Friday, September 25th, 2015


Amid Naypyidaw’s 11th-hour push for a peace pact with Burma’s ethnic armed groups ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, the substance and scope of the agreement look increasingly questionable, if indeed a pre-poll deal can be reached at all.
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Twenty-two elderly and disabled civilians are trapped in their homes amid ongoing fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Mansi, Kachin State’s southernmost township.
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A 23-year-old housekeeper who says she was physically abused by her employer is now recovering from severe head injuries at a hospital in Rangoon.
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A prominent monk yesterday testified on behalf of two Muslim interfaith activists charged with violating the Unlawful Associations Act, telling a Mandalay court their visit to Kachin Independence Organisation territory was aimed at “making peace”. (more…)

A 12-year-old child was killed and several elderly residents were injured on Wednesday when the embankment of a tailing pond at a mine site collapsed, triggering a landslide and flooding in the nearby village of Kanbauk, Tenasserim Division, some 77 kilometres north of the region’s capital Dawei.
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President Thein Sein visited Chin State’s capital Hakha on Wednesday to pledge support for locals left homeless by recent floods and landslides.
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Myanmar plans to introduce more laws and regulations to increase its tax income over the coming years, sources said.
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Myanmar has defended a decision barring 800,000 ethnic minority people from voting in November elections by saying that green card holders can’t vote in U.S. elections either.
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The National League for Democracy has rejected a statement by the powerful Buddhist nationalist organization Ma Ba Tha, which on Wednesday hit back at a senior NLD leader for asserting early this week that the group was interfering in the party’s campaigning ahead of Burma’s Nov. 8 general election.
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The Union Election Commission (UEC) has extended voter list displays in 14 townships across five flood-affected regions, with the longest extensions leaving voter rolls up for review until less than a month before the Nov. 8 poll.
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The National Youth Network is to conduct a nationwide exercise in the run-up to the November elections to train and deploy electoral observers. The effort is funded by the National Democratic Institute of the United States, which is also providing training and technical support.
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Members of Myanmar’s 88 Generation democracy movement have begun a stepped-up voter education push in the country’s Irrawaddy Delta region, reminding potential voters to participate in upcoming national elections and urging them to check local voter registration lists for errors RFA reported on 23 September.
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Car sales centres using fake licence plates will be increasingly targeted by the authorities, according to U Myint Cho, a member of Yangon Region’s car parking analysis group.
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Myanmar’s vice president opened on Wednesday a $1.5 billion (1 billion pounds) manufacturing complex aimed at luring investment and creating jobs, showcasing government work on developing the economy in the run-up to a general election.
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Almost 300 students from a middle school in eastern Burma’s Karen State fell ill on Wednesday after drinking water sourced from a local pond.
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The trial of Burmese migrant workers Zaw Linn and Win Zaw Htun, accused of murdering two British holidaymakers, continued yesterday in Koh Samui Courthouse.
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Defense witnesses for two Myanmar migrant workers accused of murdering two young British tourists on a Thai resort island testified Thursday that torture and intimidation are commonly used by local investigators.
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For months, the government of Myanmar has been touting progress on a nationwide cease-fire deal, claiming it is a major step toward ending the country’s long-running armed conflicts. But the latest summit meeting on Sept. 9, attended by President Thein Sein and representatives of more than a dozen ethnic armed groups, ended inconclusively.
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In considering what comes next after Burma’s looming general election, Aung San Suu Kyi may well look back to her party’s annulled first victory 25 years ago.
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Finally, a bit of gender balance may be on the horizon.

Three strong women – Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen, Myanmar’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Senator Grace Poe in the Philippines – are now on track to join South Korea’s Park Geun-hye and Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina as elected national leaders. (more…)

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