Dec 14, 2007
Myanmar to hold gem auction in January
Dec 14, 2007
YANGON, Dec 14, 2007 (AFP) - Military-run Myanmar will hold a new auction of gems and jade in January, state media said Friday, December 14th, amid calls for a boycott and sanctions against the junta following its bloody crackdown on protests.
The auction will take place from January 15 to 19, the state-run Mirror newspaper said without giving further details.
The poverty-stricken country is the source of up to 90 percent of the world's rubies, and each auction of precious stones rakes in more than 100 million dollars, making it a key source of revenue for the military regime.
The junta sold gems worth 150 million dollars during its previous auction in November, defying US and European calls for a boycott and tightening sanctions against the ruling generals in the wake of the deadly suppression in September.
The United Nations said at least 31 people were killed in Myanmar during the crackdown on peaceful protests, twice as many as the regime's confirmed death toll of 15.
The UN also said 74 were missing after the crackdown, with more than 600 dissidents still in detention.
But robust demand from jade-crazed China, Thailand and Singapore continued to boost gem trading.
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