Through reclusive Wa, China’s reach extends into Suu Kyi’s Myanmar

China is extending its sway over an autonomous enclave run by Myanmar’s most powerful ethnic armed group, sources in the region told Reuters, bolstering Beijing’s role in the peace process that is the signature policy of Aung San Suu Kyi. The “foreign policy” of the self-proclaimed Wa State is closely monitored by Beijing, senior officials […]

Gems Emporium Expected to Attract US and EU Traders

RANGOON — More Western jade traders are expected to attend to the upcoming Naypyidaw Gems Emporium, after the lifting of US economic sanctions last month. Among the American restrictions which were lifted was a longtime ban on transactions involving jade, gems and jewelry from Burma. The move by the US government—announced in September—was criticized by […]

Government Fixes Price for Massive Jade Stone at US$6 Million

RANGOON — The price of a massive unearthed giant jade stone in Hpakant Township, Kachin State, has now been fixed by the government’s Myanmar Gems Enterprise as worth around 7 billion kyats (around US$6 million). The 210-ton stone was discovered on Oct. 10 at Yadanar Taung Tann Gems Company’s mine, which is operating in a […]

Jade Curse Tests Post-Sanctions Myanmar

Its embrace can bring wealth beyond measure, or instant death. It is a magnet for the most impoverished migrant workers and the most ruthless exploiters. Its haunts are a cauldron of armed conflict beyond the law of the land. In what could be one of its most challenging tests, how will Myanmar’s democratic government deal […]

NGOs in Myanmar against EU agreement

EU has requested an investment protection agreement with Myanmar which is being criticized by local NGOs in Myanmar. The agreement was intended to secure investors from EU in case of dispute so the dispute could be raised at an international court of law. Local NGOs say that disputes about legal rights to land is a […]

To pay or not to pay? INGOs wrangle over income tax

With a new government in office and the start of a new financial year, international non-government organisations (INGOs) are holding intense discussions over whether their well-paid expat staff should pay income tax in Myanmar. Some have been paying tax for years; others claim to have deals that exempt their foreign staff; and others would not […]

Guest registration changes tipped to win NLD ‘goodwill’

“Midnight inspections” – raids on the homes of suspected dissidents and opponents of the former regime – could be a thing of the past. But observers have warned that the proposal by the National League for Democracy to scrap this practice would leave many other repressive laws in place. On March 21, the NLD proposed abolishing the […]

End of a way of life: Burmese islands that are home to 2,000 sea gipsies set to be turned into ‘new Phuket’ with 30 hotels and a casino

Mergui Archipelago in Burma is home to 800 untouched islands but officials says this could soon change 30 hotels and resorts have been given the green lights and officials say these could attract eco-tourists and divers Only 2,612 tourists visited the islands last year, but this is set to soar if plans are given the […]

Anthem Asia Invests “Six-Figure Sum” in Myanmar-based Mobile Platform

Investment and advisory firm Anthem Asia is to invest a “six-figure US dollar sum” in Xavey, a mobile data collection platform in Myanmar, taking a significant minority equity stake in the start-up firm. Xavey Pte Ltd, a Singapore-registered entity operating out of Yangon, was established in December 2013 and serves market research and NGO clients. […]

Aid groups in Myanmar trip over links to elite

YANGON, MYANMAR — Staff hired to work with the U.S. government’s aid agency in Myanmar are preparing to move out of their office following revelations their landlord is a notorious former spymaster who oversaw the imprisonment and torture of thousands of pro-democracy activists. The debacle surrounding Development Alternatives Inc., a company contracted by USAID to […]