Inside Burma


Several thousand civilians have returned to their villages in and near the Kokang region in recent weeks but a renewed offensive by government forces close to Myanmar’s border with China has prompted another exodus of refugees, the World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday.
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A court hearing into the death of a journalist while in military custody in October 2014 heard testimony from his widow yesterday, but was overshadowed by the revelation that the soldiers who shot him had already been acquitted by a military tribunal last year.
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Irrawaddy Division police officers have arrested 14 ethnic Rohingya alongside 12 other people suspected of bringing them from a relief camp in the Arakan State capital of Sittwe to Thabaung Township.
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Three Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) volunteers who were victims of ambushes on aid convoys in February in northeast Burma will receive the Presidential Award for Excellent Performance on Friday.
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A gold smuggling ring operating between Myanmar and India has been busted according to reports in the New Indian Express. The smugglers had been bringing in crude gold bars from Myanmar through the Moreh transit point by road and then flying from Imphal to either Kolkata or Delhi and then on to their fencing destination, Chennai – nearly 3212 kilometres away from the Burmese border. Apparently, the smugglers employed by the gang carried the contraband in their rectums for the length of the long journey.
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An elected Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) member has attacked the Myanmar Ports Authority (MPA) on his Facebook site for renting out a prime location to a retired army officer at a knockdown rate. (more…)

Non-Buddhist men may face two years in prison or a 1.5 million kyat (US$1,500) fine, or both, if found to have violated the controversial Buddhist Women’s Marriage Bill, which is currently awaiting a second approval in Burma’s upper house.
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ActionAid Myanmar (AAM) will host a post-budget round table discussion on 24th May,2015 from 9.00 to 12.30 at the UMFCCI function Hall according to a recent press release.
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The joint chairman of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) has used a celebration on the Thai-Burmese border to make the case for a federal system of governance and the retention of ethnic armies, after ethnic leaders repeated their desire for constitutional amendments which would devolve power from Naypyidaw.
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A Karen activist has accused the chairman of the Karen National Union (KNU) of failing to act transparently in overseeing the ethnic armed group’s handling of Burma’s peace process.
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Members of a proposed Woman’s Party said they will not bow to the government’s request that they change their name to something “more specific,” arguing that doing so this close to elections would confuse their supporters and damage their support base.
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Aung Min, President’s Office minister and the government’s chief negotiator at peace talks, has said that the signing of a ceasefire deal will not include all ethnic groups, and that only those ethnic armies approved by Naypyidaw will be invited to join the peace process.
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The Burmese armed forces have deployed airstrikes against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in efforts to quell illegal logging in the northern region, according to military-owned Myawaddy TV.
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According to recent interviews by Shan Human Rights Foundation, Kokang refugees sheltering in China remain fearful of return, due to alleged “killings, beheadings and disappearance” of villagers caught returning home.
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Military Supreme Court has acquitted two soldiers unconditionally as the death of freelance reporter Aung Naing (a) Aung Kyaw Naing (a) Par Gyi broke out in their active service, according to Myanmar Human Rights Commission’s announcement released on May 8.
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A book entitled “Political Assassinations that Changed the World” has aroused heavy criticism for featuring Aung San Suu Kyi’s picture alongside deceased leaders.
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The Mon National Party (MNP) and the All Mon Regions Democracy Party(AMDP) will give priority to youths and women to represent their parties in the 2015 general elections.
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Myanmar and Laos formally opened the first-ever friendship bridge across the Mekong River that links Myanmar’s Tachileik in Shan State and Laungnamtha Province of Laos, according to Xinhua May 9.
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Tariffs applied to imported goods will soon be valued using World Trade Organisation (WTO) standards, though awareness is low among traders about how this will work, according to experts.
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Villagers who say they have suffered from environmental and economic chaos as a result of a newly built hydropower dam in Pegu Division’s Taungtaunggyi held a protest on Sunday, calling on the government to act.
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