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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - After crushing the democracy uprising with guns, Myanmar’s junta switched to an intimidation campaign Wednesday, sending troops to drag people from their homes in the middle of the night and letting others know they were marked for arrest.
People living near the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most revered shrine and a flash point of unrest during the protests, reported that police swept through several dozen homes about 3 a.m., dragging away many men for questioning.
A U.N. Development Program employee, Myint Nwe Moe, and her husband, brother-in-law and driver were among those taken away by police, the U.N. agency said.
Dozens of Buddhist monks jammed Yangon’s main train station after being ordered to vacate their monasteries - centers of the anti-government demonstrations - and told to go back to their hometowns and villages.
It was not clear who ordered them out. Older abbots in charge of monasteries are seen as tied to the ruling military junta, while younger monks are more sympathetic to the democracy movement.
Authorities also released a reporter for the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun after six days in detention. Min Zaw was taken from his home Friday by plainclothes security personnel who said he would be held temporarily for questioning.
Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog, has said that several other correspondents of foreign news media, including those of Reuters and Agence France-Presse, were physically attacked or prevented from working in the past month.
The Thailand-based news Web site The Irrawaddy reported three Burmese journalists have been missing for several days. A Japanese video journalist, Kenji Nagai, was killed in Yangon at the height of the demonstrations on Sept. 27. His body was flown out of the country Wednesday.
Internet connections have been pretty much nonexistent since last Wednesday late in the day.
Things are very, very, VERY tense inside the country. In Yangon, many people are staying at home, keeping family close. Most people are at the very least getting in huge stocks of food, water and fuel. The hoarding is pretty amazing. People are locking their houses and gates earlier or all the time. The traffic (where there aren't road blocks) is very light. But still you can see people riding buses, selling fruit, building houses, etc., and trying to carry on with their daily routine. It isn't easy to do. Last week in Yangon, some people arrived at work in the downtown area on Wednesday morning and found themselves unable to return home for at least the following three nights, because the area of the city they were in was locked down while they were at work - no one was able to go in or out. The 9PM-5AM curfew in effect throughout Yangon and other major cities is already having an impact on lots of businesses.
The UN special envoy's visit to Myanmar cannot be called a success, the UN secretary-general has said.
However, Ban Ki-moon said Ibrahim Gambari delivered "the strongest possible message" to the country's military rulers over its bloody crackdown on anti-government protests.
"You cannot call it a success," he said, but stopped short of calling it a failure.
He added, however, that he was "relatively relieved that he [Gambari] was first of all able to meet with leaders of the Myanmar government as well as Madame Aung San Suu Kyi".
Giving few details of the envoy's visit or what steps he intended to take next, Ban said he would meet the UN Security Council on Friday to "discuss closely ... what action to take in the future".
The military junta PM Lt-Gen Soe Win’s treatment was a hush-hush affair, as it was kept under wraps. He had been ill for a considerable time. He died this evening, in Yangon
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Myanmar's military rulers on Thursday accused foreign governments of trying to destroy the country, while soldiers carried out more overnight raids to arrest people suspected of joining a pro-democracy uprising.
Meanwhile, Myanmar's junta leader, Gen. Than Shwe, has offered to meet democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, if she agrees to end her support for sanctions against the military regime, the Associated Press reported state media saying on Thursday.
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- While international attention has focused on the protests for democracy in Myanmar's cities, a hidden war has decimated generations of the country's powerless ethnic minorities, who have faced brutality for decades.
The Karen, the Shan and other minority groups who live along the Myanmar-Thai border have been attacked, raped and killed by government soldiers. Their thatched-roofed, bamboo homes have been torched. Men have been seized into forced labor for the army, while women, children and the elderly either hide out in nearby jungles until the soldiers leave or flee over the mountains to crowded, makeshift refugee camps.
"Many, many thousands of Karen have died in those 60 years," Karen National Union secretary general Mahn Sha said this week of his people's struggle for autonomy since 1947.
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- One hundred shot dead outside a Myanmar school. Activists burned alive at government crematoriums. A Buddhist monk floating face down in a river.
Authorities have acknowledged that government troops shot dead nine demonstrators and a Japanese cameraman in Yangon. But witness accounts range from several dozen deaths to as many as 200.
"We do believe the death toll is higher than acknowledged by the government," Shari Villarosa, the top U.S. diplomat in Myanmar, told The Associated Press on Monday. "We are doing our best to get more precise, more detailed information, not only in terms of deaths but also arrests."
Villarosa said her staff had visited up to 15 monasteries around Yangon and every single one was empty. She put the number of arrested demonstrators -- monks and civilians -- in the thousands.
"I know the monks are not in their monasteries," she said. "Where are they? How many are dead? How many are arrested?"
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- After crushing the democracy uprising with guns, Myanmar's junta stepped up its campaign to intimidate citizens Wednesday, sending troops to drag people from their homes in the middle of the night and letting others know they were marked for retribution.
"We have photographs! We are going to make arrests!" soldiers yelled from loudspeakers on military vehicles that patrolled the streets in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city
People living near the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most revered shrine and a flash point of unrest during the protests, reported that security forces swept through several dozen homes about 3 a.m., taking away many men and even some women for questioning.
YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council is pushing for a fact-finding mission to Myanmar as video smuggled out of the secretive country shows unarmed protesters being beaten by the military regime's security forces.
U.N. envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro told CNN International the council "will be in a very strong position to convince the (Myanmar) government ... to receive me" after passing a resolution on Tuesday condemning the violent repression of pro-democracy protests.
The mission would follow a visit by U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari who sought to quell the tensions by meeting with junta leaders and pro-democracy leaders, including detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
But some video of the protests has made it out of the tightly-controlled country, and seem to contradict the statement by Myanmar's foreign minister U Nyan Win, who said the country's security personnel have "exercised utmost restraint" in dealing with massive demonstrations
A pile of sandals remains in the street, evidence of the stampede that followed the military crackdown.
NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) -- This may be the world's only national capital without mobile phone service or international flight connections. It certainly doesn't have traffic problems. And you won't find any food carts clogging the streets.
All of this suits Myanmar's paranoid military leaders just fine.
Welcome to Naypyitaw, the new capital of Myanmar, where the ruling junta can feel safe in a denuded area nestled among mountain jungle, aloof from the demands for democracy that are popping up elsewhere in the country.
Monks join armed resistance
Plans to leave orders and fight government
Many monks who escaped arrest in the Burmese junta’s brutal crackdown on mass demonstrations in Rangoon and Mandalay are returning to their home villages in ethnic areas and joining armed resistance groups.
Five monasteries were raided in Rangoon and about 36 monks were arrested overnight on Wednesday, after receiving beatings from soldiers.
“They (soldiers) came and searched for monks on their lists,” a monk told The Irrawaddy. The soldiers had photographs of monks, and if they found a monk who was in a photograph, they arrested all the monks in the monastery, said the monk.
Raided monasteries included Shwetaungpaw, Dhammazaya and Sandilayama monasteries in South Okkalapa Township and Zayawaddy and Pannitayama in North Okkalapa Township. Two mobile telephones that belonged to monks were also seized by troops, said the source.
The raids in the North Okkalapa monasteries started around 10 p.m. and ended in early morning, said Nilar Thein, a leader of the 88 Generation Students group.
“Monks requested soldiers not to use violent acts on them. But soldiers neglected their requests.” she said.
The raids on monasteries in South Okkalapa Township began at midnight and ended at dawn. Everyone in the monasteries, including laymen, women and children, were taken away.
"The university was suddenly closed down on the last day of the examination for the first year students. It is mainly because the authorities fear that the students might join the protest. The commander himself had instructed the teachers and university authorities. The announcement does not give any specific time for re-opening the university but roughly mentions that the university will remain closed for about one month," a University student told Mizzima.
The military commander has also instructed transportation departments to make train, air and bus tickets available to the students, said the student.
Because of the sudden closure of the University, students from Moe Kaung, Moe Nyin, Hopin, and Bamaw towns, residing in hostels constructed near the university are in a spot as the hostels were also ordered to be closed down, local residents said.
"It is difficult for students belonging to remote areas, as some of them do not have enough money to go back home. And the reopening of the university will only be known at the end of November. So some of the students from remote areas have to put up at friends places," said another student.
Some students, who had participated in the protest-led by monks, had to flee as authorities began searching for them in a continued crackdown, the student added.
BURMA'S military ruler has told a UN envoy he will "personally" meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but with some preconditions.
The announcement through the country's state media apparently intends to show the junta is not entirely inflexible and is willing to deal with Burma's most respected opposition leader.
After crushing the country's biggest pro-democracy uprising in nearly two decades, Senior General Than Shwe told UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari he would be willing to see Ms Suu Kyi if she stopped urging action against the government from within Burma and abroad, state TV and radio reported.
"In her dealings with the government, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has called for confrontation, utter devastation, economic sanctions and all other sanctions," the media cited Gen Than as saying.
Ms Suu Kyi has said she supports economic sanctions but has not publicly called for the overthrow of the government.
Gen Than's preconditions are not new, but it is the first time the junta leader has said he is willing to meet with her. If it takes place, the meeting would be Ms Suu Kyi's first with any senior junta figure in five years.
Burma's ruling military junta has invited the US envoy in Rangoon for talks, in what is said to be the first high level bilateral meeting since a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests, the State Department said Thursday.
"They have requested our charge de affairs to travel to the capital for a briefing with members of the government," department spokesman Sean Mccormack told reporters.
The envoy, Shari Villarosa, does not know the topic of discussions at the meeting scheduled in the junta's administrative capital Naypyidaw, he said.
But Mr McCormack said the United States would send a "very clear message" to the military generals, that they need to start a "meaningful" dialogue with all democratic opposition groups, stop the violent crackdown on peaceful protests, encourage economic and political reforms and greater freedom and openness.
News of the meeting came as Burma's state media reported that the junta chief Senior General Than Shwe would be willing to meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi if she meets several preconditions, including ending her support for sanctions on the regime.