Tuesday, August 9th, 2016


Ethnic armed group leaders are holding a three-day workshop on Security Sector Reform (SSR) in Burma, which started on Monday in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai.

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88 Generation Peace and Open Society—an activist group led by former student leaders of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising—have called on the government to formally recognize August 8 as Burma’s “Democracy Day.”

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The spark that ignited the national uprising in 1988 against Ne Win’s despised socialist regime began as a dispute between students and neighbourhood youths at a teashop in Yangon’s outer Insein Township.

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Thailand and Myanmar must agree on a migrant worker system that does not functionally result in “legal human-trafficking”, activists said at a press conference last week.

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A weather observation radar that was built with Japan’s help will soon begin operating in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. Standing 18 stories tall, the new landmark will become an important piece of infrastructure in Myanmar, which is often hit by cyclones.

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Twenty-one local farmers spurned a compensation ceremony in Kyaukphyu, Arakan State, on Thursday, when they arrived to find that the event was being staged to conclude the matter of damage to their farmlands without attempting to rectify the destruction.

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Some residents in Kyaikmaraw Township are angry with the Mon State government over a report about a coal fired cement factory that they say completely ignores their original concerns.

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Government employees’ salaries will not increase despite plans to take out a loan worth US$100 million from the World Bank, aimed at covering a state deficit by separating salaries from the budget, according to government officials.

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The Union Election Commission of Myanmar reported turnout at 69 percent for the historic 2015 elections within the country. Outside of the country, the story was very different. Fewer than 20,000 external voters engaged their political right at the ballot box abroad. This amounted to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the over four million people who compose the Burmese diaspora.

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Burma’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has expelled a dozen township-level central executive committee members in Mandalay Division for reportedly failing to follow rules and regulations during campaigns for the 2015 general election.

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Burmese government forces have clashed with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the town of Kamaing, situated between Kachin State capital Myitkyina and the jade-rich township of Hpakant. No casualties have been reported.

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Authorities exhumed the bodies of seven locals who were killed in Lashio Township’s Mong Yaw Village on June 28 in order to perform autopsies.

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About 10 years ago, Ko Aung Kyaw Oo* hopped on a motorbike taxi in the Chinese border town of Ruili. A few minutes later he was dropped off in Muse, on the Myanmar side. Now in his 40s, he has never returned to China, nor does he want to.

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Five years ago, when cold pills first trickled across Myanmar’s untamed border with India, many local officials were baffled. Where was this medicine going, and why were smugglers so interested in it?

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Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s state counselor and foreign minister, is scheduled to visit China for four days from next week, according to the President’s Office.

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration, which took power at the end of March, is the first democratically elected government to run Burma in more than 50 years. There has been considerable criticism of the new government from pundits and in the media, and even in some political circles in the West. Among other things, commentators have criticized weaknesses in addressing the plight of oppressed Muslim communities in Rakhine State and what is seen as the government’s non-transparent and non-consultative decision-making. But while many of the concerns are valid, there must be more understanding of the daunting challenges Burma’s new democratic leadership is confronting. So far, they have made some missteps, but no huge mistakes.

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