Thursday, January 10th, 2013

First use of airstrikes by the government in twenty years raises prospect of increased numbers of civilian deaths in conflict areas – community groups condemned air strikes. (more…)

The Burma Army’s ongoing campaign apparently to capture the Kachin rebels’ capital Laiza could well be “the most expensive campaign in history,” according to Aung Kyaw Zaw, military analyst on the Sino-Burmese border. (more…)

Burma has denied accusations that it had used chemical weapons against ethnic minority rebels in the northern state of Kachin, where an escalating conflict has overshadowed wider political reforms. (more…)

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has criticised a provision in Burma’s controversial 2008 constitution, which prohibits her from becoming president in 2015 because her family members are foreign citizens. (more…)

Amid growing concerns over a worsening in the fighting between Burma’s government and Kachin ethnic rebels, overseas Kachin groups have launched public appeals to the US government and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene and pressure the Burmese army into ending its offensive. (more…)

The new Myanmar Press Council is to negotiate between the government and two journals, The Voice and Snapshot Journal, for the withdrawal of government lawsuits against the publications. The Ministry of Mining and the Rangoon Division government lodged formal complaints against the journals last year. (more…)

The Burmese government will build more than one million houses nationwide over the next 20 years to satisfy unmet demand for real estate, the Ministry of Construction has announced. (more…)

Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken about the controversial donations by well-connected businessmen to her party’s charity programs. (more…)

The Indonesian Foreign Minister has pledged one million dollars in humanitarian aid to Arakan state after a visit to the conflict-torn region, where Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims clashed last year. (more…)

A Myanmar Federation of Mining will be founded on January 15 in a bid to qualify for the ASEAN Federation of Mining Association. (more…)

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told Myanmar President Thein Sein that U.S. oil and natural gas companies were ready to invest in the country’s economy. (more…)

The US Ambassador to Burma, Derek Mitchell, will travel to Karen and Mon states on January 11-13 to meet with government officials and representatives of civil society, faith-based institutions, armed groups and political parties, according to an announcement by the US Embassy in Rangoon. (more…)

Laiza, Kachin State, Myanmar – The past few weeks have seen some of the heaviest fighting in Myanmar’s decades-long civil war with government forces launching determined attacks against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), an ethnic force in the far north of the country. And for the first time ever, the government has used helicopter gunships and attack aircraft against the country’s ethnic rebels. Most of the fighting is taking place around the KIA’s headquarters at the border town of Laiza near China, and the government seems determined to crush the Kachin resistance and gain control over the area now administered by the rebels. (more…)

Now that international sanctions have been lifted on Burma, Western businessmen are flocking to the world’s newest economic frontier. The dramatic political climate change is due to reforms that emanated from within the military regime that once ruled the country; and chief among the reformers is President Thein Sein, Burma’s own Gorbachev, down to his gray pallor and balding pate—and the subject of a TIME profile this week, available to subscribers here. While Russia has faltered on its path toward democracy, Burma, which is officially known as Myanmar, has a chance to forge a different route. (more…)

Burma, thanks to the polish of political reforms, has taken on a golden sheen in the eyes of investors and analysts. The realities on the ground are sobering, however, not least for electricity. Factory owners in Rangoon have begun the year with daily power cuts which may worsen as the dry season drags on. (more…)

In a rare example of top-down change, Burma‘s President, Thein Sein, has begun introducing democratic reforms after decades of military rule in the country also known as Myanmar. For this week’s TIME International cover story, available to subscribers here, Beijing-based East Asia Correspondent Hannah Beech traveled to the former general’s home village and interviewed him at his office in Burma’s capital, Naypyidaw. TIME asked her to share her thoughts on this unlikely reformer and his country’s future. (more…)