Tuesday, August 30th, 2016


The Burma Army and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) clashed in northern Shan State on Sunday evening, just days before the start of the Union Peace Conference.

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113 Burmese civil society groups have demanded that the Burma Army halt offensives against ethnic armed groups, and that a ceasefire be mutually agreed before the 21st Century Panglong Conference begins on Wednesday in Naypyidaw.

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According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, there are nearly 1.3 million child labourers in Myanmar.

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Tens of millions of kyat will be needed in order to repair pagodas in Rakhine State’s Mrauk-U after they were damaged by last week’s earthquake, government experts have warned. Some religious buildings in Mrauk-U are at risk of collapse and need urgent restoration work, says the district Archaeology, Library and Museum Department.

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A prominent anti-Muslim group of Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar is criticizing former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on social media, and accidentally taking actor Morgan Freeman down with him.

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In a dramatic redrafting of local governance, the Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to at least partially relinquish control of the police, the Bureau of Special Investigations, the Fire Service Department, the Prison Department and the General Administration Department (GAD).

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The Arakan National Party (ANP) on Tuesday tabled an emergency proposal in the lower house of parliament requesting the government reconsider the appointment of three foreigners to the newly formed Arakan Commission.

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The competition for secondhand and counterfeit mobile phones is intense in a market that’s been flooded with the products since the telecoms sector was liberalised in 2013.

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Anxiety is mounting within the retail industry with businesses large and small in the dark about how rules governing taxation will affect their future trade.

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Burmese business leaders have welcomed the “21st Century Panglong” peace conference, expecting that a successful peace settlement would increase foreign investment in Burma, open up border areas and tempt back migrant workers from abroad.

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Burma and India have inked four memorandums of understanding (MoU) to promote bilateral cooperation in the areas of traditional medicine, renewable energy and infrastructural connectivity.

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More than 260 Myanmar migrants, including 104 undocumented labourers who were forced to work in Thailand, have been rescued by responsible organizations of Thailand and Myanmar, state media reported on 29 August.

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Myanmar to improve living conditions for its Rohingya Muslim minority on Tuesday, ahead of peace talks between leader Aung San Suu Kyi and many of the country’s ethnic armed rebel groups.

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The following is the full text of a statement by the European Union High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini ahead of the 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference in Myanmar that was issued on 30 August.

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Without the three hold-out groups, the conference will fall short of Suu Kyi’s promises of an all-inclusive summit. If the military, operating independently of civilian oversight, continues to clash with the three groups, there is a further danger that the peace process could stall, particularly if the UNFC — in solidarity with the three groups — decides to withdraw or reduce its involvement in the talks. Given the fragile nature of the peace negotiations, it would be advisable for the government to include the three outcast groups on similar, more lenient terms extended to other ethnic groups, even if a commitment to disarm is not reached.

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Newly democratic Myanmar is all set to launch its 21st-century Panglong Conference on August 31. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has stressed that her government is keen to make it as inclusive as possible.

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This month the newly elected Myanmar government released its economic policy and announced that it will seek to attract even more foreign investment than under previous administrations. But the new policy did not outline how it will ensure that foreign investment will contribute to the protection of human rights and sustainable development.

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I am pleased to be here with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her capacity as State Counsellor and new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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