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Heartbeat of the nation



ISSUE 20 | friday, April 3, 2015

back after
50 years
Aye Thidar Kyaw
Jeremy Mullins



Myanmar government troops patrol Kokang region in northern Shan State in midFebruary. Yesterday Myanmar formally apologised to China for a cross-border bombing
which killed five Chinese farmworkers. Myanmar initially denied responsibility.

THE first three foreign banks to operate

in the country in over 50 years will open
their doors this month, after receiving
final regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Myanmar yesterday.
Japans Sumitomo Mitsui Banking
Corporation and The Bank of TokyoMitsubishi UFJ, as well as Singapores
OCBC, all said they received notices
yesterday giving them the green light
to open their branches.
A total of nine foreign banks won
provisional licences on October 1,
2014, following a heated race with a
number of large banks. The nine winners, from Singapore, Japan, Thailand,
Malaysia, China and Australia, have
since been busy preparing their operations to meet the approval of the Central Bank of Myanmar.
A Yangon-based official from the
Central Bank told The Myanmar
Times that the licences come with a
number of restrictions, such as preventing them from retail operations.
If foreign banks have operated in
the market for four or five years, the
Central Bank can decide the next step,
whether it will benefit the market or
not, he said.
Involvement in retail banking in
particular has been restricted as the
local banks are worried about being
out-competed. Some domestic banks
such as KBZ have also moved into corporate banking, part of preparations
to link up with foreign partners, he
Continued on business 11

Over 50 dead as trawler sinks

Forty-two Myanmar fishermen were on board a trawler which sank in the freezing Northern Pacific Ocean off Russia.
Just 13 Myanmar crew have been confirmed alive among a total of 63 people rescued from the disaster. news 3


Page 2

online editor Kayleigh Long |

THE INSIDER: The local lowdown & best of the web

An intriguingly vague article from the
Global New Light of Myanmar earlier
this week entitled Union Information
Minister explains plans of ministries to
release information performed a truly
extraordinary feat, managing in no less
than 57 words to not actually convey
any actual information.
Behold, the article in its full glory:
A coordination meeting on release of
information took place at the Ministry
of Information here, on Monday.
Union Minister for Information U Ye
Htut explained arrangements for the
President office and ministries to release
information. Director U Zaw Htay of the
President Office explained release of
information. The Union Minister replied
to queries raised by media persons.
Its possible that whoever was sent
to cover the press conference may have
nodded off, as it doesnt sound like an
edge-of-your-seat affair to begin with.
And, given it was Ye Htut and Zaw Htay,
the proposed medium for disseminating
information could probably be summed
up in just one word: Facebook.
Speaking of explaining arrangements
for the release of information, theres still
no word on how journalists are supposed
to go about seeking comment from the
Three spokespeople were appointed
late last year: Deputy Minister for
Defence Brigadier General Aung Thaw,
Vice Chief of Armed Forces Training
Brigadier General Soe Naing Oo
and Director of Public Relations and
Psychological Warfare (imagine having
that on your business card!) Major
General Aung Ye Win.
At present, there is still no direct
way for journalists to contact them and
any comment given to the media is
distributed via state media or in releases
made directly to the Interim Press
With Wednesday just gone having been
April Fools day, a good number of media
outlets around the world planted little
Easter eggs in their publications and on

their websites. And, as usual, people fell

for them. Our piece on Myanmar sending
election monitors to the UK was fairly
successful, with several journalists who
should know better emailing to ask if the
article was, indeed, a rile-up. The eagleeyed reader will also realise that Larry
Rockbottom is altogether too Dickensian
a name for a conflict archaeologist,
and that things havent progressed quite
so far with the Spitfire dig (do watch this
space, though).
It was with great anticipation that I
picked up my copy of the Global New
Light of Myanmar on April 1, the front
cover of which contained no less than
three articles about the fact that the
government and 16 ethnic armed groups
had bashed out the draft ceasefire
agreement which it turns out is not a
While its certainly a step in the right
direction, the draft still needs to be
submitted to the United Nationalities
Federal Council (UNFC) umbrella group.
Theres also the fact that the countrys
largest ethnic armed group, the Wa, are
not on board just yet nor are RCSS/
SSA, and the TNLA and AA dont even
get a look-in as theyre not recognised.
Anyway, thats neither here nor there.
An editorial called Dont let them
make a fool of you warned people on the
tradition of April Fools, urging caution
lest they be taken for a ride.
While this could not be confirmed,
some voiced suspicions that the piece
entitled Courts to win trusts of people
might have been it for the time-honoured
tradition of pranks in state-run media for
2015. I guess well never know.
Speaking of courts, Phil Blackwood of
the VGastro 3 (theyre now being referred
to like the Bali 9, or the West Memphis 3)
appears unlikely to appeal his sentence,
with his lawyer Mya Thway saying Mr
Blackwood doesnt believe he would
receive a fair trial.
And that seems quite possible, given
how politically charged the case is and
that no lawyers wanted to take the case
in the first instance because of the death
threats, among other things.
Mr Blackwood and his colleagues

Htut Ko Ko Lwin and Tun Thurein are not

being referred to as political prisoners by
any external monitoring groups, as they
dont meet criteria.
If the interview Mr Blackwoods
parents gave ABC Australia is anything to
go by, the treatment hes receiving is substandard even for Insein Prison. We
did manage, after about 50 days, to get a
blanket to him, his father Brian said.
It should be noted that 50 days is an
extremely long time several former
prisoners Ive spoken to said that after a
day or two in the slammer their families
were allowed to send in personal items
like a lid for the open toilet inmates have
to use.
And such rights are outlined in the
Jail Manual, an archaic colonial-era
document that was revised in the 60s.
No wonder faith in the justice system
has been shaken.
In brief:
Unconfirmed reports suggest the push
to establish a press pool came about
after Thura U Shwe Mann got really,
really into House of Cards
Westerner who talks about how
great it is to eat local produce completely
oblivious to the fact that any rocket
theyre eating has, in the very least,
travelled from Thailand
IDPs visibly deflated after realising
the white card expiry was not some
sort of sick, elaborate April Fools
jape, understandably concerned at
the prospect of handing in what little
documentation [they] have
Next week:
Taxi driver bewildered after Australian
tourist takes national habit of shortening
words way too far, contracting je zu tin
ba de or the also perfectly acceptable je
zu be to just jez
Golden Valley abuzz as beekeeping
social enterprise readies to open its
doors, one well-paid aid worker says hes
very excited at the prospect of finally
being able to get [his] hands on some
organic honey
Most tourists lie about enjoying their
time in Mandalay, study finds

Once was Burma ...

Archival material courtesy of
Pansodan Gallery
First floor, 286 Pansodan, upper block, Kyauktada township

A warning to would-be intransigents, from socialist-era Forward magazine

News editor: Thomas Kean |

Dozens dead
in Russian
trawler disaster
Wa Lone

Laignee Barron

AS many as 29 Myanmar seamen were

unaccounted for last night after a Russian fishing trawler sank in icy waters
off the Kamchatka Peninsula with 132
crew on board.
At least 56 crew members died and
another 15 are missing and presumed
dead in the freezing Okhotsk Sea waters, according to the Maritime Rescue
and Coordination Subcentre in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy which was
leading the rescue mission.
The Dalniy Vostok trawler had 132
crew members onboard when it sank
yesterday morning, 42 of whom were
Myanmar citizens between the ages of
20 and 35, the Myanmar embassy in
Moscow said. So far, just 13 of the Myanmar sailors have been found alive
and identified.
We dont yet have information on
how many Myanmar sailors involved
have died. We are still following up
with the Russian authorities, said Ko
Phone Lin Kying, administrative chancellor at the embassy in Moscow.
Another 50 sailors with nationalities yet to be confirmed were rescued,
but two later died of hypothermia, the
embassy said.
In addition to the Myanmar workers, the ship included crew from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Vanuatu.

The freezer trawler sank quickly

around 6:30am local time on April
2. It did not send a distress signal,
according to local Russian media,
which also reported the captain
among the dead.
Nearly 30 rescue ships battled
high winds and frigid waters to keep
the search-and-rescue mission going
throughout the night, according to
Russias Ministry for Civil Defence,
Emergencies and Elimination of Consequence of Natural Disasters.
Russia sent an Mi-8 helicopter with
emergency personnel and a medical
team to deliver assistance and transport survivors of the shipwreck to hospitals, the ministry said on its website.
However, a maritime rescuer told
the Russian state-funded TV network
RT that it is unlikely any more fishermen would be found alive. The chances of surviving more than 20 minutes
in the current conditions, even in a
wetsuit, are nearly impossible, the rescuer said.
At this time we do not know what
might have caused the tragedy, Viktor
Klepikov,a coordinating captain from
the maritime rescue coordination centre, told Reuters.
The Russian Investigating Committee suggested that the trawler collided
with an object, possibly drifting ice.
But a Russian marine navigator
said the theory was improbable, as
there are no icebergs or heavy ice in
the Okhotsk Sea.
Most probably, [the] sinking was
caused by a number of factors, faulty
ballasting plus lifting of the trawl[er]

News 3

A file picture taken on March

20, 2013, and provided by shows
the Stende trawler in Las
Palmas, Canary Islands. The
vessel, bought in 2014 by
Magellan LLC and renamed
Dalny Vostok, sank on April 2
with 42 Myanmar seamen on
board. Photo: AFP

being the main suspects, navigator

Mikhail Voytenko wrote yesterday on
his news website Maritime Bulletin.
But the vessel may have also flouted safety regulations and been over capacity with the cargo limits exceeded.
According to preliminary information, the shipwreck occurred while
hauling a 100-tonne fishing seine,
Sergei Khabarov, deputy head of the
Kamchatka region, told Russias TASS
news agency.
The Dalniy Vostok was built in
1963 by HDW Kiel in Germany, according to ship registries.
The trawlers home port was owned
by Magellan LLC, a private Vladivostok-based seafoods and freight business. The company did not return requests for comment yesterday.
Myanmar authorities said it was
extremely unlikely the Myanmar
migrants were legally employed by
Myanmar does not send workers
to fishing boats, said U Kyaw Htin

Kway, general secretary of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agency

Federation, the leading industry body.
If they are illegal then they wont get
insurance or compensation. It is a
Migrants can work aboard cargo
ships, oil tankers or cruise ships, but
industry officials also said it was very
rare to send migrant workers to Russia.
Magellan LLC was not among the
161 international companies registered with the Myanmar Maritime Administration, said U Toe Myint, director of the seamen department.
We cannot give any guarantee
they were not been recruited by an unregistered company or fake agency. It
often happens here, he said.
Recruitment agencies told The
Myanmar Times they were not aware
of any firms sending migrants to Russian vessels on or off the books. But
an experienced Myanmar sailor said
he frequently encounters migrants
who pay brokers to arrange informal

employment on fishing trawlers, a

process that leaves them vulnerable
to exploitation and human traffickers.
All the Myanmar workers onboard
the Dalniy Vostok were listed in the
ships log as either engineers or processors, but The Myanmar Times was
told it has not been confirmed whether they were on the ship by force or
by choice.
Human Rights Watch said it had
not heard of Myanmar migrants being trafficked to Russian fishing vessels a more commonplace practice
in Thailand but that it would not be
surprised by such a finding.
The Myanmar government needs
to fully investigate how these men
were placed on this ill-fated vessel and
reform the burgeoning job brokerage
industry to ensure migrants are not
taken advantage of in overseas placements, said Phil Robertson, deputy
director of Human Rights Watchs Asia
division. Additional reporting by
Kyaw Phone Kyaw

Myanmar apologises to China over cross-border bombing

Lun Min Mang
Ye Mon
MYANMAR issued a formal apology to
China yesterday acknowledging that
one of its warplanes had killed five
Chinese farm workers in a cross-border
bombing attack last month during
fighting with Kokang rebels. It also said
it would punish those responsible.
On behalf of the Myanmar government and military, I officially apologise to China and express my deep
sympathy to the families of the victims
and the injured, Foreign Minister U
Wunna Maung Lwin said in talks in
Beijing with his Chinese counterpart
Wang Yi, according to Xinhua news
Chinas foreign ministry quoted U

Wunna Maung Lwin as saying Myanmar accepted the findings of a joint

investigation into the March 13 bombing, in which eight sugarcane workers
near Nansan town in Yunnan province
were also injured. He said Myanmar
would discuss compensation for the
victims, punish those responsible according to the law and act to prevent
similar incidents in the future.
Myanmar is willing to join with
China to strengthen stability in the
border area, he added.
Presidential spokesperson U Ye
Htut confirmed to The Myanmar
Times that a Myanmar military aircraft had been responsible for the
According to the foreign minister
and the final result from the joint investigative team, we can confirm that the
bomb was from one of ours, he said.

The foreign ministry was handling the

compensation issue, he added.
The statement by U Wunna Maung
Lwin appeared to fulfill all the demands laid out by China when Fan
Changlong, deputy head of the Central
Military Commission, called Senior
General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Defence Services, the day
after the bombing.
Xinhua reported at the time that
Mr Fan warned that China would
take resolute and decisive measures
to protect the lives, property and security of Chinas people if such an
incident occurred again. Since then
China has established a heavy military
presence along the border in a show
of force.
The bombing and an exodus of
tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese
refugees from Myanmar triggered an

outpouring of criticism of Beijing on

Chinese social media that censors
struggled to control. Despite the obvious tensions, Myanmar and China
have made efforts to keep their diplomatic relations and strong commercial
ties on track.
Myanmar officials had initially
sought to blame the incident on the
rebel Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA),
which denied responsibility. The ethnic Chinese militia has been engaged
in often intense fighting with the
Tatmadaw since early February, with
both sides taking heavy losses in the
Kokang border region.
The renewed conflict had initially
provided the Tatmadaw with a rare
propaganda opportunity as many
Myanmar citizens some of them
previously fierce critics of the former

military junta expressed their support for the armed forces and donated
generously to families of the dead and
wounded. But nearly two months later there is a growing sense of unease
over the human and political costs of
the war.
A spokesperson for the MNDAA
said that according to his latest information fighting continued in the
Khote Htan area all day on April 1. He
gave no details of casualties.
Sporadic fighting had continued
during peace talks in Yangon between
the government and representatives of 16 armed ethnic groups that
culminated in the signing of a draft
nationwide ceasefire agreement on
March 31. The MNDAA was not represented at the talks. China has urged
Myanmar to open a dialogue with the
Kokang rebels.

4 News
Chief Executive Officer
Tony Child
Editorial Director U Thiha Saw
Deputy Chief Operating Officer Tin Moe Aung
Editor MTE Thomas Kean
Editor MTM Sann Oo
Chief of Staff Zaw Win Than
Editor Special Publications Myo Lwin
Editor-at-Large Douglas Long
News Editor MTE Guy Dinmore
Business Editor MTE Jeremy Mullins
World Editor MTE Fiona MacGregor
The Pulse Editor MTE Charlotte Rose
Sport Editor MTE Matt Roebuck
Special Publications Editor MTE Wade Guyitt
Sub-Editors Peter Swarbrick, Laignee Barron
Regional Affairs Correspondent Roger Mitton
Chief Sub Editor MTM Aye Sapay Phyu
News & Property Editor MTM
Tin Moe Aung
Timeout Editor MTM Moh Moh Thaw
News Editors (Mandalay)
Khin Su Wai, Phyo Wai Kyaw
Nay Pyi Taw Bureau Chief Hsu Hlaing Htun


Government to form new

political prisoner committee
Activists say the previous committee, formed in January, sidelined members critical of government policies

Ye Mon

IN an apparent response to objections

from advocacy organisations, the government says it will form a new committee to secure the release of political
prisoners. But some members say the
change does not go far enough.
In January, the government abolished the Remaining Political Prisoner
Scrutiny Committee and replaced it
with a new body called the Prisoners of
Conscience Affairs Committee. But the
new body excluded former members
critical of the government, activists say.
Following a pledge made by President U Thein Sein in 2013, the government released more than 350 prisoners
of conscience. But the activist group
the Assistance Association for Political
Prisoners (AAPP) claimed that at least
30 eligible inmates were still behind

bars at the end of 2013, and the number continued to grow through 2014.
The issue is of great concern to
the international community, which
regards the release of political prisoners as a demonstration of the governments commitment to the transition
to democracy and the rule of law.
Earlier this month, committee
member U Sit Myaing, who is also
vice chair of the Myanmar National
Human Rights Commission, said the
Ministry of Home Affairs had written to the committee instructing it
to revert to its original name, the
Remaining Political Prisoner Scrutiny Committee. U Sit Myaing said
the letter had not given any reason
for the change, and the membership
remained unchanged.
Activists had complained that two
members of the 2013 committee who
have regularly criticised the governments handling of the issue, U Bo Kyi
and U Nyo Tun, were excluded from
its successor.
U Zaw Htay, director of the Office
of the President, told The Myanmar

Times yesterday that the committees

members were disappointed at the decision to abolish the committee.
Some members want to add representatives of political prisoners advocacy organisations. We have asked
those organisations to nominate members for the new committee, he said.
Committee member U Ye Aung
said the government had invited him

Im disappointed
that the government
keeps making these
changes, abolishing
and re-forming the
U Ye Aung
Remaining Political Prisoner
Scrutiny Committee

Online Editors Kayleigh Long, Thet Hlaing,

and Russia
boost nuclear

Director Kaung Htet
Aung Htay Hlaing, Thiri, Zarni Phyo
Art Director Tin Zaw Htway
Production Manager Zarni
Printing Director Han Tun
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Deputy National Sales Directors
Chan Tha Oo, Nay Myo Oo,
Nandar Khine, Nyi Nyi Tun
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Publisher U Thiha (Thiha Saw), 01021

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Telephone: (01) 253 642, 392 928
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devices and the contents of this publication
may not be reproduced in whole or in part
without the written consent of the Managing
Director of Myanmar Consolidated Media Ltd.

U Htin Lin Oo arrives at Chaung-Oo Township Court on April 2 for his 13th hearing. Photo: Than Naing Soe

Myanmar Consolidated Media Ltd.
Head Office: 379/383 Bo Aung Kyaw Street,
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Telephone: (01) 253 642, 253 651, 392808
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to nominate representatives to be added to the new body.

I have already submitted names to
the government, but Im disappointed
that the government keeps making
these changes, abolishing and reforming the committee. When are we
going to discuss the political prisoner
issue? he said.
One of the excluded members, U
Bo Kyi, who is joint secretary of the
AAPP, has accused the government of
lack of interest in the issue, and cited
the involvement of the deputy home
affairs minister as an apparent conflict of interest.
How can he chair a political prisoner release committee when his ministry is arresting student protesters
and activists? he said.
The government insists that any
remaining inmates claiming political
status are in fact serving terms for
criminal offences. But according to
the AAPP there were still 170 political
prisoners incarcerated as of the end of
February, with another 238 activists
on trial for political actions.

NLD official denies charges at hearing

Than Naing Soe
NATIONAL League for Democracy official and writer U Htin Lin Oo yesterday
pleaded not guilty to insulting religion.
In the 13th hearing at Chaung-Oo Township Court, Sagaing Region, the defendants lawyer, U Thein Than Oo, cited in his defence the right of freedom
of expression, doctrines of the Buddha,
the constitution and the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights.

The remarks complained of were
not insulting or critical of the Sangha,
he told the court.
The trial follows remarks made
by U Htin Lin Oo in a speech in
Chaung-Oo last October critical of
nationalist movements. The speech
drew the ire of Buddhist nationalist
groups, including U Wirathus Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion and the Patriotic

Buddhist Monks Union.

Following a complaint to the
police, U Htin Lin Oo was charged
under section 295(A), banning deliberate and malicious acts intended to
outrage religious feelings of any class
by insulting its religion or religious
beliefs, and section 298, banning the
uttering of words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings.
The hearing was adjourned until
April 18. Translation by Zar Zar Soe

DEFYING objections from Western

countries, Myanmar appears to be
stepping up its collaboration with
Russia in the nuclear field. Nay Pyi
Taw insists that the cooperation is entirely in the energy and health sectors.
On March 26, the deputy director
of the Russian atomic energy agency
Rosatom, Nikolay Spassky, told World
Nuclear News that Myanmar had
agreed to cooperate in nuclear matters. The statement came after a twoday visit to Myanmar by Mr Spassky.
The visit, the second by a Russian official, came despite objections from the
United States and the European Union.
Yesterday, Union Minister for Information U Ye Htut confirmed that
Myanmar was seeking to use nuclear
energy for peaceful purposes.
Ifwecollaboratewith Russia,
itwillbeonenergy, he said. Concerns
have been expressed in the past about
our supposed relations with NorthKorea, but we have given repeated guarantees that we have no such relations.
I can assure you that any cooperation
we may have with Russia will be in the
health and energy sectors.
The minister said the government
had collaborated closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency to allay
concerns onitsuseofnuclear power.
Two years ago, Russias defence
minister, Sergey Shoygu, met with
Vice President U Nyan Tun to discuss
military cooperation, and offered to
accept students from Myanmar at
Moscow State University. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called
on the EU and the United States to lift
sanctions on Myanmar.
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw passed a
bill last November intended to pave
the way for an agreement aimed at
improving military ties with Russia,
including through cooperation on military information and electronic data,
and involving a program to train intelligence officers.
In 2007, Russia proposed building
a nuclear reactor in Myanmar and
training experts to run it, but no dates
or locations were discussed.
Mratt Kyaw Thu

News 5

High ambitions
for tourism in
Myeik islands
Ei Ei Thu

A BEAUTY spot in Tanintharyi Region could rival Thailands Phuket as

a tourist attraction, officials are hoping. U Hlwan Moe, assistant director
of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism
in Myeik, told The Myanmar Times
yesterday that Myeik Archipelago was
attracting increasing numbers of visitors year after year.
Drawing about 1 million tourists
would create significant business and
employment opportunities for Myeiks
140,000 inhabitants, he said, adding
that its closeness to Phuket was an
added advantage.
But theres a long way to go before
that benchmark is reached: Only 1158
tourists visited the archipelago in
2012, with numbers nearly doubling to
2162 in 2014
Authorities in Thailand and Myanmar have been discussing the possibility of a border pass that would allow
visitors to travel freely from one resort
to the other. Last year, 12.7 million
tourists, both Thai and foreign, visited
Phuket, he said.
Myeik Archipelago has little or
no future in the development of
natural resources or fisheries, so
tourism seems a viable alternative,

U Hlwan Moe said.

One initial step would be to persuade local residents. We have provided awareness training and organised a workshop, but residents arent
always open to the idea of tourism, he
U Thaw Tar Nyunt, director of
Elegant Myanmar Travel and Tours,
told The Myanmar Times that many
residents saw no immediate benefit in

Tourists who visited Myeik
Archipelago in 2014

They wont be interested if theyre

not making a profit. We need to create a market by, for instance, certifying bed-and-breakfast houses in the
villages or encouraging people to open
traditional souvenir shops, he said.
Myeik Archipelago boasts more
than 800 islands rich in natural resources, corals and traditional cultures that could be attractive to tourists, given a more developed transport
system and permit issuance.
Myeik is becoming better known.

Some Myeik Archipelago locals are less than thrilled by the prospect of increased tourism in the region. Photo: Douglas Long

But the week-long delay in getting a

permit will discourage visitors who
think they dont need one because
they already have a visa. Cutting the
permit time would help attract more
people, he said.
U Thaw Tar Nyunt said restraint
would have to be exercised over

rubbish-tipping and the local practice

of using explosives to fish, which damages coral.
The time will come when people
have to rely on tourism, so they must
learn to value these natural resources.
We have to change the mindset, he

The most attractive tourist package currently available is a five-night,

six-day tour for US$1607 a person, he
said. The Mergui Princess, a locally
owned cruise ship, can accommodate
only 16 passengers and operates only
between October and March because
of weather, he said.

New bridge opens up beach visitation in Mon State

Naw Say Phaw Waa
A NEW bridge has opened up new experiences and possibilities for people
in southern Mon State. The christening of the Kabyar Wa Bridge at the end
of last year by the state government
has increased the number of visitors
to what used to be a relatively remote
region south of the state capital of
In particular, tourists are coming to
Kabyar Wa Beach in Ye township, said
U Aung Moe, who recently opened a

restaurant on the beach.

Kabyar Wa Beach is about 15 kilometres (8 miles) southwest of Ye,
where most visitors come from.
Before the bridge was open, no
one knew about this place. Now we
get maybe a dozen visitors a day, said
resident Daw Nge Win.
U Soe Tin, 45, said he bought land
on the beach for K500 25 years ago and
has now opened a restaurant there.
We were lucky we had this land
because prices have shot up since the
bridge opened, he said. Residents say
land prices have doubled in the past

three months. Villager Mi Than Htay

laments that she sold 5 acres of rubber trees for K10 million just before
learning of the bridge. If Id waited
another month I would have made
much more, she said.
Last April, the state government
permitted a domestic firm, Aurum, to
build a US$12 million resort on the
beach over the next two years, said U
Min Nwe Soe, minister for planning
and economics. There is not a lot of
paddy in Khaw Zar. There are more
jobs in tourism and transport, he said.
Ye is also benefitting from in-

creased visitor numbers, said Ma

Khine San Myint, owner of the Start
Light guesthouse in the township. She
said she had just bought a 4-hectare
(10-acre) plot of land to build more
bungalows to accommodate the anticipated throng.
Our guesthouse is full almost every day. Foreigners say Ye is very good
because of the natural environment,
she said.
Daw Myine, who lives in Yin Yae
village near Khaw Zar, added, The
transportation to the beach is quite
good now. Other residents say the

state government plans to build a new

One possible disincentive to visitors could lie in the activities of a
notorious local gang known as Nai
Alon and Nai A Saung who make their
money by ransoming people they kidnap. The last kidnapping was only in
October, said residents.
Nai Alon and Nai A Saung took
five people from Khaw Zar five months
ago and demanded K10 million for
each one, said restaurateur U Soe Tin.
But I dont think theyll come back
once the resort opens.

6 News


Night commuters
resort to dangerous
unlicensed buses
Official bus companies say they do not have enough
customers or staff to offer evening routes
Aye Nyein Win
SHIFT-WORKERS who live in the
outskirts of Yangon say they are at
the mercy of unlicensed private bus
drivers who provide the only available transportation in off-hours.
They say some drivers lack not only
a business licence to operate such a
service, but even a driving licence.
Drivers are often drunk and rude
to passengers, and they run away
when they get involved in the notinfrequent accidents.
Most buses in Yangon do not run
after about 8pm because owners say
there are not enough customers to
make an evening service profitable.

We are aware
that without these
operators many
commuters will not
be able to get home.
Colonel Win Lwin
Traffic police

Photojournalist Ko Sai Zaw, who

lives in South Dagon, said he had to
call the police after an incident last
week in which an angry bus driver
and crew beat him up for complaining about the drivers reckless
The driver and crew were drunk.
I told the driver to slow down, but he
replied very rudely. I asked him to
stop the car and I got off, along with
most of the other passengers. The
crew were so angry they attacked me,
he said. As a result of Ko Sai Zaws
complaint, the police arrested eight

U Hla Aung, chair of the Yangon

Region Supervisory Committee for
Motor Vehicles, better known by
its Myanmar-language acronym Ma
Hta Tha, said the committee cannot
take action against these operators
We take the plate number and
inform the regional committee for
traffic rules enforcement, and the
committee takes action, he said.
The Ma Hta Tha chair said the
problem was difficult to solve.
We dont have enough bus workers to operate evening routes. The
crews are already overstretched,
and anyway we dont have enough
money to run two shifts.
One short-lived attempt to run a
night service ended as soon as the
bus owners decided it was unprofitable.
Traffic Police Colonel Win Lwin
of the Yangon force said those without a business licence face a fine of
up to K30,000 under 1989 by-laws.
Thats the highest fine, and we
cannot confiscate the vehicle, he
said. The police cannot enforce
these laws 24 hours a day, but we
are aware that without these operators many commuters will not be
able to get home.
Accountant Ko Zar Ni, who has
to use the late-night service to return home to South Dagon, said,
The government isnt doing anything for people in our situation, so
were left at the mercy of the private
Ko Sai Zaw said that some drivers do not have a driving licence.
They tell me they bribe the traffic
police so that they can keep operating, he said.
The drivers and helpers are bad
people and they run away when
they get in an accident. The commuters dare not complain, but were
risking our lives, and the charges
are high. But how else can we get
home at night?

Myanmar migrants search for sellable and edible items among the rubbish in Mae Sot. Photo: Si Thu Lwin

Myanmar refugees
scour Mae Sot rubbish
Si Thu

EVEN before you see the mountain,

you can smell it. The enormous rubbish tip east of the Thai border town
of Mae Sot slowly rots under the sun.
Clambering over it are countless men,
women and children, entire families
armed with long sticks tipped with
a hook or using their bare hands to
search for usable or edible loot.
Bloated flies buzz above the melted wastes sounding like miniature
bombers on a raid, as small children
feast on garbage.
For the sprawling hills of waste
are a mine if not of gold, at least of
commodities whose resale sustains
scores of families, mostly refugees
from Myanmar. More than 600 people live in about 140 temporary huts
housing various Mon, Kayin, Bamar
and Shan people, says U Min Swe, a
community leader of what residents
call the dump ward. One or two of
the shacks fly tricolour Thai flags.
Some of the rag-pickers fled the
endless wars between ethnic armed
groups and the government military.
Others came to make money, selling
their skimpy homes to raise the travel expenses to get here. Their stories
are different, but their goal is the
same: to turn trash into cash.
We can earn about 100 baht
[more than K3000] a day, said Daw
Aye Htay.
If we find vegetables among the
rubbish, we just pick them up and
eat them, or save them to be cooked

later. My husband and I borrowed

money to come here. Now that weve
paid our debt, we can go home.
She and her husband brought
their two-month-old baby here 14
years ago. Now they have four children, but their hope of returning
home has not yet faded.
International aid agencies give
them occasional help, including educational support for the children.
Though inured to the stench, they
keep a wary eye out for the Thai police, as they are illegal immigrants.
During raids, they run away and
hide. If they arrest us, we would
lose all the money weve saved, said
one resident.
Ko Aung Aung, a teen father of
two children, sorts highly marketable plastic bottles scavenged from
the dump.
We have to endure the pains weve
suffered as long as we cant return
home. The Thai police come here occasionally. We just run into the forest.
Sometimes they smash up our kitchens. But we would starve to death if
we had to move anywhere else.
The scavengers suffer occupational ailments, skin disease and
diarrhoea, said U Ko Myo, a spokesperson for Yaung Chi Oo, a community organisation based at Mae Sot
that helps Myanmar migrants in
Access to family planning being
limited, children proliferate. Many
were born here, making their citizenship doubtful.
Ive managed to send three of
my four children to school, but at
some point I will ask them to join us
in collecting garbage when I can no
longer afford the tuition, said Daw
Aye Htay.

Most children born within sight

of the dump do not hanker for their
parents old home. They have little
interest in formal education, just
a keen desire to learn the ways of
the mountain of rubbish that supports them. Yet families here follow
Myanmar traditions, such as the
kahtein offering of robes to Buddhist monks. The dump ward has
even spawned a youth association
to provide social assistance to the
Our young people elect community leaders and the youth asso-

If we find
vegetables among
the rubbish, we just
pick them up and
eat them, or save
them to be cooked
Daw Aye Htay
Myanmar refugee

ciation provides social services, said

Ko Maung Tun.
When the dustcarts, laden with
the detritus thrown away by the respectable folk of Mae Sot, wind their
way to the stinking mountain, its
denizens roll up their sleeves and get
down to work. Its easier to make a
living here than in Myanmar, said
one. Translation by Zar Zar Soe

8 News



Critical questions for free elections

Aung Tun

HE November general election will serve as a critical

test of the genuineness
of the transition toward
democracy. Many hope that
the National League for Democracy
(NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi will take the majority of seats,
carving out a better political space for
the current opposition to shape the
countrys future.
However, without a guarantee of
free and fair elections, these expectations might not materialise. Instead,
the country could face political chaos
as protests break out against apparent electoral fraud, casting a shadow
over the legitimacy of the next
government. It remains to be seen
whether the elections take the nation
a step further forward or are themselves a stumbling block to progress.
To mitigate this risk, now is the time
to answer critical questions about how
to guarantee free and fair elections, and
who should supervise the elections to
ensure maximum credibility.
First, the legal aspects must be
addressed, including the functioning of the election commissions set
up at different levels. At the Union
level, the Union Election Commission (UEC) was established by direct
appointment by President U Thein

Sein. Though the law stipulates that

commission members must not belong to any political party, a politician
wishing to become eligible for a seat
on the commission can simply resign.
In order to guarantee legitimately
free and fair elections, those provisions in the law should immediately
be amended by parliament so that
UEC members are chosen by parliament, subject to the scrutiny and approval of many parties. The commission members should still be able to
openly retain their political affiliation,
as political neutrality is not feasible.
This would lead to a multiparty commission as well as improved transparency and accountability.
Second, capacity matters. Myanmar has more than 70,000 villages.
Outreach activities on voter education
are key to the elections success, and
intensive voter education activities
should be initiated now. The UEC is
responsible for this training, along
with civil society groups and perhaps
also with the assistance of political
parties. The 135 officially recognised
ethnic minorities, each with its own
language and not necessarily fluent
in the Myanmar language, must be
included in this training. Voter education in ethnic languages, perhaps led
by ethnic civil society groups, would
be a good start. In addition, securing
an accurate voters list is admittedly
challenging. Many people, especially

in rural areas, do not have national

identification cards, making it difficult
to register them as eligible voters. To
resolve the identification issue, there
needs to be immediate, concrete collaboration between political parties,
election commissions and government
departments. In some areas, for instance in Mon and Kayin states, some
500,000 migrant workers do not yet
have access to information on how to
register and where to vote. They are in
great need of voter education too. Collaborative government-to-government
action between Nay Pyi Taw and Bangkok is needed to make it happen.
Third, independent observers
matter. Election observation cannot
be just a one-day occurrence. Instead,
it must be a long process. All aspects,
from the assembly of voters lists to

Outreach activities on
voter education are
key to the elections
success, and intensive
voter education
activities should be
initiated now.

the post-election fallout, must be

observed, including the vetting of the
candidates, the campaign methods,
the vote count, voter behaviour, the
announcement of results and so
on. Qualified observers are highly
needed. Many local observers do not
have any sound experience. Technical
and practical training is needed. The
2012 by-elections proved the amount
of work to be done. The international
observation team arrived in Yangon
just few days prior to election day
and did not know where to get started or how to set up an observation
structure. As a result, the observers
became like tourists. Time was quite
limited. Local knowledge was lacking.
The local network was very weak.
Fourth, conflict matters. Myanmar is now experiencing two kinds
of conflict that could interfere with
the election process: communal or
religious conflict, and civil wars.
Many constituencies in Kachin State,
for instance, did not have a chance
to hold elections in 2010 or 2012 due
to security concerns. The UEC has
ultimate power to decide whether
it is feasible to hold the elections.
However, it still needs to clarify
conditions that are feasible to hold
the election in line with international
standards. Communal or religious
conflicts could be expected during
the electoral process, especially when
the parties kick off their campaigns.

While the electoral law stipulates that

using religion violates the law and
merits harsh punishment, application
of the law remains to be seen.
Fifth, the post-election period
matters. In the end, the election is all
about how to hand over power to the
winning party. Myanmar had such a
problem in the 1990 elections. But the
election system itself needs to ensure
the systematic transition of power.
This job should be done through collaboration among all those concerned:
the parties, the army, civil society
groups and, of course, the people. So
far, the country has yet to look for a
platform to work on this.
Overall, Myanmars next election
will principally determine whether
the democratic transition is on the
right track. The election will not
only test the sincerity of the government and the UEC, but will also
assess the capability of international and national electoral teams.
Amid so many tests, the results of
the election and what it will mean
for the countrys transition will be
eagerly awaited.
Aung Tun is an independent consultant
for development organisations in
Myanmar. He is also involved in electoral
processes as a researcher He previously
worked as a journalist inside the country
for several years.

News 9


All the presidents men


THIS week President U Thein Sein

launched his very own press corps.
A coterie of 45 select reporters has
so far been accredited by the Presidents Office and will be allowed to
attend regular press briefings at the
presidents house.
Of those, according to the director
of the Presidents Office, just 11 about
one-quarter are female.
At first assumption this might
merely reflect a wider gender imbalance in the media, but it should be
considered that a report out this week
entitled Gender in the Myanmar Media Landscape found that women in
Myanmar are now well-represented
in newsrooms, forming over 50 percent of staff.
While this is in many ways good
news, the study, conducted by the
Sweden-based Fojo Media Institute,
went on to report that media institutions remain significantly male-dominated at decision-making level.
And it is worth considering that
if 50pc of newsroom staff are female,
why are women journalists are not
equally represented in being put
forward for the corps positions or
given access to the countrys senior
Of course its not just in Myanmar
that this disparity arises. In much of
the developed world women are still
unequally represented in political
journalism, as well as at senior management level in the media. It was
only this week that Katherine Viner
was announced as the new editor-inchief of the UKs liberal newspaper
The Guardian the first woman to be
given the role in the papers 194-year
But in Myanmar there are strong
cultural traditions that can make
it particularly difficult for those women
who seek a career in political journalism.
It remains to be seen whether the
newly established presidents press
corps will genuinely allow media

President U Thein Sein answers a question from a journalist in Nay Pyi Taw in October 2012. Photo: AFP

representatives closer access to senior politicians and the opportunity to

present questions and have them answered in a timely manner.
The prevailing attitude among
many politicians appears to be that
they feel entitled to be treated with
the utmost respect and should not
have to account for themselves to
those they see as being of lower status.
Too often, questions from reporters on
matters of import are treated as acts of
impertinence, not as a vital part of the
democratic process.
Younger female reporters from
Myanmar are particularly likely to be
subjected to such behaviour by politicians predominantly older males
given entrenched attitudes in which
younger women are expected to defer
to older men, even if the women in
question are representing the public
interest in their role as journalists.
Personal experience and anecdotal
evidence would suggest that foreign
women reporting in Myanmar are
not expected to conform to quite such
a submissive role, but that somehow
contrives to make it even more disturbing and dismaying to witness Myanmar colleagues being condescended
to in such a manner.

Of course, there are a number of

extremely strong female Myanmar
reporters who are very capable of
standing up for themselves in such circumstances. Those women who have
joined the presidents press corps,
and others working in politics, may at
times have to battle certain prejudices,
but they also have a real opportunity
to help address the gender imbalance
in the countrys political landscape
and ensure that womens voices are
heard. They should be supported in
doing so as much as possible.
As the report by the Fojo Media
Institute points out, A professional
media that respects gender equity,
promotes liberal values and a plural
society can positively contribute to a
country in transition like Myanmar
and help shape its future.
Our fashion-conscious friends at Agence
France-Presse have been at it again.
Readers of this column may remember
that last month, while covering Michelle
Obamas speech in Japan about millions
of girls across the world who are being
denied an education, the international
news agency chose to highlight Ms
Obamas choice of outfit.
Yesterday, the organisation re-

ported on the very serious problem of

schoolgirls in part of Africa who are
unable to attend school when they
are menstruating because they do
not have access to adequate sanitary
This problem, along with inadequate lavatory facilities at school in
many developing regions, affects millions of girls across the world and
severely hampers their educational
South African Sue Barnes has, according to AFP, come up with a kind
of washable, reusable pants-and-pad
combo to help address the problem. It
could potentially prove a life-changing
And so AFP delivered the following
In 2010, Barnes learned that girls
from poor families were skipping school
each time they were menstruating, because they cannot afford sanitary pads.
I just couldnt believe it, it blew my
mind, said Barnes, 49, wearing a
black shift dress and a pearl necklace.
Girls were missing a week of school a
The report failed to inform us
whether she was also modelling her
own design of underwear.


Goals yet to
be achieved
Agreement has been the talk of
the town for weeks. The final
draft of the NCA was agreed
upon and approved by the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination
Team representing 16 ethnic armed groups waging war
against the central government
for decades and delegates of
the government on March 31.
Some claimed the event as
a historic one, and some, with
cautious optimism, regarded it
as a major step toward political
dialogue that might pave the way
for ultimate peace in this country. The draft NCA itself has to be
taken back to the ethnic leaders
for their approval and possible
amendments. President U Thein
Sein, who attended the final day
of the session, expressed his
hope that the final NCA might
be signed by all before the end
of April. That sounds a bit ambitious but he has every right to be
hopeful since his team has been
working day and night for nearly
two years.
People who act the same way
over a long period of time tend
to develop distinctive and persistent mindsets. Their unique
relationship with the world and
society gives them a particular
perspective in their rationalisation of their behaviour and role.
It is quite understandable that
for the ethnic armed groups and
the Myanmar military, who have
been facing off for more than
half a century, such engrained
ways of thinking might be hard
to change.
Still, this initial attempt to
start a political dialogue between
warring factions in Myanmar is
plausible. Formidable tasks lie
ahead, as everyone recognises,
but taking into consideration the
losses to all people over the decades, the price that has to be paid
is worthwhile. With a sincere desire to end armed conflicts, and
a political will to achieve the
elusive dream of peace, no goal
is unattainable.




More people to take part in finance


Queen Mxima of the

Netherlands (centre) and
opposition leader Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi meet in
Nay Pyi Taw.
Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

THE government intends to raise

by one-third the number of people
with access to financial services,
the Ministry of Finance announced
on April 1.
Union Finance Minister U Win
Shein said the proportion of adults
with access to such services would
be raised to between 30 percent
and 40pc over the next six years.
The minister was speaking at
a ceremony to launch the Financial Inclusion Roadmap at Nay Pyi
Taws International Convention
Centre. He added that efforts would
also be made to raise the number of
people using more than one financial service between 6pc and 15pc.

We will ensure
stronger financial
institutions, first
by enhancing the
strength of the
banks and second by
strengthening the
financial markets.
Dr Maung Maung Thein
Deputy finance minister

The roadmap was developed

with the collaboration of the UNDP
and the UNCDF. Her Majesty Queen

Mxima of the Netherlands, the UN

secretary-generals special advocate
for inclusive finance for development, attended the official launch.
The intention is to promote access to safe and affordable financial
services, she told participants.
Queen Mxima said most people had access only to illegal financial services, citing her visit to
Myaungdakar village in Hmawbi

Low-cost housing
now much cheaper
A PLANNED low-cost housing
plan will sell units for between
K7.5 million (US$7200) and K9
million, a departure from other recent government low-cost
housing options which had been
several times more expensive.
Construction at the new project will begin in April on 15 acres
in Hlaing Tharyar townships
Shwe Lin Ban industrial zone,
said zone management committee
secretary general U Nay Lin Zin.
Everyone in the industrial
zone is interested to buy, he said.
We [factory] owners also want a
place for our workers to stay. And
workers are willing to buy in, but
the installments are in chunks of
30 percent, which may be difficult for them.
The contract is being run by
the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development,
with work slated to be finished by
the end of the year.
Presidential advice to promote
the low-cost project was put in
place by deputy construction
minister U Soe Tint to rent the 15
acres on the Shwe Lin Ban industrial zone to put up 28 buildings,
each of five storeys, according to

industrial zone officials.

Each building includes apartments measuring 18 by 18 square
feet, for a total of 324 square feet.
The costs will be between K7.5
million and K9 million.
The units are intended only
for people working at the industrial zone.
Human Settlement and Housing Development director general Colonel Min Htein said the
Shwe Lin Ban project began in
2012, with the first phase already
finished and work on the second
phase starting soon.
The government hired the
land for low-cost housing, aiming to allow industrial workers
to have their own house, he said.
Among the 28 buildings, four
will be built by the Department
of Human Settlement and Housing Development, and another
eight will be built by the industrial zone for its workers. The
others will be built by the construction company which wins a
later tender.
U Nay Lin Zin said 1200 people have applied for the 240 units
in the eight buildings.
The application rate for us is
high, but the list will be reduced
when we ask for installments,
he said.

township, Yangon Region.

She said women had mobile
phones but no bank account, adding that improved access to financial services would aid the countrys development.
U Maung Maung Thein, deputy
minister of finance, told The Myanmar Times that the ministry would
seek an improvement in qualified and
legal financial services by establishing

a steering committee. We will ensure

stronger financial institutions, first by
enhancing the strength of the banks
and second by strengthening the financial markets, he said.
He said the ministry would develop the agricultural, livestock and
fisheries sectors and SMEs, and create opportunities for lower-income
families to raise their income.
U Maung Maung Thein defended

the monthly 2.5pc interest rate set

by microfinance institutions.
They have to go to rural areas
to lend, so they face extra expense,
he said. Muhammad Yunus, who
founded microfinance and was
awarded the Nobel Prize, said the
rate set by our microfinance institutions was at a suitable level, he
Translation by Thiri Min Htun

Private sector not ready

for 2015 economic area

THE countrys reforms are continuing and the economy is being

opened to the world, but it may be
too early for integration into the
ASEAN Economic Community, according to experts.
While the community is to begin
at the end of 2015, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are not required to meet all the standards for
removing barriers to trade until 2018.
Proponents of the ASEAN Economic Community say it presents the
best opportunity for member states
for the 10 ASEAN member states to
integrate their economies, presenting a more favourable environment
for domestic and foreign investment
at home, and expanding market presence abroad.
Yet local businesses may not be
ready to compete with an expected
flood of tariff-free imports that will
come as Myanmar drops its trade
Myanmar said its readiness level

to join the ASEAN Economic Community is at 82 percent, said U Thint

Swe, a businessperson and representative of business association UMFCCI.
Maybe it is [ready] on the government side, but the private side
is not ready for the community. We
businessmen are at the stage of selling raw materials, and we still cannot
produce finished goods, he said during a speech earlier this week held at
UMFCCIs Yangon headquarters.
A number of issues beset the economy. Infrastructure is poor, while a
lack of human resources also hampers growth, exacerbated by a braindrain to neighbouring countries with
higher wages.

Maybe it is [ready]

on the government
side, but the private
side is not ready for
the community.
U Thint Swe

Local private sector players still

lack experience and technology to
compete with regional companies,
said U Thint Swe.
Most sectors of the local economy
lag that of neighbouring countries,
after decades of isolation, internal
conflicts and economic hardship under military rule. A lack of knowledge
about the ASEAN Economic Community may also hamper the ability of
local firms to take advantage of more
The private sector knows little
about the AEC, said U Moe Myint
Kyaw, general secretary of UMFCCI.
The government side is preparing, but
the private sector sees it as a threat.
What is more, the private sector is not
yet ready for the community.
U Kyaw Soe Thein, retired director from the Ministry of National
Planning and Economic Development, said there is no need to be
afraid of the Economic Community,
though businesspeople keep raising
The private sector is the main
sector. Without including the private
sector we cant get to the ASEAN Economic Community, he said.
We have a great deal of difficulty
in areas like technology and skilled
labour, but it can be overcome.


BUSINESS EDITOR: Jeremy Mullins |

Thaketa bridge expansion

plans fuels continued real
estate growth

McDonalds plans US
wage rise, but critics
say it is not enough



Exchange Rates (April 2 close)



Malaysia Ringitt
Singapore Dollar
Thai Baht
US Dollar



Foreign banks
to open after 50
year absence


Myanmar has not allowed onshore
banking by foreign institutions
since 1963, when 14 existing foreign banks were nationalised. The
Central Bank of Myanmars website
shows there are currently 43 foreign
banks with representative offices in
the country, though they are barred
from operating most services.
Many of these banks competed in
last years contest for licences, though
ultimately nine were selected.
Of the nine foreign banks that
were selected, the first three are set
to open on April 23, which is a yatyarzar day, or an auspicious day to
start new business ventures.
The three banks said yesterday
they welcomed the approval, adding it will allow them to play a
bigger part in Myanmars growing
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation said the growth of the
economy is expected to accelerate
with an increase in direct foreign
investment, such as the develop-



Date the first three foreign banks are to

open their Myanmar branches

ment of Thilawa Special Economic

With the opening of Yangon
Branch, SMBC will be able to better meet the diverse needs of clients
expanding their business in the
country through providing financial services in collaboration with
our local partner bank, Kanbawza


Bank, which is the biggest local private bank in Myanmar, it said in

a press release. Sumitomo Mitsuis
local branch is in Strand Square on
Strand Road.
Singapores OCBC said that the
licence awarded by the Central Bank
of Myanmar has been expanded to
allow us to provide banking services
to local corporates in partnership
with local financial institutions.
Previously, under the provisional licence, it was allowed to support
foreign companies and joint ventures, as well as domestic banks in
OCBC was one of the foreign
banks that had local operations
come to an end in 1963. It initially
opened in Yangon in 1923, and also
had a branch in Lashio.
This licence allows us to continue our support of foreign-related
investments and projects in the ongoing development of the Myanmar
economy as well as to support the
growth of its banking sector, said
Linus Goh, head of commercial
banking at OCBC, in a press release.
OCBC Yangon Branch is a significant addition to OCBCs regional footprint, in particular because
of the strong interest in Myanmar
from our customers across Southeast Asia and Great China.
OCBCs new Yangon branch is
located on the second floor of the
Union Financial Centre at corner
of Mahabandoola and Thein Phyu
The firm also highlighted two
other recent activities in Myanmar, including the financing of 100
Scania coaches for cross-country
transportation, and the first nonrecourse cross-border loan facility
for an independent telecommunications infrastructure provider in
Myanmar, Pan Asia Majestic Eagle
Go Watanabe, chief executive officer for Asia and the Oeania Region
at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
said the bank is pleased it is one of

A pile of money is ready to be transported after being prepared by the Central Bank of Myanmar. The countrys lender of
last resort has now approved three of the foreign banks to open. Photo: AFP

the first foreign banks to open its

Yangon branch, coming within a sixmonth period of being selected to
receive a licence.
This is especially meaningful to
us given the banks involvement in
the early stages of reviews when the
Myanmar government first mooted
the idea to liberalise its financial
sector a couple of years ago, he

We recognised
that this is just
the beginning of a
long journey but
we are confident
that together, we
can help transform
Myanmars financial
sector into one that
is well-developed.
Go Watanabe
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ

said in a press release.

We recognised that this is just the
beginning of a long journey but we
are confident that together, we can
help transform Myanmars financial
sector into one that is well-developed
and can effectively spur and drive
sustainable economic growth.
The companys new branch will assist cross-border trade flows, it added.
Yesterday the Central Bank of
Myanmar licensing committee
confirmed the three banks had received licences.
The three banks have undergone
a stringent entry process as defined
by the Central Bank of Myanmar in

November, 2014, it said in a statement. The Licensing Committee is

pleased to announce that the three
banks have successfully met all requirements, and have been granted
a final License to commence operations from April 22, 2015.
It added its thanks to the three
for their continuous commitment
to Myanmar, saying it looked forward to welcoming the banks as
members of Myanmars banking
The remaining six foreign banks
are expected to go through a similar process in the next six months,
before opening.

Winning Foreign Banks

ANZ Bank


Industrial and Commercial Bank of China


The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ


Mizuho Bank


Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation








Bangkok Bank


12 Property


Thaketa bridge keeps property buoyant


THE property market in Thaketa

township, to the east of downtown
Yangon, has received a bump in interest from a planned bridge expansion to the area.
While much of the Yangon real
estate market has been quiet, Thaketa is opening up as transportation links improve, experts said.
Lots of people are moving to the
township because transportation
is improving, said U Mya Aung,
a local real estate agent. Thaketas property is cheap and close to
downtown its a 30-minute drive.
The township had previously
been home to a relatively quiet
property market, partly due to poor
transport links with downtown
though this will be partially eased
as one of the main bridges to the
area is replaced.
The Thaketa Bridge, a two-land
road stretching 284 metres, was
initially built in 1966 to provide
access across Pazundaung Creek.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced a
memorandum of understanding
in 2014 for funding of 4.216 billion yen (US$35 million) to replace
the structure with a new four-lane
In the 2014 announcement, JICA

Plans to double the width of the Thaketa bridge have kept the Thaketa property market strong. Photo: Naing Wynn Htoon

said the bridge handled about 29,000

vehicles a day in 2013, adding there

was chronic congestion as there is

only one lane in each direction. It
also pointed out that the bridge is
a key transit point to Thilawa Special Economic Zone, which is to the
southeast of Thaketa.



Length of the existing Thaketa bridge,

which will be remade as a four-lane
bridge with funding from JICA

Traffic is often a problem on the existing Thaketa bridge. Photo: Naing Wynn Htoon

The bridge plans may have been

the single biggest factor propelling the local property market, but
agents say it is far from being the
only one.

Thaketa is notorious for flooding

from nearby Pazundaung creek during the rainy season. U Mya Aung
said usually up to 80pc of the streets
are flooded in the rainy season, slowing transportation.
After 2010, the roads began to be
improved, mitigating the flooding
problems, and combined with plans
to upgrade the bridge, has resulted
in increasing interest for the area.
Local resident U Thura Zaw said
he has noticed a significant pick-up
in business in the last year, following the bridge announcement.
After the new bridge is built,
Thaketa will be more accessible
and it will be easier for transportation without traffic problems.
Daw Thandar Swe has lived in the
township since 1960. Initially there
was no bridge at all over Pazundaung
creek, separating the township from
Yangon city. The initial 1966 bridge
caused rising prices at the time, a
situation replicated with the 2014
bridge announcement, she said.

YCDC promises 45-day wait for licences

YANGON City Development Committee has pledged to lower the
wait time for applying for contractor licences from months to weeks,
partly as the number of applicants
We were receiving between 80
to 100 contractor applications for
licences every month, but the number is now decreasing, YCDC deputy head of building department U
Nay Win said.
Now we receive about 20 licence
applications a month, and arrange
an interview before we give permission to them. Previously the
department had been too busy to
regularly hold interviews, meaning
as few as four a month were held.
Would-be contractors must sit
through an interview with YCDC officials to discuss their education, experience, ownership and citizenship
in order to receive a licence. Each

licensed contractor is allowed to

build 15 buildings in total over the
length of the licence, he said.
If a contractor applies for a licence, we will try to get it to them
in 45 days.
The number of applicants for
contractor licences shot up in 2011,
as the construction industry started
to boom. Recently, interest in the licences has waned, which U Nay Win
said is caused by a few factors.
YCDC has changed the amount
contractors must deposit for licences from K10 million (US$9670), to
K50 million which has priced some
would-be entrants out of the market.
Existing contractors were required to add in the additional
K40 million with the rule change,
though some contractors avoided
Some were absent [with payment], so we restricted the list by
cancelling the licences of the absent contractors, he said. Others
added K40 million to their deposits
as the construction industry started
to boom and lots of new buildings

went up, meaning contractors needed an official licence.

U Nay Win added there are other
reasons fewer businesspeople want
to enter the contracting business.
The dreary state of the construction industry may be another
reason for the decrease in licence
applicants, he said. Another may
be that there are already enough
contractors in the industry.
Contractors said they welcomed
the move to speed up licensing, as
it previously has taken significant
amounts of time.
U Yan Aung, general manager
of Asia Construction, said his firm
applied for a licence in June 2014
and received it that September a
three-month wait.
While the firm had to deposit
K50 million for a contractor licence
fee when it first received the licence,
it initially had to pay an additional
annual fee of K200,000. This fee has
since been increased and another
fee added to bring the total to about
K1.5 million, he said.
We are now paying more charges

for annual fees, as it has been increase from K200,000 to K500,000,

he said. They have also added another fee for registration K1 million so we are now paying around
K1.5 million a year.
Receiving contractor licences
requires a large amount of money,
though when the construction industry was quiet, contractor licences were easy to get, he said.
Many contractors entered into
the industry both legally and illegally because construction became so popular, and then YCDC
began scrutinising contractor applicants more closely on a step-by-step
The increase scrutiny is good
for the construction field. But the
increase of deposits and annual
charges is causing more difficulties
for contractors, he said.
Other contractors have also criticised some of the engineers used
for inspection as having little experience, often being freshly graduated, which causes delays for some

When Thaketa township was

first settled, transportation was difficult, and we could not go downtown easily even though its not far
away, because of the Pazundaung
creek, she said.
But the bridge was built, transportation improved, prices got
higher and many people moved in.
A contractor said that like the
rest of Yangon, interest in Thaketa
increased beginning in 2012. Now,
modern apartments are a common
sight in what was formerly a quiet
area, though prices so far have stayed
below other suburban townships.
Now Thaketa has become very
prosperous and it seems just like
downtown on the main streets, he
said. Property on the main roads
has become very expensive and
shops can get a lot of the market.
Thaketa township comprises 19
wards and share borders with Dawbon township in the south, Bago
River in the east and Thingangyun
township in the north and west.

No Colombo port
project despite visit
Sri Lanka has yet to resolve a
dispute with China over a $1.4
billion development in Colombo
despite a state visit to Beijing last
week, a minister said.
New Sri Lankan President
Maithripala Sirisena suspended
the Chinese-backed construction of a port city in the capital
following allegations that environmental clearances had not
been obtained.
Some reports had indicated
the project would go ahead following Mr Sirisenas three-day
visit to Beijing last week.
But Deputy Foreign Minister
Ajith Perera said the president
had not discussed the project
with his Chinese counterpart Xi
Jinping. We have given them
[Chinese companies] time to
produce the environmental approvals, but they have not done
that yet, the minister said.

International Business 13

Workers strike for better pension

Thousands of workers at a Ho Chi
Minh City factory are striking for a
sixth day over a government pension
change as officials moved to quell Vietnams worst labour unrest since Mays
anti-China riots.
Several thousand workers converged
outside the factory owned by Taiwanese
footware manufacturer Pou Chen on
the morning of April 1, chanting and
unfurling banners as police stood by. As
many as 90,000 of the workers went on
strike last week, VnExpress reported. It
is unclear which shoemakers the facility supplies to. Workers said they make
footwear for Nike and other companies.
Nike denied sourcing from the factories
The new pension rules will stop
many workers from being eligible for
lump-sum social insurance payments
when they leave a company, delaying
payouts until they retire. Workers have
said they are concerned the money may
not be there in the future. Vietnams
Communist government restricts large,
unsanctioned gatherings.
None of us has a house, striking
worker Nguyen Van Thu, 28, said outside the gates of the shoe factory on
the night of March 31. When we cant
work, we want to get our social insurance all at once so we can build a house
for the family. We struggle to make a
living. We have to pay for all kinds of


Line mobile
app reviving
IPO plans
Line, the popular messaging app
launched in the aftermath of Japans
earthquake and tsunami, is set for an
initial public offering as early as this
year, a report said April 2, after shelving plans for a listing in 2014.
The leading Nikkei business daily
reported that the company has applied to trade its shares in Tokyo
and may launch a separate New York
listing in a sale that could value it at
more than US$8.0 billion.
A Line spokesperson said the company would not comment on the Nikkei report, which did not cite sources.
Line applied in mid-2014 for a
share sale in Japan, and said it was
eyeing a US listing as well. But it
pulled back in September, saying
it needed to focus on growth first
some reports said the sale was cancelled due to disagreements with its
parent over details of the listing.
The company, which claims more
than 400 million registered members
in Japan and other parts of Asia, lets
users make free calls, send instant
messages, and post photos or short
videos. It combines attributes of Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp.
It reported sales of 86.3 billion yen
($722 million) in its latest fiscal year.
Best known for letting users send
each other cute cartoon stickers,
Line is hugely popular in Japan, particularly among teenagers.
About 88 percent of Japanese
smartphone owners use messaging
apps such as Line, according to a
survey by the Communications and
Information network Association of
launched in 2011 by the Japanese
unit of South Korean Internet service
provider Naver Corp after the quaketsunami tragedy damaged telecoms
infrastructure nationwide, forcing
millions of people in Japan to resort
to online resources to communicate.
Line is based in Japan, but is
owned by Naver. AFP

Female workers perform road maintenance work along a highway in Soc Son district on the outskirts of Hanoi. Photo: AFP

insurance, and were afraid well lose it

under the new law.
Dozens of workers sat outside the
plant gate, in a suburban district of Ho
Chi Minh City on the evening of March
31. The next morning, workers and police with batons crowded the factory
The workers want to raise their
voices and speak out on this government policy, Serena Liu, chair of the

Council of Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, said by phone. They

feel this is the only way they can do it.
Its not about working conditions.
Nike and Converse do not source
from the contract factories currently
affected by the strike and there has
been no impact to Nike or Converse
production at contract factories in Vietnam, Nike said in a statement. We
are aware of the situation and will

continue to monitor.
Pou Chen called on the Vietnamese
government to provide assurances to
workers on the social insurance issue,
Pou Chen spokesperson Amos Ho said
by phone. The work stoppage, which
began March 26, may cause some production delays, Mr Ho said.
The Vietnamese government has
pledged to prevent more labour unrest
after workers damaged foreign facto-

ries following Chinas placement of an

oil rig in contested waters off Vietnams
coast last year.
The labour ministry is in talks with
the shoe-factory workers and has ordered government agencies across the
country to explain the purpose of the
new policy, which goes into effect in
2016, to workers to head off further
Most strikes in Vietnam are focused
on the practices of a company rather
than the government. More than 100
Vietnam Airlines pilots called in sick
at the start of 2015 amid discontent
over salaries. Last May, two people died
during anti-Chinese protests at foreign
factories. More 1000 workers at Levi
Strauss & Cos factory in the northern
province of Ninh Binh engaged in a
three-day strike in November 2013 to
demand better working conditions.
This is a very complex issue involving the poor living and working
conditions of the workers and the poor
protections the government provides to
them in terms of social security, said
Alexander Vuving, a security analyst
at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security
Studies in Hawaii. There is a lack of
trust. Institutionally, nobody represents
the interests of the workers. There are
labour unions in Vietnam, but they are
part of the Communist Party system.

14 International Business


New York

Wage deal not quite super-sized

FAST-FOOD giant McDonalds announced late April 1 that it would increase the wages of 90,000 employees in company-owned restaurants
in the United States and offer them
paid time-off.
The pay rise, however, will not
apply to workers in McDonalds
restaurants owned by franchisees,
which comprise some 90 percent of
the 14,000 McDonalds outlets across
the country.
McDonalds USA said that from
July 1 this year, the starting wages
for full- and part-time workers in its
own restaurants will be US$1 dollar above the local official minimum
The company gave no average
for that, but based on current state
standards, the new pay scale could
range from $6.15 an hour in Georgia
and Wyoming to $11.50 in Washington, DC.

This [wage plan]

barely affects
5 percent of
McDonalds workers
in this country.
Kendall Fells
Fight for $15 campaign
Steve Easterbrook, CEO of US fast food chain McDonalds, speaks during the re-opening of the McDonalds Restaurant at Frankfurt International Airport. Photo: AFP

Some cities have even higher local standards, so that a worker at a

McDonalds-owned restaurant in Seattle could earn $16 an hour.
On the other hand, five US states
have no minimum wage, and it was
not clear how McDonalds would set
pay in those.
The company said it expected
that by the end of 2016, the average
wage it pays workers at companyowned restaurants will be more than
$10 an hour.
It also said it will begin offering
paid time-off to full- and part-time

restaurant crew with at least one year

on the job, and expand educational
support for employees at all restaurants irrespective of ownership.
Weve been working on a comprehensive benefits package for our
employees the people who bring
our brand to life for customers every
day in our US restaurants, McDonalds president and chief executive
Steve Easterbrook said in a statement.
Weve listened to our employees
and learned that in addition to increased wages paid personal leave

and financial assistance for completing their education would make a real
difference in their careers and lives.
McDonalds said the 3100 franchisee companies that operate most
of the brands outlets around the
country will make their own decisions on wages.
The move comes as pressure
mounts on large employers in lowpaid service industries, from retail
chains to fast-food businesses, to
increase wages that have effectively
not risen for decades, when measured against the cost of living.

In February the countrys largest

private sector employer, Walmart,
which has long been criticised for
low wages that forced workers to
seek welfare assistance, said it would
boost the pay of 500,000 US workers
to at least $9 an hour.
Workers groups quickly assailed
the announcement as too limited,
and far below the target of a national
campaign to get $15 an hour for fast
food workers.
We know that McDonalds can
do much better, said Kendall Fells,
director of the Fight for $15 campaign.

This barely affects 5 percent of

McDonalds workers in this country.
There are still millions of families
living in poverty due to McDonalds
not raising the wages to $15, he said.
Cathy Ruckelshaus of the National Employment Law Project said
that because of low pay, McDonalds
workers cost the government over $1
billion a year in public assistance.
McDonalds is in a position to
take leadership on providing living
wages for its workers: It has plenty of
profits and revenues, she said.

Hong Kong

Trouble continues for

Macau casinos


Photo: AFP

Cranes loom out of sight of passersby at a construction site in Beijing.

Chinas manufacturing activity expanded in March for the first time
since December, the government said on April 1, a bright spot as the
worlds second-largest economy fights a broad slowdown in growth.

MACAUS casino gambling revenue

fell 39 percent in March, the secondworst monthly decline on record, as
high-end players stayed away from
tables amid Chinas anti-corruption
Gross gaming revenue in the
worlds largest gambling hub fell to
21.5 billion patacas (US$2.7 billion)
last month, the 10th-straight month
of decline, according to data released
on April 1 by Macaus Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That
compared with a median estimate of
40pc from nine analysts surveyed by
Macau casinos are facing their lowest revenue since 2011 as the Chinese
economy slows and President Xi Jinpings nationwide graft crackdown
stretches into a third year. The campaign has hurt sales of luxury goods
and deterred high rollers from visiting
the countrys only legal enclave of casino gambling. A smoking ban in casinos and stricter visa rules have also
damped business.
The former Portuguese colony recorded its biggest-ever drop in monthly gaming revenue in February almost 49pc due to weak demand over
the Lunar New Year holiday, usually a

peak gambling period.

The latest data shows that revenue
for the first quarter fell 37pc to 64.8
billion patacas.
The contraction in Macau has led
analysts to cut their forecasts for casino receipts this year to about 278
billion patacas, which would be the
smallest take since 2011. Revenue was
expected to fall 21pc, according to the
median estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, more than double the decline they had projected in
Macaus government reduced its
average monthly forecast to a figure
that would represent a 32pc plunge
from last year, chief executive Fernando Chui said last week. The citys
trying to diversify its economy and
develop itself into a global tourism
center to cut its reliance on casino
Casino operators are adding shops,
restaurants and other non-gaming
entertainment attractions to attract
more middle-class consumers. In May,
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd will
be the first among the citys six major
casino operators to open a new wave
of new and expanded resorts.

Job Watch
Embassy of Canada, Yangon
Ambassade du Canada, Yangon
invites applications for the positions of
Common Services (CS) Assistant
Salary: USD 11,167 per annum
(based on 37.5 hours work week)
Please read the detailed competition notice & job description available at before applying
Last Date to Submit Application for this position:

14 April 2015; 16:00 hours Yangon local time

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in
Myanmar is seeking for qualified applicants to fill the following position:
1) Field Associate, GL-6

(UNOPS Contract - LICA, Sittwe)
2) Driver PN 10012506, GL-2

(UNHCR Contract - FTA, Sittwe)
Closing date: 13 April 2015

N e w V a c a n c i e s A P P L Y N O W!

The detailed Terms of Reference for these positions are available on request
from UNHCR offices in Yangon, Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Sittwe, Myitkyina,
Bhamo, Mawlamyine, Hpa-An, Loikaw, Dawei and Taungoo.

Business Development manager

Marketing manager
Sales and distribution manager
Brand manager
Logistic officer
Medical doctor
Project manager
Sales engineer
Site engineer
Chief Accountant
HR Manager
HR Executive
Legal executive
Passenger service agent ( airline)
Customer service

Challenging Media Sales Position

MCM is looking for an excellent candidate to oversee our National

Sales Force. Successful candidates will have strong commercial management
experience, the vision to develop our business, and a track-record of B2B
Sales Management. Experience in the media sector will be a bonus.

The National Sales Director will oversee our Sales Departments
activities day-to-day, coaching the team towards strong sales performance
while overseeing the placement of advertisements into our products, and
reporting directly to top management.

Success in this challenging position will require going beyond weekto-week management and test your ability to chase new business, develop
new business opportunities, and inform the companys growth as a whole.
Your success in this position will pave the way towards a rewarding career
in Media. Are you ready to take your management career to the next level?
Remuneration will be commensurate with candidates experience.
Apply today:
Email our HR team at for a full job
description and details on the application process.

No. 851/853 (A/B), 3rd Floor, Room (7/8),

Bogyoke Aung San Road, Lanmadaw Township,
Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: (951) 229 437, 09 49 227 773, 09 730 94007

The Human Resources Manager: Myanmar Consolidated Media Ltd.

379-383 Bo Aung Kyaw Street, Kyauktada T/S, Yangon
Email applications to:

16 THE MYANMAR TIMES April 3, 2015


World editor: Fiona MacGregor


UK financier in court
over double murder
BRITISH banker Rurik Jutting appeared before a packed courtroom
in Hong Kong yesterday accused of
the murder of two young Indonesian
women whose mutilated bodies were
found in his apartment.
Wearing the same black T-shirt
and dark-rimmed glasses as in previous hearings, Mr Jutting, 30, returned to magistrates court after
being deemed fit to stand trial in November following psychiatric tests.
The former Merrill Lynch Bank of
America employee faces life in prison if he is convicted of the murder
But the case was adjourned until
May 8 after the prosecution asked for
more time.
One-time securities trader Mr Jutting, who has not yet entered a plea
in the case, was attentive but looked
tired. He spoke twice to say I do
when asked whether he understood
the two charges against him.
Seneng Mujiasih and Sumarti
Ningsih, both in their 20s, were
found dead in Mr Juttings upmarket
flat in the early hours of November 1
after he called police.
Ms Mujiasih was found in the
living room, naked and with knife
wounds to her legs and buttocks. The

British banker Rurik Jutting (right) sits

in a prison van leaving court in Hong
Kong on November 10, 2014.
Photo: AFP

decaying body of Ms Ningsih was

found hours later in a suitcase on the
High-flying Cambridge graduate
Jutting is being held at Hong Kongs
maximum security Siu Lam psychiatric prison. It is a walled hilltop compound on the outskirts of Hong Kong.
Defence counsel Tim Parker
accused the prosecution of yo-yoing for initially saying that they
would need until July to present a
case, then coming back to court, only
to delay once more.
It was an unnecessary waste of
cost ... My client was forced to come
here, said Mr Parker, who added that
the prosecution had sent the defence
case documents too late.
Magistrate Jason Wan turned
down an application for costs, saying
that it was not unusual for a complex case to take time.
Once all the evidence is submitted,
after being reviewed by both sides,
the magistrate will commit the case
to the High Court, which handles
murder cases and where an official
plea must be entered.
In a city generally regarded as safe
by residents and known for its highend shops and glitzy skyscrapers, the
killings were unusually brutal and
shone a spotlight on the seedy underbelly of the finance hub.
Police have said they were investigating whether the two women were
sex workers after cocaine and sex toys
were found in the apartment, just a
few streets away from Hong Kongs
red-light district, where Mr Jutting
was reportedly a regular.
But their distraught parents said
they believed their children had been
working at restaurants.
Ms Mujiasih had entered the city
on a domestic worker visa in 2010,
but that had lapsed in 2012, while Ms
Ningsih came in on a tourist visa in
October last year. AFP


Japan politicians debate

Extraterrestrial invasion
ALIEN spaceships have never entered
Japanese airspace, the countrys defence minister has told parliamentarians, after being questioned about a
possible aerial invasion by little green
Gen Nakatani said the nations war
planes can be scrambled whenever
there is a report of an unidentified flying object (UFO) but, so far, they had
not encountered visitors from space.
When the Air Self Defence Force
detects indications of an unidentified
flying object that could violate our
countrys airspace, it scrambles fighter
jets if necessary and makes visual observation, he said.
They sometimes find birds or flying objects other than aircraft but I
dont know a case of finding an unidentified flying object believed to have
come over from anywhere other than
Earth, he said.
Mr Nakatani, a sober politician
with a reputation for thorough understanding of his brief, was responding
to a question from flamboyant wrestler-turned-lawmaker Antonio Inoki.
At a meeting of the budget committee in Japans upper house, Mr Inoki

had asked if aircraft were dispatched

to meet extra-terrestrial visitors and
whether studies [into them] are going on.
Mr Inoki, known for his outsized
chin and trademark red scarf, said he
did not know whether or not aliens existed, but he had once seen a mysterious flying object rocket into the air on
the horizon and disappear.
The exchange was not the first official Japanese pronouncement on
spacemen and their aircraft.
A 2007 statement said the government has not confirmed the existence
of unidentified flying objects believed
to have come from anywhere other
than Earth.
But the statement, formally endorsed at a cabinet meeting, prompted a surprise rebuttal from the top
government spokesperson.
Nobutaka Machimura, chief cabinet secretary at the time, said: Personally, I absolutely believe they exist.
Then-defence minister Shigeru
Ishiba also said that in his personal
opinion there were no grounds to
deny that there are UFOs controlled
by alien life-forms. AFP


US leads criticism of martia

THE Thai juntas decision to lift
martial law was denounced by
critics yesterday as cosmetic, with
key ally Washington warning that
replacement emergency security
measures would do little to loosen
the militarys grip on power.
In an announcement late on
April 1 Thailands generals officially lifted martial law 10 months
after seizing power in a coup.
But the controversial law,
which Western allies had urged
Bangkok to revoke, was replaced
with a new executive order retaining sweeping powers for the
military and junta chief Prayut
Those measures were passed
under section 44 of the junta-written interim constitution, a controversial provision handing Gen Prayut power to make any executive
decision in the name of national
The new order includes a continuance of a ban on political
gatherings of more than five people, while the military retains the
right to arrest, detain and prosecute people for national security
crimes or those who fall foul of
the countrys strict royal defamation laws.
A new rule also appears to
deepen censorship of the media,
by allowing military officers to
stop the publication or presentation of any news they deem
to be causing fear or distorted
A US State Department official
said Washington expected the Thai
military to end trials of civilians in

military courts, detention without

charge and to allow people to express their opinions freely.
We are concerned that moving
to a security order under article 44
will not accomplish any of these
objectives, the official said.
Inside Thailand, analysts and
critics pilloried the replacement
measures as martial law in all but
Section 44 is actually worse
[than martial law], constitutional
scholar Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang of Bangkoks Chulalongkorn University said, adding that
the new order allows Gen Prayut
to execute key decisions without
the oversight of a military court.
When they ask for the martial
law to be lifted, what the public is
really asking for is the return of

Section 44 is
actually worse
[than martial law].
Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang
Constitutional scholar

basic rights and liberties to Thais.

Gen Prayut fails to understand
that, he said.
Political commentator Verapat
Pariyawong described the move to
replace martial law with something even worse as an April
Fools day trick.
The junta realises the situation

is very unstable at the moment.

They know they lack legitimacy.
That is why they have to maintain
such a tight grip, the Londonbased analyst said.
But some defended the military
saying the potential remained for
anti-coup protests to upset the
uneasy peace imposed since the
The powers have been reduced, former prime minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva, a staunch proestablishment politician, said adding that those who criticise the
new order as the same as martial
law are being unfair.
They [the military] are looking for a way to try and relax but
they are doing it at their own pace
and they still feel that they are not
yet secure, he added.
Thailands generals had been
under pressure from western allies, businesses and tour operators
to rescind martial law.
The tourism industry, which
usually accounts for around 10
percent of GDP, said the law put
tourists off and made it difficult
for some visitors to obtain insurance.
Earlier this week junta officials
told reporters that Gen Prayut was
inclined to lift martial law because
of pressure from foreign governments.
Thailands generals took over
last May after months of often
violent street protests that led
to the ousting of Yingluck Shinawatras democratically elected
It marked the latest chapter in


Celebrations as
Tikrit reclaimed
from rebels

Indias elderly
choosing retirement
homes over family life

world 21

World 23


Photo: AFP

South Korean
protestors cut an
effigy of Japans
Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe with a
saw during an antiJapan rally outside
the Japanese
embassy in Seoul
on April 1. Mr Abe
described comfort
women mainly
Koreans who were
forced to serve
as sex slaves for
Japanese troops
during World War
II as victims of
human trafficking
in a recent
interview with a US

Micronesians plead for aid after storm

RESIDENTS in storm-wrecked areas of Micronesia appealed for help
yesterday as a clean-up began on
the worst-affected islands after Super Typhoon Maysak swept through
the region on its way toward the
We can do with all the help we
can get, Courtney Stinnett at the
Truk Stop Hotel dive shop on the
main island of Weno in Chuuk state
A state of emergency has been
declared in Chuuk, the largest region in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) where five people
were killed and houses and crops
destroyed by Maysak.
The super typhoon took three
days to cross the central Pacific
archipelago before heading out to
sea and towards the Philippines,
but relief workers said it could be
a year before some land is restored
enough to plant crops again.
The storm ripped the iron roofs
off houses. About 95 percent of the
homes were damaged, Ms Stinnett
said, adding that residents were
gathering scattered sheets of iron to
hastily make their wrecked homes

There are fallen trees and you
cant get through many back roads,
she said.
There are two live aboards [vessels] which have significant damage
after being swept on to the reef. The
crew had to jump off and swim to
land. Quite a few were injured but
all survived.
The Pacific Maritime Association
(PMA) sent an aircraft to survey the
damage on Ulithi atoll which was
hit hard when the eye of the storm
passed over on the night of March
31 with sustained winds of 260 kilometres (160 miles) per hour.
Most concrete structures withstood the fury but everything else
was damaged, PMA Pacific administrator Melinda Espinosa said in
an email.
Because Ulithi is just a little
above sea level, in some areas the
sea rose, destroying crops and the
soil. It will take time to desalinate
the soil, approximately a year until
the crops can be re-planted, she
In Chuuk, Ms Stinnett said they
were reliant on ships to bring in

relief supplies but they may first be

diverted to the many small islands
where residents lost their boats and
had no way of going for help.
On neighbouring Guam, the
Bank of Guam and the Ayuda Foundation have teamed up to prepare
medical packages which will either
be air-dropped or delivered by boat
to the worst-hit islands.
We are saddened to learn of
the deaths and devastation to our
neighbouring islands and send
our support for a speedy recovery.
Bank of Guam President Lou Leon
Guerrero said.
The Guam weather office said
the maximum sustained winds of
Maysak had decreased to 140 mph
yesterday and it would continue to
weaken before hitting the Philippines at the weekend.
The typhoon is expected to hit
the northern Philippines late tomorrow or early Sunday as millions
of Filipinos enjoy the Easter weekend holiday.
Last month, Cyclone Pam
slammed into the Pacific nation of
Vanuatu, leaving 11 dead.

ial law replacement

a decade of political conflict broadly pitting Bangkoks middle classes
and the royalist elite, backed by
parts of the military and judiciary, against pro-Shinawatra urban
working-class voters and farmers
from the countrys north.
Gen Prayut has vowed to return
power to an elected civilian government, but only once reforms to tackle corruption and curb the power of

political parties are codified in a

new constitution.
Critics say those reforms are
aimed at neutering the power of the
Shinawatras, ensuring that they and
parties linked to them can never
take office again.
Parties run by or allied to the
Shinawatras have won every election since 2001.

Structures damaged during storms brought on by Super Typhoon Maysak lie broken near the village of Mwan on the
island of Weno in the Micronesian state of Chuuk on March 29. Residents were struggling to clear the roads of huge
pieces of debris and return to damaged homes on April 1. Photo: AFP

18 World



Seize the moment, Iran tells leaders

ROLLERCOASTER talks with Iran
stretched deep into the early hours
of yesterday as the countrys foreign
minister told world powers to seize
the moment to clinch a groundbreaking deal with Tehran to curtail
its nuclear program.
We are a few metres ... from the
finishing line, but we are well aware
that the final metres are the hardest, French Foreign Minister Laurent
Fabius told reporters, as he arrived
back in Switzerland to rejoin the
The stakes were very high, he said,
adding at issue was the question of
non-proliferation, and Irans reintegration into the international community.
Mr Fabius was re-joining US Secretary of State John Kerry and their
counterparts from Germany and Britain, as well as political directors from
Russia and China.
A US official confirmed Mr Kerry
held four hours of late-night talks
with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU deputy
foreign policy chief Helga Schmid,
adding to days of already bruising
In back-to-back talks, the top US
diplomat then went straight into a
meeting with Mr Fabius and German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at 1:20am before just a few
minutes later resuming negotiations
with Mr Zarif and Ms Schmid.
Iran has shown its readiness
to engage with dignity and its time
for our negotiating partners to seize
the moment, Mr Zarif told reporters
Iran had shown it wants an entente with the world, but it will
not accept submitting to force and

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (left), senior director at the National Security Council Robert Malley (centre) and
US Secretary of State John Kerry stand on the terrace of the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel in Lausanne on April 1. Photo: AFP

excessive demands, Mr Zarif said.

After 18 months of intense negotiations, it remained unclear if the six
world powers and Iran will pin down
the main contours of a deal to put a
nuclear bomb out of Irans reach.
The aim is to turn this into a comprehensive accord backed by specific
technical commitments by June 30
when an interim deal struck in November 2013, which saw Iran freeze
certain nuclear activities in return for


Ebola vaccine trials

show early success
AN experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in Europe and Africa
sparks the production of the antibodies needed to neutralise the deadly virus, a Geneva hospital said on April 1.
There is no licensed treatment
or vaccine for Ebola, and the World
Health Organization last year endorsed rushing potential ones through
trials in a bid to stem the epidemic
still simmering in west Africa.
Initial clinical trials of the VSV-ZEBOV candidate vaccine, manufactured
by the Public Health Agency of Canada
and developed by Merck, show that it
triggers the production of antibodies
capable of neutralising the Ebola virus, the Geneva University Hospitals
(HUG) said in a statement.
A study of the phase 1 clinical trials on 158 volunteers in Switzerland,
Germany, Gabon and Kenya, published in the New England Journal of
Medicine, also showed that the even
small amounts of the vaccine could be
effective. The phase 1 trials are aimed
at testing for safety.
The study compared the doses tested by the various teams, ranging from
300,000 to 50 million vaccine particles, and found that even low doses
of this experimental vaccine are able
to trigger the production of antibodies
against the Ebola virus.
Follow-up analysis six and 12
months after the volunteers took the
shot should determine whether a
single injection is enough to induce a
lasting immune response or if booster injections would be needed, HUG
Since the Ebola outbreak began in

Guinea in December 2013, more than

25,000 people in nine countries have
been infected with the virus, and over
10,400 of them have died. All but a
handful of those deaths have occurred
in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
HUG stressed on April 1 that phase
III clinical trials underway in Guinea,
which are aimed at testing for efficacy,
will determine whether the immune
response triggered by this vaccine is
able to protect the population against
the Ebola virus.
Those trials would also show
whether large-scale vaccination campaigns were feasible, it said.
The trials at HUG were briefly suspended late last year after several volunteers experienced unexpected joint
pains, but resumed after it cut the
doses used.
The hospital said on April 1 that
VSV-ZEBOV provoked inflammatory
reactions like fever and muscle pain
in almost all the volunteers, which is
common in live vaccines.
In one in five volunteers however,
the vaccine particles reached joints
and caused pain similar to rheumatism for about 10 days, mostly in
hands, feet, knees and elbows.
Some volunteers also developed
rashes for a few weeks, it said.
But not a single volunteer had to
miss work or be hospitalised, HUG
Another experimental vaccine,
ChAd3, made by Britains GlaxoSmithKline, is also undergoing phase 1 trials in a range of countries and started
phase 3 trials in Liberia in February.

minor sanctions relief, expires.

Success would end a 12-year-old
standoff. Failure may set the United
States and Israel on a road to military
action to thwart Irans nuclear drive.
The White House said the talks
were still productive and progress
was being made.
But if we are in a situation where
we sense that the talks have stalled
then yes, the United States and the
international community is prepared

to walk away, said White House

spokesperson Josh Earnest.
Despite missing the March 31 midnight deadline, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had raised hopes
of an agreement in principle on all
key aspects of the final settlement
before leaving on April 1.
Irans chief negotiator Abbas
Araghchi had also appeared hopeful,
saying he believed that at the end of
the day we will be able to come to a

conclusion and a resolution for all issues.

He said there were two main
sticking points: a mechanism for lifting crippling sanctions against the
Islamic republic; and the countrys
research and development of new nuclear machinery.
Global powers want Iran to scale
down its nuclear program to extend
the breakout time needed to assemble enough nuclear material to make
a bomb.
Iran denies wanting the bomb and
its negotiators are under strict orders
from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei to refuse any curtailing of
its program without sanctions relief.
Global powers have always refused
an immediate lifting of all sanctions,
preferring instead a phased suspension to enable them to be put back in
place if Iran violates the deal.
If the outlines under negotiation
fall short of firm commitments by
Iran, US President Barack Obama
could find it hard to fend off attempts
by his Republican opponents to pass
fresh sanctions on Tehran.
Irans negotiators are also under
pressure from domestic hardliners
not to give too much away while also
delivering on President Hassan Rouhanis promise to win the lifting of
US Republicans fear that Iran
will still be able to get the bomb.
That concern is shared by Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
whose country is widely assumed to
have nuclear weapons itself.
Mr Netanyahu, in his fourth
broadside in as many days, warned
against a bad deal that would endanger Israel, and the Middle East and
the peace of the world. AFP

Students killed in gun attack

Masked gunmen stormed a

university in northeast Kenya at
dawn yesterday, killing at least
two people at the campus not far
from war-torn Somalias lawless
Gunmen forced their way into
Garissa University by shooting at the guards manning the
main gate at around 5:30 am,
said Kenya Police Chief Joseph
The gunmen shot indiscriminately while inside the university
compound, he said.
The number of students and
teachers trapped inside the
campus was unclear and gunfire
and explosions could be heard
coming from the site.
At least two people have been
killed and four injured in the attack, according to Kenyas official
National Disaster Operations
Centre said.
There was no immediate claim
of responsibility but the town
lies roughly 150 kilometres (90
miles) west of Somalia and has
in the past been targeted by militants from the al-Qaeda-linked
A witness, Ahmed Nur, said he
saw the bodies of two university
guards, shot by the attackers.
Kenyas Red Cross is evacuating
the wounded.
Students reported seeing up
to four masked gunmen entering
the university compound before
dawn on yesterday.
The area surrounding the
university has been sealed off by
the Kenya security forces and the
army has been called in.

Special needs pupil kept in cage

An Australian principal was suspended yesterday after a primary school

child with special needs was allegedly
put in a cage-like structure inside a
Australian Capital Territory Education Minister Joy Burch said she was
immensely disappointed, disturbed
and quite frankly disgusted that the
2-metre withdrawal space, made of
metal fencing, was allowed in school.
It was reportedly built for a 10-yearold autistic student, who was placed
in it between March 10 and 27. Media
reports referred to it as cage-like.
An independent inquiry has been
launched and two extra teachers
qualified in disability education assigned to the school.
Whether it was in the school for
17 days, 17 minutes or 17 seconds,
it had no place there, Ms Burch told
Words cant put into place the
absolute disappointment and horror I
have that, in our schools, that anyone
would consider a structure of this
nature in any way, shape or form acceptable. The Canberra school was
not named but the childs concerned
family contacted the Human Rights
The ACT Education Directorate said
it was an isolated example of very
poor decision-making.
A withdrawal space was erected
inside a classroom for a student with
behavioural challenges and special
needs. The space was a fenced-in
structure inside a classroom, it said
in a statement. It was entirely inappropriate and unacceptable. This
is an isolated example of very poor
decision-making and of the upmost
seriousness, it added.

Top militant confirmed killed

The FBI confirmed yesterday that a

senior Malaysian militant with a US$5
million reward on his head was killed
in a January raid in the Philippine that
also left 44 police commandos dead.
The confirmation provides some
validation for the botched raid that
plunged President Benigno Aquinos
administration into crisis and jeopardised efforts to end a decades-long
Muslim separatist insurgency.
After a thorough review of forensic data and information obtained
from our Philippine law enforcement
partners, the FBI has assessed that
terrorism subject, Zulkifli Abdhir, also
known as Marwan, is deceased and
has been removed from the FBIs list
of Most Wanted Terrorists, the US
law-enforcement agency said in a
The raid claimed the lives of 44
members of the Philippine police
Special Action Force (SAF) who were
attacked by Muslim gunmen after
they raided Zulkiflis hideout on January 25. The SAF commandos were
sent to the troubled southern island
of Mindanao get Zulkifli and a senior
Filipino militant leader Abdul Basit
Usman, who escaped.
The high death toll caused Mr
Aquinos approval rating to tumble to
its lowest level since he took office in
2010 and prompted questions about
the nature of US-Philippines cooperation on military operations.We have
got our man and (the operation) was
a success, Philippine national police
spokesperson Chief Superintendent
Generoso Cerbo said.
Zulkifli was a top militant in the
Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) which is suspected of carrying out the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings which killed 202 people. AFP

20 World



Humanitarian crisis feared as dozens

of civilians killed in single air strike
DOZENS of civilians were reported
killed on April 1 when a dairy was
bombed in Yemen, as aid groups
warned of a brewing humanitarian crisis from the Saudi-led coalitions strikes
on Shiite rebels.
Yemens foreign minister called for
the coalition to send in ground troops,
saying that at some stage, air strikes
will be ineffective.
Diplomats said meanwhile that Gulf
countries were locked in tough negotiations with Russia on a UN draft resolution to impose an arms embargo and
sanctions on the Huthi Shiite rebels.
But rights groups have voiced growing alarm about civilian casualties
from the nearly week-old air war aimed
at preventing the fall of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
At least 37 workers were killed and
80 wounded overnight at the dairy in
the Red Sea port of Hodeida, Governor
Hasan al-Hai said, without specifying
whether the plant was hit by an air
strike or rebel shelling.
Health authorities said 35 people
were killed and dozens wounded, and
that rescuers had to search for survivors under the rubble of the partly destroyed factory.
The circumstances of the bombing were unclear, with some witnesses
saying the dairy was hit by a coalition
strike and others blaming rebels loyal
to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Coalition spokesperson Brigadier
General Ahmed Assiri accused the Huthis of targeting the site, using mortar
shells and Katyusha rockets ... in a bid
to create unrest among the Yemeni
The Arab forces would continue
to evaluate targets and lower the
chances of targeting civilians or aid
workers, he said, urging humanitarian
organisations to contact concerned
parties in order to facilitate this process.
Brig Gen Assiri said the latest Saudi-led operations targeted rebel brigades in Daleh, Aden and Shabwa, all
provinces in Yemens south.
Pro-government forces had seized
the town of Daleh, and a bid to also
take Shabwa was showing positive

A wounded Yemeni man receives treatment on April 1 at the burn unit of a hospital in Yemeni capital Sanaa, following a reported airstrike by the Saudi-led coalitions
in the area of Yarim south of the capital the day before. Photo: AFP

results, he added, urging the renegade

troops to rejoin forces of the legitimate government.
The coalition bombarded rebel positions in the main southern port city
Aden in a seventh night of raids that
also targeted the capital and other areas.
Those strikes focused on the rebelheld provincial administration complex in Dar Saad in the citys north, said
a military official.
Clashes on April 1 pitting rebels
against residents and militias, sparked
by a Huthi advance on Adens Khor
Maksar district killed at least 19 people,
six of them civilians, officials said.
The coalition has vowed to keep

targeting the Huthis and allied army

units loyal to Saleh until they end their
Air strikes targeting military bases
in Sanaa resumed later on April 1 as
rebel air defence systems fired back,
residents said.
The United Arab Emirates said its
fighter jets carried out successful
raids against Sanaas Huthi-held airport, and arms depots in the capital
and third city Taez.
A medic at the University Of Science & Technology Hospital said a
mortar landed at the facilitys entrance,
wounding five civilians.
Six other civilians were killed in
an air raid on Maydi in the northwest

province of Hajjah, officials said.

After entering the capital in September, the Huthis and their allies
gradually conquered areas in the centre, west and south before bearing
down on Aden last month, prompting
Mr Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.
The embattled president had taken
refuge in Aden in February after escaping house arrest in the capital.
Since March 27, at least 93 civilians
had been killed and 364 wounded, the
UN said on March 31.
We have reports that the hospitals
are really full of dead and injured people, spokesperson Cecile Pouilly said.
We have heard about lots of dead bodies.

UN human rights high commissioner Zeid Raad Al Hussein warned

Yemen seems to be on the verge of total collapse.
Yemens Foreign Minister Riyadh
Yassin said sending ground troops
would cause less civilian casualties
and enable aid deliveries.
A Western diplomat said a land offensive would be complicated because
it would have to pass through northern
mountains, with which the Huthis are
highly familiar.
Meanwhile, al-Qaedas Yemen franchise, seen by the US as the networks
deadliest, said it killed eight Huthis in
a bomb attack on their vehicle in the
central province of Bayda. AFP


Al-Qaeda, rebels seize last Syria-Jordan border crossing

REBELS backed by Syrias al-Qaeda
affiliate have seized control of the last
border crossing with Jordan that had
been under regime control, dealing
a major blow to President Bashar alAssad.
Armed groups, joined today by alQaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, took
over the Nasib border point from regime soldiers on the Syrian side of
the frontier, said Rami Abdel Rahman
of the Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights on April 1.
A coalition of rebel groups had
launched the offensive March 31, and
al-Nusra joined them late the following day.
A pro-regime security source said
the Syrian army withdrew from the
Nasib border crossing.
Abdel Rahman said the takeover
meant there was no longer a regime
presence on the border with Jordan.
Shortly afterward, regime helicopters began dropping barrel bombs
crude weapons made of oil drums or
barrels stuffed with explosives on
rebel positions near Nasib, said the
Observatory director.
There was no immediate information on any casualties.
Jordan had said earlier it closed

the crossing, which leads to Syrias

Daraa province, to both travellers and
It was a preventive measure to
safeguard the lives and security of
travellers due to the fighting underway on the other side of the border,
Interior Minister Hussein Majali said.
Rebels have been gaining territory
in the southern province of Daraa,
cradle of the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising against Mr Assad that
triggered Syrias civil war.
Last week they seized full control
of the ancient town of Bosra al-Sham,
pushing pro-regime forces out after
days of heavy fighting.
In January rebels, including alNusra Front, seized an important government army base in the province.
In another upset for the regime,
the extremist Islamic State group
stormed a refugee camp in Damascus,
its first assault inside the capital.
Clashes between armed factions
and IS jihadists raged in the Yarmuk
refugee camp in southern Damascus
after the jihadists overran much of
the Palestinian haven in a lightning
Fighters from IS launched an assault this morning on Yarmuk and

they took over the majority of the

camp, said Anwar Abdel Hadi, the
Palestine Liberation Organisations
political affairs director in Damascus.
They reached the Palestinian hospital and 15th Street, which are in the
centre of the camp, he said.

[There is] no longer

a regime presence
on the border with
Rami Abdel Rahman
Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights

The Observatory said IS took control of a large part of Yarmuk during

fighting with Palestinian groups also
opposed to Assad.
According to the Observatory, the
jihadists had infiltrated the camp from
the rebel-held town of Hajar al-Aswa.
But by the evening of April 1, an
armed group loyal to Palestinian

movement Hamas had regained some

of these areas, said the Britain-based
monitoring group.
It said three people had been killed
in the fighting.
The UN agency for Palestinian
refugees, UNRWA, said it was extremely concerned about the safety
of civilians in Yarmuk and that some
3500 children were in extreme risk
of death, serious injury, trauma and
Yarmuk, located only 6 kilometres
(3.7 miles) from downtown Damascus,
was once a thriving home to 160,000
Palestinian refugees and Syrians.
But it has been devastated
by fighting and a tight blockade
imposed by the army nearly two years
ago that created dire humanitarian
The camp, covering an area of
just 2 square kilometres (less than a
square mile), has seen its population
dwindle to only about 18,000.
Last year, it witnessed scenes of
desperation as thousands of people
crammed into devastated streets
to queue for food distributed by
Rebel fighters had withdrawn
from Yarmuk in February 2014 under

a deal that left only Palestinian antiregime groups inside.

IS, which declared a self-styled
caliphate last year over large parts
of Syria and Iraq under its control,
has fought against the Assad regime
and rebel groups as it seeks to gain
A Yarmuk activist said IS launched
the attack after some of its members
were detained following the murder
there of a leader of the Palestinian
Islamist movement Hamas on March
In other developments on April 1,
Islamist groups attacked regime positions south of the northwestern city of
Idlib, now under the control of rebels,
the Observatory said.
Islamists have taken control of
one-third of Al-Mastumah, where regime forces fled after leaving Idlib,
Abdel Rahman said.
The Syrian army captured a strategic position in the rebel-held town of
Zabadani, northwest of Damascus on
the road to Beirut.
More than 215,000 people have
been killed and more than half of the
countrys population has been displaced since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011. AFP

World 21

Success over IS
at Tikrit boosts
liberation plans
IRAQ has vowed to reclaim the entire country from jihadists after retaking Tikrit from the Islamic State
group, as its forces fought to consolidate control of the city.
Speaking on April 1 from a newly
recaptured area of central Tikrit
after a month-long operation that
was Baghdads biggest success yet
against IS, Prime Minister Haider
al-Abadi said the government was
determined to liberate every inch
of Iraqi land.
But Tikrit is far from secure,
with various officials saying that IS
militants were still present in the
city, while bomb-rigged houses and
buildings also pose a major threat.
Interior Minister Mohammed
al-Ghaban told journalists in Tikrit
that there were a few pockets [of IS
fighters] remaining in some of the
And a commander from the Ketaeb Imam Ali militia, one of the
paramilitary forces fighting alongside police and soldiers, reported
clashes with IS in the citys north
on the morning of April 1.
They tried to advance on the
university, Rasul al-Abadi said, referring to Tikrit University on the
northern edge of the city that has
served as a base for pro-government

[The government
is] determined to
liberate every inch
of Iraqi land.
Haider al-Abadi
Iraq prime minister

Mr Ghaban said IS fighters were
trying to cross the Tigris river, east
of the city, to escape.
Supporting that assertion, a
paramilitary commander said the jihadists launched an attack on April
1 from a mountain hideout northeast of Tikrit in an attempt to open
a safe passage for fleeing militants.
There has been concern that Iraq
does not have enough specialised
ordnance clearance teams to handle
the large quantity of traps left by IS
Mr Ghaban said security forces
had so far found 185 rigged houses
and about 900 other bombs.
Exploding bombs periodically
sent clouds of dust rising over
Tikrit, apparently detonated intentionally by forces working to clear
the city.
One militiaman said he fired a
rocket-propelled grenade to dispose
of a suspected car bomb in central
Columns of black smoke rose
from various burning houses and
buildings in the city.
Some of the dozens of palaces
in dictator Saddam Husseins massive complex on the eastern side
of the city were smashed by shelling or air strikes, but other areas
of Tikrit were comparatively lightly
Militia have quickly set about
spray painting the names of their
groups on walls and windows, and
also looted items including clothes,
shampoo and shaving cream from
shops in central Tikrit.
There is still evidence of ISs
almost 10-month presence in the
city, including the groups black
flag painted on walls and writing

Shiite fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units flash the sign for victory in Tikrit on April 1. Photo: AFP

identifying some buildings as properties of the jihadists self-declared

On March 31, Mr Abadi claimed
the city was retaken but the US-led
coalition supporting Baghdad from
the air said IS still held parts of
Defence Minister Khaled alObeidi vowed on April 1 to press on
with offensive operations.
We are coming, Anbar. We are
coming, Nineveh, he said in a recorded address, referring to the
last two provinces still largely controlled by IS.
The loss of Tikrit further isolates
Mosul, the capital of Nineveh and
the main IS hub in Iraq, with Baghdads forces now poised to push
north while Kurdish forces close in
from the three other directions.
Zaid al-Ali, author of The

Struggle For Iraqs Future, said however that the fighting in Tikrit was made
easier because the city was largely emptied of its population even before the
operation began on March 2.
Mosul still has a large civilian
population, which will make things
very complicated, the analyst said.
The government has provided
no information on how many of its
fighters were killed, wounded or
captured in the battle, but Baghdads forces are believed to have
suffered significant casualties.
The army and police, as well as
pro-government paramilitary forces
dominated by Iran-backed Shiite
militias, completely surrounded
Tikrit within two weeks of launching the operation, but it then stalled
and Abadi requested coalition
strikes, which began on March 25.
Iran was Baghdads top foreign

partner for much of the operation

involvement evidenced by graffiti in
Persian in the city.
The Iraqi government had tried
and failed several times to retake
Tikrit, but the latest operation was
much larger and better organised.
When Iraqi forces retook
Saddams palace complex, they also
found sites believed to contain the
bodies of mainly Shiite recruits executed by IS last year in a massacre
that stoked widespread anger and
helped rally support for the battle
against the jihadists.
Blood still stains a concrete waterfront police post where the killings took place.
This place reminds us of those
who were unjustly killed. It reminds
us of the massacre, Ghaban said at
the execution site, sobbing. They
were innocent people. AFP

22 World



Newly elected Buhari vows to rid

Nigeria of Boko Haram terror
Buhari has vowed to rid Nigeria of
the terror of Boko Haram after his
historic election victory marking
the first democratic transfer of power in Africas most populous nation.
The 72-year-old former military
ruler also pledged reconciliation
with political opponents who fear
a return to his autocratic regime of
the 1980s, and a government representing all Nigerians.
I assure you that Boko Haram
will soon know the strength of our
collective will and commitment to
rid this nation of terror and bring
back peace, Mr Buhari said in an
acceptance speech after his dramatic win.
We shall spare no effort until we
defeat terrorism.
Boko Haram, whose rampage
through northeastern Nigeria has
left more than 13,000 people dead
in six years, is Mr Buharis most
pressing security problem.
He also promised to address a
culture of political impunity and the
evil of rampant corruption, but
said there would be no witch-hunt
and his beaten opponent Goodluck
Jonathan had nothing to fear.
Our long night has passed and
the daylight of new democratic
government has broken across the
land. Democracy and the rule of law
will be established in the land.
Lets put the past behind us,
especially the recent past. We must

They have set a

huge, huge example
across Africa
that democracy
and change of
government can
Linda Thomas-Greenfield
US assistant secretary of state for
African affairs

forget our old battles and past grievances and forge ahead.
Mr Buharis victory wrote a new
chapter in Nigerias often turbulent
political history, after six military
coups since independence in 1960
and 16 years of unbroken civilian
rule by Mr Jonathans Peoples Democratic Party.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US
President Barack Obama led the
congratulations for Mr Buhari.
But it was Nigerias unprecedented democratic transfer of
power that won the most plaudits
The last few days have shown
the world the strength of Nigerias
commitment to democratic principles, Mr Obama said, while his top
Africa diplomat said Nigeria had
raised the bar for the continent.
Nigeria is a trailblazer, Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs
Linda Thomas-Greenfield saud,
They have sent a huge, huge example across Africa that democracy
and change of government can work
and it can work in a free and fair
The US president later telephoned both President-elect Mr Buhari and outgoing leader Mr Jonathan, praising both for their role
in the historic democratic power
Mr Obama spoke to the men separately to commend them for their
leadership during Nigerias election, the White House said.
Mr Buhari had praised Mr Jonathan for his statesmanship in conceding defeat before the final result
was declared, helping to defuse the
potential for poll-related violence
and lengthy legal wranglings.
In a statement, the heads of international election observation
missions including the African Union and the European Union congratulated Nigeria and its people
for their commitment to a peaceful
response to the election results.
Mr Buharis victory by 2.57 million votes, confirmed early on April
1, came after a gripping weekend
contest hit by glitches with new voter technology, claims of irregularities and Boko Haram fears.

Nigerias President-elect Mohammadu Buhari (right) and his deputy Yemi Osinbajo pose after receiving their certificates of
return from the Independent Nigeria Electoral Commission on April 1. Photo: AFP

Political violence which has

blighted the aftermath of previous
votes in the country of 173 million
people failed to materialise.
Instead Mr Buharis supporters
thronged the streets, many chanting change, change and brandishing wicker brooms, his partys symbol, with which they have pledged
to sweep away years of government
corruption and waste.
In Kaduna, a flashpoint state
in the north central region where
many of the 1000 people who lost
their lives after the last elections in
2011 were killed, there were jubilant
Muslims in the religiously mixed
state brought cows, chickens and
sheep to slaughter, but some reflected on the huge challenges that lie
ahead for the incoming president.
Today its like weve gotten our
freedom, student Muhammad Sani

president was not enough for him

to cling on to power.
Since it is the will of God that
Buhari should win, we have no
choice than to accept, said Elijah
Ateki, chair of the Otuoke community development committee.
We are not going to cause any
trouble over it because we cannot
question God and the voice of the
But others in the Christian south
raised fears of marginalisation by
Mr Buhari, a northern Muslim, laying bare Nigerias religious and ethnic faultlines that he will have to
work hard to overcome.
Niger Delta militants, who
wreaked havoc in the maze of creeks
and rivers of the Delta in the 2000s,
have threatened to take up arms
again if a government amnesty that
paid them off is not renewed later
this year. AFP



Desperate parents turn to drug lord

for help in finding missing students
SOME desperate parents of 43 missing Mexican students have turned to
a drug gang leader for help to locate
the young men, saying the government has failed them.
A group of parents put up a sign
on March 31 outside the southern city
of Iguala, where the students vanished in September, asking alleged
Rojos gang leader Santiago Mazari
for his assistance.
Bernabe Abraham, whose phone
number appears on the sign, said
parents decided to put Mr Mazaris
name because he had posted his own
signs earlier this year offering to help.
We dont know if hes a Rojo or
a drug trafficker, Mr Abraham told
AFP on April 1. Its a message to citizens [of Iguala] for them to tell us if
they know where they are.
Mr Abraham said he has not yet received any phone call from Mr Mazari.
Parents of the 43 students have rejected the governments conclusions on

Albari said.
We have been ruled for the
past 16 years by the ... PDP. They
have been ruling us and no jobs,
no good roads, no hospitals, no
There is nothing here to talk
Celebrations extended into a second day in Buharis home town of
Daura in northern Katsina state,
but residents said they were not
expecting any special favours from
their favourite son.
Buhari never gave Daura any
preferential treatment when he was
head of state or when he was chairman of the PTF [Petroleum Trust
Fund], said resident Ahmad Tijjani.
Im sure he will not do it now.
There was disappointment in Mr
Jonathans home town of Otuoke in
the oil-rich southern Delta region,
where near total support for the

what happened in southern Guerrero

state on September 26, insisting that
they believe their sons are still alive.
We are desperate. The government is doing nothing. We have to
act, said another father, Epifanio
Alvarez, who said the sign was directed at civil society in general.

We are desperate.
The government is
doing nothing. We
have to act.
Epifanip Alvarez
Father of missing student

The handwritten sign says, Mister Santiago Mazari Hernandez. We

parents read the message in [your]

sign. We ask you to help us locate our
sons because this bad government
has not been serious with us. To the
contrary, it has harmed us with its
A picture of the message was published by Reforma newspaper.
Prosecutors say Igualas mayor
ordered police to confront the young
men, who were riding stolen buses, a
common practice among students of
their rural teacher training college in
The officers shot at the buses, killing six people at the scene, abducted
the 43 and handed them over to the
Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which
slaughtered them, prosecutors say.
Witnesses told investigators that
the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) believed that the Rojos (Reds)
were among the students. Some 100
people, including officers and Igualas mayor, have been arrested. AFP

Modi urges farmer loans

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi yesterday urged Indias banks to lend more to
the countrys millions of impoverished
farmers in a bid to halt suicides by debtladen agricultural workers.
Speaking at an event on increasing financial inclusion, Mr Modi said
he was pained to hear of increased reports of farmers taking their own lives
after being unable to repay unscrupulous money lenders.
Cant we ask ourselves how we can
make our banking system so strong that
no farmer is forced to give up his life just
because he cant repay the loan [from
money lenders]? Mr Modi said.
We have to change mindsets. We
have to think on ways to include the
poor as we move forward, Mr Modi
said at the event at the Reserve Bank
of India (RBI) in Mumbai, alongside
its governor Raghuram Rajan and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
We can pull the poor out of poverty. They just need a bit of hand holding, he said.
Local media have reported scores
of farmer suicides in recent weeks.
Families say they were left with
no choice after crop damage from

unseasonal storms along with poor

market prices for produce and other
reasons compounded already dire financial problems.
Mr Modi said 140 million people
have opened bank accounts since his
reformist government launched a major
financial inclusion initiative last year.
But he stressed that more needed
to be done, and asked the RBI to come
up with a 20-year roadmap for greater
access to the formal banking system.
Farmers and other poor have long
been unable to borrow from traditional banks because of a lack of capital,
forcing them to become dependent
on loan sharks and other lenders who
often charge exorbitant interest rates.
Indias poor but powerful farming
lobby flocked to Mr Modis party at
the general election last May when the
Hindu nationalist premier won the
biggest mandate in 30 years.
But anger in rural areas has recently been mounting over his governments bid to overhaul land purchasing laws making it easier for
businesses to buy farming and other
plots for much-needed infrastructure,
defence and other projects. AFP

World 23

Indians opting for retirement peace

WHEN Usha Mantri brushed off
frowning traditionalists and moved
into a retirement village, she became
a pioneer for a generation of Indians
who are increasingly breaking the custom of multi-generational households.
She is now happily settled in the
peaceful retreat by Indias western
mountains, which has an on-site Hindu temple and offers ayurvedic massage and is a two-hour drive from
her son in Mumbai.
I have a very different type of
thinking, the 69-year-old said speaking in her studio apartment at the Dignity Lifestyle Retirement Township,
one of the first of its kind in India.
I want to give full freedom to my
child, and I want full freedom for
Ms Mantri was the first resident to
move into the Dignity complex, which
looks more like a modest holiday resort, nine years ago. She now has
more than 60 neighbours, while other
retirement communities are springing
up around India.
While most senior citizens still
prefer to live with their families, alternative options are increasingly in
demand as the country develops, children migrate and their parents live for
I think very slowly minds are getting changed, said Hemlata Parekh,
one of Ms Mantris neighbours at Dignity and a former teacher.
Ms Parekh, 82, has siblings in
Mumbai but no children, and said it

It's a hasslefree retirement

township, in a real
Hemlata Parekh
Retirement township resident

would be difficult for her to manage

household chores and transport in
the city. Dignity, however, has a communal dining room, round-the-clock
security and an in-house doctor.
There is a wing with special care
for those with dementia, while for the
more active retirees there are monthly
shopping trips and occasional picnics.
It is a hassle-free retirement township, in a real sense, said Ms Parekh.
There are currently more than 100
million Indians aged 60 and above,
and that is projected to rise to more
than 300 million by 2050, when they
will make up about 20 percent of the
population, according to the charity
HelpAge India.
This growing dependency ratio,
along with better purchasing power
among the elderly, are among the factors said to be fuelling the demand for
senior housing.
Manish Kumar, a strategic consultant with real estate company Jones
Lang LaSalle India, said the current
annual demand for such projects was
estimated to be at 312,00 units, but
only 10,000 to 15,000 units of new
supply are being planned.
Of late we have seen a good number of reputed real estate developers
and hospitals entering into this segment, Mr Kumar said, citing projects
being developed by the property arm
of the giant Tata conglomerate.
Elderly residents either buy a property in a township or, as is the case at
Dignity, put down a partly refundable
deposit to rent a living space and pay
monthly charges.
Top-end housing at Dignity requires a deposit of about 3.5 million
rupees (US$56,000) 75 percent refundable if the resident leaves or dies,
when it goes to an heir and fees of
10,000 rupees a month, plus meals.
Mr Kumar said most projects to
date were in western and southern
India, areas which have more nuclear
families, higher education levels and a
greater number of emigrating young

Residents arrive at the dining hall at the Dignity Lifestyle Retirement Township in Neral some 50kms east of Mumbai in the
western Indian state of Maharashtra on March 10. Photo: AFP

people, but developers are now also

targeting second and third-tier cities
in the north and east.
Perhaps surprisingly, only one of
the projects so far, Antara Senior Living near the Himalayas, is targeting
the very top end of the Indian market,
with most developers focused on the
middle and upper middle-class.
If a rich man sends his father to
a senior citizens home, he will be
looked down upon, explained Gopal Srinivasan, a trustee at Dignity
Therefore the very rich keep their
parents in their house, have a 24-7

nurse, have a doctor coming in every

day, but they wont admit their parents
to senior citizens houses, he said.
At the other end of the scale are the
many who cannot afford such care.
Mr Srinivasan said state-run homes
for the aged were in a pathetic condition, while abuse of senior citizens by
their children had become rampant.
On top of this, about 90 percent
of Indias elderly worked in the unorganised sector such as small farms
or family enterprises, which has left
most without pensions, said Prakash
Borgaonkar, Mumbai director of
HelpAge India.

The government offers regular social security payments only to those

below the poverty line, a minority of
Indias elderly, and even then the benefits are difficult to access, Mr Borgaonkar said.
Society is changing fast, and because of this joint family system which
is breaking, these elderly are again isolated, they are neglected, he said, calling for government policies to support
the elderly as demographics swiftly
Are we ready to take up this challenge? Today we have to think on
that. AFP


Japan begins to tackles child poverty rate of one in six

PRIME Minister Shinzo Abe was yesterday set to announce a fund to help
alleviate child poverty in Japan, in a
country where one in six children is
classed as poor.
The move follows a law passed by
parliament last year aimed at tackling an issue that critics say has long
been swept under the carpet in the
worlds third-largest economy.
The fact that the government recognises child poverty as a national
issue is a big step, Aya Abe, a professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University
who has been researching child poverty in Japan, said.
But the government should also
make a financial commitment or set
a goal of how much they want to reduce the poverty rate.
In 2012, a record high 16.3 percent
of children aged 17 or under were living in poverty, which is defined as
surviving on funds half that of the
average disposable income.
That compares with 9.8pc in Britain and 21.2pc in the United States,
according to the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of rich
The poverty rate jumped to 54.6
percent for single-parent households
in Japan, the worst in the OECD.
As part of the governments efforts, Mr Abe was due to meet business leaders and support groups
on yesterday evening to hammer
out a strategy, including setting up
a private fund to bolster welfare

University students who are receiving student loans to pay for living costs attend an interview in Tokyo on March 1. Photo: AFP

payments criticised by campaigners

as too small.
They cite the cash allowances currently given to low-income singleparent households of up to 40,000
yen (US$330) a month for the first
child topping up an earned annual

income of just 1.18 million yen onefifth of the national average.

Previous moves by the government cannot be called big progress,
said Koji Ogawa, a former spokesperson for Ashinaga, a nonprofit group
that provides grants to children who

have lost one or both parents, because the government is not promising any financial contribution.
But, he said, a national
campaign could be meaningful because it might improve the discrimination and prejudice against people in

Single parents face strong social
stigma in conservative Japan.
Most recently, the mother of
a 13-year-old schoolboy who was
murdered in February, probably by
a gang of youths, publicly blamed
herself for his death, saying he
would not have died if she had kept
an eye on him.
She said she had not known what
her son was doing because she was
working day and night to raise her
five children alone.
University student Ryohei Takahashi, who grew up in a single-parent
household, welcomed the idea of a
private fund to reduce child poverty.
Mr Takahashis father committed
suicide when he was 13 and, since
then, his mother has had to provide
for the family.
I consider myself lucky, said Mr
Takahashi, now 22. His mother did
not have money for tuition but he
won a scholarship and lives in an
Ashinaga-funded dorm that serves
breakfast and dinner.
Not many single-parent families
can afford expensive university fees,
he said. Even if children manage to
get into university, some still have to
juggle part-time jobs to send money
to their families.
I want companies to make an
investment [in helping under-privileged children] because well definitely contribute to society in the future,
he added.





By Fax : 01-254158
By Email :
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Call: Khin Mon Mon Yi - 01-392676, 392928

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US 10000 per month.
(2)University Rd, new
condo, 2000sqft. 1MBR,
2SR. furnished, hot
water system. generator
line. Security system.
USD 3700 per month. (3)
Inya Rd, 50'x50' 2 storey
new house. 1MBR, 2SR.
furnished. car garage.
US 4000 per month. Ph:
Mayangone, 7 Mile,
Pyay Rd. t/sp, 0.7 acre
land, nice lake view, big
lawn. 2 storey nice old
house, 3MBR, ph line,
semi furnished, USD
5000 per month. Ph:099769-05901
(1)7 Mile, single house,
2 RC, 2MBR, 1SR, fully
furniture, USD 4500. (2)
8 Mile, single house, 2
RC, 2MBR, 1SR, fully
furniture USD 7000. (3)
Near Russian Embassy,
2 RC, 2MBR, 1SR , fully
furniture USD 15000. Ph:
(1)Bo Yar Nyunt St,
2500 sqft, 1MBR, 2SR,
fully furniture USD 3000.
(2)Near United Living
Mall, 1500sqft, 1MBR,
2SR, USD 1500 (3)
Shwe Ohn Pin housing,
1500 sqft, 1MBR, 2SR,
no furniture. USD 1500.
(4)8 Mile, Prom condo,
2500sqft, 1MBR, 2SR,
fully furniture, USD
4000. (5)Near China
Embassy, Golden rose
condo, 2500 sqft, 2MBR,
1SR, fully furniture USD
4000.(6)Chanthar Gone
Young condo, 2500 sqft,
1MBR, 2SR, USD 2500.
(7)University Avenue Rd,
Takatho Yeikmon Condo,
1250 Sqft, 1MBR, 2SR,
fully furniture, 2500 USD.
Ph: 09-2527-03331.
6 Flr, 25' x 60', 1500
sqft, 3 Bedrooms, 2
toilets, 3 A/C & fully

furnitures. US$ 700 or

kyat 750,000/month. Ph:
Hlaing Thar Yar,
Punhlaing Golf Estate,
Lake view condo(C),
702, 2255 sqft, 2 Bed
Rooms + 1MBR, fully
funished, direct ph line
+ extation line, (2)Lake
view condo(C), 802,
4176 sqft, 3 Bed Rooms
+ 1MBR, fully funished,
direct ph line + extation
line, Negotiable. Ph: 09730-26390 (Nilar Win
Maung) 09-2543-11756
(Aung Lwin).
BAHAN, Near Chatrium
Hotel, Po Sein Rd, 2
RC house, 3 rooms
with toilet, 3 AC, 2
Cable phones, internet
available, wide car
parking. US$ 2300 per
month. Please contact
:09-7944-40510, 09312-87827.
condotel , Condo with
hotel services: (1)1850
sqft 1MBR, 1SR@
Bahan. 2800US$/ month.
2SR@Tamwe. 2800US$/
month. (3)1650 sqft
1MBR, 2SR@ Tamwe.
2800US$/ month. (4)
1650 sqft 1MBR, 2SR
@ Mayangon. 4000US$/
(1)Near 50 St, 1200
sqft, 1MBR, 1SR, fully
furniture. USD 1200. (2)
Near Park Royal Hotel,
1850 sqft , 2MBR, 1SR,
fully furniture USD 3200.
(3)Near Park Royal
Hotel, 1875 sqft, Hall
type ,1 1/2 storey, G flr,
good for open shop, USD
5800. (4)Near United
Living Mall, 1200 sqft,
2MBR, fully furniture
USD 1500. (5)Pearl
Condo, 1800 sqft, 2MBR,
1SR, fully furniture, USD
2500. (6)7 Mile, U Kyaw
Hla St, 3 RC, Hally type,
good for office, USD
4000. (7) New University
Avenue Rd, Ag Da Kong
condo 1200 sqft, 1MBR,
1SR, fully furniture
USD 2500. (8)New
University Avenue St,
1800 sqft, 2MBR, 1SR,
fully furniture USD 2500.
(9) Minda Ma condo,
2200 sqft, 3MBR, fully
furniture, USD 5000. Ph:
09-2527-0 3331.
Retail Shop Space
Available, 250 sqft.
Suitable for takeaway,
beauty saloon and
fashion shops. Bahan
Center. Ph:09-4303-0
288. Email : slee888@
Downtown, Modern office
space at an affordable
price. 1,356 sqft, so
would be large enough
for staff and to facilitate
a meeting room and a
kitchen. Located on the
11th floor it has 24 hours
security and a back-up
generator. Price- $3,500.
Ph :09- 314-91678.
Conveniently located in
Pearl condo, a 20 minute
drive from downtown or
from the airport. There
are many shops and
restaurants in the building
and the property can be
used for both commercial
and residential purposes.
It has 2 master bedrooms,
one single bedroom with
one common bath and
has 1,550 Sqft of living
space with a great view.
Ph:09314- 91678
Bahan, Affordable Single
family home: off Sayasan
Rd, in residential area, it
is completely remodeled
recently in western style.

3MBR, 2SR, 4 bathrooms

total with A/C in every
room. It has a nice lawn
with space large enough
for 7-8 car parking. Home
size is about 3500 sqft,
land size is about 7,000
sqft Price- $3,500. Ph :
09 2543 82482.
bAHAN, Near Chatrium
hotel, Po Sein Rd, 2
RC house, 3 Rooms
with toilet, 3 AC, Cable
phone, wide car prking,
US$ 2150 per month.
Ph:09-794440510, 09312-87827.
Pabedan, 3rd Flr, 27th St
(Middle), , 25'x50' (Lift),
2SR, 1MBR, 2 aircon, 7
Lakhs, Ph: 09-510-4881,
BAHAN, (1)Pearl Condo
New Bld. 1600sqft,
1MBR, 2SR, f.f, 25
Lakhs. (2)New University
Ave Rd, 2 Flr, 40' x 60',
3MBR, 5A/C, Ph, f.f, 25
Lakhs, (3) Yankin Centre,
1705 sqft, 1MBR, 2SR,
Ph, 4A/C, f.f, 15 Lakhs (5)
New University Ave Lane,
2Flr, 22'x55', 1MBR, 1SR,
f.f, 15 Lakhs, Maureen:
office space to let
3100 sqm available over
5 floors in a 12-storey
building with car park,
restaurant, multi function
hall and apartments.
Please contact - Ph:
Email : office-mm@,
web: www .facebook.

Housing for Sale

2 Taunggyi Plots for Sale
(1)Regularly-shaped plot
of 0.25 acres @ Yay Aye
Kwin Ward for MMK
9,000 Lakhs ; (2) 0.11
acres @ Yay Aye Kwin
Ward with 2-storey house
and good view for MMK
3,000 Lakhs. Interested
in Taunggyi, please
email to pdecfinance@ or call 09262702844.
quarter, 40' x 60', Gayan,
550 Lakhs. Negotiable,
Ph: 01-500064, 09-448003146.
(1)Bahan, 483, Ayeyeik
Ayeyeikthar 2nd St, New
University Ave,, 2000 sqft,
2nd flr, 2MBR, Kitchen
Room, Living room, Fully
decorated, Tile/ Parquet
flooring, Own meter, Own
generator/ Motor, Utilities
fully equipped, Own car
parking. Price 4950
lakhs. (2)Sanchaung,
39, Zayyathukha St, 4th
Flr, 625 sqft, Hall type,
Tile/ Parquet flooring,
450 Lakhs. Tel: 09-5135533, 09-510-3053, 092505-74308.
TAUNG GYI, Bayar Phyu
Quarter, 50' x 55', 150
lakhs, Negotiable, Ph:
01-500064, 09-448003146
Between Mahabandoola
Rd & Merchant St,
Nawarat Condo, Big
car parking, Lift 5 no,
security- Satellite TV
System, firesafety, gym,
Spa Room; Function
Room, Libary, Coffee
Lounge, 1450 sqft, Ph
:09-519-7133, 09-5173086

Want to Hire
Yangon looking for
accommodation to share
with other Expats. If you
want to rent a bedroom in
your house or flat please
contact me through my
email at


THE MYANMAR TIMES april 3, 2015

UN Position
The United Nations
World Food Programme,
is seeking 1) Programme
Assistant GS-5, Hakha
(Re-advertise). For more
information, please visit
to http://www.themimu.
info/jobs-for-myanmarnationals. Please email
the applications with UN
P-11 to wfpmyanmar. COB
7 April 2015.

Embassy of Egypt is
seeking an experienced
staff to work as Bearer
at the Ambassador's
Residence. Must be able
to speak English well and
have experience in the
same field. Qualified and
Interested candidates
should submit CV and
copies of testimonials
as soon as possible
to Embassy of Egypt,
Yeiktha Rd, Dagon
Township or to email:

Ingo Position
the Int'l Rescue
Committee (IRC) is
Officer Infrastructure
1 Post in Myebon/
Minbya, Rakhine State:
Bachelor's degree in
related field. 2 years
experience. Skilled in
Excel, Word software.
Very good command
of English & Myanmar.
Agriculture 1 post in
Myebon, Rakhine State
: Bachelor's degree in
related field. 2 years
experience in relevant
field. Skilled in Excel,
Word software. Very
good command of
English. (3) Health
Service Quality Officer
: B.NSc/ B.CommH/
Diploma in Nursing.
2 years experience in
primary health care and
sexual and reproductive
health care services.
Good command of
English & Myanmar.
Chin (Khumee) Ethic
language(s) written and
verbal skill is favourable.
Please submit a Cover
letter & CV to the Human
Resources Department
by email at: WaiMar.
Closing date : 13 April
terre des hommes
Italia (TDH-It) is seeking
MCN Field Officer
(Based in Yenanchaung
Experienced Midwife,
Nurse or Medical Doctor.
3 years of experience in
Maternal and child health
& nutrition programmes.
Good written and spoken
English & Myanmar. Fully
computer literate in MS
Office Package. Please
submit application with
completed information
about current job and
expected salary incl.
CV, photo, references
by e-mail or by postal
service to Terre des
Hommes Italia: TDH-It
Country Office: 48, Shwe
Hinn Thar St, 11 Ward,
Hlaing, Yangon. Tel:
654604. Email: hr.tdhit.
C a r e e r
Supervisor 1Post (2)
Branch WASH Officer3
Coordinator - 1 Post (4)
WASH Manager-1 Post.
Please send application
letter, CV & related
documents to Myanmar
Red Cross Society (Head
(NayPyiTaw) 1 Post.
Please send application
letter, CV & related
documents to Myanmar
Red Cross Society (Head

(1) Branch Project
1 Post (2)Program
Coordinator (Nay Pyi
Taw / Yangon)1 Post
(3)Program Assistant
(Myitkyina) 1 Post (4)
Officer (NayPyiTaw /
Yangon) 1 Post. Please
send application letter,
CV & related documents
Cross Society (Head
(1) Branch Project
1 Post (2)Program
Coordinator (Nay Pyi
Taw / Yangon) 1 Post
(3)Program Assistant
(Myitkyina) 1 Post (4)
Officer (Nay Pyi Taw /
Yangon) 1 Post: Please
send application letter,
CV & related documents
Cross Society (Head

Local Positions
We are seeking (1)
Production Manager
- M 1 post : Need to
hold a degree of A.G.T.I
(Mechanical), 3 years
experience in related
field, Age 30 ~ 55 years
old, Well knowledge
in modern furniture &
Marketing Manager
- M/F 1 post : Have
to understand project
sales, retail marketing
& other marketing
tools and technique.
4 years experience in
Decorative Materials
materials industry. (3)
Project Coordinator
(Interior)- M/F 1 post
: Able to set
timelines & coordinate
different parties. Well
knowledge in modern
furniture & furniture
installation & production.
3 years experience in
interior scope of work. (4)
Project Manager- M/F 1
post : Have to manage
the projects (Interior
Decoration, Renovation,
and Construction) also
timelines, procurement,
materials and labor.
A.G.T.I (Civil) or B.E
(Civil). 5 years experience
in related field. Well
experience in high-rise
construction, at least 6
storey. Well knowledge
in steel structure, precast building & modern
Able to set project
timelines & coordinate
different parties. Familiar
methods & building
HR Manager - M/F 1
post : Any graduate, 5
year experience, Must
have HR knowledge,
also reporting skill.
Good communication
skills. Self-motivated,
independent thinkers and
willing to work under team
submit CV, photo with
necessary documents
to HR Department Zware
Group of Companies
(DeArch Co., Ltd, Live
Life Co., Ltd, Builder
Group Co., Ltd, MBIG)
Rd (at the corner of
Waizayantar Rd & Thit
Sar Rd), South Okkala,
951565911, +951-8551294,
+959-73117966 www.
Email: recruitment@
Technical Marketing/
Sale Marketing, 3~5

Posts in Yangon : Any

Bachelor's degree or
diploma in any field
with good command
have excellent using
experience at iPad,
iPhone, Android Smart
phone and Smart TV
will be an advantage.
experience with sale or
marketing in networking/
interested candidates
should submit not later
than 30th April along with
CV and recent passport
photo to HOGO Yangon
Business Consulting
Co., Ltd. No.(71), Ground
Floor, (5th) St, (2) Ward,
Lanmadaw, Yangon.
Email : hogobusiness@
Construction Company
in newly, will be starting
project in Myanmar soon
is seeking QS Engineer
1 Post M/F : Minimum
5 years experience in
related fields, Preparing
BoQ, doing bills payment,
Providing local supplier
contacts. Please send
CV to 2014thanda@ within two
Asia Plaza Hotel
is seeking (1) Sale &
Marketing Manager
- M/F 1 Post. (2)
Assistant FO manager
- M/F 1 Post. (3)Sales &
Marketing Executive M/F 2 Posts. (4) FO
Supervisor - M/F 2
Posts. (5) F&B Manager
M/F 1 Post. (6)Chief
Accountant - M/F 1
Post. (7) G.S.O (Guest
Service Officer) - M/F 1
Post. (8) HR Assistant
- F 1 Post. Must be
interesting, strive and
in the long term for this
position. Please can
apply with CV form,
Photo, Expect salary,
Certificate &
attachement copy. Asia
Plaza Hotel, Yangon,
No(277), Corner of 38th
& Bogyoke Aung San Rd,
Kyauktada, Yangon. Ph:
391070, 391071.
Construction Company
in newly, will be starting
project in Myanmar soon
is seeking QS Engineer
- M/F 1 Post : Minimum
5 years experience in
related fields, Preparing
BoQ, doing bills payment,
Providing local supplier
contacts. If you interest,
please send your CV
to 2014thanda@gmail.
com not later than within
two weeks.
MYTCL is currently
seeking (1)Document
Assistant - M/F 3 Posts
:Age 23 ~ 35 years, Any
Good communication
skills both in Myanmar
and English. Fluency
Good Computer skills
in particular for Data
processing & analysis,
MS Office, Email and
Internet, etc. Honesty,
reliability, hardworking
and be a good team
submit the application
letter with full CV
detailing experience,
knowledge & skills, one
passport photo, copy of
all relevant certificates,
card, NRC card &
recommendation letter
from police station to
Administration Depart
ment : Myanmar Yang Tse
Copper Limited, Yangon,
70(I) Bo Chein St, Pyay
Rd, Hlaing, Yangon. Tel:
01-514194~7, Email:
mm , Note: Employment
is always subject to
passing an MYTCL
Medical Examination.
Colsing date : 24 April
English Teacher
in Language School :
Responsible & reliable,
Efficient and resultoriented, At least 3
years in teaching,
Willingness and capacity
to accommodate when
faced with difficult and

conditions, Able and
willing to travel in
applicants are to send
their current C.V with
recent photo and fixed a
day for interview. Send to or
call 09-4500-50725.
EXO Travel is seeking
(1)Admin Assistant
(Logistics) : Any degree
holder or equivalent
qualifications, Able to
use Microsoft office
programs comfortably.
experiences would be
working and team player.
Able to commit overtime
when necessary. (2)
Travel Consultant : 2
experience in
tourism related field, Proactive & Team spirit, good
organizational & problem
solving skill, Excellent
interpersonal skills &
communication skills,
Strong sales & customer
service focus, Computer
proficiency : Microsoft
word, Excel, & Outlook,
Good communication in
English/French (Written
& Spoken ). (Only those
with a genuine interest
in joining a professional
travel company for
long-term commitment
need apply.) Interested
candidates are invited
to send a detailed
resume HR Manager at
com or mail to 147.
West Shwegonedaing,
Bahan, Yangon, Tel: +
95 (0) 1 8604933

able to speak & write

English, Must be able
to use Ms & Power
point, Well organized &
result-oriented. Contact
us- zinminpon@gmail.
com, sunandar91072@ Ph:09-253062042, 09-732-40764.
C o n s tru c t i o n
company is urgently
seeking for Office
staffs - 3 posts : Male
or Female, Age between
25-35, Any Graduate/
Degree Holder, Minium
(2 ~ 3) years working
experience, for the
materials in construction
field, computer skills,
internet, email, Able
to speak Myanmar &
Chinese OR Myanamr &
English. please contact
09 - 4303-1641
Experience Teacher :
Yanagon English centre
run by ex-pats requires
teachers with skills in
training. Contact think
in English @ 09-425026102, for ph interview.
KH Hotel Yangon is
currently seeking self
motivated, dedicated
and potential candidates
for the following posts;
(1)Sale & Marketing
Manager - M/F 2 posts
: University graduate,
written & spoken, 3 years
experience in relate
field, Good personality.
(2)M&E Technicians M 3 Posts : Must have
related certificates or
Diploma or B.Tech, 2
years experience in

Zware Group is
seeking (1)Marketing
Manager - M/F 1 post
(2)Project Coordinator
(Interior) - M/F 1 post
(3)Project Coordinator
(Civil Structure) - M/F
Assistant - M/F 2 posts
(5)Civil Engineer M/F 2 posts (6)Office
Secretary M/F 1
post (7)Assistant HR
Manager - M/F 1 post
(8)Marketing Assistant
- M/F 3 posts (9)Office
Staff - M/F 2 posts
(10)Senior Quantity
Surveyor (Head of QS)
- M/F 1 post (11)Project
Coordinator - M/F 1 post
(12)Sales Engineer M/F 1 post (13)Driver
- M 1 post (14)General
Helper - M 1 post (15)
Store Keeper - M/F 2
posts. Please submit CV,
photo with necessary
documents to 440,
Waizayandar St, Corner
of Thitsar Traffic point,
South Okkalarpa. Ph :
01-565911, 01-8551294.
Email: recruitment@
Int'l Accounting &
Law firm is seeking (1)
Junior Associates, LL.
B or LL. M - F 3 posts.
(2)CPAs - F 2 posts. (3)
Accountants, B Com,
Level II, Level III - F 3
posts. (4) Receptionist
& Secretary - F 2
For all posts:
Ages between 22 and
35, Fluent in English,
Excellent negotiation &
communication skills,
Computer skills. Please
submit CV to alex.
Myanmar Access
International Co., Ltd
is seeking Marketing
Executive : 2 year
experience in marketing
field, Age 25 years
and above, Must be

Must work shift duty.
Interested candidates,
please submit CV with
relevant documents to
KH Hotel : 28, 7 Miles,
Pyay Rd, Mayangone,
Yangon. Ph: 01-652989,
01-653358, 01-653359.
Myanmar Pte Ltd is
Accountant : B.Com
(or) CPA, Age under
50, Have knowledge
& experience on tax &
regulation of Myanmar,
(2)Accountant : B.Com
(or) LCCI level 3, 3 years
experience, Computer
literate & accounting
Finance : B.Com, 4 years
experience, Knowledge
& experience on cash
& finance, Knowledge
on banking sustem.
(4)Office staff : Any
literate (Microsoft office),
(5)Driver : 3 years
experience in driving, can
drive for ferry / foreigner,
English literate. Contact
or submit CV to 37,
Rd, Inya Lake Hotel
Compound, East Wing.
A Freelance Licensed
guide (Eng) Wishes to
serve in any position
with any reputable tour
employers may contact
soon. Ph: 09-301-99028.
DVB MultimediaGroup
Co., Ltd is seeking Team
development Lead :
Fluency in both English
& Myanmar language,
2 ~ 4 years working in
a quota- driven sales
environment, 2 ~ 4 years
working in an office/
business environment
(multi-national company
expsrience a plus), 2 ~
4 years managing office

or sales staff, 1 ` 2 years

working with structured
sales process steps &
practices, 1 ~ 2 years
working with MS office
programs and email
communications, 1 ~
2 years working with
sales reporitng tools
and / or CRM software.
DVB has a competitive
compensation package.
Intersted candidate may
submit CV & cover letter
NITIPON is seeking (1)
Shop Manager - F 1
post in Mandalay : Must
skills, experience for
English communication,
Age 28 ~ 35, Sign in 2
years contract, (2)Sales
- F 2 posts in Yangon :
Basic knowledge of
English & understanding
skill, Any graduate,
Age 18 ~ 30, For all
posts : Expesrience in
cosmetic field/service
filed, Salary negotiable,
Please send resume with
supporting documents to
Ltd is a foreign legal
consultancy firm. We
invite motivated &
committed individuals
who are able to work
as: Account cum Admi
nistrative Assistant :
Good written and spoken
communication skills in
English. Must be wellorganized, meticulous,
have initiative & execute
instructions promptly.
Accounting background
& experience preferred.
Interested applicants are
invited to send their full
resume together with a
recent photograph to
we regret that only
shortlisted candidates
will be notified.
Companies who are
looking for Singapore
Computers, Computer
networks and Electronic
drop me an email,
message or contact me.
Chris WongHP: +65
We are seeking find
staff in Yangon for
expand our business.
(1). Sale executive
: English skill, Man ,
have driving licene. (2).
Secretary : English
contact to our email for
send CV/ Resume at
full time, 6 days week,
starting from K 350,000,
Must speak Englih or
other foreing language,
Minimum 3 year driving
experience. Contact :
09-4201-65678, 09-5197354, 09-4317-9011.
Co., Ltd. is seeking (1)
Sales Executive - M 5
Posts: Any graduate, BE
or B Tech (Mechanical)
is preferable. 3 years
experience. Age 25~30.
(2)Sales Executive M 5 Posts (Industrial
Dept) : Any graduate:
Preferable BE or B Tech
(Mechanical).Age 25~30.
(3)Sales Engineer - M
10 Posts (Sales Dept) :
Any graduate: Preferable
A.G.T.I or B Tech). Age
Trainee - M 15 Posts
(Sales & Industrial Dept) :
BE, B Tech orAGTI (Fresh
Graduate), Age 20~25.
(5)Senior Engineer M 10 Posts (Service &
Industrial Dept) : Any
graduate, Preferable BE
or B Tech (Mechanical).
Age 25~35. (6)PSSR M 10 Posts (Spare part
& Industrial Dept) : Any
graduate, Preferable BE
or B Tech (Mechanical).
Age 25~35. (7)Local
Purchaser - M 3 Posts
(Spare part Dept) Any
graduate, Preferable BE
or B Tech (Mechanical).
Machanic Helper / Tool
Room - Store - M 5
Posts : 1 year experience
Age 25~30. (9)Office

Driver - M 5 Posts : 5
years experience. Kha
- valid driving license.
Age 30~40. Please
email covering letter,
CV, 2 passport photo
& photocopies of the
graduation certificates,
card, labor registration
card, police clearance,
list to Aung Chan Tha
Trading Co., Ltd :HR
Manager, 54, Kaba
Aye Pagoda Rd, Near
Nawaday Intersection,
Mayangone, Yangon,
Email: hr.aungchantha@ within 2
is looking for Senior
travel assistant cum
guide, wth three foreign
languages, may please
contact to 09-30199028.
is seeking 3 Tour
Operation & Reser
vation (Myanmar Citizen
only) : 1 year experience
as Tour Operator for the
inbound travel company.
Fluency in English both
speaking & writing.
proficiency: Microsoft
office, Excel. Interested
person send CV (with
photo attached) to Ma
Nway Nway Eai, Country
Manager, Email: resal@, Ph:
Co., Ltd is seeking (1).
Brand manager (2).HR
assistant - M/F 1 post (3).
Store Keeper - M/F (4).
Service Provider - M/F
20 posts (5).Customer
(Hostess) M/F 2 posts
(6).Admin Executive M/F 1 post (7).Quality
Control - M/F 1 post (8).
Service Engineer - M 1
post . Plese cubmit to
Myanmar Food Co., Ltd ,
ph: 09- 730- 99383, mfft.
Myanmar Lifestyle, is seeking (1).
- M/F 1 post (2).Retail
Operation Manger - M/F
1 post (3).Brand Manager
- F 3 posts (4).Sales &
Marketing Operation
Assistant - F 1 post (5).
Admin Executive - M/F
1 post (6).Operation
assistant - M/F 1 post
(7). Graphic Designer
- M/F 1 post: Age 20 ~
35, 1 year experiences.
Myanmar Lifestyle Co.
Ltd., Ph:09-3361-1110,
Email : sevenfridaymm@
(1) TraineeAccountant
- M/F 1 Post (2)
Assistant AccountantM/F 1 Post (3) Senior
Accountant- M/F 1 Post
(4) Office Secretary /
Executive SecretaryF 1 Post (5) Estate
Coordinator - F 1 Post
(6) Technical Assistant
M 1 Post. For all posts
must be speak English.
Please submit CV with
necessary documents
to 17, Shwe Tha Pyay
Yeik Mon 2, Nawarat St,
10 South/North quarter,
Thaketa. Email : wai.
com Ph: 09-4211-66892
companies is seeking
Assistant - F : Degree
experience, Excellent
in English, Computer
literate. (2)Accounts
Executive - M/ F :ACCA
or B.Com, 3 years
experience in full set of
Accounts preparation,
Experience in MYOB,
Great team player with
excellent communication
& interpersonal skills, Able
to multi-tasks and meet
tight reporting deadlines,
Excellent in English,
Computer literate, Willing
to travel overseas for
training and must hold
valid passport. Please
submit detailed CV in
person or by email, stating
your current & expected
salary, date of availability,
reason for leaving and a
recent passport photo to :
7(D), 1st Flr, 6 Miles, Pyay

Rd, Hlaing, Yangon, Tel:

09-731-05353, 09-7310 5340 Email:hr-ygn@
( 1 ) M a rk e t i n g
Manager - F 5 posts
must be interesting in real
estate business, Age
between 25 to 35, good
looking (2)Computer F 3 posts word, Excel,
page maker, photo shop
(3)Driver - M 3 posts
5 years license, Age
between 30 ~ 45 years
old. contact : 09-420114749, 09-4211- 77105.
wanted Office Staff.
Must be graduated.
Good knowledge in MS
word/ excel. Able to
work in door/ out door.
Interested person apply
CV to No.243, 4th Flr, Bo
Aung Kyaw St, Middle,
Kyauktada, Tel: 09-420
A restaurant is
looking for a general
manager. 300,000 450,000 ks/month & 5%
profits, cookiehustler@, 09-972993330
Turquoise mountain
is seeking experienced
architect (individual
or practice) required to
under take full measured
and condition survey of
historic building. Please
contact, email: harry@
orgtel: 09-979-786 575.
& writing staff for
net ph: 09-4500-65916
& Music is seeking
Marketing : 1 year
experience, Good English
speaking, Basic computer
skill, Good character &
responsibility. Job Details:
to initiative business
development activities.
Conduct market research
Contacting prospects,
negotiation and clients
visit. Job Location: Pearl
Condo, Kabar
Pagoda Rd, Yangon.
Type of Employment: Full
time. About the company:
Gymboree Play & Music
is the worlds leading
parent-child interactive
play, music and arts
program for children ages
newborn to five years.
Address : Block C, Pearl
Condo, 2 Flr, Bahan. Ph:
Exo Travel is seeking
(1)French Speaking
Travel Consultant :
2 years experience
in Tourism Industry
or Related field, Proactive, team spirit,
good organisational &
problem solving skill,
Strong sales & customer
service focus, Possess
computer proficiency:
MS office, Excellent
command of written &
spoken in French. (2)
Travel Consultant : 2
years experience, Proactive & Team spirit, good
organizational & problem
solving skill, Excellent
inter personal skills &
communication skills,
Strong sales & customer
service focus, Possess
computer proficiency.
Good communication
in English. (Only those
with a genuine interest
in joining a professional
travel company for
long-term commitment
need apply.). Please
send a detailed resume
mentioning the reason
of leaving and attached
recent photo and other
relevant documents to HR
Manager at memecho@
Golden Hill Tower is
seeking F&B Manager
- M/F 1 post : Proficient
in English four skills.
Proven experience using
computers especially
University degree holder.
2-3 years experience.
Excellent interpersonal
& communication skills.
Able to work under
pressure. Commencing
Salary US$600 Please
submit to HR Dept of
Golden Hill Tower No.
24-26, Kaba Aye Pagoda
Rd, Bahan.

26 Sport



No winners among east Ukraines war-hit athletes

IGOR Moiseyev should now be practising karate with a Japanese master on Okinawa Island, but instead
the black belt is having to repair his
war-damaged gym in Donetsk, east
He is just one of many local athletes hit by the year-long conflict between pro-Russian separatists and
Ukrainian forces that has left more
than 6000 dead.
In our village, which is 2 kilometres [over a mile] from Donetsk airport, there is not a single house intact,
and our home and our dojo [training
place] were hit, explained the karate
Before the war, my club was very
strong. We won many trophies at
world and European championships.
Now, due to the military activities, we
only have 10 percent of the students.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic that took power in the

region last year is not recognised by
the international community, making
it impossible to compete abroad.
We try to participate in local competitions to keep the children active,
Moiseyev said.
If parents dont have money to pay
for training, we do it for free, despite
our running costs.
Only the help of colleagues in Russia and the Czech Republic has kept
the clubs doors open, said Moiseyev,
adding that counterparts in Ukraine
had offered little support.
We often went to competitions
in Lviv and in the Carpathian Mountains [both in western Ukraine], but
no Ukrainian club has offered to help.
Basketball player Oleg Golovin, 34,
has been training for a year ahead of

the EuroBasket 2015 biennial tournament, which was initially meant to

take place in Ukraine, but which will
now be hosted by France, Croatia, Germany and Latvia in September.
He too revealed frustrations at authorities in Kiev.
I didnt take any sides when all
this political unrest began and took
care of my business, developing basketball among children, he explained.
Ukraine considered attempts to
keep my business running as a criminal activity, and now I no longer have
any contact with Ukraine, he added.
For race car driver Vasyl Kobenok,
28, the unrecognised DNRs exclusion
from international sporting bodies is
a big problem.
Even the Russian Automobile Federation has not officially accepted us,
he lamented.

But scraping together enough

money to buy fuel and get his car on
the starting grid is now the biggest
challenge facing Kobenok, a past winner in Ukraine.
Preparing the car has become two
to three times more expensive, he
Last year, competing in a rally
in Odessa would set us back around
10,000 hryvnias [US$425] and now
it is between 20,000 and 22,000
But a short stay to take care of
his daughter in Crimea the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in
March 2014 at the height of the
fighting in eastern Ukraine has convinced him to stay at home, despite
the obstacles.
Living in Crimea, I realised how
difficult it is to live in another state,


away from home, he said.

I will stay in Donetsk and I plan
to continue my career here. I want to
develop the sport in my hometown,
teaching motorsports to children.
Equestrian centre director Irma
Svetlichnaya has also vowed to stay,
despite choosing to take an indefinite
break from competition.
We do not participate in competitions because we dont want the
horses to get hurt, she explained. We
dont want them to go through the
checkpoints and conflict zones. No
medal is worth it.
All the fields are mined and we
also have huge problems getting food
for the horses.
We only survive thanks to caring
people, added the 25-year-old, who
now spends her time looking after the
centres 26 horses. AFP


beyond 2015
SEA Games

Militarised police commandos patrol the Praia de Ramos and Roquette Pinto communities, part of the Mare Complex in Rio de Janiero. Photo: AFP

Police take over from

military at Rio slum
ESPITE a recent upsurge
in urban violence, Rio de
Janeiro officials insisted
April 1 they will manage
to pacify slum areas in the
run-up to next years Olympics.
Gang warfare saw three people
killed and 22 wounded by stray bullets in January.
Last weekend, six people including two police officers, were hurt
in clashes in the Rocinha slum
overlooking some of Rios chic-est
Police killed four suspects in two
more slums, known as favelas, and
reported that 100 firearms had been
seized since the turn of the year.
Yet, despite the ongoing violence,

authorities believe a program started

seven years ago to bring peace to the
favelas is bearing fruit.
On April 1, Brazilian soldiers began to withdraw from one sprawling
group of slums, a year after being
deployed to help clean up the neighborhood ahead of last years World
Cup and South Americas first-ever
An estimated 3000 soldiers were
initially sent a year ago into Mare, a
group of 16 slums near Rios international airport and home to some
140,000 people.
The military operation was part
of a strategy rolled out across the city
to ramp up security in an area prone
to gang warfare and drug trafficking.

Now they are handing back responsibility for law and order to
military police.
We started with the Praia de
Ramos and Roquette Pinto favelas,
which are the quietest, military
police colonel Frederico Caldas told
AFP as troops began a phased withdrawal which will wrap up in June.
By June, four so-called Police
Pacification Units will be established
in Mare comprising 1620 police officers, a figure which could change as
needs dictate, Colonel Caldas said.
He insisted that if the program
does not succeed then everyone will
lose out.
After winning the right to stage
two showpiece international sports

events the city government in 2008

launched a coordinated attempt to
pacify favelas in thrall to drug traffickers for decades.
By last year they had stationed
some 10,000 police at 38 UPPs set
up in 264 favelas home to around 1.5
million people.
Rio state security secretary Jose
Mariano Beltrame said March 31 the
state government had a duty to weed
out areas subjected to decades of
gang violence.
Raimundo Donato, a 57-year-old
lorry driver living in Praia de Ramos,
said he was optimistic.
Things will improve with the arrival of the UPPs its really going to
get better, he said. AFP

MYANMARS participation in squash

at the SEA Games will not be a one-off
but is the catalyst for a sustainable development of the sport says Daw Aye
Aye Maw, general secretary of the Myanmar Squash Federation.
Speaking to The Myanmar Times
yesterday, Daw Aye Aye Maw confirmed the countrys intent to hold the
second edition of the Southeast Asian
Cup in 2016, after having competed in
the inaugural contest held in Singapore in March.
The secretary added that they
were in discussions with other Asian
nations to also join as guests for the
tournament but the final details such
as the date of the contest had yet to be
But for now, after struggling in
Singapore, the squad has set a modest target of one bronze medal from
Junes SEA Games, also to be held in
the city-state.
We will also face stiff competition
from host Singapore and Malaysia. It
will not be easy, Daw Aye Aye Maw
In the Southeast Asian Cup a team
event played across two mens single
games, two womens singles and one
mens jumbo doubles it was those
two nations who dominated the event,
with Malaysia coming out on top. Myanmar struggled, losing all three of their
matches 5-0, to Indonesia, Thailand 2
and Singapore respectively.
Only Than Than Soe, the womens
second seed, managed to put Myanmar
on the scoreboard as the only player to
take a match to a fourth game.
This tournament was important
for our squad to develop international
match experience and they have returned improved players for it. said
Daw Aye Aye Maw.
Since the Federation is only recently founded, the eight junior tennis
players four male, four female selected transfer to the sport continue
to train and are based alongside the
current crop of junior tennis players
based in Nay Pyi Taw.
Our team is based on junior tennis
athletes because the two sports have
such commonality but these players
will continue to be squash players after the 2016 SEA Games.


SPORT EDITOR: Matt Roebuck |

The Olympic effort

to pacify Rio


MFF must rise to SEA

Games expectations

YANMARS U23 side

hope to take lessons
from the success of
their younger compatriots and follow the
U20 side to Europe in preparation
for the SEA Games, a Myanmar Football Federation spokesperson told
The Myanmar Times yesterday.
Coach Kyi Lin hopes that we
might be able to take the SEA Games
team on a trip to Europe or possibly
Japan, though this has not been confirmed yet, said the spokesperson.
German Gerd Zeise, coach of the
U20 team, took his side on a warmup tour of Germany in advance
of their success in the Asian U19
Championships held last October in
Myanmar, when they qualified for
this years FIFA U20 World Cup in
New Zealand.
But success breeds expectation
and that is a lesson the Myanmar
Football Federation have learned after Deputy Sport Minister U Thaung
Htike demanded more of the U23
side as they prepare for Junes SEA
In mid-March, the Deputy Minister called all the sports federations
that will be representing Myanmar
in this years regional event to a twoday target setting meet at Thuwunna
As the sports listed their expectations of gold, the total came to 49,
but the deputy minister insisted that
figure be rounded up by increasing
the ambition of the MFF. The body
that governs the nations football had
initially set out the target of a semifinal berth, an ambition that would
be a step beyond the teams achievements in the 2013 SEA Games, when

The Myanmar U20 side are currently in Macedonia as part of their pre-World Cup preparations. Photo: MFF/Facebook

as hosts the mens team crashed out

at the group stage.
So the team that this week capitulated to Australia 5-1, a result that ruined their chances of qualification as
a second-place runner-up to the AFC
U23 Championship, must now aim
for gold.
The deputy minister insisted
they bring credit to the nation just
as their younger counterparts have
done. After their performance at the
last SEA Games, Myanmars football
fans lost faith in their team. But I
think the side will emulate the U20
team. I know this is a tough ask, said
U Thaung Htike on March 16. But
I believe they will try their best and

that is what I ask.

The MFF spokesperson added
that U Kyi Lin, manager of the U23
side, had always targeted a place in
the SEA Games final and therefore
would naturally be targeting the top
But U Kyi Lin probably wishes he
had at his disposal those players that
will follow Zeise in late May to New
Zealand for the World Cup. In March
both the U20 and U22 sides played
against the Malaysian U22 side, the
former running out 3-0 victors, the
latter struggling to a 1-1 draw.
Ziese has worked with his young
guns to develop both their footballing ability and their team ethic for

two years now. Recently both he and

senior side coach Raddy Avramovi
told The Myanmar Times that they
fully expect after the New Zealand
trip for at least half a dozen of the
youngsters to be instrumental in the
nations attempts to qualify for the
senior-level 2018 World Cup, a campaign that will also begin in June.
But unfortunately for U Kyi Lin,
the SEA Games and the U20 World
Cup the first football World Cup
that Myanmar has qualified for at
any level will clash and the latter
been prioritised. U Kyi Lin and his
charges who have been together for
less than a month must deliver the
success now expected of them.


Dragon Boat





Cue Sports





Sepak Takraw