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Critics blame logging for Myanmar floods

Mandalay (UCAN): Advocates and politicians from Myanmar’s predominantly Christian, Kachin State have blamed the destruction of hundreds of houses destroyed by floods and landslides in late April on environmental degradation caused by the logging industry.

Steven Tsa Ji, general secretary of Kachin Development Networking Group, said the recent disaster is the result of intensive logging and mining conducted by Chinese companies.

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Rohingya still a dirty word in Myanmar

Mandalay (UCAN): The Muslim minority in Rakhine, Myanmar, identify as themselves as Rohingya, a term that the country’s new civilian government, just like the previous military regime, refuses to acknowledge.

The government instead insists on referring to the Rohingyas as Bengalis, implying that they are, instead, illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. This is despite the fact that the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for decades.

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Protests against inadequate rehousing

Mandalay (UCAN): Around 1,000 people, including Christian clergy, joined protests on January 5 and 6 in Hakha, the capital of Myanmar’s impoverished Chin state, by people angry at local government plans to re-house them in an area that lacks adequate roads and drainage.

Reverend Lai Cung, a protest leader from the Hakha Khuahlul Baptist Church. Said, “We are going to continue our protests if the local government doesn’t respond to our demands.” 

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Grim job of mopping up after flooding

MANDALAY (SE): The young novices giggled at the convent door as they donned big rubber boots. These are not the normal wear for a young woman in the Union of Myanmar.

But their laughter was brief, as both the older sisters and the novices took the task of bringing help to the victims of the devastating floods of late August seriously.

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Myanmar butts into pope’s conversations

YANGON (AsiaNews): A couple of days before departing for Rome, Charles Cardinal Bo, from Yangon, was asked by government officials not to use the word Rohingya when speaking about the Rohingya people with Pope Frances.

It was reported by Muzzimi News that officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the Union of Myanmar approached Cardinal Bo.

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Churches skeptical of Suu Kyi’s overtures

Mandalay (UCAN): Church personnel in the heavily Christian Kayah state of the Union of Myanmar expressed scepticism at overtures from Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, during a September 11 visit to drum up support for candidates in the upcoming elections in November.

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More clamps on religious freedom in Asia

HONG KONG (UCAN): The parliament in Naypyidaw, the Union of Myanmar, passed controversial legislation championed by hardline Buddhist nationalists on August 21, raising fears authorities will have new tools to use against already marginalised minority groups.

Members of the parliament said that two proposed bills had been passed; one regulating religious conversions and the other an anti-polygamy bill.

Je Yaw Wu, a representative in the Upper House, confirmed that the parliament had passed the legislation.

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Condition of displaced Muslims in Myanmar critical

Mandalay (UCAN): Relief workers helping more than 300 people displaced by violence from a Muslim community in the Sagaing region in the northwest of the Union of Myanmar say they face critical shortages of food, clothing and other basic needs, after rioters from a Buddhist area burned homes and shops over the weekend of August 24 and 25.

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Myanmar’s war behind the screen

MYITKINA (SE): “First of all, it is painful for any Kachin to hear the word rebel being placed together with the word Kachin,” Bishop Francis Daw Tang, from the diocese of Myitkyina in war-torn Kachin state of the Union of Myanmar, said in summing up the conflict between the government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

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Cry for peace from Kachin bishop in Myanmar

MYITKYINA (SE): “I appeal to all parties to return to the peace negotiation, since peace is possible, peace is the only way,” Bishop Francis Daw Tang, from the war-torn diocese of Myitkyina in the Kachin state of the Union of Myanmar, said in a strongly worded appeal for peace on February 8.


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