Ten MPs took to the floor of the lower house of Burma’s parliament on Friday as debate commenced on whether to employ a system of proportional representation (PR) in future general elections.
Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has dropped its plan to buy a 49 percent stake in Burma’s Asian Wings Airways, AFP reported on Thursday. In a statement, ANA said rising competition in Burma was one reason for cancelling the deal. ANA Holdings – the airline's parent company – announced last year that it planned to invest about US$25 million in Asian Wings.
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which backs the Shwe gas and oil pipelines from the Bay of Bengal to Yunnan, has been named the fourth largest company in the world in the Fortune Global 500 list for 2014. CNPC’s annual revenue is reported as US$432.01 billion, narrowly behind another state-owned Chinese oil and gas producer, Sinopec. US retailer Walmart is listed as the richest firm worldwide ($476.3 billion) with Royal Dutch Shell second.
Information Minister Aung Kyi and Health Minister Pe Thet Khin have resigned, state television announced on Tuesday. President Thein Sein reportedly issued an order granting them permission to step down, in the latest of several ministerial re-appointments. Last month, Religious Affairs Minister Hsan Hsint was sacked by the government and is yet to be replaced. Arakan State Chief Minister Hla Maung Tin also resigned, superseded by Maj-Gen Maung Maung Ohn, former border affairs minister, succeeded by Maj-Gen Tin Aung Chit. Read the full, updated story here.
Foreigners will be able to apply online for a visa to visit Burma in September, according to a report by state-run Myanmar News Agency. Immigration Minister Khin Yi said that the E-visa system will take time to implement because it requires setting up online payment channels for visa fees. In the last year, Burma has received roughly two million tourists, and is expecting the number of foreign visitors to reach around three million this year, a projection that agents think is realistic if online visa service can be implemented.
Minister of Finance Linn Aung told the parliament’s lower house on Monday that unclaimed prize money from the national lottery over the past three years amounted to almost 7 billion kyat, which the government will retain as state funds. The government’s Lottery Department has been reminding unknown lottery winners via newspaper advertisements to collect their prize money within 11 months of striking it rich, or it will be retained by the state.
The Myanmar Computer Industry Association aims to set up “e-village” centres in more than 6,000 villages across Burma to provide free Internet access to rural villages, a spokesperson said. Zaw Min Oo, general-secretary of the MCIA, said they hope the plan will improve business and social life; each centre will be equipped with at least six computers and will allow users to access useful information about agriculture and development.
Authorities in Mandalay relaxed the curfew imposed upon seven townships after last month’s riots by an hour. It previously lasted for six hours -- from 9pm to 3am -- but Mandalay district’s general administration department announced on Monday that the curfew will be reduced, and would start at 10pm instead. The restrictions were levied after communal violence broke out in Chan Aye Tharzan Township, leaving two people dead and more than 20 injured.
China received 1.87 billion cubic metres of gas during the first active year of the Shwe pipeline, according to a statement by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The state-run enterprise owns two parallel pipes -- one gas, one oil -- running from Burma’s Arakan coast to Yunnan, China. The gas pipe came online in July 2013, while the crude line is expected to begin this year. CNPC said that 60 million cubic metres of gas were distributed to Burma. At full capacity, the gas corridor can carry up to 12 billion cubic metres per year.