Myanmar’s Rohingya: The Roots of a Tragedy

Myanmar’s Rohingya:  The Roots of a TragedyEthnic violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state continues to keep the region’s Rohingya Muslim populations in a state of fear and misery. Since clashes between the Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhist populations broke out in 2012, more than 100,000 Rohingya have fled the country, mostly by boat.  Though the future of the refugees is often one of…

Hope Fades in Burma Search for Buried Spitfires

Hope Fades in Burma Search for Buried SpitfiresOne of the decade’s most fanciful searches – of a buried trove of World War II British Spitfire aircraft thought to be buried in Burma – looks likely to come to an unsuccessful end in October, with monsoon rains hampering excavation efforts as the two-year search contract’s expiration nears. For years, rumors have persisted that…

Ethnic Violence Spreads in Myanmar

Ethnic Violence Spreads in MyanmarMyanmar’s worsening ethnic tensions show no sign of abating, with rioting continuing in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city, on Wednesday night, leaving at least two people dead. One Buddhist man and one Muslim man were killed on the second night of religious violence, according to Border Affairs and Security Minister Aung Kyaw Moe, who said at…

NGOs Face Danger in Aid to Myanmar’s Rohingya

NGOs Face Danger in Aid to Myanmar’s RohingyaAid agencies are trying to find practical ways of getting humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar's Rakhine State following a series of attacks on the aid community there, and pending an agreement on the resumption of their operations. The plight of the Rohingya, Muslim minorities in a majority Buddhist country, has…

New Hurdles for Myanmar’s Already Hobbled Press

New Hurdles for Myanmar’s Already Hobbled PressLast month, press freedom in Burma suffered a setback when the government detained reporters and editors from the Unity Journal, a local publication that ran a story about an alleged secret chemical weapons plant in central Burma. Instead of disproving the claims by allowing an inspection of the site, the government moved swiftly to arrest…

Chin Refugees’ Indian Dilemma

Chin Refugees’ Indian DilemmaExpatriate refugees from the poverty-stricken nation of Myanmar have begun filtering back, partly as their country of origin has democratized and more ominously because they are feeling the heat from host countries like Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia to leave. But so far, the Chin, an impoverished Christian minority that has been likened to the…

Burma’s Ill-starred Mortality Rate

Burma’s Ill-starred Mortality RateAt 200 deaths per 100,000 live births, Myanmar’s maternal mortality rate is one of the worst in the region, according to a recent United Nations Population Fund report. This number has been halved since 1990, but the Millennium Development Goal of 130 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015 is still unlikely to be reached,…

Western Money and Social Dilemmas in Myanmar

Western Money and Social Dilemmas in MyanmarMyanmar seems to be making efforts to improve its image on the international scene before the year ends. This week, the Ministry of Information announced that the BBC, along with three other international news agencies, had been given official permission to open a new bureau in the country. “It is hard to overstate the significance…

Myanmar’s infant mortality woes

Myanmar’s infant mortality woesThree years into Myanmar’s new existence as an open country, the scars from decades behind the bamboo wall continue to emerge, in areas such as prenatal care and childhood health, where attention and funding have been woefully inadequate. A UN Children’s Fund report earlier this year said almost 10 percent of newborns in Myanmar had…

Burma Tries Again To Salvage its Great Bell

Burma Tries Again To Salvage its Great BellIn 1606, an audacious Portuguese explorer and mercenary named Filipe De Brito e Nicote, who established temporary Portuguese rule in Burma, stole the biggest bell on earth from the fabled Shwedagon Pagoda in what was then Rangoon. The bell, known as the Great Bell of Dhammazedi , a behemoth cast of 295 tonnes of copper,…
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