Thursday, September 8th, 2016


Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday his mission to Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state is not meant to investigate human rights, but to come up with recommendations to ease tensions between Buddhists and minority Muslims.

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A proposed hydropower dam on the Salween River continues to be assessed for development, despite community criticism in Shan State.

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Armed clashes broke out in Karen State between splinter Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) forces and government backed militia.

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ONE REGULAR criticism of the new government is that it is too often wasting time and energy on unimportant issues, rather than those that urgently require attention.

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Three men who attacked the current Rangoon social affairs minister Naing Ngan Lin and two other National League for Democracy (NLD) members during last year’s election campaign period were sentenced to prison with hard labor on Tuesday.

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The government has formed an implementation committee to rid Burma of its least developed country (LDC) status, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win told the Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday.

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The Burma Army stopped a Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) vehicle transporting medicine to internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Eastern Kachin State near the Chinese border and seized all the medicines on 25 August.

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The Tatmdaw has denied claims made in Indian media that New Delhi is providing arms and helicopters to Myanmar to flush out insurgent groups along the two nations’ shared border.

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Thai digital finance company Group Lease is poised to enter the Myanmar microfinance market after acquiring a 71.9 percent stake in BG Microfinance Myanmar for an unspecified amount, media reports said last week.

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The Burmese consulate in Chiang Mai has issued a warning to expectant mothers to postpone any travel plans to the northern Thai city amid a spread of the Zika virus.

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Police in Muse township raided a drug user’s house and sent 11 addicts to prison last week, claiming that the nearest rehabilitation camp was too far to arrange a transfer.

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Japan has pledged 135 billion yen (US$1.33 billion) to Myanmar as its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held bilateral talks yesterday on the sidelines of the ASEAN summits and related meetings in Vientiane, Laos.

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Burma’s road to democratization is still incomplete but has made some progress. No one should doubt the length of the journey before greater civilian control is seen in the country.

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Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has had a busy few weeks. She attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers’ meeting in Laos at the end of July in her capacity as foreign minister; traveled to Beijing in mid-August in her capacity as state counselor (and was by all accounts successful in getting relations with Myanmar’s giant neighbor off to a decent start); returned to Laos for the ASEAN summit and related meetings Sept. 6-8 in her capacity as de facto head of government; and will embark on a multi-country trip in mid-September, including stops in London, Washington D.C. and New York (to address the United Nations General Assembly).

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Five months after the transfer of power to the new government in April, former Minister of Information (2014-16) U Ye Htut became a senior visiting fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. While in Burma conducting research for a book to be published later this year, he spoke to The Irrawaddy about his past experiences in government and views on the current administration.

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As Burma’s Union Peace Conference began in Naypyidaw in late August, fighting resumed in Karen State’s Myaing Gyi Nyu and Mae Tha Waw between a splinter group of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the Burma Army-backed Border Guard Force (BGF). The DKBA splinter group, named after its late commander Maj Na Ma Kyar, claimed the Burma Army used the BGF to chase them because their leader, Maj Saw San Aung, is on the BGF wanted list. Irrawaddy reporter Saw Yan Naing spoke to Maj Saw San Aung about the fighting.

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