Inside Burma


Ma Khin Hnin has enough food to last two days. When that supply runs out, she has no way of getting anything more. She will have to rely on borrowing from better-stocked neighbours or hope volunteers will replenish donations to her flood-inundated village.
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Armed ethnic groups are proposing a zero-sum bargain to break the months-long ceasefire deadlock: The government must make concessions to non-signing groups if the others are to join the agreement.
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A group of more than 1,400 civilians displaced by recent fighting in Kachin state’s Sumprabum Township remain cut off from United Nations aid agencies and other relief groups, more than a month after heavy fighting in the area forced villagers to flee their homes in eight villages.
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The Arakan State government’s ongoing citizenship verification process has caused disquiet among local Arakanese, some of whom contend that immigration officials are overly accommodating of unwarranted claims.
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Five activists have been sentenced to four months each in prison by the Ahlone township court under Article-18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law. The group had previously been sentenced to over four years in prison each, under various charges connected to a protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Rangoon in December last year.
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Burma’s Union Parliament voted on Thursday to delay discussion of a hotly contested impeachment bill that could have been used to unseat besieged Speaker Shwe Mann, who last week was removed from his post as chairman of the ruling party in a surprise political reshuffle.
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The chief of Burma’s armed forces on Thursday sought to quash speculation of the military’s involvement in last week’s surprise ruling party reshuffle, saying the army did not meddle in internal party politics.
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Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has finally unveiled her party’s official campaign slogan: “Time for Change.”
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Parliamentary hopefuls representing Burma’s main opposition party have been warned against interacting with the press while the country’s election board scrutinizes candidates, according to a party spokesman.
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The country’s two main political parties, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), will each field more than 1,000 candidates in the 8 November general election.
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The Central Bank of Myanmar will take action against companies that encourage dollarisation, according to a senior official with the bank’s Foreign Exchange Management Department.
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Ethnic armed groups negotiating a nationwide ceasefire with Burma’s government since 2013 have worked hard to present a unified front.
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I almost thought it wasn’t worthwhile writing a column this week. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that, as a woman, I am basically “fucking useless” – at least according to U Kyaw Swar Soe, head of the Myanmar Farmers’ Development Party (MFDP), who this week wrote off the political competency of an entire gender while expressing his relief that the next parliament will not be full of female MPs.
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It was supposed to be a diplomatic coup when President Thein Sein freed the 155 Chinese workers sentenced to life imprisonment for illegal logging less than two weeks ago in Burma, under a massive presidential pardon. But it turned out to be a failed move politically for the Union Solidarity and Development Party-Military (USDP-Military) regime.
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In an interview with Nancy Shwe, director of RFA’s Myanmar Service,  Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, said former junta chief Than Shwe advises his former army colleagues on military affairs but exerts no influence on the country’s politics. He also denied that the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s armed services]  played any role in the ouster last week of  ruling party chairman Shwe Mann.
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Since 2013, the Peace Corps, a U.S. government initiative to support developing nations, has been conducting a series of assessments to better evaluate the optimum way it can support Myanmar’s transition. As a result, the Peace Corps is preparing to officially open a local office in Yangon in February 2016.
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Five activists have been sentenced to four months each in prison by the Ahlone township court under Article-18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law. The group had previously been sentenced to over four years in prison each, under various charges connected to a protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Rangoon in December last year.
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Technical teams representing government and ethnic peace negotiators convened in northern Thailand on Thursday in anticipation of talks between the President and five ethnic armed groups next week.
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Mandalay Division’s Border and Security Affairs minister has vowed to crackdown on LGBT couples that engage in “inappropriate” public displays of affection and pledged an increased presence at the city’s moat and western dock areas.
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Almost 60 percent of rapes reported to police in Yangon Region in the first half of this year involved a victim under 16 years, down slightly on the 70pc recorded last year.
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