Tuesday, February 21, 2017

National News

National News

Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda festival raises K100 million

Posted: 21 Feb 2017 12:01 AM PST

The Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival has collected K106.6 million in donations in 18 days since the celebrations began on February 1.

Nurses, midwives urged to adhere to ethics and council laws

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:59 PM PST

The Myanmar Nurse and Midwife Council (MNMC) has urged all nurses and midwives to adhere to ethics and council laws to improve the level of professionalism in the industry.

Villagers demand action against police

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:57 PM PST

Two suspected kidnappers who were caught by residents at Htone Bo village in Patheingyi township, Mandalay Region, escaped while in police custody, prompting calls for action to be taken against the "negligent" officers.

Company boss sentenced for cheating

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:56 PM PST

A construction company chair, who was constructing a building without permit, was sentenced to five years jail by the Latha township court on February 20 for cheating and forging documents.

Over K100b alcohol, cigarette tax collected in nine months

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:49 PM PST

The government has received more than K100 billion in taxes from the production and sale of alcohol and cigarettes in Myanmar over a period of nine months, said Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win.

New housing projects for Yangon

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:43 PM PST

In addition to the New Yangon city project, which is going to start at the end of February in the Kyeemyindaing township on the other side of the Yangon river, work to upgrade old houses and construct new housing for squatters and government employees will kick off at the same time, according to Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein.

Complete hearing cases to avoid backlog: CJ

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:40 PM PST

An increase in criminal prosecutions last year makes it imperative for judges to complete hearing cases so as to avoid a backlog, said chief of Union Supreme Court U Tun Tun Oo.

Eight prisoners at Ohbo will sit for matriculation exams

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:39 PM PST

Eight inmates from Mandalay's Ohbo Prison will sit for matriculation exams, the Prison Department said on February 18.

Committee for Chin dialogue formed

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:36 PM PST

A supervisory committee of nine members to oversee the national-level political dialogue in Chin State was formed yesterday.

Dr Aye Zan tipped to be the next Mon Chief Minister

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 11:31 PM PST

In the aftermath of Mon Chief Minister U Min Min Oo's resignation from the cabinet, state MP of Kyaikto township Dr Aye Zan has been nominated as the new chief minister for Mon State, according to the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Shan Herald Agency for News

Shan Herald Agency for News

ENAC hosts forum to discuss federal union policies

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 07:48 PM PST

Members of the Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Centre (ENAC) are hosting talks with Burmese government representatives to discuss the nine ethnic affairs points drafted to support ambitions for the establishment of a federal union in Burma.

Civil society groups and members of the public have also been invited to the two-day forum, branded the ENAC Policy Field Consultation Workshop, which began yesterday in Shan State capital Taunggyi.

ENAC describes itself as an independent organization that supports the peace process and the development of democratic institutions in Burma.

Sai Nyunt Lwin, a member of ENAC's board of directors and general secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), said that the aim of this workshop is to clarify the policy recommendations so that they may be included in the drafting of a new constitution.

"Nine points were drafted on policies, including education, health, trade and investment, natural resources and taxation," he said.

According to Sai Nyunt Lwin, ENAC previously held similar workshops in Yangon, Mon State's Mawlamyine, Karen State's Hpa-an, eastern Shan State's Kengtung township and northern Shan State's Lashio township. He said that they will continue to host forums in other parts of Burma in order to draw suggestions from the public.

"We aim to host such conferences in the areas where we have not already done so," he said. "The next workshop may be in Chin State or Rakhine State."

"We want to reach out to the public to hear their voices on this drafting policy," he added.

Founded in July 2013, ENAC has been conducting trainings and workshops on the issues of economics, politics, security, land rights and resource management to civil society groups, ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and political parties. 

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Irrawaddy Magazine

The Irrawaddy Magazine

Multi-Billion Dollar Rangoon Southwest Expansion Set to Begin

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 07:22 AM PST

The Rangoon chief minister pledged to review all controversial city expansion projects and prioritize the public good over corporate interests.

The post Multi-Billion Dollar Rangoon Southwest Expansion Set to Begin appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Mon State Chief Minister Resigns

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 07:02 AM PST

'[U Min Min Oo] took responsibility and decided to resign, due to his leadership performance in the government,' says NLD party spokesman U Win Htein.

The post Mon State Chief Minister Resigns appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Construction Guidelines Unclear in Coastal Areas

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 04:42 AM PST

A survey found around one dozen three-story buildings in Ngapali that breach height guidelines provided by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

The post Construction Guidelines Unclear in Coastal Areas appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Foreigner Dies in Apparent Suicide on Mount Zwekabin

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 04:32 AM PST

The French tourist's body—with fractures to the head, hip, leg, and hand—is found in a tree about 52 meters (170 feet) below the summit.

The post Foreigner Dies in Apparent Suicide on Mount Zwekabin appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

‘If We Waited for Aid From the Govt, the IDPs Would Have Starved’

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 04:05 AM PST

Sai Ba Nyan, volunteer vice chairman of a northern Shan State IDP camp with more than 900 people, feels that Burma's govt has forgotten about them.

The post 'If We Waited for Aid From the Govt, the IDPs Would Have Starved' appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Scuffles at Dhammakaya Temple in Bangkok as Police Hunt Monk

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:34 PM PST

The standoff at the scandal-hit Dhammakaya Temple represents one of the biggest challenges to the authority of Thailand's junta since it took power in 2014.

The post Scuffles at Dhammakaya Temple in Bangkok as Police Hunt Monk appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

UWSA to Host Summit of Ethnic Armed Groups

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:13 PM PST

As in previous meetings, the Wa invite to Panghsang mainly ethnic armed groups that are non-signatories to the nationwide ceasefire agreement.

The post UWSA to Host Summit of Ethnic Armed Groups appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Two Soldiers Injured in Arakan State Clash

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 08:37 PM PST

Government security forces are ambushed by 30 unidentified gunmen on the border with Bangladesh.

The post Two Soldiers Injured in Arakan State Clash appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

National News

National News

Foreign visitor arrivals in Mandalay up 25pc

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:58 PM PST

Tourist arrivals in Mandalay Region increased by about 25 percent in 2016, and there are plans to attract more visitors, said U San Yu, deputy director general of the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism for upper Myanmar.

Burnt-out Chin State’s Mindat market to be rebuilt

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:54 PM PST

The municipal market in Chin State's Mindat township which was destroyed in a fire a year ago will be rebuilt with reserve funds of K315.008 million allocated by the Union government, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win told the Amyotha Hluttaw yesterday.

Data centre for visitors to Bagan

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:51 PM PST

The Bagan Visitor Data Centre which will serve local and foreign visitors to the Bagan Archaeological Zone will be completed in March, Daw Yu Yu Lin, assistant project manager for the Bagan Tourism Development Project of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) said on February 17.

Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady dolphin population grows to 70

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:49 PM PST

A Recent survey has found that the critically endangered Ayeyarwady dolphin population in the Ayeyarwady River has increased by five to 70, according to an official involved in the conservation of the species.

UWSA hosts conference for non-signatories

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:44 PM PST

The United Wa State Army is hosting a summit for non-signatory armed ethnic groups to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) at its capital Pangkham from February 21, said officials from the invited groups.

EU-standard forestry agreement to be set up

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:40 PM PST

The Forest Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) agreement is being drawn up to develop good forestry administration that supports the development of the state, safeguards the public's economy and protects the natural resources of the forests.

Kachin armed groups want ‘terrorist’ label removed

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:37 PM PST

Armed ethnic groups in Kachin say the government's branding of them as 'terrorist organisations' is an obstacle to the peace process and want the label removed.

Former KNU leader’s family barred entry into Myanmar

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:27 PM PST

The family of former Karen rebel leader Padoh Mahn Shar was denied entry to Myanmar to attend the unveiling of his statue in the Ayeyarwady Region last week, according to his daughter.

CHDB, Korean bank sign housing MoU

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:14 PM PST

The Construction and Housing Development Bank (CHDB) under the Ministry of Construction has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Korea-based KB Kookmin Bank to provide housing microfinance to those from the low-income bracket in Myanmar.

Mon Chief Minister to quit posts, party

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 11:13 PM PST

Following complaints over his leadership, Mon State Chief Minister U Min Min Oo has resigned from his posts in the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government.

Shan Herald Agency for News

Shan Herald Agency for News

Commentary on "Relatives barred from Padoh Mahn Sha statue ceremony"

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 05:11 PM PST

Reminds me of our meeting with Padoh Mahn Sha, together with David Tharkabaw, Saw Sarkis and my wife some two years before he was assassinated.

Through correspondence with him, I came to know on how he was thinking in terms of ethnic struggle for self-determination and national unity.

His wisdom is that in order to achieve self-determination rights for the non-Bamar ethnic nationalities, they need to work in unison militarily and politically. Besides, the ethnic should and must seek cooperation and coordination with the like-minded democratic elements from the Bamar masses, political parties and even from the Burma Army.

A bold initiative at that time, as the ethnic groups only understood that the Tatmadaw or Burma Army was an evil entity and must be avoided or gotten rid of it but never to be considered as an alliance in the ethnic struggle for self-determination.

No doubt, his progressive thought has found the way, not even in the KNU but also into other ethnic resistance movements, finding large acceptance on how they should go about with their struggles.

Padoh Mahn Sha's political legacy will live on for a long time to come.

Link to the story : Relatives barred from Padoh Mahn Sha statue ceremony

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Irrawaddy Magazine

The Irrawaddy Magazine

Business Roundup (February 18)

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 07:04 PM PST

Beer, chili, and heavy machinery: Kirin plans purchase of Mandalay beer, Arakan State sends chili to Sri Lanka, and Kubota opens a facility in Thilawa.

The post Business Roundup (February 18) appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

This Week in Parliament (Feb. 13 – Feb. 17)

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 06:50 PM PST

The Irrawaddy briefs you on the week that was in the national legislature.

The post This Week in Parliament (Feb. 13 – Feb. 17) appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Dateline Irrawaddy: The Panglong Monument and the Pagoda

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 06:35 PM PST

The Irrawaddy discusses if this Shwedagon Pagoda replica was built for religious purposes only, or if it was built with a political purpose in mind.

The post Dateline Irrawaddy: The Panglong Monument and the Pagoda appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Irrawaddy Magazine

The Irrawaddy Magazine

Tatmadaw and NMSP Meet to Discuss Seized Mon Checkpoints

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 06:29 AM PST

The groups address the conflict surrounding Burma Army troops' seizure of two small NMSP bases and the raiding of its liaison office.

The post Tatmadaw and NMSP Meet to Discuss Seized Mon Checkpoints appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Fresh Clashes Break Out Between Burma Army and MNDAA

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 04:31 AM PST

Renewed clashes have erupted between the Burma Army and the Kokang rebels in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone.

The post Fresh Clashes Break Out Between Burma Army and MNDAA appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Arakan State Plans to Complete Border Trade Zone

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 04:22 AM PST

The full project—to include warehouses, trade showrooms, government offices, and transportation—could cost 2 billion kyats (US$1.5 million).

The post Arakan State Plans to Complete Border Trade Zone appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Govt Announces Rangoon Water Taxi Service Tender

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 04:13 AM PST

The regional government plans to upgrade public transport services to relieve worsening traffic jams in the former capital and commercial hub.

The post Govt Announces Rangoon Water Taxi Service Tender appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Australian Mining Firm Faces ‘Continuous Delays’ in Karenni State

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 03:29 AM PST

Eumeralla Resources is awaiting approval from the Union government to explore a large swathe of Karenni State.

The post Australian Mining Firm Faces 'Continuous Delays' in Karenni State appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Advocacy Group Calls for Reform of Burma’s Drug Laws and Policies

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 02:45 AM PST

The Drug Policy Advocacy Group calls for new policies focusing on the rehabilitation of drug users.

The post Advocacy Group Calls for Reform of Burma's Drug Laws and Policies appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

UN Wants to Negotiate with US, Canada to Resettle Refugees from Burma

Posted: 16 Feb 2017 10:09 PM PST

The UNHCR will push for resettlement of those most in need, for medical or family reasons, despite growing resistance in the US under President Trump.

The post UN Wants to Negotiate with US, Canada to Resettle Refugees from Burma appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

National News

National News

Pistol, bullets found in drug raid

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 01:21 AM PST

Police seized a Spanish-made pistol and 83 bullets in a major drug seizure from three houses in the past two days.

Four in Chin family dead in murder-suicide case in Malaysia

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 01:19 AM PST

A 27-year-old Myanmar man living in Malaysia's Selangor state killed himself after murdering his wife and two young children, according to Myanmar Embassy officials and Malaysia-based Myanmar civil society groups.

Chinese man charged with sexual assault

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 01:17 AM PST

A Chinese national has been charged with raping a Myanmar woman working at the Burstt camera lens factory in Pyin Oo Lwin township, according to the Mandalay Region police.

Most disabled lost limbs in land mines

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 01:11 AM PST

At a social camp to fit disabled people with artificial limbs, it was found that the majority of participants were victims of land mines, Daw Yin Yin Nyunt, secretary of U Nu Daw Mya Yi Foundation told The Myanmar Times.

Garment factory ordered to reinstate axed workers

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 01:00 AM PST

Unitedtex overseas garment factory in Yangon's Hlaing Tharyar township has been ordered by the regional arbitration council to reinstate nine workers whom the company fired last month.

ASEAN ministers to discuss US President Trump’s foreign policy

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 12:56 AM PST

ASEAN foreign ministers are expected to discuss US President Donald Trump's foreign policy when they convene for the grouping's ministerial meeting retreat next week.

Fishing boat carrying Bengalis detained near Gwa township

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 12:54 AM PST

A fishing boat carrying nine Bengali men and the corpse of another Bengali man was seized in the evening of February 15 in waters near the Sat Thwar village of Gwa township, said Gwa township administrator U Aung Lin.

KNU, KIO call for more peace efforts

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 12:50 AM PST

TWO influential ethnic Kachin and Kayin armed groups have called for more cooperation in the peace process after having a meeting yesterday.

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw to decide on bill to protect citizens’ freedom, security

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 12:48 AM PST

A bill to protect the personal freedom and security of all citizens will be decided by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, following a deadlock between two Hluttaws, the Pyithu Hluttaw said on February 16.

Only few voters checked their names in list: UEC

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 12:47 AM PST

Only a few voters checked their names during the first public display of the electoral rolls for the April 1 by-elections, and many errors are found despite the door-to-door scrutiny earlier this month, according to the Union Election Commission (UEC).

Shan Herald Agency for News

Shan Herald Agency for News

Commentary on "Preparing for the next Panglong conference"

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 07:25 AM PST

It is a time tested conclusion that the Tatmadaw, and also the Aung San Suu Kyi headed NLD regime for that matter, cannot go it alone.

The wishful-thinking of that the Tatmadaw's military pressure to break the will of the ethnic resistance into accepting the watered down version of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) version, which is not accompanied by ending the Tatmadaw's offensives in Shan and Kachin States, lacks all-inclusiveness participation and equitable, level playing field, will remain an illusion or pipe dream only.

As for Suu Kyi, coercively sticking to her rigid time schedule would eventually bring in the NCA-non-signatory ethnic armies is also equally an impoverish way of thinking, likely following the Inter Mediate's, a policy think-tank that supervises Suu Kyi, suggestion, according to a knowledgeable signatory ethnic armed organization.

It seems Suu Kyi is employing a paternalistic attitude, by probably thinking and believing that: "She is grabbing the non-signatories of NCA by the collars and forcibly putting them into a paradise-like atmosphere - literally Nat Pyi in Burmese, where the latter complained that it is too high and instead jumped down".

What a pity that the situation has been misinterpreted by the Tatmadaw and as well Suu Kyi.

Link to the story: http://frontiermyanmar.net/en/preparing-for-the-next-panglong-conference

Commentary on " Dialogue or despair: Two futures for the peace process"

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 07:14 AM PST

What Aung Naing Oo pointed out is most crucial to the continuation of peace process dialogue.

His suggestion of "Unnecessary restrictions must also be removed. Flexibility must be prioritized. Negotiators must be provided with proper policy direction and communication," or key words like "restriction, flexibility,and communication" are most important to keep the process going.

In plain words, for example the issue of "restriction", like Paragraph 17/1, Association with Illegal Organizations Act that could cause personal security concern for the ethnic resistance leaders should be waived, if not abolished it all. The detention of one All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF) leader, whose party is a signatory of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), is still detained with the Burma Army initiative, is the case in point. In the same vein, a dozen or so soldiers of Ararkan Liberation Party (ALP), also an NCA signatory are detained and their weapons confiscated, citing trespassing their designated areas, and still are under detention.

"Flexibility" in this period of ongoing peace process should mean looking the other way or turn a blind eye for the sake of a bigger picture or goal-setting. In this case, it is the achievement of the political settlement through negotiations. The Tatmadaw is just doing the opposite, by imposing its own rule of being a sole protector of the national sovereignty, when in fact this is the very notion that has been the bone of contention for adversaries and all parties involved in the peace process.

It should be clear that while the Tatmadaw wants to be the sole owner of the country's sovereignty, the ethnic nationalities see it as their ultimate goal to wrestle it back, in the form of a "shared-sovereignty". It is a political demand and they are risking their lives so that the political equation is changed into a form of federal union system of governance. In other words, this should be negotiated at the peace conference and not already taken for granted by the Tatmadaw, as it is now doing and acting with implementation that isn't helping the peace process to be fruitful at all.

Regarding "communication", especially with concern to JMC or ceasefire joint-monitoring procedure, it is not at all working, seen from several firefights with the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) or the Shan State army - South, which is also an NCA signatory.

All in all, it is the "political will" and sincerity that is badly needed from the part of the Tatmadaw to end its offensive wars in Kachin and Shan States, in the name of safeguarding the country's sovereignty, and come down from its moral high horse of being the sole protector and owner of the national sovereignty and national unity, using sheer military might, which has failed to work, after employing the said policy for decades.

Link to the story: http://frontiermyanmar.net/en/dialogue-or-despair-two-futures-for-the-peace-process

Taunggyi to host Civil Society Peace Forum ahead of 21CPC

Posted: 17 Feb 2017 12:33 AM PST

Burmese civil society organizations (CSOs) have announced that they will gather for a 'peace forum' in Shan State capital Taunggyi next week.

With invitations extended to state-level CSOs from across the country, the forum is scheduled to be held in Taunggyi from 21- 23 February, ahead of a national-level conference in Naypyidaw on 24- 25 February.

According to Min Aung Htoo, an executive member of the CSOs Forum, the agenda at the national forum in Naypyidaw will include three topics: federal economics and finance; the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs); and environmental policies and natural disaster management.

Min Aung Htoo said that the meeting will bring together members of CSOs from different states who are each working to build peace in Burma.

"CSOs will be represented at the upcoming peace talks," said Min Aung Htoo, referring to the next round of the Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference (21CPC), which is slated to kick off in Naypyidaw in mid-March.

"Therefore, in order to for us to speak with one voice on behalf of the general public, we need to prepare."

The CSOs sent a joint-letter to the Burmese government after the first round of the 21CPC, requesting permission to send a greater number of CSO representatives to the peace talks. However, they say, to date they have not had a response.

The peace talks are based on the framework of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), which limits representation of CSOs.

"We wish to be legitimate representatives at the national-level peace talks," said Su Su Shwe, a CSO representative from Tanintharyi region. "At national-level negotiations, there are four sectors in play: the parliament and government; political parties; Tatmadaw[Burmese military]; and ethnic armed groups. So, the question is: why not give CSOs fair representation?"

According to Win Htay Kaung Myat, a representative of the CSOs Forum in southern Shan State, 49 CSO representatives will attend the next round of talks in Taunggyi, plus an additional 24 female delegates who are due to debate women's issues.

"At the 21CPC conference, we are not permitted to directly discuss issues such as cultural heritage," he said. "There are so many limitations on us. Therefore, we will have to wait and see how much dialogue we can introduce and how the UPDJC will react."

The UPDJC, or Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee, oversees the agendas for the peace talks, and is headed by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)