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  1. #21
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    Some Myanmar Sanctions Lifted...

    US Eases Some Myanmar Sanctions
    May 17, 2016 — The Obama administration is further easing financial sanctions on Myanmar to support the nation's political reforms and economic growth, and to facilitate U.S. trade with the country also known as Burma. The United States is continuing other measures, however, in an effort to thwart human rights abuses and military trade with North Korea.
    Senior officials made the announcement Tuesday, ahead of Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit Sunday to Naypyidaw. Seven state-owned Myanmar enterprises and three state-owned banks are being removed from the blacklist, according to the amendments by the Treasury Department in consultation with the State Department. Other regulatory amendments include a general license to authorize trade-related transactions and personal transactions related to Americans residing in Myanmar. Those changes are intended to facilitate trade and the movement of goods within Myanmar.

    Military sanctions retained

    The United States left in place sanctions on Myanmar's powerful military, because of its major economic interests. It updated the so-called Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list, adding six companies to be barred from U.S. business dealings. The businesses are owned 50 percent or more by Steven Law, a tycoon accused of ties to the military, and the heroin trade through a corporation called Asia World. "Our actions today demonstrate our strong support for this political and economic progress while continuing to pressure designated persons in Burma to change their behavior," Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary of treasure for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

    [center]

    The remaining sanctions on individuals and entities primarily are targeted against those who obstruct political reforms, commit human rights abuses in Myanmar or propagate military trade with North Korea. Former U.S. Chief of Mission in Myanmar Priscilla Clapp told VOA that while Washington is restructuring the remaining financial sanctions, individuals and entities should be targeted to promote better behavior. "There is still a need for some form of sanctions against the military, and military elements in the economy because the military has too much control over the economy in the country," she said.

    Kerry to visit

    Kerry is scheduled to visit Myanmar on Sunday to meet with key leaders to signal U.S. support for the new democratically elected civilian-led government, according to the State Department. Among seven state-owned enterprises removed from the blacklist are Myanmar Pearl Enterprise and Myanmar Gem Enterprise. But senior U.S. officials said a ban on the import of jadeite and rubies, one of Myanmar's most profitable industries, remains in place. The U.S. actions announced Tuesday follow a landmark November election in which the party of long-time democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, won a one-sided victory, ending decades of military rule.


    Asia World operates from the Hlaing river port in Yangon, Myanmar, May 14, 2016. The U.S. Treasury Department has barred the company from American business deals.

    In a message to the U.S. Congress, President Barack Obama said Myanmar has made significant reforms since 2011, when it first formed a civilian government. He also said "concerns persist regarding continued obstacles to full civilian control of the government, the ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in the country, particularly in ethnic minority areas, and military trade with North Korea."

    http://www.voanews.com/content/us-ea...s/3334190.html

  2. #22
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    Myanmar dumps gov't. emergency law...

    Myanmar scraps stringent emergency law
    Wed, 05 Oct 2016 - Myanmar abolishes a stringent law which had been used by the former military leaders to silence its opponents.
    The Emergency Provisions Act was introduced in 1950 after independence from Britain. It allowed the authorities to detain people without charge and prescribed jail or execution for a wide range of offences considered treason. It allowed punishments of up to seven years for crimes like disrupting public morality or spreading false news.


    MPs on the steps of Myanmar parliament

    The National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept to power in Myanmar earlier this year ending decades of military rule, had been trying to get rid of the law. "This law was used by the socialist dictatorship to arrest anyone who went against them," said Tun Tun Hein, chairman of the parliament's bill committee. "Now we have abolished it because we have a people's government," he told Reuters.

    But the move faced opposition from from some of the military, which still holds a mandatory 25% of seats in parliament and who argued the law was still necessary for national security.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-37559350

  3. #23
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    Myanmar sanctions lifted...

    Obama formally lifts US’ Myanmar sanctions
    Sun, Oct 09, 2016 - US President Barack Obama on Friday formally announced the lifting of US sanctions on Myanmar by terminating an emergency order that deemed the policies of the former military government a threat to US national security.
    “I have determined that the situation that gave rise to the national emergency ... has been significantly altered by Burma’s [Myanmar’s] substantial advances to promote democracy, including historic elections in November 2015,” Obama said in a letter to the US House and Senate speakers. A US Department of the Treasury statement said that as a result of the termination of the emergency order the economic and financial sanctions administered by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were no longer in effect. The move followed a meeting between Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Obama in Washington last month, when she called for the lifting of economic sanctions against her country, and he said he was willing to do this.

    Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a sweeping victory in the November elections last year. Obama’s letter pointed to the formation of a democratically elected, civilian-led government as a result of the election, the release of many political prisoners and improved human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly. “While Burma [Myanmar] faces significant challenges, including the consolidation of its democracy, the United States can, and intends to, use other means to support the government and people of Burma in their efforts to address these challenges,” Obama’s letter said.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and democracy icon, helped persuade the West to impose sanctions on Myanmar during her years as a jailed opposition leader. She is now trying to strike a balance between showing her people the economic rewards of a democratic transition while keeping pressure on the country’s generals for further reforms. Some members of the US Congress have expressed concerns about the extent and durability of change in Myanmar and introduced legislation seeking to give lawmakers some influence on the process of easing sanctions.

    Rights groups condemned last month’s announcement, saying it forfeited leverage on Myanmar’s military. Officials of the US administration have said the removal of sanctions would not apply to military-to-military assistance, given the extent of the military’s involvement in politics and rights abuses. Aung San Suu Kyi herself has been criticized for doing too little to address the plight of Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya Muslim minority. The US Department of State last month said that several restrictions would remain in place, including barring US visas for Myanmar’s military leaders.

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worl.../09/2003656817
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    White House ends 19 years of U.S. sanctions against Myanmar
    Oct. 7, 2016 | WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- For almost two decades, the United States has maintained a state of emergency against Myanmar, but that designation was finally removed Friday by President Barack Obama.
    The president formally dissolved the sanctions due to the Pacific nation's transition from a militant regime to more of an American ally. Obama, in his order ending the 19-year state of emergency against the nation also known as Burma, said last year's democratic elections played a major part in the decision.

    The emergency was imposed in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton and strengthened a decade later by the subsequent Bush administration. Clinton's act came eight years after martial law was declared in the country and Washington imposed strict trade restrictions. The thawing of the declaration began about four years ago when Obama visited the country and met with democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now Myanmar's state counselor.

    A return visit to Washington last month cemented the nations' improved relationship. During the visit, Obama lifted the decades-old trade tariffs against the country. Removing a state of emergency against a foreign nation is a rare occurrence. The White House still maintains 31 declarations pending in the United States.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-Ne...?spt=sec&or=tn
    Last edited by waltky; 10-09-2016 at 12:04 AM.

  4. #24
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    How come Waltky don't do the granny thing here?

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    Granny says if she found a piece o' jade dat big - she'd be sittin' on it too...

    Giant jade stone uncovered in Myanmar
    Sat, 15 Oct 2016 - A giant jade stone weighing 175 tonnes has been uncovered by miners in Myanmar.
    The stone is 4.3m (14ft) high and 5.8m (19ft) long, and is reportedly worth an estimated $170m (£140m). It was found in a mine in the jade-producing Kachin state, in the north of the country.


    A man sits on giant jade stone at a mine in Phakant, Kachin State, northern Myanmar

    Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the source of nearly all of the world's finest jadeite, a near-translucent green stone. The jade industry is responsible for nearly half of the country's GDP. One of its biggest markets is neighbouring China, where it is known as the "stone of heaven".

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-37670305

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    Freedom of the press 'under threat' in new Myanmar...

    Press freedom 'under threat' in new Myanmar
    Mon, 03 Jul 2017: Three reporters charged under colonial-era law in latest case to spark outcry in media community.
    Under the military junta that ruled Myanmar for nearly 50 years, the media were tightly controlled. But after a quasi-civilian government took over in 2011, many curbs were lifted and a rigid censorship regime abolished. Journalists were among masses of political prisoners released, and media outlets mushroomed to serve a highly literate population that had been starved of independent news. When the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate kept under house arrest for years because of her democratic activism, won historic elections in 2015, many expected more media freedom would follow.


    "Using the archaic Unlawful Associations Act to incarcerate journalists is an affront to democracy in Myanmar," says the Committee to Protect Journalists

    But journalists and press freedom advocates are alarmed by what they say is an increasingly heavy-handed approach, especially on matters of sensitivity to the military, which retains significant power. The latest case involves three journalists arrested by the military on 26 June after watching the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), a rebel group, burn drugs in north-eastern Shan State. Aye Nai, 53, and Pyae Phone Naing, 24, report for the Democratic Voice of Burma broadcaster, while Lawi Weng, 38, works for The Irrawaddy news magazine and website. Both outlets were run by exiles who fled during the junta era to report on abuses in the then pariah state, and who returned home after reforms in 2012.


    Kyaw Min Swe, editor of The Voice, has had several bail requests rejected

    The trio were handed to police and charged under the colonial-era Unlawful Associations Act for having alleged contact with the TNLA, which the army has recently been clashing with and describes as a "terrorist" group. They could face up to three years in prison, and a close aide of Ms Suu Kyi has defended the charges. "It's true that they broke the law by going to meet ethnic groups," Win Htein, a former political prisoner, said.[ Yet the case has caused uproar because many journalists have met TNLA rebels without facing prosecution, and the group came into direct contact with reporters and officials when it attended peace talks in May in the capital, Naypyitaw.

    'Climate of fear'

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