Monday, 16 March 2015 15:59

Coordinated measures

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Western embassies outline election support strategy

2010-general-election
Photo: EPA

Western embassies in Myanmar have outlined a comprehensive package of support aimed at helping to ensure that the election due late this year is inclusive, credible and transparent.

Baluchaung
Photo: Ye Min

Another piece of cross-border electricity cooperation in Southeast Asia is moving into place in a jigsaw of development projects that could ultimately benefit Myanmar.

A proposed dam on the Mekong River in southern Laos would provide energy for the region, but at a significant environmental cost

A-gamble-on-the-Mekong
 

Fishers and farmers have been trying for some time to block the proposed Don Sahong Dam on the Mekong River in southern Laos. They recently made their views known at a public consultation on the project but it’s likely their concerns will be ignored and the dam will be built. “Great Gamble on the Mekong,” a new documentary by filmmaker and journalist Tom Fawthrop explores the probable dire consequences of the dam and the failure it would represent for a once-promising extra-legal agency, the Mekong River Commission.

Thursday, 12 March 2015 15:39

Myanmar’s solar opportunity

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Record flight attempt raises hopes for a solar and superbattery revolution

The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft on a test flight. Photo: Solar Impulse Project
The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft on a test flight. Photo: Solar Impulse Project

Mission impossible. That is what the Swiss inventors and pilots Betrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg heard again and again when they first came up with the audacious idea of a solar-powered aircraft. And that such an aircraft could fly around the world? Preposterous.

A Myanmar literary journal in Mae Sot struggles to survive

Ma Thu Ta Sen at the Young Generations’ Note office in Mae Sot.
Ma Thu Ta Sen at the Young Generations’ Note office in Mae Sot.

It was difficult to arrange a meeting with Ma Thu Ta Sen, the manager of Young Generations’ Note, a literary journal based in the Thai border town of Mae Sot. Ma Thu Ta Sen works full-time in a restaurant and spends her evenings teaching Myanmar. We met on a busy street corner during a 30-minute break from her waiting job before she led me to the journal’s office.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015 08:28

‘Unions have hit a glass ceiling’

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The labour movement and the law in progress

Labour-movement
Photo: Hong Sar

Ma Thazin Soe has worked in a garment factory in Yangon's northern Mayangone Township for three years. She rises at dawn to make a bus journey from her home in neighbouring Hlaingtharyar Township, on Yangon’s western outskirts, and returns after dark. Ma Thazin Soe said she is “barely able to make ends meet” on her basic monthly salary of K30,000.

Monday, 09 March 2015 17:34

Interfaith visit to Indonesia

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Building bridges of understanding through dialogue

Indonesia-interfaith-visit-Benedict-Rogers
 

“Laughter and honesty are a great way to strengthen relationships, build dialogue and break down barriers, as I have found this week with my friends from different religions from Burma and Indonesia,” said Benedict Rogers, author and activist with Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Friday, 06 March 2015 18:49

From the history vault

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Censorship and déjà vu

Censorship was especially heavy during the campaign for the flawed 2010 general election. The censor’s decision to reject some stories was often difficult to understand. Photo: Evershine
Censorship was especially heavy during the campaign for the flawed 2010 general election. The censor’s decision to reject some stories was often difficult to understand. Photo: Evershine

Governments often set interesting challenges for themselves and on February 9 the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, U Tin Oo Lwin, told parliament that Myanmar will strive to be removed from an American list describing it as “a country of particular concern” for violating religious freedom.

An AAPP staff member briefs a tourist on Myanmar's political history. Photo: Portia Larlee
An AAPP staff member briefs a tourist on Myanmar's political history. Photo: Portia Larlee

The Friendship Bridge that connects Myawaddy to Mae Sot is a sight for sore eyes after a 15-hour bus ride from Yangon to the booming Thai border town. If you travel direct from Yangon you will likely arrive at the border by late morning and will need to shed the sweater, hat, mittens and socks that kept you warm in the over-chilled air-conditioning on the bus. But don’t worry, the protracted immigration process allows plenty of time to wake up, readjust your luggage and prepare for the short walk across the Moei River to Thailand.

Monday, 23 February 2015 15:37

‘Now they are speaking up’

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Karen News journal pushes boundaries as it expands

Nan Paw Gay
Nan Paw Gay. Photo: Portia Larlee

Nan Paw Gay did not become a migrant worker out of necessity. She chose to work as a nursery school teacher and then as a live-in cleaner in Bangkok after graduating from Mawlamyine University in 1995 because she wanted to understand the experience of millions of Myanmar people who went abroad to seek a livelihood. She was a journalist then, without realising.