News


Dozens of Myanmar education activists May 12 went on trial in a case that has sparked international alarm and raised fears of a return to junta-era tactics in the slowly reforming nation.
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A total of six MPs from the Upper House [House of Nationalities] held a discussion on the draft to amend the national education law sent back by the Lower House [House of Representatives] on May 12.
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Abandoned at sea, thousands of Bangladeshis and members of Myanmar’s long-persecuted Rohingya Musilm minority appear to have no place to go after both Malaysia and Indonesia refused to offer refuge to boatloads of hungry men, women and children.
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Another boat, this one crammed with 500 Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshis, was found off Malaysia’s coast Wednesday, an activist and an official said, as the international community called on Southeast Asian governments to open their borders and step up search-and-rescue efforts. Thousands of migrants are believed to be stranded at sea.
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When Kyaw Naing arrived at the tiny thatch-and-bamboo shack in Myanmar, it was empty and the door stood wide open.

He was finally home, after five years of being forced to work as a slave on a fishing boat, but there was no one to greet him. His brother – and only living relative – was gone.
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Thailand has called for a regional meeting to discuss the thousands of refugees, many from Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, found on boats off several countries this week.
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Malaysia and Indonesia have vowed to turn back any boats carrying migrants that enter their waters, as the UN calls for “a massive international search and rescue operation” in the Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca.
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Thousands of people, both Muslim Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladeshis seeking jobs in Malaysia, have been abandoned at sea recently in Southeast Asia by smugglers fearing arrest as Thailand cracks down on human traffickers. At least 8,000 people are in peril, yet the Southeast Asian nations off whose shores they drift have been reluctant to save them.
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Which should come first: the nationwide ceasefire or political dialogue? This is not a chicken-and-egg question. We are having this debate because the politics of the 2015 elections are impacting the peace process.
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It’s been more than a decade since Zoya Phan, fleeing persecution by the Burma Army, sought and gained asylum in Britain, but the activist says her fight for human rights and democracy in the Southeast Asian nation continues from afar. The London-based campaign manager of Burma Campaign UK, Zoya Phan joined the organization after attending university in the United Kingdom. Her studies followed years as a refugee along the Thai-Burma border. (more…)

Purchasing gold has long been a way for Myanmar people to accrue secure savings, particularly in the absence of an efficient banking system. Today the gold market remains steady in a country with still-limited access to financial services. U Kyaw Win is the secretary of the Myanmar Gold Entrepreneurs Association, senior vice president of the Myanmar Gold Development Public Company and the owner of the U Htone gold shop. In this interview, he offers his assessment of the local gold market.
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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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Along with the increase in the world rubber price and the dollar appreciation, the domestic rubber price has jumped to Ks700 (US$0.7) per pound, a year high, according to Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association.
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