Tuesday, March 8th, 2016


Burma‘s democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi is likely to speed up elections of the country’s president, in a last-minute change following weeks of talks with the military that has stood by the constitution that bars her from assuming the highest office.
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Burma’s Union Parliament announced on Tuesday that presidential nominees will be declared on March 10—a week earlier than the date originally set for the occasion.
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Since opening in early February, the Upper and Lower Houses of Burma’s new Parliament—dominated by lawmakers from the National League for Democracy (NLD)—have initiated multiple democratic proceedings to which ruling government officials have yet to offer support.
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Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD), promised ethnic lawmakers at a Monday evening meeting in Naypyidaw that Burma’s new government will prioritize peace issues as promised.
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They are mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who have been also active for years in Myanmar politics, business, and social and cultural affairs. They have managed to thrive in the country’s patriarchal society and in spite of its conservative culture.
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Former Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann is today likely to be confirmed in his new role as chair of a powerful legal review committee in Nay Pyi Taw. Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaint Than announced that Thura U Shwe Mann had been nominated to chair the new Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues.
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As of September 2015, the Myanmar government collected Ks 222 billion in taxes from both normal and border trade, according to the National Planning and Economic Development Ministry.
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Members of the Union Election Commission, political parties and civil society groups yesterday reflected on the successes and shortcomings of the country’s unprecedented election last November.
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The Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) is expected to begin shares trading by the second week of March, with dry-run testing already underway, an official from the Securities Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) told The Irrawaddy on Monday.
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Planned Central Bank reforms could end state-owned banks’ reluctance to participate in the interbank foreign exchange market, which bankers at private lenders say is causing distortions in the kyat-dollar exchange rate.
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As speculation mounts over whether the new government will back Myanmar’s divisive special economic zones, a National League for Democracy spokesperson says in theory such projects are good for the economy and will continue to receive support.
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Arakan Army officers have strongly denied a government accusation that they fund their military activities and weapons purchases through the sale of illegal drugs. The United League for Arakan, the group’s political wing, has lashed out at a story in state-owned media yesterday that stated the movement funded its activities with illegal narcotics sales.
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A Thai tuna processing factory has agreed to pay staff $1.3m compensation for labour abuses, an official said on Tuesday, in a rare victory for migrant workers in the country’s scandal-stricken seafood industry.
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In yet another capricious policy shift with repercussions for millions of workers, Thailand has announced that migrant labourers must re-register for temporary documents known as “pink cards”.
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Since 2009, Thai governments have had a general nationwide migration policy to meet strong national economic, demographic and lifestyle demands that enabled—but didn’t necessarily ensure or promote—the regularization of irregular-entry lower skilled migrant workers from Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
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Renowned Burmese writer Maung Tha Ya, author of over 60 books, passed away at age 86 in the US on Monday.

Born in Mandalay, he was given the name Thein Lwin at birth, but took the pen name of Maung Tha Ya in 1955, when his career as an author began with the publication of a short story in Rangoon’s Shu Ma Wa Magazine.
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Rohingya Muslims are considered to be the most persecuted minority in the world. This fact is recognized by the United Nations and by almost all human rights organizations. Several prominent international human rights activists have noted that Rohingya Muslims have been subjected to massive ethnic cleansing in Myanmar (formerly Burma), a predominantly Buddhist country in Southeast Asia.
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While many issues remain unresolved between the military and Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, further democratization is possible in the Southeast Asian country.
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Union Election Commission head U Tin Aye recently visited Mizzima Media Studios for an interview to discuss the November elections and the role of his organization.
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The Director of Operations for the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging, briefed media in New York following his recent visit to Myanmar, 22 to 25 February.
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