Out Of The Box Thinking On Burma: Total Engagement?

I am for a total engagement with Cuba, for example. That is the best way to bring about political plurality on that island.

Freedom rings in every human heart. When given a choice, people want to be free. But the message from sanctions ends up being, you starve the population and they will be forced to come out into the streets. I am not sure that is the best way to go about it.

The question we have to ask is, whatever it is that we are doing, is it working?

I think one of the two extremes has to be followed, either total sanctions, or total engagement. Forget China, not even Britain is on board with the idea of sanctions. A lot of British companies are making a lot of money doing business in Burma. And India has decided it can't let China run the only show inside Burma.

And whatever we decide has to be done in close coordination with the National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi's party. If they want continued sanctions, so be it. But I think all big powers speaking in unison saying lifting of all sanctions is on the table if the junta will set Suu Kyi free will be a big step in the right direction. If the junta will agree to free all political prisoners, and they will agree to a roadmap to democracy as agreed to by the NLD, I think we should be open to the possibility of engagement.

What I am most worried about right now is that momentum might be lost. Soon it will be winter, And then it might be lost for good for at least half a year.

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In The News

UN Envoy Says Burma Should be Offered Incentives Voice of America
United Nations Envoy in Talks for Early Return to Burma Voice of America
Can Ibrahim Gambari Save Burma? TIME
Burma junta: 3000 detained in protest USA Today
Burma Junta: Crackdown continues on protesters
USA Today
Burmese regime frees high-profile protesters Guardian Unlimited freed the country's leading comedian and a revered actor and his wife ...... Oscar-winning actor Kyaw Thu ..... Burma's leaders said they would continue to hunt down the leaders of the demonstrations ..... The regime acknowledged that almost 3,000 had been arrested, though it said only about 500 were still being held; those freed had been made to sign "pledges". ...... the regime claimed it had discovered large quantities of explosives at a Rangoon monastery ..... 48 blocks of US-manufactured high-explosive had been found at the Nan Oo monastery ....... growing testimony emerging from Burma told of deaths, torture, starvation and lack medical treatment in overcrowded detention facilities.
Burma blames monks for violence Melbourne Herald Sun
Burma admits holding 468 protesters Bangkok Post
UN demands help for hungry in Burma
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HRW calls on China to end repression in Burma
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China: Take Concrete Action on Burma Now Human Rights Watch
China urged to slap arms embargo on Myanmar AFP
Don't let the Burmese become forgotten people
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Britain Prepared to Offer Burma Aid in Exchange for Reform Voice of America
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Experts Urge China, India to Exert Pressure on Burmese Government Voice of America
Crisis in Burma: Can the US Bring About a Peaceful Resolution?
US Department of State, DC Three weeks have now passed since the start of Burmese military and security forces’ brutal crackdown on civilians and Buddhist monks for peacefully expressing their desire for democracy and change. ...... While the streets of Rangoon are now eerily “calm” and the regime tries to project a return to “normalcy and stability,” the situation is anything but normal. ........ October 13 arrest of “88 Generation Students” activist Htay Kywe and four others ...... continues to raid monasteries and arrest activists, and is holding hundreds – possibly thousands – of detainees, including “88 Generation” leaders Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Pyone Cho, Jimmy, and others. ......... death last week of National League for Democracy (NLD) member Win Shwe, who was arrested and tortured ....... maintain maximum pressure on the regime, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to end the repression, release the prisoners, and initiate a genuine dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and the democratic opposition, and with the ethnic minority group, that leads to a peaceful transition to civilian, democratic rule. ....... of a broader effort to build the strongest possible international diplomatic pressure on the regime. ..... The First Lady’s continued personal attention to the Burma crisis has effectively helped keep the international spotlight on the regime’s brutal behavior and the need for peaceful transition now. House and Senate resolutions and letters have also been tremendously helpful. ........ The adoption by the UN Security Council of an unprecedented Presidential Statement on Burma on October 11 ........ Gambari is the only one in the international community who has been able to gain access to both the regime leadership and to Aung San Suu Kyi. ..... The Department of State also identified additional senior regime officials and their immediate family members – now totaling over 800 names – as potentially subject to the Presidential Proclamation that suspends the entry into the United States of persons who formulate, implement, or benefit from policies that impede Burma’s transition to democracy. ....... tough economic measures are necessary and perhaps the only way of getting the regime’s attention ....... doubled Burmese language programming on Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. ....... we are dealing with a military entrenched in power for over four decades that will not easily or willingly give up the absolute power and perquisites it enjoys. ..... The Burmese military has forcefully insinuated itself over four decades into every fiber of the country and runs a parallel economic and social system that enriches it while impoverishing the rest of Burma. ........ On October 15, EU Foreign Ministers imposed additional sanctions banning the export of logging and mining equipment to Burma, barring the import from Burma of such products, and prohibiting investment in these sectors in Burma. The Government of Australia also announced its intention to implement targeted financial sanctions against regime figures and supporters. ....... India’s message and support for U.S. efforts in the United Nations is undercut by actions, such as its announcement to invest over $100 million in a transportation development project in western Burma, which is adjacent to recently explored offshore gas fields. India can and should do more given its stature as the world’s largest democracy; its voice and actions, at this time, are critical. ...... China has the most influence on the regime and its policies. China facilitated UN Special Advisor Gambari’s September 29 – October 2 visit to Burma by urging the regime to allow him to meet with Senior General Than Shwe and Aung San Suu Kyi. Significantly, China also joined the international consensus to speak out about the situation in Burma by supporting the UN Security Council’s October 11 Presidential Statement on Burma.
Canada gives honary citizenship to Burma's democracy leader Radio Australia
China faces a tricky balancing act in Burma
Financial Times, UK the insular, defiant Burmese military regime ........ China, which shares a 1,400-mile border with Burma, has growing economic interests in the country and has until now shielded its regime from international action. ........ during the Cultural Revolution when China supported serious communist insurgencies in Burma. ...... China must also consider its interests in harnessing Burmese energy and raw materials to the development of its economically backward province of Yunnan ....... Beijing must balance its support for the current regime with the prospects for maintaining good relations with a future civilian democratic government in Burma. ....... must be careful not to foster resentment among the Burmese public that might turn into violence against the large Chinese immigrant population in Burma, as it has in the past. ........ While Beijing is undoubtedly disgusted with the generals’ performance both politically and economically, it is unlikely to act unilaterally to bring them into line. Rather, Chinese leaders will find it more attractive to keep the UN in the lead, supporting its efforts to press the Burmese regime into genuine dialogue and political reform, but working at the same time to moderate the language of UN statements and resolutions
We will step up sanctions on Burma - PM 10 Downing Street
Pressure Myanmar, UK tells India Times of India India does not want to be drawn down the sanctions route. There's a way to prevent that. India should offer Burma incentives to change, more engagements but with the threat that if the regime does not change there will be consequences." ..... India, he said, has "not yet had the opportunity to state itself quite so strongly as the others, or demonstrate so strongly". .... India also has a substantial diaspora in Myanmar and the government does not want to jeopardise their future.
Brown pledges Burma support InTheNews.co.uk
Burma tourist tells of chained children, pregnant women
The Age, Australia children and pregnant women among the families of pro-democracy supporters, chained together and under heavy guard on a river ferry deep inside Burma. ...... crackdown on dissidents now probably extends to their relatives and is being carried out in a thorough and ruthless fashion by the ruling military junta, even in remote parts of the country. ........ From the look on their faces and their frequent tears, it was clear that they believed they were travelling to almost certain death." ....... One of the shackled women was nine months pregnant ...... "There were 10 men, 10 women and four boys in chains," he said. "The youngest was about eight. Because there was no room on the boat, they were placed next to us and we had to walk through the group whenever we went to the toilet. The prisoners were kept in pairs, handcuffed together. "They would be taken to the toilet in pairs, escorted each time by three guys carrying machine guns. There were about 15 armed guards all told." .......... bound for a detention centre in Tayet.
China Needs to Act on Burma Associated Content, CO
US calls on world to increase pressure on Myanmar AFP
Burma: EU approves tougher sanctions Adnkronos International Italia

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Christian Science Monitor
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Bhutto makes triumphant return to Pakistan USA Today
Brownback Said to Be Dropping Out
New York Times
China summons US ambassador to protest over Dalai Lama AFP
Iran dialogue better than sanctions: Putin Reuters

Putin attacks US foreign policy, announces new nuclear weapon AFP said he wanted the ruling United Russia party to preserve his policies after December parliamentary elections, confirming that he wants to retain major political influence after leaving office. ........ called the US intervention in Iraq a "dead end" and called on Washington to set a deadline for the withdrawal of troops. ........ energy-rich Russia could not suffer the same fate. To think so, he said, was "political erotica." ....... Iran's nuclear power programme, saying Moscow's insistence on negotiations was better than "threats, sanctions or even force." ........ was also planning a "completely new" atomic weapon. ...... sixth phone-in during eight years in power ....... saying this party's victory would ensure that his policies over the last eight years continued. ........ he was "against cutting the powers of the president of Russia" ....... economic growth of 7.7 percent ...... he remains by far the dominant political force in a country where there is almost no outspoken opposition. ........ no major politician has yet expressed interest in seeking the presidency, while polls indicate the parliamentary election will give Putin's United Russia party an overwhelming majority. ........ he may return to the Kremlin for a third term after a break -- something the constitution does not bar. ....... Later Thursday Putin was to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Moscow for talks expected to focus on Iran's Russian-backed nuclear programme.
Russian chess: Kasparov vs. Putin The Christian Science Monitor The virtual Putin autocracy (Russia hardly qualifies as a democracy anymore) draws its overwhelming popular support from a well-oiled economy. Last year, it grew 6.6 percent. ....... inflation, unemployment, and poverty have dropped significantly, while real incomes have increased, along with the state's petro-driven budget surplus. Whomever Putin handpicks as his successor is just fine with most Russians, polls show. ........... "The goal of the Other Russia is not winning elections, but to have an election" ...... New election rules mean further demise of opposition parties ....... Russian TV shuts out Kasparov (except as a subject of ridicule). Nashi, the pro-Putin youth group, disrupts Other Russia meetings, and Other Russia protesters have been arrested. Kasparov spends a small fortune on bodyguards. His celebrity is a protection but not a guarantee.
Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan AP More than 150,00 jubilant supporters gathered to greet her amid massive security. ..... was in tears as she descended the steps of a commercial flight that brought her ...... "I counted the hours, I counted the minutes and the seconds, just to see this land, to see the grass, to see the sky. I feel so emotionally overwhelmed" ..... clutched prayer beads in her right hand ....... She said she was fighting for democracy and to help this nuclear-armed country of 160 million people defeat the extremism that gave it the reputation as a hotbed of international terrorism. ....... It would take a constitutional amendment for her to be prime minister again ...... the spirit of huge crowds forming in Karachi. ..... Hundreds of buses and other vehicles festooned with billboards welcoming her back were parked bumper-to-bumper along the boulevard from the airport to the city center. ...... groups of men performed traditional dances, beat drums or shook maracas along the way. ...... said he had "blind faith" in Bhutto's leadership. ....... a government spokesman claimed her rally was a flop. ...... The crowd seemed far smaller than the 3 million Bhutto claimed had turned out to welcome her. Its size was estimated at 150,000 ....... showed that Bhutto's party machinery remained intact despite her absence. ...... Bhutto told reporters that her homecoming felt like a miracle. ...... 20,000 officers were deployed there and along the route into the city. .... "People are intelligent now, they don't buy this rubbish," said Kamran Saleen, a 38-year-old businessman who lives near Karachi airport. "They know politicians can't make much difference." ........ Musharraf has seen his popularity plunge since a failed attempt to oust the country's top judge in the spring. The rapprochement with Bhutto appears aimed at boosting his political base as he vies to extend his rule. ...... Bhutto said she doubted the judges would stop either
Swearing at work boosts team spirt, morale: research AFP Regular swearing at work can help boost team spirit among staff, allowing them to express better their feelings as well as develop social relationships ........ swearing would become more common as traditional taboos are broken down ...... helped foster solidarity among employees and express frustration, stress or other feelings. ...... Banning swear words and reprimanding staff might represent strong leadership, but could remove key links between staff and impact on morale and motivation ...... leaders sometimes need to 'think differently' and be open to intriguing ideas. ...... master the 'art' of knowing when to turn a blind eye
BBC unveils 1,800 job cuts AFP some of the biggest staff cuts in the corporation's history. ...... a swathe of other cost-saving measures including selling its west London headquarters, three percent annual efficiency targets for the next six years and making 10 percent fewer new programmes ...... will also merge its largely separate television, radio and online news operations into one newsroom. ....... "smaller but fitter" organisation.

India Proposes to Rein in Foreign Investment New York Times
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Putin Is Said to Offer Idea on Standoff Over Iran New York Times during an extraordinary meeting with Iran’s supreme leader ...... “We will think about what you said and about your proposal,” even as he added that Iran was “determined to provide our country’s need for nuclear energy.” ....... Putin also warned the West against a military attack on Iran, stressing that Tehran had a right to peaceful nuclear energy. ...... Putin said during his meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei that Russia was ready to “expand ties without limitations.” As Iran’s most senior official, the ayatollah has final word on state matters, and his decision to see Mr. Putin was regarded as significant in itself.
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Google Says Its Health Platform Is Due In Early 2008 InformationWeek
Google to supply health record services Xinhua Google will provide personal health record services which allow consumers to travel around the world and supply their medical records protected by passwords to local doctors ...... the scale of health-related information is huge, with an estimated 2 billion X-rays alone created every year. ..... looking at creating a special layer of doctor and medical-related locations on its online Google Maps service. This could help people find local doctors, understand their specialties or related practitioners. ...... by noticing the number of searches users perform with its Web search services for hard-to-diagnose health problems, often simply by typing symptoms into a Web browser. ........ an electronic health record service called Microsoft HealthVault.
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