June 2014


Refugees sheltering in displacement camps in Kachin and northern Shan states have all but given up hope of going home any time soon.
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Intense fighting between the Burmese military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has reportedly killed at least four government soldiers this week, Kachin rebel sources say, with hostilities flaring on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Burma’s Interim Press Council has called for the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Special Branch police to drop their investigation into the financial records of private local print publications.
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The army’s regional command is making inquiries over a lawsuit filed by senior Irrawaddy reporter Kyaw Tun against a military officer after he was attacked while reporting a story on land grabbing.
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While local banks may open as many branches as they like, foreign banks entering the market will be initially restricted to one branch if they operate solely as ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ operations, the Myanmar Central Bank has said.
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A Kazakh gas magnate, a furniture maker and two brothers once under international sanctions are part of a colourful cast flocking largely unnoticed to Myanmar’s emerging oil frontier. (more…)

Only a tiny number of people in Myanmar have mobile phones. Even fewer have access to the Internet. But that hasn’t stopped word of BarCamp from quickly spreading. BarCamps–informal gatherings of grassroots geeks who come together to listen to one another give talks on technology–are usually publicized via online social networks. Since the first one in Silicon Valley less than a decade ago these Information Age talkfests have been held in 350 cities. In January of last year Yangon drew the biggest crowd for any BarCamp worldwide, some 6,500 people. More than 5,000 attended this year’s gathering.
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Research firm On Device found users of the mobile Web in Myanmar prefer Viber to other messaging apps and Facebook FB -0.46%. On Device Research
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Burma’s government expects to earn 2 billion euros ($US 2.7 billion) in jade sales at a major gems emporium that began in Naypyidaw this week, although a smaller supply of the precious stone is available compared with previous years, an official from the Ministry of Mines says.
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Satt Aung, the vice-president of the Central Bank of Myanmar, has painted a rosy picture of the not-too-distant future in a modern Burma where mobile banking and electronic transactions will be the norm for shopping, making payments and even paying for taxis.
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To mark World Drug Day, Burmese authorities organized drug-burning ceremonies on Thursday that destroyed seized illegal drugs said to be worth a combined US$130 million.
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China is eager to reaffirm its traditional political and military ties with Burma amid escalating conflicts in the South China Sea, experts say, as the Burmese president prepares for his first official bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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UK parliamentarians held a discussion in London’s Westminster Hall on Thursday about the ongoing persecution faced by the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities in Burma and debated what the UK government must do to stem human rights violations in that country.
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More than 130 ethnic Chin women participate in a protest against the Burmese military’s alleged use of rape as a weapon of war in Matupi Township.
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A group of taxi drivers have threatened to sue the Ministry of Energy unless it gives them permission to install compressed natural gas, or CNG, in their cars.
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Farmers and land rights activists in Pyin Oo Lwin are calling on the government to speed up a program to return confiscated but unused land to its original owners.
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Civil society leaders Nay Myo Zin and Win Cho were released from Insein Prison on Tuesday, having spent 84 days locked up for organising an unauthorised demonstration in downtown Rangoon.
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An appeal by DVB reporter Zaw Pe, sentenced to one year’s imprisonment in April on charges of trespassing and disturbing a civil servant on duty, took place on Tuesday at Magwe Divisional Court.
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A controversial book of “adult fiction” by writer Aung Yin Nyein has been pulled from the shelves of Burma’s bookstores after critics complained that the erotic novel is “obscene”.
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Myanmar, also known as Burma, says it will not turn away from reforms in the wake of a controversial raid on a Buddhist monastery and the arrest of five monks.
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