Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


Since earlier this year, Rangoon’s formerly dynamic real estate market has seen a striking cool-down in key locations in the city. While many factors have contributed to this economic malaise, Burma’s Nov. 8 general election, which is hoped to be the country’s freest and fairest in decades, has surely played a part. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the current political climate, many investors, both local and international, are approaching Burma’s real estate market with a wait-and-see attitude.
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Shadaw is one of the country’s smallest constituencies, with just over 4000 voters. Yet it is also the setting for a curious battle between the USDP, the NLD and a key ally of President U Thein Sein, U Aung Min, who leads the government’s peace negotiations.
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More than 6,000 people have been displaced by recent conflict between the Burmese government and ethnic rebels in eastern Burma’s Shan State, according to the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF).
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A total of seven people have now joined the hunger strike that began at Thayawady Prison, demanding the government drop all charges and release those detained in the aftermath of the Letpadan student protest crackdown.
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Ongoing discussions among ethnic rebel leaders attending a summit in Panghsang, Wa Special Region, could bring about the formation of a new alliance of ethnic armed groups that would for the first time include two of Burma’s largest non-state fighting forces, the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA).
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The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has vowed to work towards a political dialogue for peace with the new government that forms after next week’s general election in Burma, regardless of which party takes power.
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Standing before a glistening monastery, Myanmar’s most infamous monk adjusts his saffron robe and then does something that would have seemed unthinkable a few years ago: He launches into the formerly untouchable Aung San Suu Kyi, accusing her of being lackadaisical about the threat Muslims pose to both the country’s security and Buddhist traditions and values.
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The city of Mandalay in northern Myanmar is a Buddhist religious centre so crowded with temples, monasteries and monks that they can sometimes seem innumerable.
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Independent election observers who will monitor Myanmar’s general election on Sunday acknowledge their ability to criticise the government is limited, but despite the curbs hold out hope the elections will go smoothly.
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Burma’s President Thein Sein took to the airwaves on Tuesday for his last monthly radio address before a landmark general election to be held on Sunday, predicting a peaceful polling day and highlighting his administration’s achievements in a final push for support.
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The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) splashed out on a raucous rally in western Burma’s Arakan State on Monday, with just days left to spend campaign cash before a Nov. 8 general election.
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Police in Irrawaddy Division have confirmed the release on bail of a ruling party official who was detained for sharing an image digitally altered to show opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s face transposed onto the body of a naked woman.
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Political parties contesting the 8 November election have failed to prioritize or commit to core human rights issues, according to a new report released by FIDH on 3 November.
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Ethnic parties in Myanmar’s four Christian dominated regions are worried that a lack of resources to compete with major parties and the risk of vote-splitting may affect their chances of winning seats in the looming 8 November election, UCA News reported on 2 November.
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The Union Election Commission (UEC) has issued accreditation cards to 470 diplomats from 32 international embassies, 465 staff from six international election observation bodies, 183 staff from nine international organisations that are assisting in electoral processes and 9,406 staff of local observation organisations, the Global New Light of Myanmar reported on 3 Novemberquoting a UEC statement.
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National League for Democracy veteran U Tin Oo made a surprise visit to Sittwe yesterday, leading his party’s first rally in the Rakhine State capital since the election period began.
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The majority of voters who will face problems with inaccuracies in the voting list are largely confined to Rangoon, an election commission official said yesterday, disputing media reports of voting irregularities throughout the country.
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The chairperson of Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), will reportedly vote at 7:30am on Sunday at a polling station in Bahan Township, where she is registered, before heading to her constituency, Kawhmu, in Rangoon’s southwestern outskirts, where she is running as incumbent Lower House MP.
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For refugees from Burma living in camps just across the border in Thailand, a landmark election in their homeland triggers mixed emotions – hope that a hated government will be defeated, and fear of the uncertain future such an upheaval might bring.
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Myanmar has closed all of its temporary border ports and checkpoints along the Moei River opposite Thailand’s Mae Sot, Phop Phra, Mae Ramat and Tha Song Yang districts of Tak province ahead of the Nov 8 elections, reports said.
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