September 2011

Burma’s authoritarian government has suspended the construction of a $3.6bn Chinese-backed hydroelectric dam in what is being seen as a conciliatory gesture to its opponents and possibly the most visible sign yet that it is prepared to reform. (more…)

Rangoon – Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and government Labour Minister Aung Kyi discussed granting amnesty and establishing peace with ethnic armed groups on Friday. (more…)

Bangkok—Burma and Bangladesh will have to wait until March 2012 for a verdict on their disputed maritime boundary, in a case that could facilitate both sides in acquiring new gas and oil supplies in the energy-rich Bay of Bengal. (more…)

Yangon — Myanmar is to allow six banks to open foreign exchange counters from October, state media reported, in a step towards reforming its currency regime and stamping out illegal money-changing. (more…)

Bangkok – Khun Mint spins in circles on his small motorcycle, joyfully kicking up gravel on a rural road just south of Bangkok, Thailand. It’s hard to express the excitement he feels to have two feet squarely on land. (more…)

Newly leaked document reveals support for opponents of proposed Myitsone dam, widely seen as a Chinese project. (more…)

Myanmar’s (Burma) prime minister-in-exile Sein Win is to visit South Africa to accept an honorary doctorate on behalf of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, his spokesperson said today. (more…)

Zurich — FIFA has kicked Myanmar out of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup as punishment for crowd violence at a 2014 qualifier in July. (more…)

Democracy campaigners say halting the Myitsone dam project does not mean the regime has changed its spots. (more…)

The Irrawaddy Myitsone dam project originated during a meeting between Burmese junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe and Chinese President Hu Jintao in April 2005, when both were attending the Asian-African Summit 2005 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Others present from the Burmese side were the current President Thein Sein (then Secretary 1 of the State Peace and Development Council, or SPDC), Nyan Win (then foreign minister and now chief minister of Pegu Division) and Soe Thar (then minister for national planning and economic development, now chairman of a parliamentary sub-committee). In the meeting, Than Shwe agreed that electricity produced by the Myitsone hydro-power plant would be sold to China. (more…)

New Delhi – After Burma’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin told the UN General Assembly that an unspecified number of prisoners will be released soon, political parties are expressing hope that political prisoners will be included in the release. (more…)

Democracy campaigners say halting the Myitsone dam project does not mean the regime has changed its spots. (more…)

The Irrawaddy River is the lifeblood of Burma. Its waters spring from the Myitsone confluence of two rivers in the country’s northern Kachin state, a largely Christian ethnic minority territory whose rebel militia has over the decades battled the Burmese military. A few years ago when Burma’s ruling junta agreed to a $3.6 billion, Chinese-backed dam that would flood a vast area near the Irrawaddy’s sacred source, few were surprised—even if many Burmese privately grumbled over a deal that would displace 15,000 people and put a potentially dangerous dam in a geologically unstable area. The ethnic Kachin haven’t exactly figured as a high priority for the country’s Buddhist, ethnically Burman generals. And Beijing—which was to enjoy most of the future electricity that would be sent from Myitsone to neighboring Yunnan Province in China—boasted the hard currency Burma’s regime needed to reinvigorate its local economy. (more…)

Apparently in response to a mounting public outcry, Burmese President Thein Sein decided to suspend work on the controversial Myitsone Dam project in Kachin State, which critics say threatens the Irrawaddy River, Burma’s lifeline and center of its cultural heritage. (more…)

Yangon — Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will hold another round of talks with the new army-backed government, her spokesman said on Thursday, following signs of a thaw in relations. (more…)

New Delhi – If the government continues to make progressive political changes, the National League for Democracy (NLD) will consider registering as an official political party, according to NLD lawyer Nyan Win. (more…)

A bill that will enshrine into law tight restrictions on the ability of Burmese to hold political demonstrations is to be discussed in parliament after being submitted this week by the home affairs minister. (more…)

Hundreds of people are believed to have been hit by an outbreak of dysentery and influenza in Mandalay city in central Burma as hospitals struggle to cope with the burden. (more…)

NAY PYI TAW — A ceremony to sign MoU between the department of Health under the Ministry of Health and INGOs took place at the ministry here yesterday noon. Director-General of the health department Dr Tun Naing Oo delivered a speech, and signed the MoU with INGOs—Care Myanmar, CESVI, Malteser International, World Vision (Myanmar), AMI, Merlin Organizations. — MNA

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has no schedule to meet Nobel laureate and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi when she pays a courtesy call on Burma next Wednesday, a government official said yesterday. (more…)

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