July 2016


Reeling from a series of blows that have seriously undermined its status and authority, the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion appears to be trying to rehabilitate itself by claiming support from the last government.

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Leaders from Myanmar’s United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Mongla Army told State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday in the capital Naypyidaw that they strongly believe the government’s upcoming Panglong Peace Conference is the only way for Myanmar to attain peace through dialogue, a government official said.

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The National League for Democracy-led government released its much-awaited economic policy on Friday but the document was scant in detail.

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It’s nearly dinner time at the dormitory in Mai Ja Yang and teachers are busy in the kitchen, while several teenagers are lounging on benches outside the building in this Kachin rebel-controlled town on the Myanmar-China border.

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The plenary meeting of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) being held in Mai Ja Yang, Kachin State, will be extended for one more day because a number of issues remain to be deliberated.

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On the second day of the National Ethnic Youth Conference in the Shan State town of Panglong on Thursday, several participants, including a number of representatives from smaller ethnic groups, questioned whether equal rights would prevail for those ethnic minorities that do not have their own state or administrative region.

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“Boom!”

The sound of an explosion woke U Nyein Chan Aye, a freelance reporter in Bhamo, Kachin State, shortly after midnight on June 30.

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During their first meeting with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, an ethnic Wa delegation pledged to remain within the Union of Burma, rather than opting to split from the country.

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Lawmakers in a joint-session of the Union Parliament directed heavy criticism at the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) for its poor record on securing and monitoring the compliance of government ministries with their recommendations.

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The government will not release a list of ministers’ assets, according to senior officials, despite the National League for Democracy having pressed U Thein Sein’s administration to do the same back in 2012.

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Concluding the third day of talks at a plenary meeting in Maijayang on Thursday, the representatives of 17 of Burma’s main ethnic armed groups confirmed their agreement that any future “union army” should be under the control of a civilian government.

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Stakeholders including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and community-based organizations (CBOs) discussed preparations for refugee repatriation in the Mae La camp on the Thai-Burma border.

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A collective of humanitarian agencies, The Border Consortium (TBC), will introduce a new system of food provision, using electronic cards, at the end of this month for Burmese refugees living on Thai-Burma border.

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Myanmar’s decision to shake up its multi-billion dollar jade business is a ground-breaking opportunity to stop human rights abuses and increase transparency, but more needs to be done to create a more inclusive economy, activists said on Thursday.

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Burma’s new five-year plan for the health sector includes upgrading all 25-bed hospitals across the country into 50-bed ones, according to Dr. Myint Htwe, minister of health.

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Four persons have died and more than 600 cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) reported so far this year in Rangoon Division – the highest incident of the disease in all Burma’s administrative regions.

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Preparing for an exam is stressful in any country, but in Burma, students really have to know their stuff — right down to the last word. “There’s this example in the exam where you have to fill in the gaps with the correct word,” explains Chris Spohr, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) social sector specialist in Burma. “Only, you can’t use synonyms — you have to regurgitate the exact words from the textbook.”

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China’s Special Envoy on Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang, who has attended the Mai Ja Yang summit of ethnic armed groups in Kachin State as an observer, said that China backed “all the forces that support internal peace in Burma.”

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When the United Nations Development Programme resolved to step up its work in Myanmar in 2012, the first task at hand was to design a new engagement strategy. As the recently arrived country director, I recall meeting many sceptics within and outside the country who were questioning whether Myanmar’s declared transition was genuine and if the reforms were going to be more than cosmetic. And even if they were real, would the government have capacity to implement the reforms?

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“Myanmar’s Lady cosies up to the general”: There was something about this BBC headline this week that made me uncomfortable – and it wasn’t just unease about what behind-the-scenes deals may have taken place to provoke Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s apparent repositioning of himself as a born-again champion of religious freedom and military accountability.

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