Waiting for Grid to Arrive, Myanmar Villages Switch on Solar

NYAUNG KONE, Myanmar, March 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For generations, residents of this farming village in central Myanmar had a set rhythm to their day – waking up with the sunrise and going to sleep after dark. Diesel generators and batteries were for the privileged few, while the candles used by most were a […]

Amid Peace and Prosperity, Myanmar Farmers Fall Prey to Land Seizures

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Land conflicts in Myanmar have escalated in recent years, with military and armed groups driving people from their land, and new laws failing to protect farmers, a rights watchdog said on Thursday. Land disputes are a longstanding problem in Myanmar, but researchers from New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented […]

Myanmar’s New Economic Zone Attracts Foreign Interest But Local Ire

YANGON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Looking north from Myint Win’s farm, across rice paddies and past bamboo huts, a massive new industrial development on the outskirts of Myanmar’s biggest city gleams in the distance. The buildings sprang up during the first phase of developing the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a 6,200 acre (2,500-hectare) industrial […]

From village to victim, Myanmar women fear foreign maid work ban puts them at risk

The ban on women going abroad to find such employment was initiated in September 2014, following a number of high profile cases of worker abuse. Biak and her older sister Van Hnem left to find work as maids in Singapore with few job opportunities in their remote village in Chin State, the poorest region of Myanmar where 73 per […]

Almost US$20 billion in dirty money left Myanmar in five decades – researchers

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Almost US$20 billion (13 billion pounds) in dirty money linked to corruption, crime and tax evasion has left Myanmar in the past five decades, slashing government revenue and driving a thriving underground economy, a money-laundering watchdog said on Wednesday. Fraudulent invoicing of trade deals and physical smuggling of drugs, […]

Business, military, government seize land for rubber in Myanmar: rights group

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Businesses in Myanmar have colluded with military and government officials to seize vast tracts of farmland from ethnic minority villagers in the northeast, using much of the land for rubber plantations, a UK-based rights group said. Over the past decade, 5.3 million acres (2.1 million hectares) has been leased to […]

Beauty pageants expose dreams and dangers in modern Myanmar

YANGON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Sparkling in a red, sequined dress, Htet Htet Htun spins around the stage rehearsing a traditional Burmese dance that she hopes will make her stand out from 18 other young hopefuls competing in the first Miss Myanmar World pageant this month. Beauty pageants are thriving in Myanmar after being banned […]