Interviews


The Swiss government is among a number of European donors supporting development and human rights in Burma, particularly in the conflict-affected southeastern region. Since opening an Embassy in the former capital Rangoon in 2012, Switzerland has primarily focused its assistance on support for Burma’s peace process and upcoming general election. Switzerland is also the current chair of the Peace Donor Support Group, an aid coordination network formed by foreign governments and NGOs.
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On Monday the government announced an interim minimum wage proposal for a 3600 kyats (US$3.25) per eight-hour day, a middle-ground proposal after labor unions pushed for a 4000 kyats ($3.60) base rate and factory owners unwilling to proffer anything higher than 2500 kyats ($2.25). Both labor groups and employers have two weeks to lodge objections to the interim proposal before it is introduced across the country.
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On Monday the government announced an interim minimum wage proposal for a 3600 kyats (US$3.25) per eight-hour day, a middle-ground proposal after labor unions pushed for a 4000 kyats ($3.60) base rate and factory owners unwilling to proffer anything higher than 2500 kyats ($2.25). Both labor groups and employers have two weeks to lodge objections to the interim proposal before it is introduced across the country.
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On this week’s edition of Dateline Irrawaddy, the second and final part of our interview with Tin Aye, chairman of the Union Election Commission, who discusses earlier comments about the likelihood of a military coup after this year’s elections, the parallels with the situation in 1990, and his lingering attachment to the Union Solidarity and Development Party. The first part of this interview is available here.
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U Yan Myo Thein, political observer

I want to make two proposals. The first is that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should not participate in the 2015 election as she is responsible for a petition of 5 million signatures for amending article 436. Please implement party building and act as a National League for Democracy party, not as an individual. And my second is that the NLD propose a bill in parliament to hold an urgent referendum on the 2008 constitution and to collect signatures again.
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On this week’s edition of Dateline Irrawaddy, Union Election Commission chairman Tin Aye discusses preparations for the landmark general election to be held later this year, political pressure from his former party to bend the rules in their favor, and efforts to ensure the poll is free, fair and credible.
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In an exclusive interview with Karen News, the International Non-Government Organisation, PU-AMI, outlined its plans to protect refugees on the Thai Burma border against outbreaks of the Dengue virus. PU-AMI, together with Thai health officials, community based groups and other international aid agencies, have put together a public health campaign to try to prevent dengue and to increase awareness among refugees on how to protect themselves against the virus.
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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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On Monday fighting broke out between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese army forces, continuing for two full days.
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Q: What did you learn on your trip to China?

A: It was a good discussion. We all understand that neighbors have to live in peace and harmony.
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Following his participation in talks among ethnic leaders at Law Khee La in Karen State, Salai Yaw Aung, a member of the central leading committee for the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF), spoke to DVB about the outcome of the negotiations, the proposal that the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) plans to present to the Burmese government, and the steps ahead in the peace process.
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U Tin Aye, chair of the Union Election Commission and a retired lieutenant general, talks to chief political correspondent Ei Ei Toe Lwin about the forthcoming elections – on his hopes that people will vote with their heads not hearts, why he does not see the right person to reform the country, how the Tatmadaw must accept the results of the vote, and on his life-long attachment to his military uniform.
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Formed in 2009, the Arakan Army is one of the newest additions to Burma’s assortment of ethnic armed groups. Relatively little is known about the small but growing army, which in recent years has trained with the Kachin Independence Army at its headquarters in Laiza.
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An event commemorating the fourth anniversary of the Kachin War, organized by the Kachin Peace Network, was held at the Micasa Hotel in Rangoon on June 9, 2015.
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Following a recent summit at Karen National Union headquarters in Law Khee La, ethnic armed organisation leaders agreed on 15 amendments to the draft-text of a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) agreed between ethnic and government negotiators on 31 March.
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Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burmese opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD), is set to make her first goodwill visit to China, following an invitation from the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). She is scheduled to meet with the country’s President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the trip between 10 and 14 June.
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DVB discusses the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China’s live fire exercise near the Sino-Burmese border with Dr Hla Kyaw Zaw, a Kunming-based political analyst, and the daughter of late Thirty Comrades member and leader of the Communist Party of Burma Kyaw Zaw.
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The current opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) won 392 seats in 485 designated constituencies at the multi-party democracy general election held on May 27 in 1990 and the number of members of parliament accounted for more than 80 percent. Unfortunately, the parliament could not be called within 60 days. Meanwhile, the State Law and Order Restoration Council issued 1/90 Notification on July 27 in 1990. All elected parliamentary representatives from NLD gathered at Gandhi Hall in Yangon on July 28 and 29 and issued Gandhi Hall Declaration after holding the meeting. The following excerpt came from the interview with Gandi Hall Declaration reader Khin Maung Swe and master of ceremonies Sein Hla Oo:
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Kyaw Zwa Moe: This week, we’ll be discussing potential threats to the future of Shwedagon Pagoda, a sacred site to Burmese people and one of the world’s wonders. Joining me are Saya U Than Moe, an urban planning expert and visiting professor at Yangon Technological University, and Ko Maw Lin, vice-chairman of Association of Myanmar Architects and visiting professor at the Mandalay Technological University. I am Irrawaddy Editor Kyaw Zwa Moe.
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Private insurance is still a nascent sector in Burma. Over the past two years, the government has begun to assess and approve insurers, but providers still struggle to establish themselves in the country’s fickle business climate. Adding to the difficulty is a widely held cultural belief that insurance brings bad luck.
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