January 2016


The Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association has issued a directive on Monday to reduce retail fuel prices by at least Ks 270 (US$0.20), pointing out that gas stations have been selling at rates much higher than the import prices.
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From the dispassionate eye of a satellite in space, the area around Hpakant, a town in Myanmar’s Kachin state, looks like a dry brown moonscape in a sea of green.
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You don’t have to go back very far in history to find a time when virtually no one in Myanmar had internet access. As recently as 2009, less than one percent of the 50 million people in the country had either a smartphone or home internet access.
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Aung San Suu Kyi, who was forced to spend years of solitude under house arrest, has hit out at young people “wasting time” on computer games and social networking.
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Hundreds of anti-drug crusaders in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township are awaiting permission from the state government before carrying out poppy eradication efforts in the surrounding area, with local authorities telling the campaigners their safety cannot yet be assured.
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Mainland Southeast Asia is set for a year of uncertainty and potential friction as sensitive political transitions loom, especially in Thailand and Myanmar, and external economic factors, like the slump in commodity prices and China’s slowdown, take the steam out of regional economies.
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It is a long walk on rugged terrain. The nearest traditional rice field of the indigenous Karen is five kilometres away from the village, tucked away in a dense forest. Yet Mueno, while carrying her three-old son, shows no sign of fatigue even as I am gasping for breath.
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Myanmar journalist Htet Khaung Lin has been awarded the prestigious Lorenzo Natali Prize in Brussels for a story on clandestine sex workers.
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The German Government has committed 10 million euro additional grants for flood-affected areas in northern Myanmar.
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Myanmar is just weeks away from seeing whether the upbeat, forward-looking vocabulary of national reconciliation, trust and cooperation can be translated into workable arrangements between the ruling party, the military and the opposition when they trade places in parliament and government. In finding their own pace and tone within the confines of such concepts, Myanmar’s leaders will do well to remain mindful of the patience, effort and skill it took other leaders to move toward democracy.
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Some 300 locals in Kanbauk village, in Tenasserim Division’s Yebyu Township, staged a protest on Monday accusing a company of reckless mining in the area.
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One year after the brutal rape and murder of two ethnic Kachin schoolteachers in eastern Burma, rights groups call for justice and accuse authorities of a “systematic cover-up” of the crime that many believe was perpetrated by active-duty soldiers.
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Deadly fighting has again broken out between rebel armies the Ta’ang Nationalities Liberation Army (TNLA) and Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) in Burma’s northeast.
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A new exhibition opened yesterday [Saturday] in Rangoon displaying 57 photographs taken by Kachin children living in some of the camps for internally displaces persons (IDPs) now littered across Burma’s northernmost state. War between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) was reignited almost five years ago following a tense ceasefire which had lasted 17 years.
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A Ta’ang soldier was killed in a clash between a Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) group and a combined force of Reunification Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and government troops.
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Six ethnic Palaung youths are reported to have escaped from a military camp run by the Kachin Independence Army after being among a group of 15 abducted from their village in northern Shan State during Shan New Year celebrations three weeks ago.
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A five-day Union Peace Conference concluded in Naypyidaw on Saturday, as participants representing ethnic armed groups, the government and the Burma Army agreed to a set time-frame for political dialogue.
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New military representatives to Burma’s next Parliament, which will convene in less than two weeks, were named in Tuesday’s state-run newspapers, including among appointees the son-in-law of former military strongman Snr-Gen Than Shwe.
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Some members of the Union Solidarity and Development Party’s top leadership yesterday denied rumours that the party has split into two factions or that individuals had been kicked out.
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Ethnic Pa-O, Shan-ni, Ta’ang and Wa representatives demanded self-administrated states at the Union Peace Conference in Naypyitaw last Thursday, 14 January.
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