Thursday, June 23rd, 2016


At an emergency meeting held on Thursday, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) decided not to withdraw from a military checkpoint in the Htee Khee area of southern Burma’s Tenasserim Division, according to local sources.

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Nearly 50 ethnic Palaung were released in Kutkai Township, Shan State after they were detained by members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) due to a land dispute, according to local sources.

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Lawmakers have complained that the Rangoon divisional government has unfairly allotted a budget windfall due to the cancellation of flyover projects, highlighting the fact that the divisional chief minister’s constituency received more money than any other township.

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An overpowering stench from a sulfuric acid plant in Sagaing Division’s Salingyi Township forced hundreds of students from a nearby village to stay home from school earlier this week, prompting renewed calls for the factory to be relocated.

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An uncertain future confronts Ma Ba Tha in the aftermath of the last year’s election triumph by the National League for Democracy, against which the hardline Buddhist nationalist group had strongly campaigned.

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U Sithu Aung Myint has once again raised the ire of the Eleven Media Group and may face defamation proceedings under the Electronic Transactions Law, the tenth time the company has attempted to pursue charges against the prominent commentator.

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Villagers in Karen State are less than ecstatic that more than 232 acres of farmland, confiscated by the Burma Army and other government officials will be returned to them. The National League for Democracy Government’s Land Management Group, based in Karen State, said the land would be returned to its rightful owners.

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The Women’s League of Burma (WLB) called on the Burma Army to stop offensives and military expansion in ethnic areas before holding the 21st Century Panglong Conference in a 16 June statement.

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Myanmar’s international trade still lags well behind its neighbours despite runaway growth in the last five years, and a comprehensive overhaul of existing trade regulations is needed to stimulate economic development, the World Bank said this week.

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Hundreds of migrants from Myanmar on Thursday gave Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi a thunderous welcome on her first visit to neighboring Thailand since her National League for Democracy swept to election victory in November.

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Despite around ten thousand Burmese migrant workers in Thailand waiting hours—under both the hot sun and, later, rain—for the opportunity to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, less than five hundred were ultimately permitted to do so.

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Facing persecution and worse at home in Myanmar where even their name has become anathema, members of the Rohingya diaspora in Thailand found themselves denied a voice today.

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Burma’s State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss bilateral issues focused on trade and economic cooperation during her visit to Thailand on 23-25 June. Meanwhile, the Thai government has announced yet again plans to put the long-delayed Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project higher on its agenda.

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The European Union Ambassador to Myanmar has said that communal tensions in Rakhine State remain “very high on the international agenda” during a policy briefing Wednesday.

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Government interference and corruption have left Myanmar’s legal fraternity in a shambles, its lawyers poorly trained and its judges cowed by police.

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When Myanmar in 2014 conducted its first comprehensive census in 30 years, the country was shocked to discover that some millions were missing from the count, which came in at around 51.5 million people. Last year, when I was conducting demographic research surveys in Mon state in southern Myanmar, near the Thai border, I saw another alarming trend: Almost every other household had sent at least one person to live and work in Thailand. This labor migration has significantly affected the Mon region. Agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, is shrinking; manufacturing and food processing factories are struggling for survival; and the social fabric is collapsing with many families torn apart as they seek work elsewhere.

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The Irrawaddy reporter Nyein Nyein talks to Htoo Chit, migrant rights advocate and director of the Foundation for Education Development (FED), outside Talay Thai Seafood Market in Mahachai, Thailand—where Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with migrant workers from Burma on Thursday afternoon—about the Thai government’s selection process for the meeting and why banned workers protested the decision.

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