Saturday, March 28, 2020

Week in review: Myanmar

Feb 14. 2016
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By Myanmar Eleven

Australian miner wins licence
Australian PanAust Group was granted exploration licences for three mining blocks in Sagaing region, covering 1,400 square kilometres of land considered highly prospective for copper and gold.
Managing director Fred Hess said this is an opportunity to strengthen the company’s presence in Asia and participate in the economic transition underway within the country. 
Geochemical sampling and mapping is underway to identify potential drill targets by year-end.
 
Pedestrian tunnels mulled 
The Yangon City Development Committee plans to build pedestrian tunnels in Yangon to ease worsening congestion.
Officers have observed projects in Japan. Work is underway to suppress possible criminal activities inside the tunnels and also to protect them from floods. 
 
U Bein Bridge still popular
Over 1,000 tourists visit U Bein Bridge on Taungthaman Lake in Mandalay daily this month, according to the Taungthaman Boat Association.
 In December, visitors to the world’s oldest teak bridge numbered about 300-400.
French, German, American, Chinese and Korean tourists make up most of them.
The association has 45 small boats and 16 ancillary boats. 
 
Signs of drought 
Artesian wells and lakes in Myaing township of Magway’s Pakokku district were reportedly running dry due to lower rainfall during last year's monsoon. 
Last year Pakokku villagers were forced to pay for water deliveries. 
 
Shan rebel fighting 
The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) opened fire on February 7 in Shan’s Kyaukme township. 
As of Friday, the skirmishes continued, forcing more than 700 people from two villages to flee. 
The skirmishes broke off after TNLA forces attacked mountainous areas held by the RCSS. 
The RCSS said its attempts to negotiate have met with no response.
To mark the 69th Shan National Day on February 7, the RCSS/Shan State Army (SSA), which signed a nationwide ceasefire agreement with the government in October, issued a statement, saying it would closely monitor the new government’s policies and actions relating to the peace process. 
They expressed high hope in the new government. 
 
Five Karen parties to discuss merger
Chiefs of five Karen (Kayin) ethnic parties would convene the first merger talks in Hpa-An in Kayin state from February 27-28.
Mann Aung Pyi Soe, vice chairman of the Phalon Sawaw Democratic Party, said this followed the resolution reached on January 26 for a merger within a year. 
Mann Kyaw Nyein, general secretary of the Karen National Party, said the focus of the talks must be on discussing policies to prevent any future dissolution of the merger.
Besides the two parties, they are the Karen Democratic Party, Karen People's Party and Karen State Democracy and Development Party. 
 
Suu Kyi threatened on Facebook
A Facebook user threatened to kill chairwoman of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking a call from her supporters for legal action against him. So far, no action has been launched against the user named “Ye Myint Lwin”. 
“Let’s think about the suspension of Section 59(f) of the Constitution. Please give me a AWM or a AS50 [sniper rifle] and a month's training and I shall kill her,” he posted.
He has deactivated his account. 
 
Dagon City project
The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has given a plot in Yangon owned by the Ministry of Science and Technology to Marga Landmark Development Co as a new site for the Dagon City project.
Yangon residents last year protested against the original site near Shwedagon Pagoda, fearing harm to the sacred pagoda.
The MIC granted 7.2 hectares at the corner of Kabar Aye Pagoda Road and Kanbae Road in Yankin township.
 
Brand new MPT store 
Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) has opened a store near Sule Pagoda, the first of over 100 MPT Brand flagship stores. All of them will be opened by next month.
Through the stores, it hopes to improve services to 18 million subscribers including lost or damaged SIM card replacement, top up credit purchases and the dissemination of MPT’s other services and promotions.
These will also increase the company’s points of sale from about 80,000 at present. 
 
YGH staff doubles 
Yangon General Hospital (YGH) saw a surge in its personnel capacity after the upgrade to a 2,000-bed hospital from 1,500 beds.
Budgets for public hospitals have been increased since the 2012-13 fiscal year. YGH received 750 million kyat (Bt22 million) in the 2012-13 fiscal year; 2.5 billion in the 2013-14 year, 4.8 billion in 2014-15 and 5.4 billion in 2015-16.

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