Friday, May 20th, 2016


Permission will soon be granted to interview Major Aung Phyo Myint, the Burma Army commander who many consider a key suspect in the murder of two Kachin teachers in northern Shan State in 2015.

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Kachin representatives determined to track down the murderers of two young teachers are to go to court to demand the right to put direct questions to the commander and soldiers of a Tatmadaw unit stationed near the crime scene.

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A court in Irrawaddy Division’s Kangyidaunt Township on Thursday accepted a lawsuit filed against ultra-nationalist politician Nay Myo Wai for allegedly defaming the president, army chief and state counselor on social media.

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Leaders of the eight ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) who signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) are holding a five-day political capacity building workshop at the Inya Lake Hotel in Rangoon from 18 to 22 May.

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The National League for Democracy’s push for peace with ethnic armed groups is expected to begin in late July, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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Burma’s Upper House of Parliament has decided to review a bill to replace the controversial Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law, so as to align it more closely with international human rights standards, after criticism from rights groups that it retained several provisions used to stifle dissent in recent years.

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A Law to protect religious harmony is being considered by the new government following failed attempts to pass such a bill in the previous parliament, which instead enacted controversial legislation seen as undermining religious freedoms.

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Two weeks ago, three Arakanese women from Kyaukphyu Township in northern Arakan met in an unlikely place: Shweli, a Chinese town also known as Ruili, on the border with Burma.

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Yangon-based Won Toll signed an agreement for a 300-megawatt solar power project with Kamrai Panit from Thailand on May 18, said officials.

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Woodside Petroleum says it has discovered 2.4 trillion cubic feet of gas off Myanmar as it booked an increase in its hydrocarbon resource and flagged a start-up of production in the South East Asian frontier country in five year’s time.

Addressing almost 100 analysts and investors at Woodside’s annual investor briefing day in Sydney, chief executive Peter Coleman also said the contentious Browse floating LNG project would be developed in phases, with the new project design to be completed in the second half of next year.

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The city-folk of Rangoon are in for a visual treat this week as a new photo exhibition, Human. Nature., opens at Myanmar Deitta gallery. Produced in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the show features works by award-winning photographer Minzayar, who ventured into southeastern Burma’s wilderness to capture the links between nature and livelihoods.

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Hospitals are refusing to open drug treatment centres for fear of attracting criminals, campaigners say. While residents who live near a methadone therapy program in Yangon say they have seen drug users in the vicinity and they fear to go out at night, advocates have called on health authorities to open more centres because of the growing need.

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President U Htin Kyaw, met Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin yesterday during his visit to attend a Summit commemorating the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partner Relations, state media reported.

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India’s Act East Policy appeared to be getting into stride this week as Indian and Myanmar business people came together in Yangon for an India-Myanmar business conclave.

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Fighting in northern Burma between government forces and ethnic armed groups has intensified in recent days, even as a European Union delegation visits the region to learn more about the multiple conflicts that continue to displace thousands of civilians.

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I belong to an ethnic group that, according to my government, does not exist. In the past few weeks, ultra-nationalist protestors have proudly proclaimed, “There are no Rohingya in our country.” And then the NLD government requested foreign embassies to refrain from using the term “Rohingya”, reportedly stating that “the controversial term does not support the national reconciliation process and solving problems”. Their statement was disappointing because it was a capitulation to the hardliners and because I, as a Rohingya, want nothing more than national reconciliation. I want to live in a Myanmar where all of Myanmar’s peoples can live together in equality and peace.

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Last week the Obama administration extended economic sanctions against Burma for another year saying the step is necessary despite the progress on democratic reforms.

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As Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) engaged in a historic transfer of power in the Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw in March, my Burmese colleagues and I stood on a deserted beach 170 miles to the southwest, near Gwa on the Rakhine coast. We were speaking to local fishermen about their livelihoods and hearing about the unfortunate death of a young dugong – southeast Asia’s cousin of the manatee.

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During a press conference at the US Embassy today in Yangon, US Ambassador Mr Scot Marcel discussed the intentions behind Washington’s decision announced this week to ease US sanctions on Myanmar.

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An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Mr. Yongzheng Yang visited Myanmar during May 12?20 to assess macroeconomic developments and discuss economic policies with the authorities. The team met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) U Kyaw Kyaw Maung, Deputy Governors U Set Aung, Daw Khin Saw Oo, and U Soe Min, and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win, and other senior officials. The team also held discussions with parliamentarians and private sector representatives.

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