Burma. In January, Burma announced plans to build a
nuclear research reactor with Russian help. Among other
things, the US and the EU expressed concern that Burma would
not comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency's
IAEA safety regulations.
In March, four close relatives of former dictator Ne Win
were arrested. They were accused of planning to overthrow
the military regime and were sentenced to death in
September. The information on coup preparations was also
said to have led to high-level purges in the police and
military. More than 80 soldiers were sentenced to prison for
15 years each.
Countryaah website, Ne Win passed away in December at the age of 91 after
being in house arrest since March. He ruled Burma in 1962-88
and was responsible for the country's economic collapse
through the isolationist and economically insane "Burmese
Road to Socialism".
Information that Prime Minister Than Shwe had met with
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in January gave new hope
of a thaw in relations between the military junta and the
opposition. Suu Kyi was released in May from 20 months in
house arrest and later was able to visit party friends
outside the country without hindrance. During the summer, a
large number of political prisoners were also released in
rounds, but far from all the more than 1,000 people who,
according to Amnesty International, among others, are
imprisoned for political reasons.
An explanation for the softer line towards the opposition
was believed to be the junta's need for a solution to
Burma's precarious financial situation. The currency,
cheated, lost significantly in value and the supply
situation was described as very difficult. Every third child
under five was estimated to be malnourished.
However, no solution to the country's isolation was in
sight since the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
targeted fierce criticism of Burma in a report. Among the
many "grave and systematic" violations of human rights in
Burma were mentioned extrajudicial executions, forced labor,
child labor, torture, rape, forced displacement, obstruction
of freedom of speech, assembly and religion, and the absence
of an independent judiciary.
Pyinmana, Burma's administrative capital from 2005, approximately 400 km north of
Rangoon; 1.34 million inbd (including Naypyidaw, 2011). The city has an
agricultural university as well as the sugar and lumber industry. Astrologers
who have great influence in Burma determined the timing of the move. On November
7, 2005 at 6.37 began the relocation of furniture from several ministries from
Rangoon to Pyinmana. It is believed that the regime moved the capital because of
predictions and fears of a new popular uprising and of an American invasion.
At the new government town just west of Pyinmana, a large underground
facility, airport, hospital, military facility, offices and golf course have
been built. In addition, a large parade system with statues of three Burmese
kings has been erected. The government city has been named Naypyidaw 'the city
of kings'. The move has cost enormous sums for the poor country and hampered the
government's contacts with diplomacy. In World War II, during the Japanese
occupation, the area was training camp for Burma Independent Army under Aung
San. A transition in the 1950's was the base for the Burma Communist Party.