Friday, September 9th, 2016


IN NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar’s capital, September 3rd marked the end of four days of peace talks between the government and 17 of the insurgent groups that have bedevilled the country since independence in 1948. Delegates listened to a series of optimistic closing speeches. But on the same day in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, people heard a different sound: fighter jets roaring overhead. “Maybe they’re on their way to bomb Laiza,” said a local, referring to the town where the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), one of the rebel groups, is headquartered. It would not be the first time. Just days before the peace talks began, Myanmar’s army attacked KIA positions with helicopter gunships and heavy artillery. As delegates poured into Naypyidaw from around the country, clashes continued in the states named for the Shan and Kachin minorities, showing that, for all the excitement surrounding the talks, the road ahead is long and obstacle-strewn.

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A clash erupted Thursday afternoon between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) in Tae Chong village of Dawei District. The two ethnic armed groups both claim land in the area, also known as Tavoy, in Tenasserim Division.

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Burma’s civilian-led government recently marked five months since the transfer of power from the country’s previous, military-backed administration.

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Four years after fleeing religious riots that emptied her Muslim Rohingya neighbourhood in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Myee Shay yearns for the trappings of a normal life: a job, a school for her children and the chance to buy her own food.

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In a move that could result in a shift of key negotiators in the peace process, the Karen National Union is set to hold a party congress and an election of new leadership this November.

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Locals opposing the controversial Letpadaung copper mine in Salingyi township met with two Sagaing Region ministers this week, the first concerted effort by the regional National League for Democracy government to address long-standing grievances about the project since its leadership was installed earlier this year.

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A bill to enshrine the fundamental rights, privacy and security of individuals was submitted by the Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committee yesterday, one of the first legislative initiatives of the National League for Democracy-dominated legislature that has not concerned bureaucratic reform.

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Another 55 child soldiers have been formally discharged from the Tatmadaw this week, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

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Myanmar’s commander-in-chief of the armed services said Thursday that the newly appointed advisory commission on Rakhine state must take into account the history and desire of the ethnic Buddhist Rakhine majority in the restive region while it carries out its work.

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Battling to save 40,000 children at risk from a Japanese encephalitis outbreak, health officials have had to cope with recalcitrant local militias, difficult travel logistics and parents who attribute the disease not to infection but to witchcraft.

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A combination of factors ranging from climate change to deforestation are being blamed for an apparent increase in flooding, with hundreds of thousands displaced for a second consecutive year.

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Myanmar has become the main route for smuggling rhino horns from India to China, according to wildlife crime experts.

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Burma and the Czech Republic entered into historic economic relations on Monday when the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic cooperation.

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China’s military wants to strengthen ties with neighboring Myanmar by having more exchanges and greater cooperation, a top officer told Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a visit to the Southeast Asian country, state media said on Saturday.

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