Inside Burma


Political and ethnic leaders have offered a lukewarm response to the latest round of 48-party dialogue with President Thein Sein, held in Naypyidaw on Wednesday.
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Another student activist, Po Po, who last month participated in an education reform protest that was violently dispersed in Letpadan, Pegu Division, was arrested at her home on Wednesday and will be charged with joining a subsequent demonstration in Rangoon.
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The sun is sinking into the Rangoon River, one of lower Burma’s main waterways. It is dotted with small boats on their way to dusky moorings. Arkar Min, 21, rides a water taxi with seven men, all of them silent. They’ve spent the day hauling fish into trucks. Now they rest against one another, backs between knees, arms around shoulders, heads on laps, lulled by the rhythmic thump of the engine. (more…)

Burma’s political heavyweights met in Naypyidaw on Wednesday for the latest summit in a stop-start series of political reform talks. President Thein Sein, military officials, parliamentary representatives, ministers, leader of the opposition Aung San Suu Kyi and other party leaders discussed issues around the peace process, the upcoming elections and ensuring peaceful power transfer to a winning party in the election.
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Renewed fighting was reported this week between Burma Army troops and three ethnic armed groups in Kachin and Shan states, less than a week after ethnic negotiators reached a tentative agreement with their government counterparts on the draft text for a nationwide ceasefire accord.
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The Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation (YESC) has pledged to supply round the clock electricity to Rangoon over the summer months, according to chairman Aung Khine.
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Since 10 March 2015, the Burmese government has detained 70 students and their supporters in Tharawaddy Prison. Out of the 127 students arrested and detained, 70 are still being held in detention. These arrests were part of a crackdown to quash the student protest march against the National Education Law that was passed on 30 September 2014. Out of the students arrested, 27 were released without charge and 30 students were released on bail. The case against students will be heard tomorrow at the Letpadan Township court.
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Temporary identity cards, also known as white cards, expired on 31 March and should be returned to the authorities by the card holders, said U Khin Soe, the director of the Arakan State Immigration Department.
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S.H.A.N. has learned that the state government has ordered the authorities in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, and other district level cities to organise demonstrations in support of the peace process.
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Myanmar’s President Thein Sein has held rare talks with influential allies and rivals including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as she intensifies efforts to lift a constitutional ban on her presidential bid.
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A bill that opponents say threatens to curb women’s reproductive rights was passed by Burma’s Union Parliament on Monday, with the controversial legislation now awaiting the president’s signature before it goes into effect.
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Discussions on constitutional reform involving leaders from the government, military, Parliament, political opposition and an ethnic minority representative have been scheduled for Friday, according to an ethnic politician who will join the so-called “six-party talks” this week.
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Shortly after his daughter’s death, Brang Shawng sat down to write the first of two letters that would eventually get him convicted. He wrote to the president of Myanmar first, and then to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, wanting to know what had happened to his daughter, whom he believed had been shot by the Myanmar military.
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The Myanmar authorities have collected about 40,000 temporary identification cards from displaced and stateless Rohingya Muslims in restive Rakhine State, part of the process of applying for citizenship, reports Radio Free Asia on April 6.
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Relief workers have temporarily stopped their work at a relief camp in Kunlong Township because no IDPs from Laukkaing Township remain there, sources from the relief agencies say.
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Seventy students who have been detained since a brutal police crackdown last month appeared at Letpadan Township Court on Tuesday, where there were emotional scenes as friends and family saw their loved ones in handcuffs while they were being brought into the court building. (more…)

The students of All Burma Federation of Student Union (Ba-Ka-Tha) staged a protest in front of Letpandan township court on April 7 demanding an immediate release of the students and supporters detained in the custody as they demonstrated against the national education law in Letpadan during March.
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The United States said on Tuesday Myanmar’s failure to amend a military-drafted constitution raised questions about the credibility of reforms, but did not go so far as to say it would undermine the legitimacy of upcoming elections.
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The number of political prisoners in Burma has increased to nearly 470, according to a rights group, in a major backslide after a series of amnesties in recent years geared toward ridding the countries jails of prisoners conscience.
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Burma’s ethnic armed groups are considering convening at the headquarters of the powerful United Wa State Army (UWSA) in northern Shan State to discuss the potential signing of a nationwide ceasefire accord, a UWSA representative said on Monday.
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