Friday, January 18th, 2013


After weeks of intense fighting near the border with China, the Myanmar government on Friday announced what appeared to be a unilateral cease-fire in its offensive against ethnic Kachin rebels. The government also said it would pursue peace talks. (more…)

Three Kachin rebel posts fell to Burmese government troops on Friday after a week of continuous government attacks that combined ground forces, artillery fire and airstrikes, Kachin rebels along the frontline said. (more…)

A bomb blast on the outskirt of Bhamo Township in Kachin State on Thursday injured two people, a local leader said, adding that the explosion occurred near the town’s technological university. (more…)

A national lawmaker has called on Burma’s government to divest the military of its business interests in a bid to improve budget transparency and curb unjust land confiscations.
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Burma’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is planning to publish a daily newspaper, according to the party’s vice-chairman. (more…)

The resignation earlier this week of Burma’s telecoms minister was due to his refusal to reduce the price of SIM cards for mobile phones to levels sought by the president, according to sources close to the ministry. (more…)

The landmine clearance program in Pegu Region has been delayed due to the leadership reshuffle within the Karen National Union (KNU), said Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) Mine Action Programme Manager Aksel Steen-Nilsen. (more…)

Four activists in Mandalay, who were arrested and charged for protesting against the police’s brutal crackdown on rally sites at Latpadaung Copper Mining Project, have been sentenced to one month’s imprisonment, but were able to walk free today.

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A coalition of 16 civil society groups issued a joint statement this week urging Aung San Suu Kyi and her fellow parliamentarians in the National League for Democracy to “raise their voices against the ongoing human rights abuses against the Kachin civilians”. The statement declared it was “their duty to protect every citizen of the Union”. (more…)

Myanmar has requested a one-year IMF-monitored program to help it pursue economic reforms and clear its debt arrears, according to IMF documents published on Thursday. (more…)

General Electric Co.’s GE +3.47% Southeast Asia chief executive expects revenue in Myanmar to reach up to $500 million in the next few years, as one of the world’s largest corporations expands in one of the riskiest markets for foreign investment. (more…)

EFG Financial Products AG, the Zurich-based structured products distributor, has raised more than 1 million Swiss francs ($1.1 million) selling certificates linked to a gauge of companies with business tied to Myanmar. (more…)

Italian-Thai Development Pcl (ITD), Thailand’s biggest construction company by sales, rose to the highest level in more than two years after Japan expressed interest in partnering the company in a Myanmar port project. (more…)

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) will be a key issue for thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State as the weather gets warmer, say aid workers. (more…)

Labor activists in Thailand are welcoming the government’s extension of a deadline for close to two million undocumented migrant workers to become legal. The illegal migrants now have four additional months to register through a new simplified process.  But, activists say the new rules still allow room for exploiting foreign workers mainly from Burma, Cambodia and Laos. (more…)

China said Thursday that it had expressed “grave concern” to the Myanmar government after a shell, apparently fired during fighting between Myanmar troops and ethnic rebels, landed in Chinese territory, and a Chinese government spokesman called for an immediate cease-fire. (more…)

The United Nations envoy to Myanmar today called on all parties in the country to work to ease tensions, resume dialogue, and ensure that there is humanitarian access to those who have been affected by the violence in the states of Kachin and Rakhine. (more…)

Burma’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation announced this week that it will increase loans to farmers by 200,000 kyat (US $230) per acre from the current 800,000 kyat after farmers complained that low paddy prices had left them unable to plant winter crops such as beans and pulses. (more…)