Inside Burma


On the second day of a summit in Mai Ja Yang, Kachin State, ethnic armed group leaders discussed a draft constitution which proposes a single Burman state within a federal union.

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Four ethnic armed organisations including the largest, the United Wa State Party (UWSP), did not attend the first day of the four-day plenary meeting of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) which began yesterday and was attended by 17 EAOs.

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Dozens of villages remain empty in Kyaukme Township, a tea-growing area in northern Shan State where fighting erupted in February. The displacement of thousands of residents by the fighting has disrupted the tea harvest, from June to December. From January to April the plantations are prepared for the next harvest. Tea dominates the area’s economy and many tea growers, and their workers, are worried about their livelihoods.

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Compensation would be given to locals whose farmlands or fruit tree plantations were affected by the two power cable projects from Myawady to Mawlamyaing and Myawady to Kawkareik.

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The former deputy chairman of the Arakan Liberation Party, Khine Myo Tun, appeared at Sittwe township court for the first time today since he was arrested for allegedly accusing the Burmese army of committing war crimes in western Burma.

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Leaders representing 17 ethnic armed groups gathered in Mai Ja Yang, Kachin State on Tuesday to search for common ground in working toward a federal system in Burma.

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The Shan State government has made a last-minute move to cancel a five-day ethnic youth conference, citing the possibility of a negative impact on the upcoming 21st Century Panglong Convention (21CPC).

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More than a hundred farmers staged a protest in the city of Monywa on Monday, demanding compensation for farmland that was confiscated to make way for mining and other industrial projects in the area.

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Civil society groups are gearing up for the so-called 21st-century Panglong Conference, next month’s much-anticipated peace summit. The National Ethnic Youth Conference, scheduled to be held in Loilin township’s Panglong town from July 27 to 31, will strive to cultivate a sense of unity among Myanmar’s younger generations.

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Fixing Myanmar’s transport woes may cost up to US$60 billion but inaction could be far more expensive, according to a new report.

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Peace activists held mass rallies in support of the upcoming government-led Union Peace Conference (21st Century Panglong) in Yangon yesterday, local media reported.

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PROMINENT activist Ko Tin Htut Paing, who was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 2009 and released under a presidential amnesty in 2012, might have had reason to believe there would be greater freedom under the National League for Democracy government.

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It takes two to tango, say Burma-watchers trying to make sense of the relationship burgeoning between the new government and the armed forces. This last week, some intriguing gestures have passed between the two.

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A nationalist political party yesterday raised objections over how the new government has been addressing citizenship issues in Rakhine State, citing a lack of punishments enforced against fraudulent applicants.

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Speculation rippled across social media after fire trucks and ambulances were seen outside the embassy compound in Myanmar’s largest city, but local officer Zaw Win told AFP “it was not a bomb explosion”.

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The eight armed groups that signed last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) have pledged to find solutions for non-signatory groups to be included in the peace process. A statement calling for more inclusion was issued at the end of a three-day meeting attended by forty representatives from the eight ethnic armed groups in northern Thai city Chiang Mai.

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Myanmar’s United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) is working on the formation of a coordinated platform based on common policies on key issues as it prepares for the government’s Panglong Peace Conference in late August, an official involved in the process said Friday.

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MYANMAR’S state and regional legislatures have been slow to find their feet during the country’s transition. While lawmakers in Nay Pyi Taw cut ministry budgets and reshaped draft legislation, the 14 sub-national parliaments have been largely bit players in the reform process. Rarely have they challenged the state and region governments on which they are supposed to exercise oversight.

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The Board of Trustees for Rangoon’s Shwedagon Pagoda told The Irrawaddy on Friday that they received a complaint from a group of Buddhist monks claiming that an on-site vendor was selling religious goods supplied by a non-Buddhist wholesaler, an act which does not violate any existing regulations.

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A national youth conference will be held in southern Shan State’s Panglong in late July, aiming to build unity among young people representing ethnic groups from across Burma.

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