၀၀၀ အထိ ရွိေနေၾကာင္း လည္း သိရ သည္။
ေမလ၂ ရက္ ေန႔ညက တနာရီ မိုင္ ၁၂၀ ႏႈန္းျဖင့္ တိုက္ခတ္ခဲ့ေသာ ယင္း နာဂစ္ ဆိုင္ကလုံး မုန္တိုင္း ေလေဘး ဒဏ္ေၾကာင့္ ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕တြင္လွ်ပ္စစ္မီးႏွင့္တယ္လီဖုန္းလိုင္းမ်ား ဆက္လက္ျပတ္ေတာက္ေနၿပီး ေရႏွင့္ စား ေသာက္ကုန္၊ လူသုံးကုန္ပစၥည္းမ်ားရွားပါး ျပတ္လပ္၍ ေစ်းႏႈန္းမ်ား အဆမတန္ျမင့္တက္ေနေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။
ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕၌ ယေန႔တြင္ ဓာတ္ဆီ ၈၀၀၀ က်ပ္၊ ဒီဇယ္ဆီ ယခင္ ၄၅၀၀ က်ပ္မွ ၈၅၀၀-၉၀၀၀ က်ပ္၊ ဆန္ေခ်ာ တျပည္ ၁၂၀၀ က်ပ္ မွ ၂၀၀၀ က်ပ္၊ ဆန္ၾကမ္း တျပည္ က်ပ္ ၉၀၀ မွ ၁၂၀၀ က်ပ္၊ စားသုံးဆီ က်ပ္ ၄၀၀၀ မွ ၆၀၀၀ က်ပ္၊ အိုင္အိုဒင္းဆား တထုတ္ က်ပ္ ၁၀၀ မွ ၅၀၀ က်ပ္၊ ၾကက္ဥ တလုံး က်ပ္ ၁၀၀ မွ က်ပ္ ၃၀၀ ၊ ဖေရာင္းတိုင္ တထုတ္ ၅၀၀ က်ပ္မွ ၁၀၀၀ က်ပ္၊ မီးစက္ ေဖေဖာ္ဝါရီ လကုန္ပိုင္းတြင္ က်ပ္ ၃ သိန္း ၂ ေသာင္းရွိရာမွ ၆ သိန္း ၇ ေသာင္း ေစ်းျဖစ္ေနေၾကာင္း ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕ခံ မ်ား က ေျပာသည္။ အစိုးရက ယမန္ေန႔က စတင္ၿပီး ကားမ်ားကို ဓာတ္ဆီ ခြဲတန္း ၂ ဂါလန္ထုတ္ေပးသည္ဟု သိရသည္။

ေသာက္သုံးေရလည္း အခက္အခဲျဖစ္ေနၾကၿပီး ဝယ္ယူသုံးစြဲေနၾကရသူမ်ားျပားေၾကာင္းႏွင့္ တရက္လ်င္ ပ်မ္းမွ် ေရဖိုး က်ပ္ ၂၀၀၀ ခန္႔ ကုန္ေၾကာင္း ရန္ကုန္ ၾကည့္ျမင္တိုင္ ၿမိဳ႕နယ္တြင္ ေနထိုင္သူ တဦးက ေျပာျပသည္။

“ေရကေတာ့ ေတာ္ေတာ္ ခက္ေနတယ္၊ ေသာက္ေရ သုံးေရကို သုံးစရာ မရွိဘူး၊ တခ်ိဳ႕လူေတြက အင္ယားကန္ က ေရကို ခပ္သုံးေနၾကတယ္၊ ေရသန္႔ ဘူးႀကီး ၁၂ ဘူးကို က်ပ္ ၈၀၀၀ ေပးဝယ္ရတယ္၊ ေတာ္႐ုံ အေျခခံ လူတန္း စားေတြက လုံးဝတတ္ႏိုင္မွာ မဟုတ္ဘူး၊ အစစ အရာရာ ေတာ္ေတာ္ ရွားေနတယ္”ဟု ၎က ေျပာသည္။

ေသာက္သုံးေရကို မူ အစိုးရက ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕တြင္ ယေန႔ ေပးေဝ ေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။

“ေရ ဂါလန္ ၂ သိန္းေဝတယ္လို႔ သိရတယ္၊ ဘယ္ေလာက္မွာ လဲ၊ ၿပီးေတာ့ ေရေတြက ဝါေနလို႔သုံးလို႔ မရဘူး၊ ေရဝယ္သုံးရတဲ့ တိုက္ခန္းေတြမွာဆို အေပၚအထပ္ကိုတင္ေပးရရင္ က်ပ္ ၃၅၀၀၊ ကိုယ္တိုင္သယ္ရင္ ၁၀၀၀ က်ပ္၊ အရင္တုန္းက ၁၀၀ ေလာက္ပဲေပးရတယ္၊ ခ်ိဳးျဖဴပိုက္ထဲမွာလည္း ေရလံုး၀မရွိဘူး”ဟု ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕ခံ တဦးက ေျပာသည္။

ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕တြင္ လက္ရွိအေျခအေနေၾကာင့္ ေစ်းေရာင္းခ်သူတခ်ိဳ႕မွာ လုယက္မည္ကို စိုးရိမ္ၿပီး ဆိုင္တခါးပိတ္၍ ေရာင္းခ်ၾကသည္ဟုလည္း သိရသည္။ ယမန္ေန႔ညက ရန္ကုန္သီရိမဂၤလာေစ်း၌ ေလေဘး ဒုကၡသည္ ၄၀ ခန္႔က ဝင္ေရာက္ လုယက္မႈ တခုျဖစ္ပြားခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ေဒသခံ တဦးကေျပာသည္။

ဤကဲ့သုိ႔ လူအမ်ား ေလေဘးဒုကၡခံေနရခ်ိန္တြင္ စစ္အစိုးရက ယေန႔ထုတ္ ၎တို႔၏ ျမန္မာ့အလင္းသတင္းစာ ၌ လာမည့္ ေမလ ၁၀ ရက္တြင္ က်င္းပမည့္ ဖြဲ႕စည္းပုံအေျခခံဥပေဒ မူၾကမ္း အတည္ျပဳ ဆႏၵခံယူပြဲကို မျဖစ္ မေန ျပဳလုပ္မည္ဟု ေၾကညာျခင္းသည္ ျပည္သူမ်ား၏ ပ်က္စီးဆုံး႐ႈံးဒုကၡခံစားရမႈမ်ားကို လ်စ္လ်ဴ႐ႈျခင္းျဖစ္ ေၾကာင္းကို လည္း ေဒသခံမ်ားၾကားတြင္ ေျပာဆိုေနေၾကာင္းသိရသည္။

ရန္ကုန္ စမ္းေခ်ာင္းၿမိဳ႕နယ္တြင္ ေနထိုင္သူ တဦးက“ဒါကိုၾကည့္ျခင္းအားျဖင့္ အစိုးရက ေလေဘးကို စိတ္မဝင္စား ဘူး၊ သူတို႔လုပ္ခ်င္တာကို ဆက္လုပ္သြားမယ္လို႔ ေျပာတာပဲ၊ ရန္ကုန္မွာ ရွိေနတဲ့ လူေတြက အခုေလာေလာဆယ္ ေရ ျပႆနာ၊ မီးျပႆနာ၊ ကုန္ေစ်းႏႈန္းကလည္း အဆမတန္ ျမင့္တက္ေနေတာ့ စားဝတ္ေနေရး ျပႆနာေတြနဲ႔ ဆိုေတာ့ အဲဒါကိုပဲ အာ႐ုံ စိုက္ေနၾကတာ၊ အဲဒီ ဆႏၵမဲ ကိစၥဘက္ကို စိတ္မဝင္စားဘူး”ဟု ဧရာဝတီသို႔ ေျပာသည္။

စစ္အစိုးရက သတင္းစာတြင္ ေသာၾကာေန႔က ထုတ္ျပန္ေသာ ကုလသမဂၢ လုံၿခံဳေရး ေကာင္စီ၏ ေၾကညာခ်က္ကို ျပန္လည္တုံ႔ျပန္ခ်က္ အပါအဝင္ ဖြဲ႕စည္းပုံ အေျခခံ ဥပေဒ ဆႏၵခံယူပြဲအတြက္ ဆႏၵမဲေပးရန္ ျပည္သူလူထုက စိတ္ အားထက္သန္ေနေၾကာင္း၊ ကမၻာ့ႏိုင္ငံ မ်ားက ေထာက္ခံႀကိဳဆုိလ်ွက္ရွိေသာ ၎တို႔၏ လမ္းျပ ေျမပုံ ၇ ဆင့္ အတိုင္း ဆက္လက္ အေကာင္အထည္ ေဖာ္ေဆာင္သြားမည္ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း စသည့္ အခ်က္ ၄ ခ်က္ပါဝင္သည့္ ေၾကညာခ်က္ကို ေမလ ၄ ရက္ေန႔ ရက္စြဲျဖင့္ ဗိုလ္မႉးႀကီးသန္႔ရွင္းက ထုတ္ျပန္လိုက္ျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။ ဧရာဝတီ News