International


Myanmar has improved its business regulatory environment over the past year through reforms on business registration and the enactment of a law that allows the establishment of a new credit bureau, finds the World Bank Group’s annual Doing Business report.

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is lending up to $13.5 million to United International Group Limited, a leading domestic hotel owner and operator in Myanmar, to expand United International’s hospitality business, the IFC said in a statement.

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Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called Tuesday for humanitarian aid for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar whom he described as living in “prison-like camps”.

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The top United Nations aid official has called on all sides in conflicts in Myanmar to find peaceful ways to resolve their differences and urged strengthened humanitarian action to support the people affected by violence.

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Its embrace can bring wealth beyond measure, or instant death. It is a magnet for the most impoverished migrant workers and the most ruthless exploiters. Its haunts are a cauldron of armed conflict beyond the law of the land. In what could be one of its most challenging tests, how will Myanmar’s democratic government deal with the green curse of jade?

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The end of long-standing U.S. sanctions on Myanmar companies linked to the former military government is cause for celebration in both countries, opening up a slew of previously off-limits business and investment opportunities.

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US President Obama’s recent announcement lifting all sanctions on Burma has been welcomed by many in the country’s business community, including those in the gems industry.

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At a speech in Rangoon, Speaker of the British House of Commons Rt Hon John Bercow stressed that restrictions on humanitarian aid to conflict-affected communities in Kachin, northern Shan and Arakan state should be urgently lifted.

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A UK Government-supported programme, to strengthen the development of a modern, dynamic oil and gas sector in Myanmar, is to be launched later this month, according to a joint press release from the British Embassy in Yangon and Aberdeen International Associates (AIA).

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Factory workers in Mandalay yesterday protested recent dismissals of a number of union members in what they claim was an attempt to dismantle the influence of labour unions in their workplaces.

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Now that Washington has lifted all remaining sanctions on Myanmar, about 100 Myanmar companies and individuals can start making business deals with U.S. corporations.

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A recent report in Burmese state-run media indicating that Canadian officials have been having discussions with their Burmese counterparts regarding future military cooperation between the two countries has raised alarm bells among Karen and Kachin refugee communities in Canada.

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Leaders of ethnic armed groups, including those from the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), met with a US delegation at the American Embassy in Rangoon on Tuesday, according to both UNFC and embassy sources.

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Myanmar’s democratic transition and the consequent dynamics between Nay Pyi Taw and Washington have commanded strategic priority for America’s Asia policy. China’s long years of influence in Myanmar and the latter’s new overtures to diversify its relationships lend geostrategic significance to US-Myanmar ties. As the Obama years come to a close, and the White House prepares for its new president, how the US-Myanmar relationship pans out will be of interest to America’s strategic competitors and partners alike.

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In response to widespread flooding that has hit several parts of Myanmar since late July, the European Union (EU) is providing 200 000 EUR (more than 280,000,000 Kyat) in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected communities.

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While the decades-long conflict in Myanmar is unquestionably unique, some of its aspects resemble those in other countries afflicted with protracted internal armed violence. Many of these have benefited more than Myanmar has from the attention and involvement of the international community.

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Myanmar is high on the list of priorities for Denmark when it comes to the labour market. This was the message from Danish Employment Minister Jorn Neergaard Larsen on his recent visit.

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The Burma Army, also known as the Tatmadaw, currently has a handful of peacekeepers serving in Africa on two peacekeeping missions. The deployments, which began last year, were the first time the Burma Army has contributed to a UN peacekeeping mission in half a century.

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Lieutenant General Anthony G. Crutchfield, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, will visit Myanmar to meet with senior Myanmar government officials, ethnic leaders, and local Myanmar youth from October 3 to 5.

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Heading into 2016, Myanmar was on pace to truly become the democratic Cinderella story of our time. After half a century of despotic military rule, it seemed as though dramatic reforms were taking place on a daily basis, from the signing of the first national ceasefire agreement in October 2015 to the first relatively free election a month later. While very positive steps have been taken, huge blind spots in the democracy still exist, particularly concerning the military’s influence in decision making.

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