Measles mortality in sharp decline
SIGNIFICANT progress has been made controlling measles in Myanmar and the country has met a United Nations measles mortality reduction goal, a senior UN official said last week.
Mr Ramesh Shrestha, the representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Myanmar, told The Myanmar Times on December 11 the disease burden has dropped considerably following successful immunisation programs complemented by periodic national drives.
The UNICEF campaign reached more than 80 percent of targeted children in 2007 and 94pc in 2008, Mr Shrestha said.
Accordingly, the number of reported measles deaths has fallen from 40 in 2000, when there were 2000 reported cases, to just three in 2008, he said.
– Khin Myat
Separatists blamed for deadly blast
YANGON – The Myanmar government accused armed separatists on December 18 of a bomb attack that killed eight people and left 13 others injured at a market in Kayin State,
The bomb exploded late on December 16 as members of the ethnic Kayin minority celebrated their New Year at a bazaar in the eastern state bordering Thailand, an official told AFP.
Six people died at the scene and two died later in hospital.
“The New Year’s ceremony had already ended so there were not many people still around,” said the official.
The bomb exploded in Papun town in Kayin State, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the Yangon, he said.
It was not clear who was responsible for the attack, but the state-run English-language daily New Light of Myanmar newspaper blamed ethnic Kayin separatists.
The Karen National Union (KNU) has been fighting the Myanmar government for autonomy for more than five decades.
“The offender is from the KNU terrorists insurgent group that is active in the area between Papun and the border,” the New Light of Myanmar said. – AFP
Kyaukphyu port has strategic value
KYAUKPHYU deepwater port in Rakhine State will become a strategic location for transporting oil and natural gas exports once pipelines linking it with China are completed, Dr Myint, a former economist at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP), said on December 5.
The pipelines which will transport oil and natural gas to China’s Yunnan province, making Kyaukphyu an important link in the oil supply chain between the Middle East and China, 7 Day News quoted Dr Myint as saying.
“There will be no need to use the Malacca Straits for transporting oil,” Dr Myint said at the seminar, titled “The Rise of China and its Implication on Neighbouring Countries”.
The deepwater port is strategically located to also transport natural gas from the A-1 and A-3 blocks in the Bay of Bengal, said the report, published on December 10.
China will invest US$2.45 billion to build the two pipelines and construction is expected to start in June 2010 and be completed in 2015, Dr Myint said. – Ye Lwin
Car prices expected to fall in 2010
CAR price are expected to fall slightly in 2010 as the number of locally made cars is scheduled to increase by five times 2009 production levels, Flower News reported on December 15.
The government has given permission for more than 20,000 cars to be produced in Myanmar’s industrial zones next year, up from just 4000 in 2009.
One car broker said he expected prices to decline at least 10 percent in 2010.
“We expect that the car price will go down compared with this year as industrial zone businesses are allowed to raise their productivity rate in 2010,” a manufacturer from an industrial zone in Yangon said.
He said the government will also permit companies to directly import car engines from abroad in 2010.
“We hope that this will make cars more reasonably priced for customers while also allowing manufacturers to make a profit,” he added.
The government has permitted local manufacturers to produce jeeps since the start of the 2001-2002 financial year.
Locally made vehicles range in price from K12 million to K20 million depending on the vehicle type. – Ye Lwin
Myanma Insurance in the black in 2009
INSURANCE companies around the world might be hurting as a result of the financial crisis but Myanma Insurance continued to operate at a profit in 2009, The Yangon Times reported on December 17.
Dr Maung Maung Thein, the general manager of Myanma Insurance, said the company had seen a 30 percent rise in business during 2009 and this had helped it remain profitable. The report did not specify how much profit the state-run Myanma Insurance made in 2009.
He said the company had not introduced any new insurance products in 2009 but planned to launch some in 2010.
He said he expected fire insurance and natural disaster insurance to be the company’s most popular policies going forward.
The effects of climate change, which are thought to include an increase in extreme weather events, could also affect insurance companies, he said.
“There is the potential that insurance companies will have to pay out compensation for loss due to climate change in the future,” Dr Maung Maung Thein said. – Ye Lwin
Barcamp coming to Yangon
THE organisers of barcamp, a self-proclaimed un-conference, have set themselves an unenviable task – to transform their IT seminar from uninteresting and uninspiring to interesting and unmissable.
Barcamp will be held at Myanmar Info-Tech on January 23 and 24 from 9am to 6pm, said U Nyi Lynn Seck, one of un-conference’s Yangon organisers, which will also undoubtedly receive assistance from Myanmar Computer Federation (MCF) and Myanmar Computer Professional Association (MCPA).
Barcamp’s aim is to talk about IT, with attendees invited to give their own 15-minute talks, which will be recorded, and hopefully generate lively discussion.
Free broadband internet will be provided during the event and a server will be set up to allow attendees to share files with each other. One organiser, U Nyi Lynn Seck, said those wishing to deliver talks must register with organisers early to declare the subject of their intended discussion. He added that local and international IT professionals have also been invited to take part. To take part in barcamp contact either the MCF or MCPA. – Htin Aung Ling
Electronic expo in Dec
LOVERS of high-tech gadgetry are being invited to a Christmas feast IT and electronic goods. The Electronics & Lifestyle exhibition 2009 will be held on December 24-27 at Tatmadaw Convention Hall, Dagon township, said International Exhibition Management Service (IEMS) who are planning the event.
Visitors will be able to view the products of 70 local and foreign companies displaying electronics, home appliances and furniture and kitchen and lifestyle accessories on show in the 140 booths.
Myanmar’s 70 most prominent IT and electronics companies, including KMD, Lucky Bird, RedLink and Asia General Electric will show laptops, business appliance software systems, transformers, UPS, mobile devices and kitchen and household accessories. IEMS will make award a refrigerator or a washing machine at a lucky draw held daily. Exhibitors at the expo, the second of its kind this year, have agreed discount their goods to encourage sales, said U That Lwin Shwe, managing director of IEMS. – Htin Aung Ling
MCPA Excellence Award winner announced
WEB-BASED Teaching Systems have received the Myanmar Computer Professional Association’s (MCPA) Excellence Award for 2008 for the company’s online learning service website, an association spokesperson said on December 12.
The educational service is a joint effort from the Yangon University’s computer science department and Inforithm-Maze company.
It beat strong competition from other services and products including the Define e-dictionary, e-Trade Myanmar’s SMS service, http://www.mysteryzillion.org and the Zawgyi unicode font system.
The Excellence Award was given to the company for its online academic services, said MCPA executive committee member U Aung Soe Moe.
Applications for the awards were lodged from February to July this year and included 13 entrants.
The MCPA awards program began in 2007. – Htin Aung Ling