Strong quake hits Myanmar, tremors felt in India
An earthquake of a magnitude 6.9 hit northern Myanmar on 13 April at a depth of 135km, nearly 400km north of Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw. The quake was also felt in parts of eastern India and Bangladesh. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages, according to the government.
Myanmar’s New Government Frees More Than 100 Political Prisoners
A total of 113 political prisoners in Myanmar were freed on 9 April under an amnesty ordered by the country’s new de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, as her first official act. The move was praised by human rights advocates, but a jarring note was struck when two peace activists were each sentenced on 8 April to two years with hard labour for activities in relations to an armed ethnic group.
China firm wins Myanmar approval for US$3 billion refinery
Chinese state-controlled commodity trader Guangdong Zhenrong Energy Co has won approval from the Myanmar Investment Committee (MIC) to build a long-planned US$3 billion refinery in southeast coastal city of Dawei. The project, which also includes an oil terminal, storage and distribution facilities, would be one of the largest foreign investments in decades in Myanmar. The approval was rushed through by the outgoing government, before the new NLD government took power at the end of March.
Garment exports predicted to reach US$12 billion by 2020
Myanmar’s garment exports is expected to be worth US$12 billion and employ 1.5 million people by 2020, according to a state media report, which attributed the ambitious figures to an unnamed source. Garment exports were expected to recover to about US$2 billion last year and the sector now employs about 250 thousand people, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association.
Obama Congratulates Myanmar on Historic Democratic Milestone
US President Obama congratulated his Myanmar counterpart, President Htin Kyaw, in a phone call on 6 April and applauded the National League for Democracy (NLD) leadership for reaching a historic milestone in democratic reform. Obama said the US is willing to provide future assistance and asked to remain informed of Myanmar’s future plans. Obama also spoke with Aung San Suu Kyi and commended her efforts over many years to achieve a peaceful transfer of power and advance national reconciliation