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Salesian workshops launch careers

John Zaw
 
It is just another morning in August and a group of 15 purposeful young men is busy at work at a motorcycle workshop in Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar. Some are carrying out major repairs, some are fixing the plugs and some focused on the tires and wheels.
 








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More displaced as fighting erupts anew in Myanmar

MANDALAY (UCAN): About 1,000 people have fled their homes and taken refuge at religious sites as renewed fighting erupted in Myanmar’s Shan State.
 
Aid workers said that more than 300 people were sheltering at a Catholic church in a village in Hsenwi township on August 19, while 700 people were at Mansu Shan Buddhist monastery in the town of Lashio.
 

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Myanmar seeks to close camps for people displaced by conflict

MANDALAY (UCAN): With no major clashes between government forces and rebels in Myanmar’s northern Kachin State for the past year, moves are afoot to resettle large numbers of displaced civilians. Preparations include direct discussions between Christian leaders and government officials.
 
More than 120,00 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been living in 169 camps in Kachin and neighbouring Northern Shan State since 2011 when a 17-year ceasefire broke down. Thirty-seven per cent of the camps are in areas beyond government control.

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Arrest warrant issued for ultranationalist Myanmese monk

MANDALAY (UCAN): On July 9, the Western District Court in commercial hub Yangon, Myanmar, ruled that ultranationalist Buddhist monk, U Wirathu, must come out of hiding within a month to face a charge of sedition. It ordered that an arrest warrant be posted at his monastery in the northern city of Mandalay.
 
U Wirathu was accused of sedition for making speeches in May that attacked Myanmar’s state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi.
 

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Uncertain future for Myanmar’s returning refugees

MANDALAY (UCAN): More than 300 refugees from Myanmar, who have been living in camps in Thailand, have returned home, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), amid concerns over a scarcity of jobs and other barriers to rebuilding their lives.
 
About 100,000 refugees live in nine camps in Thailand along the border with Myanmar. Most are ethnic minority Karen from eastern Myanmar, who fled conflict and persecution, sometimes decades ago, during sustained military offensives against Karen guerillas in the early 1980s.

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Asia helps push world refugee numbers to record high

Luke Hunt
 
 
The annual United Nations report on the state of refugees around the globe reads more like an end-of-year corporate finance sheet. It’s just numbers and like a profit-and-loss account, the figures can be interpreted in many ways.
 








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Myanmar shuts down Internet in Rakhine

MANDALAY (UCAN): Authorities in Myanmar shut down Internet services in the troubled Rakhine State amid claims by local Buddhists, who are seeking greater autonomy, of human rights’ abuses by the security forces.
 
The Ministry of Transport and Communications has directed four mobile service providers to temporarily shut down Internet access in nine townships and in neighboring Chin State. The order was effective from June 21.
 

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ASEAN leaders pressured over leaked Rohingya repatriation report

MANDALAY (UCAN): Rights groups have called out ASEAN leaders, who gathered in Bangkok, Thailand for the 34th ASEAN Summit from June 20 to 23, over a leaked report on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees which downplays the crackdown by Myanmar’s military on the Muslim minority group.  
 
Nearly two dozen Rohingya organisations and civil societies from around the world voiced concern over the leaked report from ASEAN’s Emergency Response and Action Team (ERAT).
 

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Myanmar’s bishops call for full shutdown of Myitsone dam

MANDALAY (UCAN): Myanmar’s Catholic bishops in have called for the complete shutdown of the China-backed hyrdro-electric Myitsone Dam.
 
In a statement released June 8, the bishops pleaded for all dam stakeholders “to review the Myitsone Dam project in Kachin State and stop it permanently” for the sake of the country’s people.
 
Charles Cardinal Maung Bo of Yangon, along with 18 bishops from 16 dioceses signed the statement after a biannual meeting held in Yangon from June 4 to 7.

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Hope fades for freedom of expression in Myanmar

While the world hailed Myanmar for granting a presidential pardon on May 7 to two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, after they spent 500 days behind bars for exposing a massacre of Rohingya Muslims, other human rights abuses continue unabated in the country.
 
On April 22, seven people from a satirical performance troupe called Peacock Generation were charged with criminal defamation for lambasting the military during their Lunar New Year celebrations in April.