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Starlink internet available for the first time in Burma; Regime launches state lottery phone app

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Starlink internet available for the first time in Burma

David Eubank, the director of the Free Burma Rangers, expressed gratitude to Starlink, and its founder Elon Musk, through a video message shared to Twitter from Karenni State on June 8. “We’re in one of the few villages that hasn’t been bombed. We have a bunch of displaced people here. The way we can get the news out is by your system,” said Eubank. But he didn’t mention the cost associated with using the Starlink terminal, adding: “We’ll pay what we need to pay.” This means that internet is now available, via Starlink, in parts of Karenni State which had limited to no internet access. Since the 2021 coup, the military has consistently disrupted or cut access to mobile and wireless internet, which serves as the primary means of online access for the majority of the population. Starlink has not responded to Eubank’s video message. Netizens have repeatedly called on Musk to make Starlink terminals available, for free, to Burma as it has in Ukraine since the Russian invasion.  

Regime launches state lottery phone app

The Aungbarlay Online Lottery smartphone application was launched in partnership between the Internal Revenue Department and the telecoms company Mytel on June 9. Min Aung Hlaing and Mytel staff attended the opening ceremony in Naypyidaw. The app allows people to buy state lottery tickets online and collect prizes. Sales of Aungbarlay lottery tickets have declined since the coup due to a boycott to deprive the military regime of income. The lottery awarded prizes of up to K1.5 billion ($717,829 USD) during the civilian government, but the highest award is now only K500 million ($239,276 USD). The National Unity Government (NUG) launched the Victorious Spring Lottery in 2021 to raise funds for the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

Number of students taking exams declines further

More than 100,000 students passed the nationwide matriculation exam, stated the Department of Myanmar Examinations on June 9. The Ministry of Education claimed that 161,850 students across Burma took the exam and 109,851 passed. In 2022, around 300,000 students took the exam. The number of students taking the exam has continued to decline from 900,000 prior to 2021.

DVB Weekly Cartoon: Commenting or liking posts on Facebook can be considered a crime.

News by Region

BAGO—An agricultural officer was killed and four others were injured by an explosion at the General Administration Department office in Kyaukkyi Township in Nyaung Lay Pin district on June 9. “They were hosting a meeting. One was killed and two out of four injured were in critical condition,” a local said. The injured were taken to the hospital. No group has claimed responsibility.

MANDALAY—More than 80 political prisoners in Myingyan Prison have not been allowed to receive medical treatment for beatings sustained during interrogation last month, claimed the Monywa University of Economics Students’ Union. Its spokesperson said that 11 of the 80 were taken outside of the prison for interrogation. One is now in critical condition. “Their bodies were covered with stab wounds, bruises and teeth broken due to severely torture. And they were sent to solitary confinement,” the spokesperson added. The prison warden has banned these political prisoners from receiving parcels for the next three months.

RAKHINE—The Mro people living in nine villages located in Rathedaung and Buthidaung townships have not yet received any humanitarian assistance since Cyclone Mocha devastated their communities last month. Sixty percent of homes and buildings were destroyed, according to local aid groups. The lack of assistance has forced the villagers to ration food. Around 5,500 people from the villages are in need of emergency health care due to the lack of clean drinking water.

SHAN—Two bodies were discovered inside a housing compound in Mobye town on June 9. The victims were brothers killed by the Burma Army. “They were shot dead on June 8 without any reason. Their bodies were found the next day,” said a Mobye resident. The bodies of two women and one man were recovered on June 8. Rescue teams discovered two women along with their father killed outside their family home. “The girls were over 20-years-old. There were bruises on their head. There were no other family members in that house,” said another Mobye resident. The Burma Army has closed roads and restricted the transportation of food, trapping residents inside the town. Seven civilians were killed by artillery last week.

DVB reports on the health care needs of 200,000 IDPs in Karenni State. DVB English is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok. Subscribe via YouTube & Substack.

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