Myanmar’s parliamentary speaker for the Union Assembly’s Upper House, Khin Aung Myint, will be retiring after two years of service. The role will now be carried out by current Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann.
At the handing over ceremony Khin Aung Myint will present reports on tasks carried out during his service to the parliament after which he will hand over responsibilities to Thura Shwe Mann.
The ceremony will be attended by President Thein Sein, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Union Ministers and governmental officials.
Indonesia based PT Telkom (Telco) has been selected to construct telecommunication mobile network in Myanmar, according to the Telco reports.
Telco is the largest telecommunications services company in Indonesia. Founded in 1856 it is a majority state-owned company.
Myanmar awarded Norway-based Telenor and Qatar-based Ooredoo communication licences at the end of June. Among two operators, Ooredoo has likely chosen PT Telkom to carry out construction works of mobile network, according to reports.
“Telkom had shown cooperation that could be carried out with international mobile enterprises according to our agreement,” said Arief Yahya, Telco CEO.
Although Telco was not involved in the competitive mobile tender for the two operating licenses, they were granted permission for opening a branch office in Myanmar.
Telekom mainly operates in fixed Line telephony, mobile and internet services, digital television, property and construction and IT Services, while other businesses are run by subsidiaries.
Moreover, the communication firm is now operating in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Austria, Malaysia and Singapore and planning to extend its market in Asia and the Middle-East.
Last Sunday Burma army troops taking part in a military operation in the Pangsai (Kyukok) area of northern Shan state allegedly killed Sumlut La Gun, a local Kachin civilian, according to local residents of the area.
La Gun, a father of three was from Hka Lum village. He was reportedly killed after being stopped while riding a motorcycle near his sugar cane farm following a local church service, a relative told the Kachin News Group.
Villagers from his area found his partially buried body on Tuesday afternoon. Members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) battalion 36 based in Pangsai (Kyukok) believe that the victim was killed by troops from a joint unit consisting of members of Burma Army Infantry Battalions No. 45 and 242.
The same day that Sumlut La Gun was killed heavy fighting took place near the place where his body was found. The fighting which lasted three hours involved government forces and a KIA affiliated civilian militia known as MHH (Mungshawa Hpyen Hpung), said the commander of the MHH unit involved Zau Seng.
Zau Seng told the Kachin News Group that Sumlut La Gun was not a member of the KIA or the local KIA affiliated militia.
The death of Sumlut La Gun comes less than five days after a Technical Advisory Team from the KIA’s political wing the Kachin Independence Organization opened an office in Myitkyina, as part of the 7-point agreement the group signed with the government’s chief negotiator Aung Min.
“Normally, when a meeting like this is attempted, we have to consider covering travel expenses for the attendees,” said Hkun Okkar, a spokesperson for the conference. “In this case, we were surprised to find out most of the groups were willing to cover expenses on their own.”
THIS IS NOT CORRECT- THEY LOST THE SPIRIT.
AND WHY THEY ALWAYS NEED INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS ? THEY SHOULD LEARN BY THEMSELVES !!!
In an unprecented show of cooperation, delegates from 150 ethnic political parties and armed groups currently active in Myanmar met in Chiang Mai, Thailand last Monday to foster dialogue on the country’s pressing ethnic issues and government peace processes, as part of a three-day session hosted by the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC).
The session ran from July 29 until July 31, and marked the first time representatives from the majority of Myanmar’s political parties involved in the 1990 and 2010 general elections came together under one roof.
Expectations of the assembly committee were further surpassed with the presence of the multi-party Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), which was established in 1989 following ceasefire agreements between the majority of its members and government forces. Since its creation, the PDF, which mostly consists of groups active in northern Myanmar, has kept its association with other ethnic parties to a minimum.
Over 3,600 acre farmlands confiscated under Chinese-backed mining project in central Myanmar still remain uncompensated, the Letpadaungtaung report implementation committee told a press conference on Friday.
Out of total 6490 acre farmlands seized for Letpadaungtaung copper-mine project, only 2818 acres have been compensated as of July 20, a committee member said.
An acre of farmland is paid between 1 million to 1.5 million kyats (US$1,000 to 1,500). There are 3672 acres left to be compensated, he added.
President Office Minister Hla Tun, Mining Minister Dr Myint Aung, Irrigation and Agriculture Deputy Minister Ohn Than and senior officials as well as representatives from the concerned companies attended the press conference.
There are about 900 acre grabbed lands that would not be used in the project. Out of them, 220 acres have already been returned to 134 farmers, said Deputy Minister Ohn Than who is also the committee member.
The copper-mine project has been set to resume operation in coming a few months, the President’s Office Minister Hla Tun earlier said following the signing of a new contract that offers major share of profits to Myanmar government.
The new contract gives Myanmar government 51 percent, China’s Wanbao Mining Ltd 30 percent and military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd (UMEHL) 19 percent share of the mine’s profits.
The project was earlier a joint venture between Wanbao Company and UMEHL. It faced persistent protests by the local people due to its environmental and land issues last year, and it had to suspend operation since last November.
A probe commission formed following the brutal police crackdown in November made Letpadaungtaung report suggesting continuation of the project but it called for reviewing the contract, fair compensation for seized lands and corporate social responsibilities concerning with environmental and social impacts.
The Burma Army is sending reinforcements into areas that link the Shan State Army (SSA) North with its ally the United Wa State Army (UWSA) on the eastern bank of the Salween, according to local sources.
This is in spite of the fact that both the SSA and the UWSA have signed ceasefire agreements and Naypyitaw had, on 12 July, met Wa leaders that defused the tension along the Thai-Burmese border between the two sides.
During last week, Chinese made Dong Feng six-wheelers had arrived in the Loi Khawk mountain on the west bank of the Salween in Tangyan township. “There were 6 trucks each carrying no less than 30 troops,” said Maj Naw Lake, liaison officer for the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), as the SSA North is officially known.
Another convoy of trucks had arrived at Loi Khio in Monghsu township, further south of Loi Khawk, according to a local elder. “People are worried there will be more fighting,” he said.
The SSA and the Burma Army have been playing a cat-and-mouse game further north in Namtu township. The two sides have not stopped fighting, even though the SSA had signed a ceasefire on 28 January 2012, more than 18 months ago.
“The Burma Army appears to be trying to cut the territorial links between the Wa on the east bank and the SSA, Kachin and Palaung resistance armies on the west bank,” commented a long-time border watcher from Thailand. “It is a known fact that the Wa has been supplying these groups with arms and ammo.”
There has been reports of Burma Army units moving into vital Salween crossings north of Tangyan, where the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) are active.
Meanwhile, Burmese authorities have demanded Panghsang, the Wa headquarters, present a list of their motor vehicles, especially those with NW (Northern Wa) and SW (Southern Wa) number plates that were imported tax-free during the period when Gen Khin Nyunt was in power. “Panghsang has yet to respond,” said a Monghsat local.
Thai-Myanmar border gates will be designated as official international border gates as of August 28 this year, according to Myanmar’s Ministry of Immigration and Population. This will allow Thai citizens and foreign tourists with – valid passports – to enter Myanmar by land and depart from other official gateways including Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay.
A bilateral agreement between the two countries will create official gates at Tarchileik-Mae Sai, Myawady-Mae Sot, Kawthaung-Ranong and Htee Khee-Sunaron.
No official changes have yet been made concerning length of stay, renewal of visa, and visa fees. And – visa-on-arrival will still not be available at the border gates -due to the current security situation, officials said.
Visitors can visit anywhere in the country except restricted areas released in this January by Ministry of Home Affairs. The list of the restricted areas can be acquired at any of the border gates.
Myanmar will allow visitors using the border crossings of Tarchileik, Myawady and Kawthaung via Thailand to go anywhere except restricted areas starting in August, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Information.Overland travellers, who must have a current passport and visa, can now cross the border everyday between 6.30am to and 6.30pm. The immigration checkpoints are located at Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge crossing Moei River. Myawaddy, a small township sitting opposite Mae Sot district, is the gateway to Kayin and Mon states.
The allowance aims to increase the arrival of foreign travellers. In the announcement, the Ministry of Information stated that visitors can go anywhere except where there are security concerns and depart from any exits which the government allows.
According to the bilateral agreement between Myanmar and Thailand for border crossing, the official entrance and exits are Tarchileik-Mae Sai, Myawady-Mae Sot and Kawthaung-Ranong.
Aung Win Thein, Department Head of Immigration Administration and National Registration of Myawady district said that as the government reduces the restriction, the job opportunities and tourism industry will show a good signs of improvement.
Days-long heavy rain has flooded Myanmar’s town of Myawady in Kayin state, affecting tens of thousands of people.
The town close to Mae Sot of Thailand has suffered floods for three consecutive years in the rainy season and this year has is the worst as shops and some schools were forced to close.
All the wards in Myawady have reportedly been flooded since Sunday. The rising Thaungyin River (Moei River) has also flooded the area from Friendship Bridge to Bayintnaung road on Monday, causing difficult access for the residents.
“Since July 28, we have been carrying out rescue work. Even the places where rescue camps were opened in last year’s floods are now flooded. So, we are opening a camp at Kyakhattaw monastery,” said a rescue work official.
Locals report that some houses in the town have been submerged by floodwater and tens of thousands of people from thousands of homes were forced to evacuate. It is likely that the river level will continue to rise due to continued heavy rainfall, the locals commented.
Tak’s Mae Sot district continued to suffer from what has been described as the worst flooding to hit the area in 20 years, with the rising Moei River bringing Thai-Myanmar border trade to a total halt for four days, causing Bt1.2 billion in lost business.