Monday, August 1st, 2016


The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), a nine-member ethnic alliance that opted out of signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the previous government, said it would not sign the agreement unless all of the member groups were permitted to join.

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Ethnic armed groups concluded the Mai Ja Yang summit over the weekend on an ambivalent note, saying they would decide whether to attend the cornerstone of the new administration’s peace plan, the 21st-century Panglong Conference, only after determining how all-inclusive the conference will be.

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Last week around 800 youth representatives gathered at the site of the historic Panglong Agreement in Shan State to debate peace, federalism and equality for Myanmar’s ethnic peoples.

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Factory workers marching yesterday in protest of the newly appointed members to the Arbitration Council were stopped by police who said they did not have the necessary permission.

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Representatives of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) continued talks on Burma’s peace process in Rangoon today following a meeting with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi Naypyidaw last Friday.

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Authorities in Myanmar have detained two Pakistani nationals for giving sermons at mosques in Yangon, the Anadolu Agency reported on 31 July.

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As ethnic armed groups gathered in Kachin State’s Mai Ja Yang to search for common ground toward federalism in Burma, clashes broke out twice on Thursday between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA)—the armed wing of Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

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After connecting with Bangladesh through Tripura, Indian Railways plans to link up to Myanmar’s railway network via Moreh in Manipur as part of the Trans-Asian Railway Network, India’s railway minister Suresh Prabhu has said.

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The launch of the government’s economic policy last week was always meant to be the occasion for an announcement of a broad set of economic principles, rather than a detailed set of policy measures for individual sectors and industries.

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The economic policy statement by the government of Myanmar released on the 29July 2016, has all the right ingredients to take the country forward to the next level in terms of reaching the goal of a middle income developing country. It is heartening to see that the government has been able to put together in a relatively short time a blueprint for a self-reliant economic strategy. It may also receive a thumbs-up from the global investors as well.

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Aung Htoo is a human rights lawyer who has worked for many years on ideas and challenges concerning federalism in Burma, and on the creation of a draft federal constitution. He founded the Legal Aid Network in 2012, which established the Federal Law Academy in Mai Ja Yang in Kachin State in 2014, to provide legal and constitutional education to ethnic youth.

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