Inside Burma


More than a year after the passage of Burma’s Media Law, the Ministry of Information has finalized new regulations for news organizations that will on paper give journalists greater access to information, but which may leave authorities with significant leverage over the reporting of contentious issues.
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The Union Parliament chamber hosted an unusually lively legislative session on Thursday as Information Minister Ye Htut sparred with lawmakers and faced threats of impeachment over privatization of the Yegu transmitter at the corner of Gandamar and Wai Za Yan Tar roads in northwestern Rangoon.
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Myanmar’s Information Ministry has filed a contempt of court complaint against the publisher and 16 editorial employees of a newspaper it is already suing for defamation, an action critics charge is an attempt at intimidation ahead of elections set for later this year.
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Myanmar’s indomitable opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has entwined her life with the politics of her country, but as she turns 70 on Friday “The Lady” is facing one of the greatest challenges of her decades-long freedom fight.
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The official Mon State voter-lists of people eligible to vote includes some people who have died.
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Myanmar’s central bank has started unrestricted sales of foreign currency at its own specified rate to help importers hit by exchange rate fluctuations over the past two weeks reported Reuters on 18 June.
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As the news coverage of the migrant crisis in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea drops away, the UN has made a renewed call to harness the energy to solve the regional problem with a 12 June updated appeal.
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But Myanmar during its brief era of civilian rule from the late 1940s through most of the years to Ne Win’s 1962 military coup had such positions in government, and they were critical elements of management. They were apolitical and signified the highest civil service position in a ministry. They also provided guidance, competence and institutional memory. Many such individuals in Burma’s civilian government under U Nu in the 1950s were exceptionally well qualified.
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On Monday fighting broke out between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese army forces, continuing for two full days.
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More than 700 people rescued from a boat in Myanmar waters last month are still being held in the western state of Rakhine. Authorities verifying their citizenship claim most of them are from both neighbouring Bangladesh, while the rest are Rohingyas according to a report by Channel News Asia on 17 June.
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A military court in northern Burma this week sentenced a Burmese soldier to seven years in prison on three charges of misconduct, but dismissed allegations that he attempted to rape a 73-year-old ethnic Kachin woman.
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In a rare interview with the Washington Post, published on Wednesday, Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made long-awaited public comments about the country’s democratic transition, expressing concern that the reforms could turn out to be a “total illusion.”
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Entrepreneur and conservationist Yin Myo Su has been presented with a Global Leadership Award at a gala event in Washington DC for her work in promoting socially and economically responsible development.
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An openly gay man who is the subject of a new documentary in Myanmar on Wednesday welcomed its inclusion in an ongoing film festival in the country, but warned that human rights violations still regularly occur in the former military dictatorship, despite its rapid transition to democracy in recent years according to RFA on 17 June.
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A bill presented last week containing amendments to Burma’s Constitution – even if approved by parliament – will only come into effect after the upcoming elections, the Joint Bill Committee said on Wednesday.
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Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) has vowed to implement new measures to enhance voting rights for the disabled during the country’s upcoming general election, to be held in November.
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During a meeting with civil society groups in Yangon yesterday, senior party officials urged cooperation to rectify errors on the rolls. It was the first meeting on electoral cooperation between the NLD and the groups, who have been holding regular talks with the Union Election Commission since last year.
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The Central Bank of Myanmar will allow the unrestricted sale of foreign currencies at official rates to importers of edible oil, fuel and cement, rolling back a policy that had limited withdrawals in an apparent bid to ward off supply shortages and a rise in the commodities’ prices.
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The government in Myanmar gets high marks for supporting economic liberalization but needs better planning to go the distance, one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs told CNBC on 17 June.
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Drug-resistant malaria appears to have taken hold in much of Myanmar, and scientists aren’t exactly sure how. It may have spread here from elsewhere, or it may have emerged independently, but in any case, the strategy to fight it seems set for a major change.
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