Burma’s relatively new, quasi-civilian leadership has yet to prove that it is responsible and accountable to the country’s citizens, who, for the first time after decades under an oppressive military regime, have been given the promise of representation. But the problems in Burma that most affect the lives of its people are rarely reaching parliament, which has chosen instead to focus on convoluted political shuffles and superficial reforms.
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There is not a conversation or discussion on the Myanmar peace process that does not include two words: “trust” and “distrust”. As far as the peace process is concerned, no matter who speaks on any given occasion, the two words are either mentioned in passing or featured prominently.
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Newly appointed Information Minister Ye Htut met for the first time on Saturday with representatives of Burma’s Interim Press Council (IPC) to discuss the regulations for the new media law.
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Dozens of police officers are currently holed up in a village school in Mandalay Division, surrounded by angry local residents, after three people were shot on Thursday as police opened fire on farmers attempting to reclaim lands confiscated by Burma’s military.
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About 200 Kachin civilians in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township have been newly displaced by clashes between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in recent days, according to local leaders and Kachin rebel sources, who said that the fighting erupted after government forces entered a rebel-controlled ruby mining area.
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Burma’s total population is likely to be less than the widely accepted estimate of 60 million people, according to an official from the country’s Central Census Commission.
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Some 1,500 farmers rallied for the release of 57 jailed land rights activists in central Burma’s Sagaing Division on Wednesday.
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An alliance of rights groups revealed on Tuesday that they have documented 103 cases of human rights abuse in Burma since the start of 2014.
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The National League for Democracy (NLD) and 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (88GPOS) on Tuesday handed over a petition to parliament with nearly five million signatures calling for an amendment to Article 436 of the Burmese Constitution.
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The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party on Wednesday rejected an earlier statement made by the government-run Union Peace-making Work Committee (UPWC) about pushing forward with the peace process and signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement as soon as possible.
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Japan’s top three banks are racing to open branches in Myanmar as investments in the country by Japanese companies are increasing on the back of its booming economy.
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Prominent entrepreneur U Tay Za may not sell his controlling stake in Asia Green Development Bank (AGD) to investors including U Ne Win’s grandson after all, he said on August 12.
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On the streets of Mandalay, groups of children wander between restaurants, teashops and pagodas selling flowers. The bouquets brighten up the days of locals and tourists alike; however it is a tough day’s work for these children, many of whom miss out on school. (more…)

Myanmar’s northern Kachin State, renowned for its heroin production, is changing tack in its efforts to curb rampant drug use and cultivation: In addition to crop-substitution programmes, community-led campaigns aim to change minds and steer people towards treatment.
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Thura Shwe Mann, speaker of Parliament’s Lower House, will visit the United States of America, following an invitation made over the weekend by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
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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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Since reports about the cancellation of a proposed US$20 billion railway line connecting China’s southern Yunnan province with Myanmar’s Rakhine western coast emerged in late July, conflicting accounts about the 1,200 kilometer project’s status have raised new questions about the neighboring countries’ commercial relations.
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Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC) said it discussed the issue of federalism with the ethnic armed group alliance Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) when they met in Chiang Mai this week.
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Burma’s Interim Press Council has advised journalists and media workers to follow a code of ethics that will safeguard them from government prosecution.
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A curfew imposed on Sittway and Kyaukphyu townships in Rakhine State in October 2012 has been extended for another two months, residents told Mizzima on August 11.
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