Saturday, December 16, 2017
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President Thein Sein sent a message to the parliament on January 20 requesting that parliament reconsider the National Education Law following demands from students and teachers.

In his message to parliament, the president mentioned that there are stakeholders who demand decentralisation of education policies, the elimination of the National Educational Commission, the freedom to form students and teacher associations and the promotion of ethnic minority literature in schools.

The president also said that since the Ministry of Education has not been able to fulfil the demands of these stakeholders and because the law is still not enforced in practice, the legislation should consider amending it.

He sent the message on the same day that dozens of students started a 575-km march from Mandalay to Yangon in protest of the law. They renewed the protest as the government did not act to complete their demands within 60 days.

The Union parliament approved the National Education Law on September 30, 2014. Forty-six per cent of the law’s provisions were drawn the parliament, and remaining 54 per cent were drawn by the Ministry of Education.

On Tuesday dozens of young campaigners began an unauthorised cross-country protest march to the commercial hub Yangon, in a show of defiance by students, who have historically been at the forefront of political activism in the former junta-run nation.

Protesters said the statement – which suggested adding “inclusive education” to the law without elaborating on who would be affected – fell short of their demands.

“It’s not enough. We need a genuine way to change,” Phyo Phyo Aung, secretary of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, told AFP by phone from the central town of Kyaukse as around a hundred protesters made their way south from the second city of Mandalay.

Students, who staged almost a week of rallies in November over the law which they say curbs academic freedom, renewed their campaign Tuesday, saying that government had failed to meet their demands for talks.

They want the law altered to include free and compulsory education until children reach their early teens, permission to form student and teacher unions, and teaching in ethnic minority languages.

Myanmar was rocked by massive student-led demonstrations against authoritarianism in 1988 that propelled Aung San Suu Kyi into the democracy fight, but were ended with a brutal military crackdown.

Outright army rule ended in 2011 and the country has seen Western sanctions largely dropped in response to reforms, including releasing most political prisoners and allowing Suu Kyi into parliament.

Tensions soar after night of clashes

Posted by pakin On December - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Hong Kong – Hong Kong police said Monday they had “no other choice” after unleashing pepper spray and baton charges at students who tried to storm government headquarters overnight, in some of the worst violence since the pro-democracy protests began.

With demonstrations now in their third month, tensions soared after police beat back demonstrators who had surged onto a main road outside the government complex shouting: “Surround the headquarters. Paralyse the government.”

“In a situation where they had no other choice, police used a minimal amount of force including spraying water, pepper spray… and batons,” senior superintendent Tsui Wai-hung said.

But protesters at the main Admiralty rally site Monday expressed their fury and despondency after a number were injured in the clashes.

“I feel angry but there’s nothing we can do about it,” said account clerk Justin Yan, 22.

“They are supposed to protect the citizens, not (hurt) us. We saw what they did, so we don’t trust them any more.”

Demonstrators now fear that police will try to clear Admiralty, where hundreds of tents block a multi-lane highway through the heart of the financial district.

But security minister Lai Tung-kwok said he would not “prematurely” reveal future government actions for the area.

He accused protesters of “systematically” charging the police cordon outside the government offices.

“Their actions go against peace and non-violence,” he said. Protesters have been staging mass sit-ins in Hong Kong since late September, demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

China’s communist authorities insist candidates for the 2017 vote must be vetted by a loyalist committee, which the protesters say will ensure the election of a pro-Beijing stooge.

Bloodied face

Tearful protesters were forced from the government site and roads were cleared for traffic before morning rush hour Monday, but government offices remained closed with the de facto parliament suspended Monday morning.

Emotions were running high, with clashes between police and protesters at a shopping arcade near the Admiralty site, with at least one person stretchered away, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

In chaotic scenes overnight, hundreds of protesters wearing helmets and wielding umbrellas spilled into a major road outside the office of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Police said they had made 40 arrests overnight and 11 officers had been injured.

Several protesters were injured in the overnight clashes. One was seen led away by police with a bloodied face, while others were tended to by first-aid volunteers after being fired at with pepper spray.

Protesters wore builders’ hard hats and used umbrellas — which have come to symbolise the pro-democracy movement — to shield themselves from the pepper spray.

Police had to dodge helmets and bottles that were lobbed through the air. One officer was carted into the back of an ambulance on a stretcher.

“This is a long-awaited escalation of action. It should have happened ages ago,” protester Kelvin Lau told AFP.

The protests drew tens of thousands of people at times during their first weeks, but the numbers have dwindled as the movement’s leaders struggle to keep up momentum.

Frustrations have grown amongst the demonstrators as Beijing refuses to budge on the vetting of candidates, while support has waned among residents grown weary of the transport disruption.

Police cleared a protest site in working-class Mongkok last week, making more than 140 arrests, but sporadic scuffles have continued there between police and crowds of angry demonstrators.

A smaller camp blocks another busy road in the shopping district of Causeway Bay.

A British colony until 1997, Hong Kong enjoys civil liberties not seen on the Chinese mainland, including freedom of speech and the right to protest.

But fears have been growing that these freedoms are being eroded.

Trade, investment discussed with Russian PM

Posted by pakin On November - 13 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Thailand and Russia on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to continue mutual cooperation in trade and investment, particularly in the agricultural and logistic sectors.

The agreement was made during a bilateral meeting between Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of Asean Summit in Myanmar’s capital of Nay Pi Taw.

The two sides congratulated each other on their longstanding ties ahead of the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2017. With Thailand remaining a popular destination for Russian travellers, Gen Prayut assured Medvedev that the Kingdom was a safe place to visit and that his government would make every effort to ensure the wellbeing of all visitors.

The Thai premier also thanked Russia for increasing its imports of Thai agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables and canned foods and expressed the hope that bilateral trade would double to about US$10 billion by 2016.

The PM also extended an invitation to Russia to invest in Thailand’s infrastructure development projects.

In return, Medvedev voiced readiness to push trade and investment cooperation between the two countries, saying he would further expand the market for Thai produce within Russia. The Russian premier said he considered Thailand one of Russia’s leading partners in Asean and insisted that bilateral cooperation would be increased in many areas, such as energy, tourism and cultural exchange.

He also invited Gen Prayut to make an official visit to Russia when convenient.

Fitch raises Vietnam’s credit rating

Posted by pakin On November - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

HANOI — Vietnam’s credit rating was raised to three levels below investment grade by Fitch Ratings, which said the country’s macroeconomic stability has improved.

The company raised its rating on Vietnam’s long-term foreign and local currency debt to BB- from B+, and revised the outlook to stable from positive, it said in a statement today. Standard & Poor’s already rates Vietnam at BB-, while Moody’s Investors Service raised its assessment in July to B1, four steps below investment grade.

“Vietnam’s macroeconomic policy mix has moved towards policies aimed at achieving macroeconomic stability,” Fitch said. “Macroeconomic stabilisation has contributed to a sharp turnaround in the current account from a deficit of 3.7% in 2010 to a projected surplus of 4.1% in 2014.”

Vietnam’s economy expanded 5.62% in the nine months through September from the same period a year earlier. The government cut policy interest rates twice this year, aiming to boost full-year economic growth to 5.8 percent in 2014 and 6.2% next year. Government bonds had a fifth monthly gain in October after inflation eased for a fourth month to the slowest pace since 2009.

The yield on the benchmark five-year government notes fell one basis point to 5.16% today, according to prices from banks compiled by Bloomberg. The dong weakened 0.1% to 21,290 against the US dollar as of 3:55pm local time.

“The rating upgrade will boost investors’ confidence, especially foreign ones, and spur them to increase holdings of Vietnamese bonds,” Do Ngoc Quynh, the head of treasury at Hanoi-based Bank for Investment & Development of Vietnam, said by telephone today. “Fitch’s upgrade helps strengthen the recent uptrend of the notes in the local market.”

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