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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to get humanitarian award
17 September 2016 - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar will be honored as the 2016 humanitarian of the year by students and faculty at the Harvard Foundation. She will receive the foundation's Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award during a ceremony Saturday, 17 September. (more)

Myanmar holds historic peace talks with ethnic groups
31 August 2016 - Hundreds of representatives of Myanmar's ethnic tribes gathered Wednesday in the country's capital for historic peace talks with the government aimed at ending decades of separatist insurgencies that have claimed thousands of lives. The delegates, dressed in traditional garb and headgear, streamed into a conference hall in Naypyitaw for the five-day talks called by the new government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Although her title is state counsellor she is seen as the country's real leader. (more)

China, Myanmar vow closer ties as Suu Kyi visits Beijing
20 August 2016 - China and Myanmar said Saturday that they have pledged to forge closer ties as 'blood brothers,' as Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi got set to wrap up a visit to Beijing, her first diplomatic trip since taking power in March. China has been on a diplomatic charm offensive in the past year toward its fast-growing neighbor, while Myanmar under Suu Kyi has shown a willingness to embrace its top trading partner and major investor. (more)

Myanmar's Suu Kyi calls for all insurgents to take part in talks
12 January 2016 - More of Myanmar's ethnic minority rebel groups should be brought into peace talks and the effort to end conflict should not divide groups that are involved in negotiations and those that have shunned the process, Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday, 12 January. Hundreds of representatives of guerrilla groups, the military, and members of parliament, gathered in the capital, Naypyitaw, for the second stage of talks aimed at ending insurgencies that have plagued the country for decades. (more)

Myanmar signs ceasefire with eight armed groups
15 October 2015 - Myanmar's government and eight armed ethnic groups signed a ceasefire agreement on 15 October, the culmination of more than two years of negotiations aimed at bringing an end to the majority of the country's long-running conflicts. 'The nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) is a historic gift from us to our generations of the future,' President Thein Sein said at a signing ceremony attended by hundreds of diplomats, officials, and rebel group representatives in the country's capital. (more)

Myanmar: 'Extinct' bird rediscovered after 73 years
9 March 2015 - A bird that was long thought to have gone extinct has been rediscovered in Myanmar after a team of scientists used a recording of its distinctive call to track it down. The Jerdon's Babbler (chrysomma altirostre altirostre) -- a small brown bird similar in size to a house sparrow -- was last spotted in Myanmar in 1941 and was thought to have died out altogether. (more)

Myanmar: Yangon celebrates Chinese New Year with dragon dance parade - Reuters video
19 February 2015 - The famous dragon dance weaves through the streets in Myanmar, as a gesture to pay respect to Chinese temples in the area. The celebrations come on the eve of the Lunar New Year which falls on Thursday. For residents of Chinese descent in Myanmar it is a welcome sight. To watch Reuters video click: (more)

Buddhist art of Myanmar review: a subtle, sculptural nirvana
13 February 2015 - Last year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City presented Lost Kingdoms, a landmark exhibition of early south-east Asian art that included unprecedented loans from Burmese (Myanmar) museums. Now comes Buddhist Art of Myanmar, a new exhibition at Asia Society: the first museum show in the United States to look solely at the art of south-east Asia's least understood nation. Much of the art here has never left Burma (Myanmar). (more)

Myanmar's solar ambitions kickstarted with $480 million ACO pact
28 August 2014 - Myanmar will expand its sources of clean energy through an agreement with ACO Investment Group, a US-based private-equity fund focusing on Asian emerging markets, to develop two solar-energy plants. The plants are expected to account for 10 per cent to 12 per cent of Myanmar's power generation when completed in 2016. (more)

US fund in deal to build Myanmar solar plants
28 August 2014 - A US investment group has signed a $480 million deal to build two solar energy plants in central Myanmar, one of the largest investments by an American firm since the easing of US sanctions. The agreement, inked by the ACO Investment Group and the Ministry of Energy, is aimed at helping ease electricity shortages in the country of 60 million, which only recently emerged from a half-century of military rule and self-imposed isolation. (more)


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Brokers tricking Rohingya children onto trafficking boats
18 May 2015 - Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing persecution in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar for years, but that was not the central reason Mohammad Tayub ended up on the ship anchored off the coast of western Rakhine state two weeks ago. He said he was simply tricked by brokers, now capitalizing on poverty and a growing sense of desperation. Tayub had no way of knowing there is little chance of an exit for thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis stranded in the sea since a crackdown on human trafficking networks in Thailand earlier this month left the region grappling with a monumental humanitarian crisis. They are growing weaker each day as the navies of three Southeast Asian nations have pushed crowded rickety boats out of their respective waters, each nation fearing that any sign of acceptance could trigger a mass exodus that would swamp its shores. (more)

AP News Guide: Plight of Myanmar's Rohingya
14 May 2015 - Thousands of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing persecution at home, and now their refugee boats are being turned away by neighboring countries, leaving them stranded at sea. Others had been locked up in jungle camps in Thailand. An untold number have died of starvation, sickness, and abuse. Here's a brief look at their plight and history: (more)

Drug-resistant malaria found close to Myanmar border with India
20 February 2015 - Malaria with total resistance to the antimalarial drug artemisinin has taken hold in Myanmar and spread close to the border with India, threatening to repeat history and render crucial medicines useless, scientists said on Friday. If resistance spreads from Asia to Africa, or emerges in Africa independently -- as has been seen before with previously effective but now powerless antimalarials, 'millions of lives will be at risk', they said in a report. (more)

Rohingya relatives says thousands missing in boats en route to Malaysia
15 November 2014 - Thousands of Rohingya boat people who have left Myanmar in the past month have yet to reach their destinations, say relatives and an advocacy group for the persecuted minority, raising fears their boats have been prevented from reaching shore. The boat people are headed for Malaysia, but most transit through Thailand, where smugglers and traffickers hold them at jungle camps near the Malaysian border until relatives pay ransoms to secure their release. About 460 boat people were found and detained by the Thai authorities in November, but thousands more have not made landfall or contacted relatives after what is usually a five-day voyage. 'Where are they?' said Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, which plots migration across the Bay of Bengal. 'We have become very concerned.' (more)

AP Exclusive: Myanmar profits off Rohingya exodus
6 November 2014 - Small wooden boats leave the shores of western Myanmar nearly every day, overloaded with desperate Rohingya Muslims who are part of one the largest boat exoduses in Asia since the Viet Nam War. Helping them on their way: Myanmar's own security forces, who are profiting off the mass departure of one of the world's most persecuted minorities by extracting payments from those fleeing. A report to be released Friday, 7 November by the Bangkok-based advocacy group Fortify Rights, and reporting by The Associated Press, indicate the practice is far more widespread and organized than previously thought, with Myanmar naval boats going so far as to escort asylum seekers out sea, where larger ships operated by transnational criminal networks wait to pick them up (more)

Going fair, whatever the cost
25 August 2014 - Many young women in Myanmar dream of having whiter skin, and will go to many lengths to get it. Society accepts fair skin as a symbol of beauty, however problematic that notion is, and at present, many products purporting to deliver whiter skin fast are becoming cheaply and widely available. That likely means more people are suffering their minor to major side effects, too. The ingredients of whitening creams vary, but some of the more problematic substances often found are hydroquinine (a bleaching agent) and high-dose steroids. The National Health Service UK reports that the creams may cause irritation and redness, as well as uneven whitening and thinning of the skin. More worrisome, high doses of topical steroids can lead to hypertension and high blood sugar, doctors told The New York Times in a 2010 story about such creams. That story also reported that some creams contain mercury, a toxic element that can cause nervous-system damage. (more)

Myanmar Buddhists threaten death to Muslims in Mandalay unrest
4 July 2014 - Myanmar police cordoned off Mandalay's Muslim neighbourhood as hundreds of Buddhists wielding knives, swords and bamboo poles roamed the city on Friday, following communal riots that killed two people earlier in the week. Inter-religious violence has flared throughout the country over the past two years, threatening to undermine political reforms initiated by the quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein, which took office in 2011 following 49 years of repressive military rule. At least 240 people have been killed and more than 140,000 displaced since June 2012. Most of the victims have been members of Myanmar's Muslim minority, estimated to be about 5 per cent of the population. Around 300 Buddhists rode motorcycles around Myanmar's second largest city of Mandalay on Friday, shouting death threats. While police guarded the neighbourhood, they did not disarm the Buddhists who had been riding around the city since midday, screaming threats and singing the national anthem. A man was seen distributing bamboo poles from a car parked near the royal palace, a popular tourist attraction in the city of about a million people. (more)

UN rights envoy: Myanmar needs constitution change
23 May 2014 - The UN human rights envoy to Myanmar on Saturday expressed concern over the military's veto power on constitutional changes, which he said are crucial for the country's democratic transition and next year's elections. Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana, who is completing his six-year term this month, said in a statement that the military's power to block constitutional amendments did not augur well for the 2015 elections. He said there must be civilian oversight over the military. The 2008 constitution, drawn up under the previous junta regime, gives the military a mandatory 25 per cent parliamentary seats, which is enough to veto any constitutional change and disqualify pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president. Suu Kyi considers the current constitution undemocratic and boycotted the 2010 elections. However, she ran in by-elections in 2012 after changes were made in election laws and won a seat in the lower house of Parliament. (more)

Jail, lawsuits cast shadow over Myanmar media freedom
15 May 2014 - Two years after Myanmar scrapped censorship in one of its boldest reforms, its journalists are again living in fear of jail and are convinced a state-sponsored crackdown is under way to limit press freedom. Eight members of the media have been arrested since December and two jailed in what critics say is government backsliding on some of the wide-ranging reforms that led the West to lift sanctions after decades of military rule. 'The hardliners in the government think (media freedom) has now gone too far,' says Thiha Saw, chief editor of the English-language Myanma Freedom. Reporting on sensitive issues such as graft, land grabs, and religious and ethnic tensions may have provoked the reaction, journalists say. The arrests evoke memories of the country's oppressive past, with detention of members of the media a hallmark of the previous military government, said London-based Amnesty International in a recent statement (more)

Myanmar says 22 dead in Kachin fighting this month
20 April 2014 - 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. The clashes in Kachin come despite efforts by the government to forge a nationwide cease-fire agreement with all armed ethnic groups within the next few months -- a deadline that has repeatedly been pushed back because of ongoing clashes. The latest violence erupted on April 4 after members of the Kachin Independence Army ambushed an army column in the Man Wein Gyi region, the Kyemon daily said. The 'mopping up' operation that followed resulted in the capture of a rebel camp, the paper reported, adding that at least 14 government troops and eight rebels were killed. (more)

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