Migrants await Thingyan announcement
More Myanmar workers in Thailand may return home for this year’s Thingyan water festival.
Aung Soe from the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok said the ambassador is working with Thailand’s Labour Ministry to offer paid vacation to the migrant workers.
The leave could run from Wednesday through April 20 or 25.
Myanmar migrants in Thailand total almost 2 million.
Ooredoo celebrates with clean-water scheme
Ooredoo Myanmar will celebrate the water festival with a community project.
The first donation of over 30 million kyat (Bt893,000) will be used to kick off the clean-drinking water-distribution project in several villages in Yangon, to support 617 households with 2,877 beneficiaries.
The project will be carried out by the Myanmar Red Cross.
“This year, we want to invest money in a project that is more sustainable than the typical events done by many companies.” said Rene Meza, chief executive officer of Ooredoo Myanmar.
“About 48 per cent of the population in Myanmar is still without access to clean drinking water, so we decided to make a donation in this area.”
Rice exports to China slow
Rice exports to China via the Muse border gate have fallen due to confiscation by Chinese authorities.
Trucks bring at least 1,400 tonnes of rice to Muse every day. Myanmar urged China to buy at least one million tonnes of rice last year and three Chinese companies have agreed to buy 280,000 tonnes of rice, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.
Rice exporters need a licence from the China Certification and Inspection Group, which monitors commodities. The group is planning to open an office in Yangon this month.
Last fiscal year, border trade with China increased beyond US$1 billion (Bt35 billion), according to the Commerce Ministry.
President welcomes foreign guests
President Htin Kyaw held separate talks with the foreign ministers of Italy and China at his residence in Nay Pyi Taw in his first international meetings.
Zaw Htay, deputy director-general of the President’s Office, said the meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi covered three main points – economic development, building peace and promoting mutual relations in the international community, especially with neighbouring countries.
“The president did not discuss the Myitsone dam project,” he said.
Wang said he wanted to continue investment in Myanmar. Chinese companies had been instructed to abide by Myanmar’s laws and encourage development, he said. China said it would promote cooperation on the stability of border regions, Zaw Htay added.
The minister apparently invited Htin Kyaw and Aung San Suu Kyi to visit China and expressed his delight at the enactment of the State Counsellor Bill that would give Suu Kyi a prime ministerial role.
Htin Kyaw’s talks with the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni Silveri focused on cooperation in agriculture, food sufficiency, small- and medium-sized enterprises, the tourist sector and the conservation of cultural heritage.
Canada reaches out to most vulnerable
Canada has launched a programme to help build inclusive democratic governance in Myanmar and improve opportunities for the country’s most vulnerable people with funding of $44 million.
The programme is designed to support reform initiatives that will help create a stable and inclusive democratic system, as well as strengthen accountability and transparency through better government management and data analysis.
Support is also being provided to improve the incomes and well-being of women owning small businesses by increasing access to credit, new technology and market expertise.
French food aid for Chin and Rakhine states
France has allocated 700,000 euros (Bt28 million) to contribute to rebuilding livelihoods in Chin state and to treat malnutrition in Rakhine state this year.
In Chin, two new projects will contribute to the rehabilitation of agricultural livelihoods.
In Rakhine, efforts remain focused on improving access to treatment of acute malnutrition among infants and children in Sittwe and the northern part of the state.
France has taken part in the initiative for more than 20 years.
Swiss training course on democratisation
As a contribution to the transition and democratisation efforts in Myanmar, the Swiss Embassy hosted a study and training tour on international relations, democratisation and human security for Myanmar participants.
A three-week pilot course took place in Geneva in 2013. Since then, over 70 people have benefitted from this exposure. This year, a fourth batch of 24 Myanmar participants will participate in the same course from April 8-May 1 in Geneva.
They will learn about building democratic institutions, national dialogue, security sector reform, rule of law and human rights. They will also study global and local governance in practice by visiting some international, federal and local institutions and interacting with the stakeholders.
ICT study trip to Israel
A delegation from the Myanmar Computer Industry Association visited Israel last week.
The four-day trip was initiated by the Israeli Embassy in Myanmar in collaboration with Israel’s Economy Ministry and the computer association.
The delegation observed the policy-making and ecosystem of ICT in Israel and visited public entities, Tel Aviv University, a technology incubator and a few companies.
Report examines charges of torture in jail
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has completed research of 3,000 former prisoners and the torturing of the detained students. It will be published in May or June, according to Aung Myo Kyaw from the organisation.
The AAPP and Former Political Prisoners Society published an interim report in February last year.
“The main thing in the report will be how much former political prisoners suffered from torture and how many families were broken when someone was imprisoned for a political act.
“How many families faced failure in their businesses and how many children had their education ruined? These findings will be come out in the percentages. We also deciding what is the most important thing for a former political prisoner: money, livelihood, education or vocational training, shelter or health care,” said Aung Myo Kyaw.
The report’s publication was delayed by November’s election and the transfer of power. It will be published in English and Myanmar.
There is no rehabilitation for former political prisoners and the many lives remain ruined, the interim report says.
The new government should give health care, physical and mental assistance, according to the Hanthawady U Win Tin Foundation.
There are 121 political prisoners and 414 activists still facing charges according to AAPP.
Football lucky draw for Uefa semi-final
The winner of Carlsberg’s lucky draw in Myanmar, together with a friend, will have the chance of travelling to France to watch the Uefa Euro2016 semi-final.
The winner will receive a VIP experience for two – including an all-expenses-paid trip to one of the biggest football events in the world.
It will be held in France from June 10-July 10.