A coalition of 12 ethnic groups, the United Nationalities Federal Council, has begun a two-day meeting to discuss negotiations between the government and armed ethnic rebel groups on a nationwide ceasefire.
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Recent fighting between Government forces and Kachin rebels in Myanmar, and the resulting displacement of thousands of people, has significantly increased the risks to young people, including possible recruitment, limited access to basic services and the threat of landmines, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today.
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Opposition MPs will raise questions regarding corruption in the judicial system in the next parliamentary session.
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The National League for Democracy and the 88 Generation Open Society movement have agreed on a  strategy to educate the public about the importance of constitutional reform, an 88 Generation leader, Ko Min Ko Naing, said on April 21.
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Three years after power was handed over to a civilian government, made up of retired military who served under the dictatorship, the reform process in Burma seems to be petering out. President Thein Sein introduced a series of measures reflecting his determination to turn over a new leaf and move towards democracy. But now confusion and tension are gaining ground, blotting out the memory of the spectacular early progress.
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When the chairwoman of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy, Madame Aung San Suu Kyi entered a conference room in northern Yangon, more than 300 reporters from 30+ countries had been waiting for a long time. People, including the reporter from Global Times, stood up and watched her walking in for yet another social event. This is the opening ceremony of the “2014 International Media Conference”. Aung San Suu Kyi was the guest of honor invited by the host, the East-West Center from the U.S. At this March event, she talked about media freedom and responsibility, Myanmar’s changes and hopes. The speech did not have much emotion, but definitely a lot of strength, full of rhetoric and imitation of western-style democratic speeches. The whole room applauded her. At that very moment, she was the “democratic hero” of the world.
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The website of the Yangon Online Store resembles an early, very pared-down Amazon or eBay site.  The familiar categories of merchandise for sale include  books, electronics, computers, sports equipment, health & beauty, clothing,  automotive, and Apple products.
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The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said it will issue a tender in the last quarter of this year inviting local and foreign companies to upgrade 39 underdeveloped domestic airports in Burma.
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Myanmar’s trade deficit has seen a new record high at US$ 2.65 billion because of stronger imports in the recent fiscal year 2013-14, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
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A cursory glance at the political trajectories of Burma and Indonesia might tempt a casual observer to draw parallels: once ruled by top-down authoritarian dictatorships, both Southeast Asian nations now appear committed to democratic systems of governance.
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“It’s not an issue of whether it’s worthwhile. Everyone knows, after a ten-year war, the U.S. has limits.” This is the defense President Obama used during a domestic interview for not intervening militarily in the Syrian civil war. It is safe to say that this is no longer the best era for the U.S. to promote democracy. US public opinion is increasingly against the government spending too much energy on foreign, rather than domestic issues. However, there is a consensus about Myanmar in the Washington foreign policy circle: This is a test ground that promotes American values and core interests. As the guest of honor invited by the U.S. East-West Center, NLD Chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi made a high profile claim at a March event in Yangon: “Myanmar does not only want to be a successful state, but also wants to become a global model and the hope for other countries that have not yet succeeded.” However, democratic transitions are full of challenges and US think tanks do not avoid this problem. In the course of the East-West Center program, the Global Times reporters had an opportunity to study the “challenges of democratic transitions” in the US and in Myanmar through “theory and practice.”
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A leader of ethnic Kachin rebels battling government forces in Myanmar has urged the U.S. to play a role in peace talks to quell decades of conflict in the country’s lawless border regions.
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Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, has been the dominant institution in the country for most of its post-independence history. After decades of military rule, it began the shift to a semi-civilian government. A new generation of leaders in the military and in government pushed the transition far further and much faster than anyone could have imagined. Major questions remain, however, about the Tatmadaw’s intentions, its ongoing involvement in politics and the economy, and whether and within what timeframe it will accept to be brought under civilian control. Transforming from an all-powerful military to one that accepts democratic constraints on its power will be an enormous challenge.
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Win Tin, one of Burma’s most dogged democracy campaigners, endured physical and mental abuse for the cause as a political prisoner for nearly 20 years.
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Fighting between government troops and ethnic rebels in Myanmar’s northeastern state of Kachin has left at least 22 people dead this month, state-run media reported Sunday.
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International humanitarian organizations have begun returning to Arakan State after aid workers fled riots in the state capital of Sittwe last month, a police official and a United Nations representative told The Irrawaddy.
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A week of fighting between Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) forces and Burmese Army troops has left more than 5,000 people displaced in eastern Kachin and neighboring Shan states, according to an aid group involved in relief efforts there.
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A water convolvulus field on the corner of Wai Zayan Tar Road and Gandamar St, Mayangone Township, Yangon was the site of a press conference held on April 20 to represent 28 farmers and their 109 employees who had received an eviction notice with an April 22 deadline from the Tatmyo Development Affairs Committee. Farmers spokesperson, U Myint Oo said that they “will appeal to the development committee not to remove us”, from the land they farm.
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Some 900 Muslims from Meikhtila in central Burma who lost their homes in communal violence just over a year ago are now facing water shortages and sanitation-related diseases at the shelter where they reside.
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Recent Clashes, Long War
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