BIRMANIE EXPRESS – NEWS: What to remember from Burmese news from 21 to 27 March?

Gavroche has selected for you some important news from Burma over the past week. An essential news review for anyone interested in this Southeast Asian country.

COVID-19

In Myanmar, from 3 January 2020 to 25 March 2022, 610,176 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 19,428 deaths were reported to WHO. As of March 12, 2022, 47,150,926 doses of the vaccine have been administered.

During the last reporting week, Burma is reported to have administered an average of 258,026 doses per day.

Politics

ASEAN Special Envoy Prak Sokhon said on Wednesday (March 23) that he called on Myanmar’s ruling military to exercise restraint during offensives and that the junta leader told him he would not have access to ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi while her trial was underway. .

The Burmese junta on Monday (March 21) arrested Khin Shwe and his son Zai Tihu, accused of demolishing historic buildings on land leased from the Burmese defense ministry. During a press conference held Thursday, March 24, in Naypyidaw, army spokesman Major General Zo Ming Tong confirmed the arrest of the two men.

Economy

The government restricts the export of agricultural products. The Department of Commerce has just added 12 new product groups that require a license to export (corn, cereal grains, corn kernels, corn powder) from April 1, 2022. These products have been added to the list, which includes 1224 products, mainly related to live animals and animal products, rice and legumes, metals and wood.

The Government of National Unity (NUG), the shadow cabinet formed in response to the coup, has just released its budget recommendations for 2021/22. Three priorities have been identified: support for civil disobedience movements, support for vulnerable populations, pandemic management and the health sector. If multiple quantitative elements are proposed for spending as well as resources, the NUG announces that it has nevertheless raised US$17 million to fund its defensive efforts.

Like many ASEAN countries, the Burmese government has just announced the resumption of international commercial flights from April 17, 2022, the date of the Burmese New Year. However, no indication was given of the evolution of quarantine procedures, visas and related administrative formalities, which remain subject to severe restrictions.

Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor announces the latest approvals from the Myanmar Investment Commission paving the way for the sale of its Burmese subsidiary. According to the plan, all assets will be transferred no later than 6 months to the Singapore company Investcom, 51% of which is controlled by the Lebanese MA group and its Burmese partner Shwe Byain Phyu (49%). The latter, with a reputation for being close to the military, will eventually own 80% of Investcom’s capital, and the operator will no longer be able to use the Telenor brand for 4 months after the deal date.

Society

The nighttime curfew in Myanmar’s Yangon region will change from 10pm to 4am to midnight-4am on March 22.

While rumors of the spread of counterfeit banknotes have increased in recent weeks, the phenomenon has taken a new turn in recent days. Through the social network Facebook, several people no longer hesitate to openly offer packages for sale at prices ranging from 10% to 30% of the face value. This practice is part of the context of a significant liquidity shortage related to post-coup restrictions by the central bank (BCM).

Junta courts in Naypyidaw and Yangon’s Insein Prison this week sentenced two journalists to two years in prison, a year after they were arrested and charged with violating section 505a of the criminal code as a reward. Kamayut Media co-founder Khantar Nayin was sentenced on Monday (March 21) by a military “special court” in Insein, and former Mizzima correspondent Than Htike Aung received the same sentence from Dekhin District Court in Naypyidaw on Tuesday, March 22.

Tourism, culture, sports

Hong Kong hotel operator Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels has just written off its flagship project, the Peninsula Hotel, which was commissioned to build by a subsidiary of the Bouygues Group. This construction, frozen after the coup, is part of a larger real estate development project led by Burmese businessman Serge Poon.

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