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China's silk road isn't turning out to be smooth

You may not have noticed, what with the outbreak of trade war with the United States and all, but China's economic diplomacy has had a bad few weeks. The country's flagship "Belt and Road" initiative is dealing with ever-greater resistance, slowing a momentum that once seemed unstoppable.



'We Have Made Ourselves Ready to Fulfill the Wishes, Expectations...

U Thein Tun Oo, the spokesperson of the opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party , recently talked to The Irrawaddy's reporters Htet Naing Zaw, Moe Moe and Kyaw Myo about the party's plan to contest the by-election in November, its hopes for the 2020 general election, membership, views on the current political landscape, the country's peace process and the party's efforts to enhance its image. We've pondered whether or not to contest the by-election, mainly because of the lack of credibility of the election commission.



U.S. Slaps Sanctions on 2 Ministries Over Failure to Accept Deportees

The U.S Department of Homeland Security has imposed sanctions on senior officials at two Myanmar Ministries - including one controlled by the military - for failing to cooperate in accepting Myanmar citizens ordered to be deported from the U.S. DHS on Tuesday ordered the U.S. Embassy in Yangon to begin denying visas to officials at the director-general level and above at the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population and the Ministry of Home Affairs . The sanctions also apply to the officials' immediate family members.



Nationalist Sympathizer Arrested with Grenade in Rakhine

An ethnic Arakan-Bamar man with apparent ultranationalist sympathies was found with a grenade and detained with his wife in Rakhine State on Monday after refusing demands from local authorities to leave a village cleared of Rohingya and razed to the ground in the wake of the violence that hit the area in August. A border police major contacted by The Irrawaddy on Wednesday said local authorities found a grenade and several swords in the home of Tun Myint Oo and his wife, Ohmar Kyaw, in Maungdaw Township's Thin Baw Gwe village.



Door for peace always open to non-ceasefire signatory armed groups: Myanmar state counselor

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during the third meeting of Myanmar's 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, July 11, 2018. Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi said on Wednesday that the door for peace always remains open to those armed groups who have not yet joined the government's Nationwide Ceasefire Accord to have dialogue and settle the issue.



International reaction to charges against Reuters reporters in Myanmar

A Myanmar court has charged two Reuters reporters with breaching the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. They face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.



Mon State Resources Ministry Warns Antimony Plants to Control Fumes

The Mon State Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has warned that it will take action against antimony plants in the Moulmein Industrial Zone if they do not control their fumes. "We have issued guidelines regarding environmental conservation.



Town must cover $100G worth of renovations at Van Bourgondien Park

The Town of Babylon will have to spend more taxpayer money to renovate a West Babylon park after receiving $100,000 less than expected Babylon officials hoped to receive $250,000 from the Engel Burman Group for improvements to Van Bourgondien Park on Albin Avenue, The developer plans to build a senior housing complex in Deer Park, and the donation was agreed to as part of a community development incentive package. "By the very nature of negotiations, both sides start with different expectations, and the $150,000 provided to the town's community benefits fund by Engel Burman reflects how two sides met in the middle."



Reuters Journalists Charged in Myanmar

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo leave court in a police van in Yangon, Myanmar, July 9, 2018. A judge in Yangon formally charged two Reuters journalists on Monday for possessing confidential government documents in the latest blow to press freedom in Myanmar.



400 Returned IDPs Facing Food Shortages in Kachin State

Two local Kachin aid groups have appealed to other aid organizations to help provide food for almost 400 ethnic Kachin IDPs who returned to their three villages in Injangyang Township, northern Kachin State, last month. The 397 IDPs went back to the villages of Njang Yang, Nlawt Yang and Ngyeng Kawng on June 18 and 19 after the Kachin State government told some religious leaders to send the IDPs home as there had been no fighting in Injangyang Township recently.



New Yangon City Challenges Regional Govt Transparency

On May 2, 2018, the New Yangon Development Company , the company owned by the Yangon regional government to undertake the New Yangon City project, announced that China Communications Construction Company would develop the new city project. Interestingly, NYDC has emphasized that CCCC has not yet been granted the project.



Minister Rejects Fears of Debt Trap Over Chinese-Backed Port

Commerce Minister U Thant Myint said Myanmar would not be overwhelmed by the financing of a deep-water port being built in Rakhine State's Kyaukphyu Township, hoping to assuage public fears of a Chinese debt trap. "We won't be burdened with debt like many think because we will implement the project step by step with available investment from local businessmen and in cooperation with China.



Myanmar court to rule on whether to charge jailed Reuters reporters

A Myanmar court will rule on Monday on whether to charge two Reuters reporters accused of obtaining secret documents, a decision that could either see them freed after nearly seven months in jail or move the landmark press freedom case to trial. Detained Reuters journalist Wa Lone is escorted by police while leaving Insein court in Yangon, Myanmar July 2, 2018.



Race to restore Myanmar's film classics for a second screening

The restoration of a 1934 black-and-white action movie, famed for high-octane stunts including a hot-air balloon escape and a jungle shootout against teakwood thieves, has energized efforts to salvage more of Myanmar's decaying cinematic heritage. The survival of Myanmar's earliest film still in existence, "Mya Ga Naing" , and its rise to international acclaim is perhaps as unlikely a feat as its lead role's triumph over pythons and bandits with his bare hands.



Myanmar to form special task forces to combat illegal trade

Myanmar will form special task forces to curb illegal trade and will conduct surprise check with mobile teams at some main gates, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported Sunday. Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe told a private sector development committee meeting on Saturday that small and medium enterprises suffered from illicit trading while paying tax as they cannot keep up with non-competitive import practices whereby foreign companies undercut Myanmar's domestic producers by flooding the market with cheap surplus goods.



Myanmar's historical Secretariat building to be renovated as museum

Myanmar's well-known historical Secretariat building will be renovated as a museum by 2019, Maung Maung Thein, chairman of Secretariat Building Conservation Group, told a press conference Saturday. Also, galleries, shops selling ethnic people's traditional costumes and accessories, eateries and a garden for visitors will be opened in the Secretariat compound.



China, Myanmar Agree 15-Point MoU on Economic Corridor

Chinese and Myanmar officials agreed a 15-point Memorandum of Understanding on building a China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, part of China's One Belt One Road Initiative, said U Min Zaw Oo, the director of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration . The MoU on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor was finalized at the working-group level in February.





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