Friday, May 6th, 2016


Eight armed ethnic groups met informally with the Myanmar government’s new peace envoy on Wednesday in Yangon to discuss how to advance peace and reform the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) before upcoming peace talks, the leader of a rebel group who attended the meeting said.
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Heavy fighting was reported across three townships in northern Shan State yesterday as State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi prepared to hold her first consultations with ethnic armed groups ahead of a major peace conference.
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International aid agencies and the Myanmar government say they are mobilising aid for more than 2000 Muslim IDPs left homeless after a fire ripped through their internment camp in Rakhine State amid conflicting reports of their whereabouts.
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Hundreds of police were deployed yesterday in response to a swelling protest column at the controversial Letpadaung copper mine in Sagaing Region. Villagers are raging at the government for failing to prevent the internationally crticised project from restarting.
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Evictions of unofficial tenants, increasingly common over the past few years as the lure of jobs has drawn people from the countryside to Yangon, are likely to continue even as the new regional government takes over, experts say.
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The collective fate of tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese living in Burma’s Shan State was taken up by the Union Parliament on Wednesday, opening another chapter in the convoluted controversy over what it means to be “Burmese.”
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Even though Myanmar’s de facto leader is now a woman, gender equality in its government remains dire, a new report finds.
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The National League for Democracy has put forward changes to the peaceful protest law that are likely to result in fewer activists going to prison.
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The new Ambassador of the United States of America Scot Marciel has emphasized his will to support Myanmar in a huge buildup process in his welcome-speech at his residence in Yangon on 3 May. He took over the position from the former ambassador Derek Mitchell a few months ago. On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day he underlined the importance of a free and independent press for a democratic society.
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Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw made his first state visit to Laos on Friday, accompanied by Myanmar’s de facto leader State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, for a meeting with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith at the presidential palace in Vientiane.
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I must start with a correction. My column last week spoke about the abusive system of apartheid in Rakhine State that means Muslim people are kept in camps and forced to make dangerous, sometimes fatal, journeys to access basic supplies because they are not allowed to travel freely.
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The Burmese government under State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has kicked off a new phase of the peace process with the country’s ethnic minorities. On 27 April, Suu Kyi held a meeting with the Joint Monitoring Committee, a body representing the army and eight non-state armed groups that signed the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) last October.
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