Irishman Hugh recently arrived in Rangoon after an eight-month 15,000km journey across the continents of Europe and Asia. He took a few pics along the way …
The 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (88GPOS) met with the ethnic armed groups’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) on 8 March, when they reached two agreements: cooperation towards a ceasefire and lasting peace; and facilitation of a “Union Convention”, which would be inclusive for all of the many political forces in Burma. The 88GPOS made a similar pact on 6 March with the United Nationalities Alliance, a coalition of 12 ethnic political parties that won seats in the 1990 general election.
A commission formed by the office of the President to draft the Race Protection, Faith Conversion and Population Control bills, has called on the public to submit recommendations for the drafts, which are expected to reach the President by 30 June 2014. The 12-member commission announced the open call in state-run media on Sunday, with a 30 March submission deadline. The invitation is open to “monks and the general population” alike. Suggestions can be sent to the commission’s vice-chairman Win Myint at the Union Attorney General’s Office #25, Naypyidaw, or faxed to 06744107.
A rice storage scheme, which will allow farmers to stock surplus rice instead of selling it at low prices during the harvest season, will launch on 15 March, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation’s general-secretary Ye Min Aung. Speaking at an MRF conference in Rangoon on 6 March, the official said that farmers who stock their rice under the scheme – which has UNFAO backing – will be issued insurance documents which can be mortgaged for bank loans.
Rice exports have dropped by 30 percent in the 2013-14 fiscal year, compared to the year before, Trade and Commerce Minister Win Myint announced on Wednesday. According to the Myanmar Rice Association, 1 million tons of rice has been exported in 2013-14, down from 1.4 million tons in 2012-13. The Association believes this is due to both a low yield and a decrease in demand from China. Burma was the world’s largest rice exporter from 1961 to 1963. The Burmese financial year ends on 31 March.
Burma’s national carrier, Myanmar Airways International, or MAI, was transformed into a financially independent corporation at the beginning of the 2013-14 fiscal year and no longer requires state funds, according to Transport Minister Nyan Tun Aung, addressing Parliament on 6 March upon submission of the Aviation Law. MAI currently operates daily flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Guangzhou, Gaya, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and last week announced a new route to Pusan in South Korea.
Chicken farms in Tamu, northwest Burma, are being corralled into a “chicken zone” to reduce the risk of bird flu, according to The New Light of Myanmar which cited Tamu officials saying that the prevalence of chicken farms in the area is “causing health hazards to locals”. Currently there are over 30 chicken farms in the Tamu area, keeping a combined total of up to 30,000 chickens. There has not been a reported case of bird flu in Burma.
Asahi Group Holdings Ltd announced on Friday that it has agreed to establish a joint venture with Burmese beverage maker Loi Hein Co to produce and sell carbonated soft drinks, according to Japan’s Jiji Press. Asahi will reportedly invest 2.3 billion yen (US$22 million) to acquire a 51 percent stake in the joint venture. Tokyo-based Asahi Breweries is best known as the manufacturer of Asahi beer. As of 2009, the company had a 40 percent share of the Japanese beer market.
Human traffickers have kept hundreds of Rohingya Muslims captive in houses in northern Malaysia, beating them, depriving them of food, and demanding a ransom from their families, according to a Reuters report on Thursday. “The accounts given to Reuters suggest that trafficking gangs are shifting their operations into Malaysia as Thai authorities crack down on jungle camps near the border that have become a prison for the Muslim asylum seekers fleeing persecution in Myanmar,” the report said. For more background, click HERE