Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


Almost $20 billion in dirty money linked to corruption, crime and tax evasion has left Myanmar in the past five decades, slashing government revenue and driving a thriving underground economy, a money-laundering watchdog said on Wednesday.
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Burmese government forces have clashed with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Burma, as President Thein Sein meets with leaders of the five major ethnic armed groups (EAOs) in Naypyidaw today to negotiate and finalise a date for the signing of a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
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Myanmar’s President Thein Sein met ethnic rebel peace negotiators for the first time in the capital Nay Pyi Taw Wednesday in an effort to secure a long-awaited nationwide ceasefire before looming November elections.
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A high-level meeting between Burma’s president and leaders of major ethnic armed groups ended in Naypyidaw on Wednesday with a tentative agreement to sign a nationwide ceasefire pact in early October, negotiators said.
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After delays in the announcement of approved candidate lists caused some parliamentary hopefuls to sit out the first day of official campaigning for Burma’s general election on Tuesday, a Union Election Commission (UEC) official says finalized candidate rosters are to be approved nationwide this week.
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Parliament should have a certain quota of female representatives,” said a young woman. “And then what will you do if unqualified women get seats?” a man immediately responded. “But do you think all the men now in parliament are qualified?” retorted a second man.
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Furious: That’s how Mi Than Shin said she felt when the Union Election Commission (UEC) told her and her colleagues they could not register a political organisation under the name Women’s Party.
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The National Union Party is tapping into its Socialist roots to compete with the National League for Democracy and the Union Solidarity and Development Party.
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The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) launched its election campaign in Panglong township yesterday with party chief U Khun Tun Oo declaring that constitutional change and a democratic federal union were top priorities.
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Ethnic based parties are unlikely win landslide victories in the seven ethnic states, concludes a Transnational Institute (TNI) briefing paper, entitled Ethnic Politics and the 2015 Elections in Myanmar, published on 8 September 2015.
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In yet another cross border operation along the Indo-Myanmar border, a combined Indian Army and Assam Rifles unit ambushed and killed three People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) militants in Myanmar indiatvnews.com reported on 8 September.
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State-owned transport provider Myanmar Railways has called on private investors to operate one of the country’s many promising new tourism opportunities, a railway gang car route spanning 2,200 feet to cross the Goteik Viaduct in eastern Burma’s Shan State.
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China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) formally opened its branch in Yangon Tuesday, becoming the first Chinese commercial bank operating in Myanmar Xinhua reported on 8 September.
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The Central Bank of Myanmar’s June announcement that all domestic payments must be in kyat rather than foreign currency came as a surprise to many.
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As the country and dozens of political parties gird themselves for the November 8 election campaign, this may seem an unexpected time to ask this question. But in its quest for power, has the National League for Democracy of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi been adopting that wrong tactic all along?
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Over the past year I have worked alongside indigenous ethnic communities from Burma who fled mass atrocities committed by the central government and military. Despite violence and repression, these communities have built up incredible civil society organizations, and are tirelessly advocating for peace, justice, and human rights. But the international community is not listening. When foreign experts come to Burma, they usually focus on only one thing: foreign investment. Political theorist Francis Fukuyama is only the most recent in a long line of academics, development professionals, and ambassadors to ignore the calls of ethnic activists in order to promote neoliberal economic policies as the cure for Burma’s failing transition to democracy.
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Today, The Irrawaddy launches its 2015 election website, with its Burmese companion to also go live in the coming weeks. We’re calling it Burma Votes 2015, and we hope you take that to heart. Not because this election represents everything democracy advocates want it to be; not because your ballot will be the silver bullet that cures all the ills that continue to afflict Burma in this era of political change; and not because casting a ballot is something that can or should be forced on anyone. Suffice it to say, voting is not an act that need be imposed on an electorate which has for decades seen iron-fisted mandates forced upon it.
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Tun Lwin, Burma’s most well-known meteorologist, served in the Ministry of Meteorology and Hydrology for over 30 years, including as director-general. But even after his retirement, he says he never lost his passion for meteorology and the environment. Tun Lwin founded Myanmar Climate Change Watch in 2009 and his assessments and predictions are sought by weather watchers and environmentalists around the country. The meteorologist has his own weather forecast website and a strong following on Facebook. In this interview excerpt, The Irrawaddy’s Yen Snaing speaks to Tun Lwin about changing weather patterns in Burma, dealing with climate change and the recent flood crisis.
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A long road lies ahead for Burma after a general election set for Nov. 8, which is viewed as a crucial test of the sincerity of a reform effort rolled out since 2011. The Southeast Asian nation of more than 51 million people can expect to become more integrated with its neighbors as the Asean Economic Community (AEC) takes hold, increasing trade and travel between Burma, formerly a hermit state, and the region at large.
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The world is watching as Burma prepares for a general election in November, which is hoped to be the country’s first free and fair poll following decades of military dictatorship. The former pariah state began a turbulent transition to civilian rule under the leadership of President Thein Sein in 2011, though the armed forces remain entrenched in the country’s politics and the population of more than 51 million still struggles with the legacy of civil war, poverty and a fractured sense of national identity.
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