Thursday, March 24th, 2016


Burma’s new government will face challenges releasing political prisoners and reforming the system responsible for their continued existence when it assumes power next week, says an Amnesty International report released on Thursday.
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About 500 protesters in western Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state demanded on Wednesday that they be allowed to choose their own chief minister from the state’s strongest local ethnic political party, in an expression of discontent with the incoming government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
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Panellists at a recent meeting in Yangon said racial discriminations undermined peace in the country.

The gathering was held on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 20 and on the cusp of a new era as the National League for Democracy-led government prepares to take up power.
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Ethnic leaders and armed group representatives have welcomed last week’s appointment of Htin Kyaw as president of the National League for Democracy government, with some voicing confidence in his government’s abilities to revive Burma’s stalled peace process.
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Despite the uneasy calm that has descended on Rakhine State since the outbreak of communal violence in 2012, there is little pressure in the north of the state to raise the strict curfew imposed at that time. Even in the Muslim-majority townships of Buthidaung and Maungdaw, the measure seems to be grudgingly accepted, local residents say.
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Despite controversy over a phony doctoral degree, the Union Parliament on Thursday approved Kyaw Win as Burma’s presumptive minister of National Planning and Finance, along with 17 other nominees for cabinet posts.
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Tin Oo, a founding member and patron of the soon-to-be-ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), has vowed that his party will focus on bringing peace to Burma.
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Staff in the four ministries soon to come under Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s management have welcomed her appointment, telling The Myanmar Times they hope she can accelerate administrative reforms in the civil service. But analysts and insiders have cautioned that she will face myriad challenges in cleaning up the bureaucracy and upholding promises of clean government.
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Myanmar’s financial regulator has ended state-owned banks’ monopoly on providing foreign currency accounts for state-owned firms, opening a new market to private lenders – both local and international – that could potentially bring vast amounts of public money into the wider banking system.
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The City Municipal Department of Mandalay announced on Thursday that Tuesday’s fire in Mingalar Market had destroyed more than one billion kyats (over US$825,000) worth of property.
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The creation of Pat Jasan and its ‘people’s war on drugs’ have brought to light a number of key drug-related problems facing not only the Kachin State but also the rest of the country. Praised by some Kachin activists for finally addressing drug problems, they are also criticized by others for violating human rights and not providing any services to marginalized communities, including drug users and poppy farmers.
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The Burma Army raided a drug rehabilitation centre in Muse Township, Central Shan State and arrested 72 people, most of them patients, for involvement in the drug trade on 20 March, said treatment centre staff.
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Today, Amnesty International released the report New expression meets old repression. Here is a look at some of the key numbers behind the growing crackdown on freedom of expression in Myanmar.
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Last year, former dictator Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s favorite grandson Nay Shwe Thway Aung proudly posted a picture of himself and a general sitting together on a domestic commercial flight; it was Lt-Gen Sein Win, Burma’s Defense Minister.
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The decision to nominate U Myint Swe as Vice President does not inspire confidence in the military’s commitment to further democratic reform.
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Tuberculosis is a global public health scourge. In 2014, 9.6 million people worldwide were estimated to have fallen ill with the disease, while 1.5 million people suffered TB-related deaths.
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In an age in which data is more plentiful and accessible than ever before, we are accustomed to basing our decisions on as much evidence as we can gather. The more important the decision, the keener we are to ensure that our research is thorough and our information is accurate.
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