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The government-initiated Committee for Scrutinizing the Remaining Political Prisoners has come to an end. With 159 remaining political prisoners and an entirely unfulfilled mandate, the government has seen fit this week to create a new body, the Prisoners of Conscience Affairs Committee, to handle the urgent problem of political prisoners in our country. (more…)

(unofficial translation)

The king of Kokang has returned after five years. On one hand, he wishes to gain the right to participate in the 2015 political elections. And on the other hand, he wishes to restore his rule in Kokang in northern Myanmar. (more…)

Lush fans of palm frame the scene on the cover of this month’s Travel + Leisure magazine. A white-jacketed waiter sets a table for four on a peaceful patio overlooking a river, shaded by a rose-pink umbrella. (more…)

Talking is better than fighting and shaking hands is better than using a fist; these are universal truths. It is clear that Burma’s present triumvirate of political leaders—President Thein Sein, Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann and the Burma Army commander in chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing—have finally realized that a dialogue with their opponents is inevitable. Burma’s ethnic armed groups and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will get a chance to have their say. (more…)

(unofficial translation)

Since the acceleration of democratic transition after the inauguration of U Thein Sein’s government in March 2011, Myanmar society has become increasingly diversified and perceptions of China by different entities has become more complicated. The negative perception of China by Myanmar civil society has has had an especially poor impact on Sino-Myanmar relations. China and Myanmar are both trying to guide public opinion by enhancing interaction in directions that would promote less negative views by Myanmar society. However, it will take more time for Myanmar society to form an objective perception of China. (more…)

(unofficial translation)

Within civil society, some private media have frequently attacked China. In addition, a civil society organization with great political influence — the rapidly rising “88 Generation” organization — has become a main source of poison for Myanmar civil society’s view of China. (more…)

(please note, the below is a translation)

The Myanmar government pursues a diversification strategy in its economic development: balancing among ASEAN, China and non-ASEAN investors. This balancing is reflecting in all aspects of Myanmar’s geopolitics. (more…)

The United States last week blacklisted Aung Thaung, a man regarded as one of Burma’s most controversial lawmakers. A former industry minister under the previous military regime, Aung Thaung today serves as a lawmaker in Parliament’s Lower House. His blacklisting comes less than two weeks ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to Burma, where the US president will attend the Asean and East Asia summits. (more…)

Recently, The Irrawaddy disclosed information that the government wanted to keep hidden from the public, and as a result we are now on the “blacklist” of Rangoon Division’s chief minister.

That’s what one lower-level minister in the divisional government and a lawmaker in the divisional legislature voluntarily told The Irrawaddy, though they requested anonymity. (more…)

Allan Lokos and Susanna Weiss, two New Yorkers who run a meditation center on the Upper West Side, arrived in Myanmar in December 2012 eager to explore a nation just emerging from decades of military rule. As practitioners of Theravada Buddhism themselves, visiting this largely Buddhist land, with its golden pagodas and crimson-robed monks, was more than just a holiday.
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On a recent rain-soaked night, the ancient gold Shwedagon Pagoda, believed to contain relics of the Buddha, glowed through the mist in Rangoon.
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The road from Kalaymyo to Hakha is lined with grave markers. With little flat ground in the northern Chin Hills, cemeteries are exchanged for solitary memorials overlooking the knuckled mountain ranges. Some—usually those of the young—have photographs embedded into them; the elders are left faceless. All are etched with a name, an age, and a date of death. Yet in Chin State, as in the other six states of Myanmar, the lives of those who lived and passed away here are not recorded and remembered in the Myanmar language, but in an ethnic-minority language and literature.
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Mandalay, Burma Burma’s historical relics received a huge boost in June, when the nation hosted its first United Nations World Tourism Organization conference on tourism and heritage protection. Days later, Burma made an even more auspicious debut when a group of Pyu towns, with ruins dating from the first to ninth centuries, became the first site in the country to make it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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According to its publishers, “Governing Refugees: Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism” is a book that “will appeal to anyone with relevant interests in law, anthropology, and criminology, as well as those working in the area of Refugee Studies.”
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In March, Ross Dunkley — the blustering, chain-smoking, Australian expat who heads the Myanmar Times — issued an internal memo, ordering his staff not to publish articles related to politically sensitive topics without his prior approval. At the top of that list: the ongoing oppression of the Rohingya ethnic group in the north, and rising tensions between Buddhists and Muslims throughout the country.
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I am writing to address misconceptions that your readers may have following an Irrawaddy article on 19 May 2014, where it is incorrectly implied that UNICEF has not been cautious or wise in its choice of office space in Yangon.
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GWEN IFILL: Now part two of Jeffrey Brown’s look at Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma.
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Magway Township Court has sentenced Democratic Voice of Burma reporter Thura Thet Tin, aka Zaw Pe, and a parent Win Myint Hlaing for one year in jail on April 7 for trespassing, obstructing officials on duty and conspiracy to do so, according to local sources.
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Nibbling on finger-food at a low breakfast table in northern Myanmar, members of the Katha Township Development Committee sat and discussed the novel Burmese Days, George Orwell’s caustic homage to the “dirty work of Empire”.
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Human rights groups are concerned that Myanmar’s first census in 30 years will inflame ethnic tensions, further marginalise ethnic groups and be used as a tool for repression – especially against stateless Rohingya Muslims who are already denied basic human rights.
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