November 2014

The fence stretches as far as the eye can see, its concrete pillars carrying coils of barbed wire across the mountains and marshes of western Myanmar.


A report released earlier this month by Harvard University’s International Human Rights Clinic lays out damning allegations accusing three senior Burmese generals of war crimes and crimes against humanity.The three men, including current Home Affairs Minister Lt-Gen Ko Ko, still hold senior positions in Burma’s quasi-civilian government, prompting questions from some quarters about President Thein Sein’s reformist credentials.


(unofficial translation)

Reporters learned from Wanbao Mining Myanmar Copper LTD recently that the Letpadaung copper mine project jointly financed by China and Myanmar has resumed orderly development and begun to move forward. At the same time, the “unemployment assistance plan” has received a positive response from local villagers. (more…)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday announced a record US$30 million budget for work in Burma over the coming year, as the organization plans to spend a full 25 percent more worldwide than it did last year to meet “vastly expanding needs.”


Plans for the development of the Letpadaung copper mine in Sagaing Region pose a serious threat of human rights abuses and environmental risk, Amnesty International said in a statement on Thursday.


One day after a presidential spokesman derided a proposed roundtable meeting of Burma’s top leaders as “impractical”, lawmakers have slammed President Thein Sein’s government for ignoring widespread support for constitutional amendments. (more…)

A summit of political leaders proposed by Burma’s parliament to debate constitutional change is “impractical” and unlikely to happen, the president’s spokesman said in a further setback to hopes for full democracy after 49 years of military rule. (more…)

Myanmar’s land-related legal framework needs to be overhauled to improve the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers and tackle high rural poverty rates, participants at a Nay Pyi Taw forum said this week. (more…)

Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker U Khin Aung Myint has offered to act as personal guarantor in the case of the two Myanmar men accused of murder in Thailand.


A Ministry of Communications and Information Technology official has denied a report that a military-owned conglomerate has been selected to become Burma’s fourth telecom operator, after a state-owned newspaper this week announced that the conglomerate was awarded a mobile phone license.


About 600 workers have protested in Mandalay calling for further amendments to the Labour Dispute Settlement Law, which they say has so far been ineffective because punishments for violations are too weak. (more…)

In a further step in the transition, Yangon University is to offer a course in political science that has attracted more than twice as many applicants as there are places. It is the first course in politics to be offered since the military junta banned the study of the subject 25 years ago.


The Australian government has announced a five-year plan to strengthen immigration and border control in Burma.


British ambassador Andrew Patrick is to raise concerns with government officials over a Tatmadaw artillery assault on a Kachin Independence Army military academy near Laiza that the KIA said left 23 trainees dead.


(please note, the below is a translation)

The Myanmar government pursues a diversification strategy in its economic development: balancing among ASEAN, China and non-ASEAN investors. This balancing is reflecting in all aspects of Myanmar’s geopolitics. (more…)

The ‘Putinization’ of Myanmar’s economy

For anyone wanting to gain an understanding of whether Myanmar’s economic reforms are real, the European Parliament Committee Meeting held in Brussels on November 6 provided some useful insights. (more…)

Student activists here said authorities are neglecting the desires of students and teachers despite a sustained campaign of public protests against the controversial National Education Law.


Seven days after an attack on ethnic army cadets in Kachin State, activists and social groups held donation drives and ceremonies on Wednesday to commemorate the 23 soldiers who died in the incident. (more…)

Aung Zaw, the founding editor of The Irrawaddy Magazine, received the International Press Freedom Award, which was presented by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York on Tuesday night. (more…)

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has approved a proposal to hold six-party talks aimed at solving the country’s political problems. (more…)

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