Myanmar Monitor Weekly


Foreign Affairs

 Russia courts Myanmar
Just weeks after parliament approved closer Myanmar-Russia military relations, President Htin Kyaw shook hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi. Russia seems set on improving its relations with ASEAN, warming to the region after Western nations imposed sanctions for its role in the Ukraine conflict. Coinciding with the president’s preparations for the meeting, the Admiral Vinogradov of the Russian Pacific Fleet docked near Yangon to “enhance long-standing friendship” between the two counties.
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More Than 12 Die in Jade Mine Landslide in Myanmar
At least 12 people died and 11 others were injured on 24 May in Myanmar’s Hpakant township when mountainous slag heaps collapsed on them due to heavy rain, according to local residents. The incident is the latest in a string of deadly mining-waste landslides that have occurred during the past year in the center of the country’s highly lucrative jade-mining business, in northeastern Myanmar’s Kachin state.
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Government urged to take a wider look at hydropower plans
Myanmar’s new government should take a “by design” approach to developing the country’s massive potential hydropower resources, scholars and leading environmental organizations suggests in a new report funded by the United Kingdom’s aid agency. The report looks at how countries like Myanmar can deliver the broadest range of benefits to their people while tapping their water resources for energy. It comes as the newly minted National League for Democracy (NLD) has yet to signal what its approach to hydropower will be.
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Tender planned for US$2b Yangon-Mandalay railway upgrade
Work on the US$ 2 billion Yangon-Mandalay railway, led by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is scheduled to start next year and should be complete by 2025, said Ba Myint, general manager of Myanma Railways, under the Ministry of Transport and Communications. “Bids for purchasing items for the railway upgrade project, which will be implemented in phases, will be called at the end of the year,” he said.
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New Myanmar government may bring added investor scrutiny 
As political risk lessens, the type of investment in Myanmar is also changing. The initial flood of FDI into lower-risk areas such as consumer goods and automobile importing is leading to interest in higher-risk areas such as mining, property development and construction. But political change can also bring uncertainty as powerful figures associated with the past come under added scrutiny, meaning that tycoons and their associated companies that flourished under the previous government could come under the microscope and government contracts, land deals and tax arrangements re-examined.
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