Wednesday, June 1st, 2016


35 labour protestors out of 51 who were detained after their protest was dispersed by police in mid-May, were released yesterday, state media reported on 1 June.

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Burma’s newly installed National League for Democracy (NLD) government has pardoned and released more than 200 political prisoners and detainees facing politically motivated charges since it took power in April, including jailed student activists and journalists. The amnesties have been welcomed by rights groups, but despite the change in government, freedom remains elusive for Lahpai Gam, a 55-year-old refugee farmer from war-torn Kachin State. Lahpai Gam’s arrest by the military in 2012 and subsequent trial and conviction for committing crimes against the state is, according to his supporters, a major miscarriage of justice.

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Men who want to be women are increasingly in the news in Myanmar but they face many challenges and a formidable legal barrier.

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A revised version of a bill replacing Burma’s controversial Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law was approved by the Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday, while retaining criminal penalties against violators of the legislation amid criticism from rights groups.

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A delegation of members of the US House of Representatives led by Peter Roskam, chairman of the House Democracy Partnership, held separate meetings with President Htin Kyaw and Foreign Affairs Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

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A total of K2.8 billion contributed by crude oil entrepreneurs to the regional development fund of Magway Region is missing from the record of the previous government, and the contribution was not handed over, said Pe Zin Tun, the Union Minister for Electric Power and Energy in the Lower House of parliament on May 31.

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A child soldier has been returned to his family after a media report drew attention to his story in May this year.

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Burma Army soldiers have been torturing and killing civilians and using them as human shields in a recent offensive against the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) in Kyaukme Township, displacing over 1,000 villagers, according to the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF).

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More individual and large-scale returns of Burmese refugees from Thailand are expected during the dry season next year, according to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide assistance to more than 120,000 refugees on the Thai-Burma border.

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Myanmar’s kyat has become Asia’s top currency of 2016, a clear sign the nation is starting to emerge from decades of isolation.

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The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) will be reformed this month in line with the Myanmar Investment Law, said Than Aung Kyaw, deputy director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

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After a successful meeting between American Chamber of Commerce Myanmar (AmCham) members and high-ranking Burmese government officials last month, a new summit to feature Burmese economists and US businesspeople has been set for next Monday in Rangoon.

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A total of 129 out of 249 Myanmar fishermen, who had served their prison terms in India after being detained for illegally entering territorial waters, were released and have returned homme, officials said on Wednesday.
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India is keen to build bridges with democracy icon and Myanmar’s new Foreign Minister Aung Sang Suu Kyi. Indian external affairs ministry officials told Mizzima they have received instructions from the Prime Minister’s office to ‘find a suitable opportunity’ to invite Suu Kyi to India. They said India is considering some special arrangements for Myanmar pilgrims to Buddhist sites like Bodh Gaya and Sarnath.

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As Myanmar’s new government begins defining its reform policies arguably the biggest need is for good governance. Following decades of centralised military dictatorship, the country confronts dual challenges of trying to loosen the military’s grip on public administration as well as push government agencies to be more accountable and deliver better social services. Where the legacies of dictatorship overlap most significantly with hopes for change is in terms of local governance, namely the basic public administration of Myanmar’s districts and townships.

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The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission have today adopted a Joint Communication that sets out a vision for ambitious and forward-looking EU engagement with Myanmar as the country’s transition enters its next phase.

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