More than 50,000 flee Shan State

More than 50,000 refugees have fled Shan State due to armed clashes that have been raging for two weeks between government army forces and Kokang rebels, say sources from local rescue organizations.
Running battles continue in Laukkai, Kunlong, Mawhtike, Konkyan and Shinshwehaw, and rescuers say they have been forced to halt their efforts completely because of attacks on Red Cross convoys. Rescue plans for Laukkai were cancelled after a third Red Cross convoy in the past week was attacked, a Red Cross official said on Monday.

More flyovers slated for construction in Yangon

YANGON -- More flyovers have been planned for construction in Tamwe, 8-mile Junction and Kokine in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, according to the Yangon Regional Government Committee.
As special projects of the Yangon Regional Government Committee, three overpasses will be constructed using funds generated by the selling of vacant land for industrial use in Yangon Region. Nearly Ks 54.5 billion will be budgeted for their construction.

Entry of cars with Chinese number plates was approved by border authorities

Local authorities said the entry of vehicles with Chinese number plates, flags and stickers into Mandalay city was allowed by the Border Road Transport Administration.   
An official from the No 11 Traffic Police Force said the cars were seen in the city on February 21 and 22 after arriving on a study visit in the run-up to the launch of a Muse-Mandalay bus line for foreign passengers.
The convoy carried 27 Chinese nationals into Mandalay and was reportedly arranged by a local tour agency.

Chin, Kachin, Shan demand protection under ceasefire

According to a report compiled by the Gender and Development Initiative (GDI), ethnic Chin, Kachin and Shan state residents hope for protection and their rights in the ceasefire watch. 

The report was based on a survey conducted in 2014 in Shan, Kachin and Chin states. A total of 430 women and 432 men responded to questions about the peace process and their experiences of conflict. 

NNER clarifies reference to religious organisations

The National Network for Education Reform (NNER) and Action Committee for Democratic Education (ACDE) held a press conference on February 22 to clarify a section of the draft of the new educational law. 

The section in question refers to religious organisations that offer courses in Myanmar language, English, mathematics, science and other general education subjects. The NNER has been criticised on social media networks by people who assumed that the draft refers to religious training courses. 

Cooperation with John Hopkins cancelled

The Education Ministry has cancelled the educational cooperation between Yangon University and John Hopkins University (JHU) without giving any valid reason.

During the era of former Education Minister Dr Mya Aye, there was a written agreement between the two universities to join forces and improve the country’s deteriorating education sector. But it turned sour under the reign of present Education Minister Dr Khin San Yi after she declared the written agreement ‘unofficial.’

Clashes intensify in Laukkai and Chinshwehaw

Heavy clashes are still continuing in Laukkai and Chinshwehaw and have spread to Kunlone, Theinni and Kutkai, according to a reporter of Eleven Media Group.

Renewed fighting started near Lonhtan village between Laukkai and Chinshwehaw on February 21 between the Kokang rebels and Myanmar troops from No. 11 infantry division and No. 16 operation control command.

CSOs: Don’t sign contracts for new projects

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) called on the government and armed national ethnic groups not to sign contracts for new projects in the conflict-affected regions and its nearby areas before a peace deal has been reached.

The CSOs made their demands during the 9th peace forum in Yangon last week attended by members of the Union Peace-making Working Committee (UPWC) and the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT).

Frequent accidents on Dawna mountain road

Heavy trucks using the new Dawna mountain road which is still under construction are blamed for causing frequent accidents, according to an official overseeing the road construction.

Recently, a 12-wheel truck carrying goods from Myawady overturned at a downhill turn at 8 p.m. on February 20.

According to the official, after the construction of the new 45-km four-lane road from Myawady Friendship Bridge to Kawkareik Hlaingwa Bridge is complete, vehicles will be able to use both the uphill and downhill road every day.

NGO condemns draft land use law

Transnational Institute (TNI) has criticised a draft of the new land use law, claiming evacuees from armed conflicts are likely to lose their land during their absence.