The Burmese authorities (i.e. the brutal, repressive military dictatorship which refers to itself as the State Peace and Development Council) has decreed that more than 60 Buddhist monasteries and 10 Buddhist teaching centres in Rangoon will be razed to make way for a new road and port financed by two army cronies. A plot of land on the fringes of Rangoon has been earmarked for the monasteries to relocate to. However, the monks depend on alms from their supporters to survive, and the area to which they’re to move is remote and desolate. To add insult to injury, the monasteries and centres have been told they will receive no compensation for the loss of their existing land and buildings and no assistance with the costs of constructing their new accommodation.

And to think that ASEAN has just asked western countries to lift sanctions against Burma.

Welcome to the new, democratic Burma.

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News also from Burma: the government is going to tax all purchases by NGOs at rates of up to 20% – just another way for the junta to feather its own nest whilst increasing the suffering of the Burmese people. In contrast, businesses close to the junta and those run by relatives of the generals are exempted from paying any tax.

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