FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
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Burma embassy in Japan latest to order income tax
The Burma Embassy in Tokyo announced on Dec. 21 that all of its nationals working in Japan must pay a monthly income tax equal to 2,000 Japanese Yen ($13.96 USD). “I decided not to pay the tax. This tax will harm our own people,” said a Burma national working in Tokyo. There are around 50,000 migrant workers from Burma in Japan.
The embassy told workers to pay the tax at least once every six months or else they will be unable to receive passport renewal services. A two percent income tax on Burma nationals was ordered by the Burma embassies in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. Millions of Burma nationals work outside the country and send remittances home to family members.
Number of Internally Displaced Persons reaches 2.6 million
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that since Oct. 26 over 660,000 people have been displaced in Shan, Karenni, Arakan, Mon, Karen and Chin states, Sagaing, Mandalay, Bago, and Tanintharyi region. This brings the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to 2.6 million nationwide.
“By our estimates there’s over three million internally displaced people since the coup. That’s people who’ve fled [attacks by the military]. Maybe some have gone back home, but we count anybody who’s had to leave,” said David Eubank, the director of Free Burma Rangers, an organization providing humanitarian assistance to civilians.
The U.N. report said 82,000 IDPs in northern Shan State have received humanitarian assistance since Oct. 27 and 50,000 more are expected to in the coming weeks. Its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will provide seven million USD to help the most vulnerable people in Burma.
DVB Short Docs Awards celebrates emerging filmmakers
The DVB Short Docs 2023 Awards ceremony was held at Chiang Mai University on Dec. 20. Ten short documentary films were screened, portraying life in Myanmar since the 2021 military coup upended a 10-year transition from military rule to democracy.
An international jury of filmmakers, including renowned British filmmaker Ali Fowle and Burmese filmmaker Na Gyi, presented the Short Doc Award 2023 to “My Notes to Spring” director Zero, which depicts a man injured by homemade landmines in Sagaing Region. “This film shows the life of one ‘mine soldier’ who represents all revolutionaries that have become disabled,” said Zero. All 10 DVB Short Docs 2023 are available to watch on-demand, via DVB TV News. Read more here.
News by Region
CHIN—The Paletwa Autonomous District Council (PADC), a civilian-led governing body, has requested humanitarian assistance to over 30,000 IDPs in Paletwa Township.
“The weather is too cold here. IDPs are in need of everything, including tarpaulin, clothes, food and medicines. They are using banana leaves as roofs because the Burma Army restricted transportation access,” said Salaing Myo Thit, chair of the PADC.
KACHIN—Bhamo residents said two civilians were killed and six were injured by artillery fire in Maikai and Maisein villages of Bhamo Township on Dec. 18. Four homes were destroyed by shells.
“There have been no clashes in those areas since 2022. But the Burma Army fired random artillery shells from Bhamo when they heard that resistance forces approached the town,” said a Bhamo resident.
MANDALAY—A group calling itself No More Dictatorship People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed that it fired six 107 mm long-range artillery shells, which landed inside the compound of the Mandalay Palace, where the Burma Army’s Central Command Headquarters is located, on Dec. 21.
“This attack was jointly performed with other resistance forces. We calculated the temperature and wind speed so we could hit the target. Unfortunately, there was an error with one shell,” said Charlie, the PDF spokesperson.
The number of casualties is unknown but locals claimed that many ambulances entered the palace after the attack. Mandalay-based PDFs have warned people to avoid going near the moat, or anywhere Burma Army troops are deployed.
MON—Su Su Htwe, the chairperson of a charitable group, was arrested at her home in Thaton on Dec. 16. Pro-military social media channels called for her arrest after she was accused of making a comment deemed pro-PDF.
“Concerns about her whereabouts remain high,” a Thaton resident told DVB. Data for Myanmar reported that as of September this year, over 1,300 people have been arrested and accused of criticizing the military online.