DVB interviewed Interim Press Council member Chit Win Maung to learn what transpired at the Council’s meeting with new information minister, Ye Htut.
Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to meet with several of the country’s best known writers, journalists, poets, cartoonists and other wordsmiths at a seminar being held at the Royal Rose Hall in Rangoon on Monday.
Burma’s health ministry has confirmed that a 22-year-old Burmese man was quarantined to be tested for the deadly Ebola virus. Thermal testing at Rangoon airport identified potential symptoms in the man, who was on route from West Africa on Tuesday. A blood sample has been sent to a WHO laboratory in India, where it will be tested for the virus. As of mid-August, 2,127 suspected cases of Ebola resulting in the deaths of 1,145 had been reported worldwide.
Burma’s leading opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has announced that they will sue the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) for defamation for distributing leaflets containing personal insults about NLD party leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Chairman of the Magwe NLD chapter Ye Htut Win said that the charge against USDP-member Myint Nyein has been accepted by the township court and a hearing has been set for 1 September.
A Central Economic Zone planned for Muse, on the Burma-China border, will be complete by 2017, according to a project official. State media reported that project director Ngwe Soe said in a televised announcement on Sunday that the project will be implemented by the Shan State regional government and New Star Light Construction Co. About 18 real estate developments are planned, including housing, hotels and jade trading facilities. The zone will require more than 300 acres of land and will cost 50 billion kyat (US$50m), the report said.
A Irrawaddy Division parliamentarian from the opposition NLD party – who is a member of the Land Grab Investigation Commission – said that the majority of farmland that has been returned went to tenant farmers working with officials, and not to original owners. Sein Win, who represents Maubin Township, also told DVB that the Settlement and Land Records Department is favouring awarding settlements to private companies, instead of to the original farmland owners.
The bodies of two Burmese brothers – Hla Thein, 25, and Aung Min Thein, 21 – have been found with knife and gunshot wounds in the southern Thai province of Phang Nga, according to migrant rights group, Foundation for Education and Development. FED’s Htoo Chit said this was the second case of Burmese migrants murdered in southern Thailand within the past four days after a 19-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Ranong. He urged the Burmese government to provide protection for migrant workers in foreign lands.
Chinese officials will enter discussions geared towards allowing the legal import of Burmese rice, according to Yu Ding Cheng, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce in Yunnan, China. Seizures of illegal rice have led to a steep decline in value. Yu Ding Cheng said that he met with Burma’s Federation of Chambers of Commerce in efforts to boost cross-border trade on 14 August. The Myanmar Rice Federation said that they do not expect to meet this year’s target of exporting two million tons of rice, as value and demand have both dropped.
Thai Oil and PTT have submitted a proposal to Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise to upgrade its Thanlyin refinery near Rangoon. The alliance has been on the shortlist, with the result likely to be announced in the fourth quarter. The refinery upgrade is scheduled for 2016, with initial capacity of 15,000 bpd. Burma consumes only 70,000 bpd compared with Thailand's 850,000 bpd even though the two countries are not far apart in population size.