Minimum-wage legislation has left us worse off, say workers at a wood-products factory in Mandalay Region. They say the management of the Kan Kaung Chin Yadanar factory in Bal Lin village, Singu township, is asking them to do more work for less money than before the law came into force.
The Union Electoral Commission is investigating a complaint that a winning National League for Democracy candidate in November’s election, though elected in an ethnic Shan constituency, is not an ethnic Shan. According to U Sai Naw Khay, the defeated candidate who filed the complaint, the winner, U Sai Kyaw Zaw, was not even entitled to vote as a Shan, let alone stand in the constituency.
Volunteer activists for religious tolerance are still facing prosecution, and possible imprisonment, for contacts they had with an ethnic armed group. Ko Zaw Zaw Latt and Ma Pwint Phyu Latt, who are both Muslim members of the Mandalay Interfaith Social Volunteer Youth Group, face prosecution under the Unlawful Association and Immigration acts.
Tent-dwellers on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River in Mandalay may soon be exchanging their canvas walls for bricks and mortar, as the regional government seeks tenants for newly completed low-cost housing.
High prices and threats of flooding will probably not deter pilgrims and holidaymakers from flocking to Mann Shwesettaw Pagoda when the season opens in February. The holiness of the site and the beauty of its surroundings will still be enough to attract them in the customary hordes – at least as long as the footprint of Buddha survives the threat of erosion.
Fearing further flood damage in the next rainy season, a group of civil society organisations in Kalay, Sagaing Region, is trying to jump-start government action to deal with a giant natural reservoir formed by a landslide. The activists fear that unless something is done to drain the 6.4-hectare (16-acre) reservoir, the city will again be engulfed by floodwaters descending from the hills.
On reaching the age of 80, and alone in the world, Daw Shwe Phoo Wai sold everything she had and donated the proceeds to charity. Even in a culture where such behaviour is revered, her devotion is rare.
In this arid part of southern Shan State, it’s the only game in town. In U Toe Maung’s village, Yenwae, in Hpekon township, all the farmers grow opium. They always have. Strolling among the opium fields is one of his earliest memories, he said.
Recent whale sharks sightings off two popular tourist beaches in western Myanmar have underscored the poaching risks facing the world’s largest fish, as well as the challenge of enforcing laws against hunting the vulnerable species.