A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar Wednesday (Aug 24), killing at least three people and damaging some 60 pagodas in the famous ancient city of Bagan, officials said.

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Myanmar’s government has set up an advisory panel led by former United Nations. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to find “lasting solutions” to the conflict in Rakhine state, where human-rights groups have documented widespread abuses against the minority Rohingya Muslims.

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will attend the opening ceremony of the 21st-century Panglong Conference on August 31, according to U Zaw Htay, deputy director general of the President’s Office.

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The Arakan Patriot Party (APP) announced this week that it won’t attend the upcoming Union Peace Conference (also called 21st Century Peace Conference) if all the ethnic armed groups can’t attend.

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Three ethnic armed organizations not recognized by the previous military backed government as part of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement have said they are prepared to attend upcoming political dialogue if they are invited.

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Shan community groups are calling for the suspension of a Chinese-backed dam on the Salween River that they say risks exacerbating conflict and environmental problems in northern Shan State.

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The Lower House approved a bill on Wednesday that repeals Burma’s controversial 1950 Emergency Provisions Act.

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Burma’s Union Parliament passed a bill on Tuesday amending the 2016 Union Budget Law—drafted by the previous government and approved by the former legislature, trimming the estimated expenditures of the majority of the ministries.

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Burma’s parliament on Tuesday passed a bill amending the 2016 Union Budget Law to cut spending in 14 government ministries.

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New Union and Solidarity Development Party chairman U Than Htay said Wednesday that he was committed to winning the 2020 election after a leadership shakeup this week, while adding that the party had no plans to alter its policies ahead of the next poll.

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A newspaper published by the former ruling party of ex-generals has claimed that crime has sharply risen under the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, and that her efforts to impose rule of law have failed.

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The Burma Army deployed two military helicopters yesterday against Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers in Nhkram Bum, located east of the road from Myitkyina to Bhamo, said Lt-Col Naw Bu, the information officer for the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO).

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The death toll from a measles epidemic has risen to 68 in Burma’s remote Naga Self-Administered Zone, according to a regional lawmaker and other relief workers providing support to the affected areas.

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Shortly after State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived back from her official visit to China, delegates of the Chinese government met separately with the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army–Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS)—also called Mongla Army—near the China border.

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Two hurdles bedevilled a final consensus at the second-day meeting to review the framework for political dialogue – a core instrument for upcoming peace negotiations – involving representatives from the government, ethnic armed organisations and political parties.

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United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon will attend a landmark peace conference in Myanmar this month, an official and armed group confirmed yesterday, bolstering the new government’s drive to end decades of fighting in Myanmar’s borderlands.

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Labour representatives on a key employment disputes resolution body should be elected by workers themselves, Mandalay union representatives are insisting. They are protesting against a decision to reselect members of the local Arbitration Council who, they say, were not properly elected.

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Some 200 Burmese nationals seeking employment in neighbouring Thailand signed job contracts at a press conference held in Rangoon over the weekend to publicise a new “ethical recruitment” scheme.

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Representatives of 13 ethnic groups have concluded a five-day meeting in Shan State capital Taunggyi, where they discussed how a future Shan State would accommodate each minority group.

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Ethnicity has long been a sensitive subject in Myanmar, but particularly so in recent years as nationalistic, religion-linked notions of what defines citizenship have risen, at times violently, to the fore.

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