August 2015


Five activists have been sentenced to four months each in prison by the Ahlone township court under Article-18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law. The group had previously been sentenced to over four years in prison each, under various charges connected to a protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Rangoon in December last year.
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Technical teams representing government and ethnic peace negotiators convened in northern Thailand on Thursday in anticipation of talks between the President and five ethnic armed groups next week.
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Mandalay Division’s Border and Security Affairs minister has vowed to crackdown on LGBT couples that engage in “inappropriate” public displays of affection and pledged an increased presence at the city’s moat and western dock areas.
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Almost 60 percent of rapes reported to police in Yangon Region in the first half of this year involved a victim under 16 years, down slightly on the 70pc recorded last year.
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Burma’s Union Parliament has approved two bills that place restrictions on religious conversion and polygamy, the last of four controversial bills concerning race and religion to have sped through the legislature since late last year.
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Burma’s Union Parliament voted on Thursday to delay discussion of a hotly contested impeachment bill that could have been used to unseat besieged Speaker Shwe Mann, who last week was removed from his post as chairman of the ruling party in a surprise political reshuffle.
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Residents of western Myanmar’s Chin state will face challenges reaching polling stations to vote in general elections in November because of washed-out roads and bridges caused by recent floods along with continued heavy rains, local election officials said Wednesday according to an RFA report on 19 August.
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Air Bagan managing director Htoo Thet Htwe says his airline has suspended operations until October owing to fleet maintenance requirements ch-aviation reported on 19 August.
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As fallout continues from the worst flooding in decades to hit several regions in Burma, aid groups say that in addition to the ongoing humanitarian needs of people affected by the high waters, thousands of farm animals urgentlyrequirefood and medicine.
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Myanmar is soon to hold elections for regional/state assemblies, the national parliament, and the president. Voting for the first two, scheduled for November 8, will influence the third – the election of the president, which may take place in February 2016. Much is at stake, not only for political forces within the country but also for powers elsewhere in the region. The process of conducting free and fair elections and their eventual outcome will very likely influence regional politics.
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It was in the middle of the night on August 10, 2015 when I first saw lots of notifications on my Facebook page alerting me to an online campaign protest by Burmese medical doctors. The campaign was titled “Black Ribbon Movement 2015.” I was already enrolled as a member of the campaign’s private Facebook group and recognized a photo of familiar orthopedic surgeons wearing black ribbons on their green OT coats.
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It’s barely 80 days to the November 8 general election. All agree on the importance of the vote. National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has said that it will decide the future of the country. Other politicians, scholars, journalists and international community have echoed her views.
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Many foreigners believe that Myanmar is moving towards full-blown democracy, with a general election scheduled for November 8th. To the armed forces, democracy is fine so long as they can still call most of the shots. They will find this much harder if the army-backed party in parliament, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), loses its majority, as seems possible. Against this backdrop of soldiers keen to cling to power, President Thein Sein, a former general, has started to purge the ranks of the ruling party.
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In an interview with Nancy Shwe, director of RFA’s Myanmar Service,  Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, said former junta chief Than Shwe advises his former army colleagues on military affairs but exerts no influence on the country’s politics. He also denied that the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s armed services]  played any role in the ouster last week of  ruling party chairman Shwe Mann.
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Four armed ethnic groups in Myanmar have expressed willingness to sign a nationwide cease-fire agreement (NCA) with the government, according to a joint press release issuedby the groups on Tuesday Xinhua reported on 18 August.
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A radio station linked to Burma’s besieged Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann will return to the air on Wednesday at 6pm after being abruptly shut down by the government last week.
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The motorcade in which National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi was travelling en route to Burma’s capital on Sunday was tailed by two vehicles in a deliberate act of disturbance, party sources said.
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Burma’s Union Parliament on Thursdaywill discuss legislation on impeachment proceedings for sitting lawmakers, an increasingly contentious proposition that could see sparks flythis week against the backdrop of a ruling party power struggle and looming nationwide elections.
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Several Union Solidarity and Development Party lawmakers voiced concern on Tuesday over the impact last week’s intraparty turmoil could have on the ruling party’s image three months out from a general election scheduled for November 8.
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Parliament’s Upper House voted to halt the current session of the legislature on Wednesday, in line with a proposal put forward the day prior that cited lawmakers’ desire to return to their constituencies to assist with flood recovery efforts and prepare for the fast-approaching election campaign season.
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