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  • China’s rise takes centre stage at ADB annual meeting

    05/11/2016

    China’s growing economic influence through the One Belt, One Road initiative and the newly operational Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank were key topics of discussion at the Asian Development Bank’s annual conference in Frankfurt this week.
    The Chinese-led AIIB has 57 founding members with others expected to join. The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project aims to strengthen infrastructure on the land and sea routes from China through Central Asia and Southeast Asia respectively – incorporating some 60 separate states.

    Both initiatives affect Myanmar, as a member country of the AIIB and as a host to Chinese OBOR infrastructure projects – including a recently approved US$3 billion refinery near the southern city of Dawei.

  • EVENT: Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in the Mekong region

    05/10/2016

    On May 26, 2016 Pact and the International Center for Environmental Management (ICEM) invite you to a panel discussion on strategic environmental assessment as it relates to energy investments in the lower Mekong region. The discussion will be followed by a networking reception recognizing 25 government officials from the lower Mekong region who are participating in a workshop on the same topic.

  • Myanmar Launches First Report on Extractive Industries Revenue

    05/02/2016

    On Friday, March 18 several hundred people gathered in Yangon, Myanmar for the launch of the country’s first EITI report, which provides the most comprehensive data to date on Myanmar’s revenues from extractives; traditionally opaque sectors in the country. Dr. Maung Maung Thein, outgoing chair of the Multi Stakeholder Group that implements EITI locally, highlighted […]

  • US Preps Cambodia for Nuclear Energy

    04/29/2016

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) held a workshop on “Nuclear Safeguards and the Additional Protocol” at Phnom Penh’s Sunway Hotel yesterday, highlighting the need for more technical knowledge and greater information sharing on nuclear power in Cambodia.

    The workshop comes on the heels of a visit by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last November, when the two countries signed a “memorandum on nuclear cooperation” that revealed the government’s efforts to obtain nuclear power with assistance from Russian experts.

  • In Burma’s wildest corner, jade, drugs and rebels will test the new government

    04/05/2016

    The jade tycoon of Burma lives behind stone walls and a sophisticated security system. A visitor must be buzzed through a gate into the garden, pass a hunk of jade as big as a compact refrigerator, enter through a sliding screen and glide by the preserved tusks of the family elephant before sitting down with the man himself.

    Yup Zau Hkawng is a well-known figure in Burma’s Kachin state, a broker in the peace process between armed rebels and the military and one of the few ethnic Kachin to own a jade mining business.

    Burma’s northernmost state is home to 1.2 million people and some of the country’s most intractable problems — including a rapacious jade mining culture, opium cultivation, environmental devastation, controversial development deals with China, and an armed insurgency. Kachin may pose one of the stiffest challenges to the new democratically elected civilian government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, that has taken over a country that suffered decades of military rule.

  • Daw Suu’s in-tray piles up as CSOs raise their voice

    03/31/2016

    Civil society organisations, in general steadfast supporters of the National League for Democracy and its leader, have not been idle in pressing their demands, many in critical areas combining overlapping aspects of her multiple ministerial posts.

    Yesterday the NLD received an appeal by three prominent CSOs in Shan State calling for the immediate halt of construction work that has already begun on the controversial Upper Yeywa dam on the Myitnge (Namtu) River, as well as plans to build three others.

  • Thailand’s transparency deficit: Haste makes waste on mega-projects

    03/29/2016

    One of the country’s top bankers is stressing the need for faster action to transform Thailand into a hub for CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).

    Kevin Tan, CEO of HSBC Thailand, was speaking during an interview on Vietnam’s increasing attractiveness to foreign investors. Vietnam’s gross domestic product grew a whopping 797 per cent between 1995 and 2014, from US$20.74 billion to $186.2 billion. Thailand’s GDP growth was sluggish in comparison, rising from $169.28 billion to $404.8 billion over the same period.

    And with big names like Intel, Apple and Samsung now showing interest in Vietnam, it seems the times are against Thailand.

  • NEO-Esaan Movement order to stop NCPO’s order no. 3, 4, 9/2559

    03/28/2016

    NEO-Essan Movement released statement which results in the deprivation of citizens’ rights in a number of areas in the Northeast as well as other areas around the country. From the statement, it was claimed that the NCPO’s orders destroyed the public participation rights instead of protecting it, undisclosed the information to public instead of promoting public freedom of expression which is a fundamental rights of every citizen.

  • NLA passes new mining bill

    03/25/2016

    The National Legislative Assembly on March 17 passed the new mining bill by 148 votes against one opposition.
    The bill, in essence, empowers the state to manage mining operations for utmost benefits to the country and its people by taking into consideration economic and social development and environmental and health impacts.

  • Laying down the ‘dictator law’ for money

    03/24/2016

    The prime minister, who seized power in May 2014, wants all Thais to have a better life and increased income, despite looming economic problems.

    But to achieve his goal, there’s one condition. Gen Prayut has to use Section 44 of the interim charter, the so-called dictator law, which allows him to bypass checks and balances to fast-track development projects.

    The hope is that as a result of the orders, 12 new SEZs and dozens of mega projects will pump trillions of baht into the economy by the end of the year.

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