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Rakhine immigrants from Bangladesh survive on govt aid

Ethnic Rakhines who have entered from Bangladesh into Myanmar depend mainly on the government to support their basic needs. Over 2,000 ethnic Rakhines have moved to Myanmar from Bangladesh over the last two years.
“Nearly 2,500 people entered from Bangladesh. They are settled in ethnic villages located along the Rakhine-Bangladesh border, but houses are not enough. They mainly rely on the government and other humanitarian groups [for their other needs],” said Maungdaw-based aid worker Hla Shwe.

$1 million slotted for rural development and poverty reduction in Yangon Region

In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, US$1 million will reportedly be used for rural development and poverty reduction in Yangon Region.
The Yangon Region parliament approved the budget submission for the regional government at a special meeting in December 2014.
Poverty reduction efforts for rural people will focus on strengthening the water, electricity and public infrastructure sectors, according to the Yangon Region government.

Pre-birthday event for General Aung San’s 100th birthday to be hold today in Yangon

The pre-birthday literary talk and entertaining event for General Aung San’s 100th birthday will be held today (January 13) in Yangon.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) regards the year 2015 as the 100th birthday of General Aung San and the NLD will conduct the birthday event the whole 2015 nationwide.

Over 1 million foreign visitors use Yangon Int'l Airport in 2014

Yangon International Airport processed 1,027,770 foreign visitors in 2014, of which 165,660 were Thai. These figures exceed the number of visitors who used the airport in 2013. 

Thailand has topped the list of points of origin of Myanmar visitors for the last two years. 

“The figure of Thai visitors increased in 2014. The second biggest group of visitors was from China, followed by Japan,” said an official from the Ministry of Immigration and Population. 

MP calls for severe action against ministry budget misappropriations

A proposal to take severe action against some region governments and Union government ministries that do not follow financial rules and regulations will be submitted to the parliament, said Lower House MP Sai Thiha Kyaw of the Joint Committee for Public Accounts.

The Union auditor-general investigated the project budget spending by several ministries for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and found several irregularities in over 30 of them. The auditor-general then met officials from those ministries to raise objections to their spending behaviour. 

MP suggests govt help CSOs promote democracy outside parliament

Upper House MP Hla Swe said Myanmar’s government should provide assistance to civil society organisations to promote democracy outside parliament. 

The MP made the comment during a debate titled “Which can better serve public interests — Politics inside or outside parliament?” held at the Royal Rose Restaurant in Yangon on Saturday. 

Other debaters included Yangon Region MP Dr Nyo Nyo Thin, Ko Ko Gyi from the ’88 Generation Peace and Open Society and Khin Lay from Triangle Women Group, who also answered questions raised by attendees. 

Dam construction clears a million acres of forest, says retiree

A million acres of forest have been wiped out to make way for 300 dams in Myanmar since the same projects began, and over 18 million acres of catchment area near the dams need to be preserved, according to Tin Aye, a retired director of the Forest Department in the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry.

Catchment areas, where rain flows into a rivers or lakes, are important for the dams to operate properly. Efforts to preserve catchment areas are still in their initial stages.

Aid group to give political prisoners cash

Hanthawaddy U Win Tin Foundation – named after the veteran journalist and respected pro-democracy activist Win Tin – is set to give current and former political prisoners cash handouts on January 12.

Kyaw Aung, spokesperson for the foundation, said: “This time we’ll also aid the family of Major Kyaw Swar Win, from the military, who was jailed for signing a petition asking for the amendment of section 436. We are giving his family cash assistance in tribute to his act as we believe he was jailed unreasonably.”

Fish farms face reform

The techniques used by fish farms will be modified to make them more market competitive, said Dr Toe Nandar Tin, treasurer of the Myanmar Fishery Products Processor and Exporters Association.

“We used to breed fish with long life spans. But now we consider farming those with shorter lives. Sea bass and tilapia have rising market demand, even abroad,” she explained.

Ineffective feeding methods and overcrowding meant sea bass died from starvation and underdeveloped. So the breeding systems must be reformed, she said.

Govt told to break oil monopoly

The government is being called on to break Myanmar’s oil trading monopoly, as prices remain high, despite falling global rates.

Around 70 companies import oil to Myanmar. The price was around US$94 per barrel in January last year, has been falling since June and is now below US$50. But the price of kerosene and gasoline in Myanmar is unchanged.