President Thein Sein’s government is reintroducing the post of permanent secretary, bringing back the old position for the highest civil servant in a ministry, a ruling party parliamentarian said.
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Burma’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has begun zeroing in on candidates in the lead-up to landmark elections later this year.
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The MP for Kyauttaw constituency plans to pressure the Union Election Commission (UEC) to avoid a repeat of 2010 when 1,000 Apukwa villagers in Rakhine State were omitted from the voters’ list.
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Italian Thai Development Pcl and Rojana Industrial Park will sign a $1.7-billion deal to develop the first phase of the long-delayed Dawei industrial zone in southeastern Myanmar by June, Thailand’s deputy transport minister said on Tuesday.
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The results for this year’s basic education exams have seen the pass rate drop in grades 5 and 9, which were designated as government-controlled exams by the No.3 Basic Education Department (BED).
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Leaders within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations need to close the income gap in the region in order to ensure sustainability of countries’ economic and free trade pacts, Indonesian Bank Mandiri’s chief executive said April 20, according to a Jakarta Globe report.
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A two-month-old baby was among 78 illegals from Myanmar who were found crammed in a small wooden vessel shortly after it reached the shores of Penang in Teluk Bahang here.
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Burma’s president Thein Sein is in Jakarta to attend the 2015 Asian-African Conference (AAC).

Joining the president’s delegation are Information Minister Ye Htut and the newly appointed Information Permanent Secretary Tint Swe, according to the Ministry of Information. (more…)

Burmese activists were outraged to learn late last week that the government had entered into a year-long public relations contract with a Washington-based lobbying firm worth US$840,000. Some took their disgust to social media, begging such legitimate questions as: “If reform is genuine and sincere, why would they need to hire a PR firm?”
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One year to the day since Burma lost one of its leading intellectual figures, Win Tin, The Irrawaddy looks back on his enduring legacy. A beloved democracy activist, journalist and former political prisoner, Win Tin lives on as an emblem of persistence and bravery for those seeking true democratic change in Burma.
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The news out of China is about a “new normal” of slower economic growth – down to about 7 percent. But at the recently concluded 2015 Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) held in Singapore, the focus was on the growth potential of the 10 nations comprising the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community, with Myanmar grabbing a significant amount of attention as the new investment destination. (more…)

A dialogue involving six of Burma’s leading political players, considered by many to be crucial for Burma’s tenuous democratic transition, was held on April 10. The much-anticipated gathering yielded little in the way of political breakthroughs, however, with the parties agreeing to meet again next month.
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Aung Min, Myanmar’s minister in charge of peace talks with the country’s armed ethnic groups, says building trust among all the players involved is what ultimately led to the breakthrough provisional cease-fire agreement on March 31.
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The Asian Human Rights Commission has documented that an increasing number of peaceful protesters are being arrested and jailed under the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act. Citing the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the country, and ensuring the upcoming 2015 election remain peaceful, authorities, especially Administrative Officers, have filed cases against numerous peaceful protesters under this Act. (more…)

Fighting flared in the ethnic minority strongholds of northern Shan, Kachin and Arakan states last week even as most of Burma was busy celebrating the Buddhist New Year, casting further doubt on the ability of the government and ethnic armed groups in Burma to achieve a meaningful end to decades of hostilities.
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Police said a total of 16 people died and 356 others were injured because of traffic accidents and crimes during last week’s Thingyan celebrations, which saw millions of people across the country welcome in the Burmese New Year with street parties, ceremonies and water-throwing.
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A nationwide referendum on amending Burma’s controversial Constitution is unlikely to take place in May as a senior parliamentary leader has previously suggested, according to an ethnic politician involved in high-level talks on the matter.
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Ethnic rebel leaders said the United Wa State Army (UWSA) will host a meeting between ethnic armed groups involved in the drafting of the preliminary nationwide ceasefire accord and several ethnic groups that have not directly participated in the process.
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As Lashio town became a refuge for thousands of people fleeing fighting between the government and Kokang rebels around Laukkai on the Chinese border in February and March, religious and community leaders rallied to provide aid and shelter in monasteries, schools and other buildings.
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Burmese government forces clashed with the rebel Arakan Army (AA) on 17 and 18 April in the western Burmese district of Kyauktaw, both sides have confirmed.
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