Myanmar Ousts Rising Political Star

Myanmar Ousts Rising Political StarThe sudden removal of one of Myanmar’s most powerful men sent has sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community in the old capital of Yangon, where foreign embassies are still located. It seemed more like a midnight coup than an ordinary leadership reshuffle – security forces in the new capital, Naypyidaw, entered the headquarters of the de…

Shwe Mann’s Fall from Power a Mixed Blessing for Myanmar

Shwe Mann’s Fall from Power a Mixed Blessing for MyanmarBurmese elite politics have been historically a realm of intrigue and abrupt changes, in which a high-ranking general could fall from power overnight and traces of his influence would be erased almost instantly. This happened again on August 13, when parliament speaker Shwe Mann – a former general – was removed from his post as…

New Political Reality for Myanmar’s Military

New Political Reality for Myanmar’s MilitaryA number of major issues threaten to degrade, if not entirely disrupt, Myanmar’s elections, scheduled for November. These issues include ongoing fighting between the military and various armed ethnic armies, violent social and religious tensions between Buddhists and Muslims, and the lethargic pace of constitutional reforms. While acknowledging these challenges, reforms within the electoral process create the…

The Rohingya: Where They Came From

The Rohingya: Where They Came FromThe crisis that has enveloped Myanmar’s luckless Rohingya has been years in the making. They are hardly interlopers, with some of them having settled in Arakan Province, also known as Rakhine, on Myanmar’s west coast since at least the 15th century. But as with so many modern-day conflicts, much of today’s tensions stem from colonial…

Myanmar May Get a Real Election

Myanmar May Get a Real ElectionMyanmar faces a major test of its intentions towards democracy this year with national elections in November. The elections are to replace a legislature established by the former junta. That 2010 election left the military firmly in charge, with 57 percent of the seats held by the Union Solidarity and Development Party, made up of…

Myanmar High Court Turns Down Journalists’ Appeal

Myanmar High Court Turns Down Journalists’ AppealMyanmar’s Supreme Court Wednesday rejected an appeal by four journalists and the CEO of the defunct Unity journal, who are serving a seven year sentence at hard labor for a July report alleging  that an Army facility was being used to manufacture chemical weapons. The publication was ordered closed after the report, which was deemed…

Harsh Islamic Law Loses Momentum in Malaysia

Harsh Islamic Law Loses Momentum in MalaysiaIt is beginning to look like the issue of implementing seventh-century Islamic law requiring the amputation of limbs and stoning of adulterers has crested in Malaysia and is receding. The issue attracted widespread concern among human rights groups and the international investing community as well as within the country itself, with Chinese, Indians and other…

Myanmar’s Military: From Menace to Mediator

Myanmar’s Military: From Menace to MediatorReforms currently underway in Myanmar are often viewed as a thinly veiled attempt at disguising the military rule in its latest incarnation. While the military has moved away from tight control of the country’s day-to-day administration, it has ensured that its core interests remain preserved in the constitution. Specifically, the military has kept its position…
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