I keep following this one. The top story is excellent (I always like Geoffery York’s writing), interviewing three monks who managed to cross into Thailand (where they are not safe from Thai police, but are at least able to make an attempt at freedom and contact with those who can report back about what is happening). The second one is about the economics of the large gas companies, one of which is Total from France, which are operating and do pay taxes towards the junta but which are choosing to stay as is.

The Canadian government is very quiet about this topic.

Escape from Myanmar

>i>Tear gas and a volley of bullets brought their peaceful protest to a bloody end. Cowering in a Rangoon alley, three holy men decided to flee for their lives. Geoffrey York tells the remarkable story of how they dared to protest for those living on rice and water, and their perilous secret journey to Thailand

GEOFFREY YORK

From Friday’s Globe and Mail

October 5, 2007 at 12:40 AM EDT

MAE SOT, Thailand — First came the tear gas. The crowd began running — and then came the bullets.
“I didn’t know where to run,” says Vida, a 48-year-old monk. “I was running for my life.”

For a quarter of an hour, as he hid in a side street, he listened to the terrifying sound of gunfire. Myanmar’s police and soldiers were shooting into the crowd of monks and protesters.

“We were told that one young student was shot in the head, and his brains were splattered on the ground,” Vida remembers. “We didn’t dare to go back to the crowd.”

These Buddhist monks still fear for their safety after escaping Myanmar military authorities to reach Thailand through network of safe houses.

These Buddhist monks still fear for their safety after escaping Myanmar military authorities to reach Thailand through network of safe houses.

“Escape from Myanmar” continues here

Total has no plans to leave Myanmar

Globe and Mail Update and Reuters

October 5, 2007 at 9:32 AM EDT

More evidence has surfaced showing how difficult it is for both foreign governments and non-governmental organizations to mobilize a corporate boycott of Myanmar’s military government.

Even as the junta’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests continued in the former Burma Friday, French oil and gas giant Total SA said it has no plans to leave the country, while Thailand’s state energy firm, PTT Public Co. Ltd., said it still expects to sign a major natural gas deal with its neighbour this year.

The statements come the same week as mining promoter Robert Friedland’s Vancouver-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. – a major target for anti-junta critics in the past – took the unusual step of condemning the Myanmar government’s deadly crackdown against protesters, even though it says it no longer owns operations there

Total’s statement also came about a week after France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy exhorted French companies to freeze their investments in Myanmar, Total chief executive officer Christophe de Margerie told Paris’s Le Monde newspaper that the company is not planning to make new investments in the troubled Asian nation, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.

“Investing in this country today would be a provocation,” Mr. de Margerie said, after NGOs said the presence of energy companies in Myanmar helped prop up the military junta, Reuters reported. “We have a dialogue with NGOs when they accept it, we listen to them, but they do not decide what the group does. Total will not withdraw (from Myanmar).”

Total is one of the biggest foreign investors in Myanmar where its joint venture earns the junta hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to the Burma Campaign U.K. Web site.

“Total has no plans to leave Myanmar” continues here

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