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.

Planning law essential to a working city

It's called a society because it is where people of different needs, interests and lifestyles live together. But there are other needs such as cleanness, fresh air, clean water and space for leisure. When a city develops, those needs have a direct impact on the quality of residents’ lives.

Whistle blowers report Myanmar to global mining body

The Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA) joined more than 300 civil society organisations in reporting Myanmar’s alleged breach of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Standard.

According to article 1.3 of the EITI Standard, the government has pledged to refrain from obstructing freedom of expression in relation to the extraction of natural resources.

The MATA says the government can seek advice from the EITI board over the handling of the Letpadaungtaung conflict.

Thein Sein attends Manaw Festival in Myitkyina

MYITKYINA – President Thein Sein and other participants in the peace talks attended the 67th anniversary of the Kachin State Day yesterday and the president urged the public to participation in the peace processes. He made the remarks during a meeting with Kachin leaders at Manaw House.

Walk to mark Aung San centenary reaches Myingyan

A group of walkers celebrating the 100th birthday of General Aung San reached Myingyan on January 8, after they started their march on January 5 from Patheingyi Township, Mandalay.

They plan to walk to Natmauk Township which is the birthplace of General Aung San, in Magway Region. 

Group leader Thein Zaw said their march had faced some problems in the beginning but had become easier.

Another farmer jailed for ‘squatting’

A township municipal court in Nay Pyi Taw has sentenced a farmer named Nga Chun to one month in prison on trespassing charges under section 26 of the Municipal Act.

The 67-year-old had been sued for residing illegally in Lewe Township and was sentenced on his 66th court hearing.

"It's unacceptable to say I'm a squatter. The place I live cost me Ks 1 million (US$1,000). They told me to move without giving any compensation. I want the officials to know that I don't have any place to live," Nga Chun said before the verdict was announced.

George Soros visits Bengali camps in Sittwe

Sittwe – George Soros, the chairman of Open Society, visited refugee camps in Sittwe on January 8 as part of a fact-finding mission.  

The American millionaire philanthropist came to Sittwe to provide humanitarian aid and to boost economic development. On arrival, Soros met the chief minister of Rakhine State, Maung Maung Ohn, aboard his private plane.

He also met Bengali leaders in Darpaing and Thetkalpyin refugee camps and visited camps in Rakhine and met other leaders in Inbarlar quarter. 

Yangon University students denied anniversary celebration

The Yangon University Student Union was denied the right to hold its 84th anniversary in a university lecture hall by the university rector and instead had to mark the date in the canteen on January 9. 

Approximately 30 students attended the event.

The interim chairperson of the Yangon University Student Union Ei Swe Myat said: “We wanted to hold this event greatly. However, the rector did not let us hold it in the lecture hall. If the authorities regard the student union as unofficial, the associations which they try to form are also illegitimate.”