Friday, April 1st, 2016


A prominent political prisoner has been released after finishing his six-month jail sentence, coincidentally on the day that Myanmar’s new, democratically-elected government began working.
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Naw Ohn Hla, a renowned political activist, has called on the new government to discuss the release of political prisoners now the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC) has been established.
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New clashes flared between government troops and an armed ethnic group in northern Myanmar’s Shan state on Wednesday, the same day as a new civilian president was sworn into office, vowing to work towards peace and national reconciliation in the country.
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The Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JMC), formed one month after the signing of Burma’s so-called nationwide ceasefire pact (NCA), has received around 500 complaints of violations, mostly from Shan State and Karen State.
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The Arakan National Party (ANP) has told its legislators that if they accept a state-level ministry position from the National League for Democracy (NLD) without informing the party, they will be fined more than US$40,000.
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In a move calculated to please Burmese motorists, the Ministry of Construction announced on Friday that it would order the closure of more than half of the toll gates operating in most parts of the country.
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Myanmar’s upper house of parliament approved a bill on Friday that gives Aung San Suu Kyi a powerful government role, despite opposition from the military on the second day of her party’s new administration.
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Myanmar’s new social affairs chief had just six days’ notice before his appointment — one of a legion of newcomers from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party whose credentials will be sorely tested by the massive reconstruction job left by military rule.
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Under former President Thein Sein’s government, over US$100 million poured into Burma’s peace programs by foreign governments and institutions.
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This morning, Burma wakes up to a new era under a National League for Democracy-led government, which was sworn in on Wednesday but did not officially take up its duties in full until today.
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A proposal by the incoming National League for Democracy government to create a Ministry of Ethnic Affairs has drawn a mixed response from prominent members of ethnic minorities.
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The new Myanmar government must meet several challenges to ensure that the high growth rate expected for 2016 and 2017 is sustained so as to benefit the entire society, according to the Asian Development Bank.
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A parliamentary committee has recommended the incoming Yangon Region government suspend two approved projects on state land, including a US$70 million private hospital.
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Ministry of Health officials will be called to parliament today to reveal details of an investigation into the cause of death and severe illness of dozens of newborns in Bago Region.
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Opium farming has spread to Chin State, as cultivation of the drug continues to sow discord throughout other parts of the country.
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March 30 marked a historic day for Burma, as the Southeast Asian nation that was for decades beleaguered by military rule saw its first democratically elected civilian government since 1962 sworn into office.
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Last week I wrote about the lamentable lack of women in Myanmar’s new cabinet. It provoked a mixed reaction.
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Myanmar’s incoming civilian government this month announced plans to introduce a Ministry for Ethnic Affairs. The creation of this ministry, together with the appointment of a Christian vice-president for this Buddhist-majority country, seems calculated to reduce the number and severity of Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts. It coincides with a major and related Unicef-backed initiative to create a Myanmar National Language Policy (NLP).
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The Myanmar Times asked several ambassadors for their views on the challenges and priorities that lie ahead for the new government, and what investment opportunities they see.
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