Junta orders major Air Force base relocated; NLD contemplating contesting in the 2010 general elections; UN: Aid flow hampering relief efforts
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  • One of the major Air Force bases in Myanmar, Mingalardon Air Force Base, has been ordered to relocate to Seikpyingone in Meiktila Township in central Myanmar. Military sources in Rangoon said that since 2006, the ruling military council has also upgraded Air Force facilities and has created two new Air Force bases in Magwe, the capital of Magwe Division, and Bassein in Irrawaddy Division. Mingaladon Air Base, which was formed in 1950, houses among other aircraft, MiG-29 fighters, G-4 aircraft, and PC-9 and PC-7 squadrons. The government transferred squadrons of G-4 aircraft to Bassein Air Force Base in Irrawaddy Division and PC-9 and PC-7 squadrons to the Magwe Air Force Base in 2006 while eight MiG-29 fighter planes were transferred to the Flight Training Base in Shante in Meiktila Township in central Myanmar in late 2007. The maintenance air base in Mingaladon, and the Hmawbi Air Force Base in Hmawbi Township will remain in Rangoon. Myanmar has ten Air Force Base headquarters. These are the Bassein Air Base, Mingaladon Air Base, Myitkyina Air Base, Myike Air Base, Namsang Air Base, Taungoo Air Base, Meikhtila (Shante) Flying Training Base, Meikthila Grounding Training Base, Magwe Air Base and the Homemalin Air base1.

    Reports noted that the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) was debating its possible participation in the forthcoming 2010 general elections. Khin Maung Swe, an NLD executive member, told The Irrawaddy that the NLD has held executive meetings to discuss its strategy in the 2010 elections. NLD sources claimed that its participation was contingent on the authorities allowing a constitutional review and permitting all political parties to function freely2.

    Meanwhile, Bishow Parajuli, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar stated that efforts to help Myanmar's cyclone victims were still being hampered due to a shortage of funds. He called for more concerted efforts to be made to address the issue, especially in the health sector. Addressing a donors meeting in Rangoon on December 9, Parajuli warned that investments and progress made so far was “at risk” unless concerted and coordinated efforts were made. He noted that Myanmar was still short of more than $100 million, having received only $303 million out of the $483 million appealed so far3.