Sunday, 31 August 2014 11:44

Direct aid on the fringes

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Grassroots organisation supports dump residents in Thailand

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and I was in the passenger seat of Fred Stockwell's weathered pick-up truck, negotiating the narrow streets of Mae Sot, Thailand.

Farmer U Myint Than is adamant that the factory where his eldest son died and his younger son lost two fingers must take responsibility for their accident, in which a third teenaged worker was also seriously hurt.

Myanmar’s roads are becoming more congested. After the reforms started in 2011, restrictions were lifted on vehicle imports and the result has been an influx of more than 300,000 mainly second-hand Japanese cars and trucks. They have brought the number of vehicles to more than 4.5 million this year, show figures from the Ministry of Rail Transportation's Road Transport Administration Department.

Sunday, 31 August 2014 10:57

Big plans for a better, safer road network

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JICA, ADB and USAID to support upgrades

Anyone who has travelled extensively in Myanmar knows that the roads in mainland Southeast Asia's largest country are often decrepit and in more remote areas, almost non-existent. In the rainy season some roads can only be navigated by four-wheel drive vehicle.

Sunday, 24 August 2014 10:57

Two thriving vineyards in Shan State

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Reds, whites and breathtaking views

The drive into the Shan hills from sleepy Nyaung Shwe is breathtakingly scenic, passing century-old teak monasteries, sunflower fields and small villages where advertising for consumer goods co-exists with traditional bamboo architecture. It’s a shock when the bumpy road provides a first glimpse of the sprawling acres of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir tended by the indigenous Pa’O in their characteristic, bright headscarves. It’s crazier still to think that this dark red earth of Shan State, which has seen decades of armed conflict, is now home to thriving vineyards.

U Tint Aung said that as a teenager, his only ambition was a career in literature or the performing arts.

Bogalay U Tint Aung has been a towering presence in music, literature and the performing arts in Myanmar for about 50 years.

Sunday, 24 August 2014 10:15

A scenario to dread

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'The silent majority in both religious communities doesn’t want any trouble at all'

Life has a tendency to throw curve balls at people. Taxi driver U Win Aung worked on a large container ship as a second officer. The vessel plied the waters off the east coast of Africa, running the risk of being hijacked by Somali pirates. After several narrow escapes – his ship twice outran pirates approaching in small fishing boats - he returned to Myanmar. U Win Aung invested the dollars he made from his salary and danger money allowance in an apartment and two taxis, earning him a handsome monthly income.

Sunday, 24 August 2014 10:06

More green space proposed for Thilawa SEZ

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The companies involved in designing the master plan for the Thilawa Special Economic Zone have proposed a significant increase in the amount of green space in the 2,000-hectare (4,942-acre) second phase of project, Mizzima has been told.

Monday, 18 August 2014 11:41

For better or worse: The foreign bride business in China

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LINQI, August 18, 2014 (AFP) - Their marriages were arranged for cash, but some of the Vietnamese women who have found unlikely Prince Charmings in remote Chinese villages say they are living happily ever after.

Sunday, 17 August 2014 18:40

History from the grassroots

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The Yangon tour from an activist's perspective

“Activists in this country stick together,” my guide Ma Nyein said as we slowly drove past Insein prison watching the family members of inmates ease through the main gates clutching extra food to supplement the meagre diets of loved ones.