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Burmese kyat: 1,031/ US dollar
Gold: Buying @ 666,550 kyat per tical; Selling @ 667,550
Rich countries must not become ‘gated communities’, warns UN chief
As the world marks Human Rights Day on 10 December, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned that the depiction of migrants as “invasive hordes”, who are “threatening our way of life” and “jumping the queue” must stop, and States must act with full respect for the human rights of all – including migrants. “Rich countries must not become gated communities, their people averting their eyes from the bloodstains in the driveway,” Zeid said.
China completes telecoms cable across Burma
State-owned telecoms firm China Unicom has completed construction of a US$50 million optical cable connecting China with Burma and international subsea connections on the Indian Ocean coast. The 1,500km cable, built in cooperation with Myanmar Post and Telecommunications, connects Yunnan province with Ruili, Mandalay, Rangoon and Indian Ocean ports, Xinhua reported. Construction commenced in 2011.
Burma looks to compete as garment maker
Burma’s Deputy Minister for Trade and Commerce Pwint San is currently in Dhaka trying to promote his country as an effective manufacturer of ready-made garments, Bangladesh’s Daily Star reported. Pwint San wants Burma to compete with Bangladesh in the lucrative sector and is attending a conference hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh. Burma’s export value of garments rose to US$1.2 billion in 2013, representing more than 10 percent of the country’s total exports.
Found in translation: Google adds Burmese language
Google’s translation tool has added 10 new languages, including Burmese, as an application, meaning Burmese speakers can now translate foreign texts into their own language. Last year, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt stressed the importance of free speech in Burma and called on the government to refrain from regulating the Internet. Schmidt added that Google’s first priority in Burma [Myanmar] is to improve access to information with its search engine and tools such as Google Translate and Maps.
Burmese satellite in orbit within 5 years?
Burma’s government is working towards sending the country’s first satellite into space within five years, according to industry magazine Via Satellite. Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology Thaung Tin reportedly said the project was a “national priority” and that “although there is no timeline for the launch of a satellite, the selection process will follow that of the international mobile licenses, with an open, fair and transparent tendering process, followed by public consultation.”
Burma near bottom in Internet freedom ranking
Burma is one of the worst countries in the world for Internet freedom, listed alongside Yemen and Ethiopia as the most restrictive countries for Internet benefits, according to The World Wide Web Foundation, created by Tim Berners-Lee. Statistics also showed a global increase in moderate-to-extensive censorship, and less countries passing laws to prevent mass surveillance. Berners-Lee maintains that Internet freedom should be a basic human right.
Tenders invited for Rangoon wholesale market
Rangoon regional government is inviting tenders from local firms to design and construct a large fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Danyingone, in the city’s northeastern Insein Township. The new 34-hectare market will include cold storage facilities and will be implemented under a public-private partnership, according to state media. Closing date for tender bids is 1 January. The new market is part of a broader plan to set up wholesale markets across the country, including at strategic border towns.
Green flag for foreign firms in medical sector
Medical production and private hospital construction in Burma is now open for 100 percent foreign investment, Eleven Media reported. The move will allow international pharmaceutical companies to manufacture medicines in Burma, some of which are currently partnered with domestic companies. The law on foreign and local investment in Burma was reformed in 2012. The country remains the second lowest of ASEAN countries for foreign investment.
Burma, Thailand look to jump-start Dawei SEZ
Officials from Burma and Thailand will meet next month to approve the framework of the initial phase of the delayed Dawei development project. Arkhom Termpitayapaisith, secretary-general of Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board, said the two countries had already set up policy committees to oversee the scheme. In October, the Thai and Burmese governments agreed to revitalise the project by letting Thai firms play a bigger role in the much-delayed SEZ when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha paid an official visit to the country.
Yoma secures US$100 million for Burmese investments
Singapore-listed company Yoma Strategic Holdings have secured a loan from the Asia Development Bank (ADB) for over US$100 million to aid investments in Burma. According to the ADB, the loan is designed to build infrastructure for enhanced connectivity, such as constructing telecommunication towers, and developing transportation links. Burma remains one of the least connected countries in the world in these sectors, according to Yoma’s press release. Yoma also has stakes in property, agriculture, tourism, and the automotive and retail industries in Burma.