Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Myanmar Insider News

Mogok, famous for its rubies mines and markets, off-limits to foreign visitors for years, seems to be open now for guided tours: Mandalay in Bloom Company is offering tours including permissions for the visit of Mogok. Read more: Into the Valley of Rubies
Morning market in Mogok

Behind the Scenes of Myanmar's USD $31 Billion Jade Trade: During the Nov. 8 elections, Khin Maung Myint, 65, won an Upper House parliament seat for the National League for Democracy in Kachin State’s Hpakant District. in November, more than 100 jade miners in Hpakant were killed during a landslide. Later another landslide hit Hpakant. According to Khin Maung Myint a sharp increase in mining activity occurred after the opposition’s election victory. "The companies are getting worried that the new government may restrict the jade mining." Particularly, the companies related to the Wa ethnic group, such as Ever Winner, Myanma Tagaung, 111 and Yarza Htarni have intendified their activities, says Khin Maung Myint. The Global Witness report estimated the value of jade production last year alone exceeded $30 billion, but it is only hundreds of millions of dollars, according to official data. Khin Maung Myint comments: "Jade smuggling is an open secret. Companies bribe military officers in charge of border checkpoints in areas of Kachin State, such as Kampaiti and Nam Sanyam, and have been openly smuggling jade to China." He adds there is a lot of foreign investment from China. "The family members of high-ranking Chinese government officials are shareholders in companies such as Ever Winner and other companies related to the Wa ethnic group." Read more about the consequences of jade mining for environment on Khaosod English. Read also, how Myanmars lawmakers debated about the jade mining in Hpakant on irrawaddy.com, where 857 companies are operating. Parliament rejected the government measures according to mizzima.com.

See Al Jazeera story about jade mining in Myanmar:

Chinese jade miners in overdrive ahead of new Myanmar government: Using heavy earth-excavators and explosives, miners have been tearing into Myanmar's northern hills in recent months, in a rush to excavate more jade from the world's richest deposits of the gemstone before a new government takes office next year, reports Reuters. Nay Win Tun, a flamboyant lawmaker and heavyweight in the jade trade with close links to the Myanmar military, says the Chinese have been flooding the trade with cash and equipment, ramping up production and taking over local miners. "Right now, the market is being ruined by China," he said in a rare interview at one of his mines near Hpakant. Read more.

Thousands of Myanmar's Suu Kyi supporters stage huge pre-election rally: Tens of thousands of red-clad supporters gave Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi a rock-star reception, cheering and dancing as she addressed crowds in the country's largest city before an historic election next Sunday. That such a huge gathering could take place peacefully in Myanmar shows the extent to which the country has changed after President Thein Sein's semi-civilian government took power in 2011 following nearly half a century of strict military rule, ushering in a series of democratic reforms. Read more on Reuters.

Still the generals' election: One-quarter of MPs are directly appointed by the head of the armed forces according to the current constitution of Myanmar. The votes of more than three-quarters of MPs are needed to change the constitution. Read more on The Economist.

Despite critics, support for Suu Kyi strong before election: "I've made it quite clear that if the NLD wins the elections and we form a government, I'm going to be the leader of that government whether or not I'm the president," Aung Suu Kyi told Indian television channel India Today in an interview earlier this month. Read more.

After purge, Myanmar's Shwe Mann mounts campaign trail comeback: Ousted Myanmar ruling party chief Shwe Mann is mounting a comeback ahead of the historic election, setting the stage for a likely presidential bid that will add to the unpredictability of the country's transition to democracy. Read more on Reuters. Shwe Mann said during his campaign, he plans to collaborate with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyyi. “We pledged to one another that we will work together for our country and its citizens, even though we each will still try to win the election,” he said according to rfa.org..

Myanmar Democracy Icon Finds Herself Assailed as Authoritarian: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is critisized with harsh words by longtime members of the democrazy movement. Read more.

The Purge against Shwe Mann and the comment of Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar's parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann has been ousted from his role as chairman of the ruling USDP party on August 12, amid a power struggle, as BBC reports. Until that night Shwe Mann, one of the most capable generals in the old military regime, had been seen as a likely successor to President Thein Sein, the BBC's South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head reported. On August 18 Shwe Mann made some comments, when Myanmars parliament started its last session before the elections. Saying he did not “want the problem to escalate,” Shwe Mann shared with parliamentarians a list of accusations leveled against him, including opaque use of party funds, exhibiting undemocratic interparty behavior and failing to abide by the Constitution. The deposed USDP leader said concern over the potential negative impacts of these alleged transgressions to both the party and the country’s Nov. 8 general election had prompted his ouster, as irrawaddy.org reports. Earlier on Tuesday, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi commented the manner in which Shwe Mann was dismissed as chairman, with state security forces surrounding the USDP headquarters in Naypyidaw as the party purge was executed. “With regard to the happenings in the middle of the night, this is not what you expect in a working democracy,” she said.

Myanmar floods: Nearly one million people affected - 99 dead: The number of people affected by flooding across Myanmar was approaching 1 million on Sunday, with waters in the low-lying southwestern delta inundating homes and forcing villagers into temporary shelters, the government said. The death toll was on the verge of topping 100. Read more on bigstory.ap.org

Myanmar floods: Death toll rises to 88 as heavy monsoon devastates South-East Asia: The death toll from severe flooding across Myanmar has risen to 88, officials say, as rising waters swallow more homes in low-lying regions in some of the poorest parts of the country. Read more on abc.net.au

Myanmar gives 153 Chinese life in jail for illegal logging: A court in northern Myanmar sentenced 153 Chinese nationals to life in prison on Wednesday after convicting them of illegal logging in a case that has already strained relations with Beijing. Read more.

Myanmar denies reports president won’t run for 2nd term: President's Office denies Thein Sein in poor health, says he will decide to run ‘based on our country’s political situation’. Some media had reported Monday that Thein Sein would not contest his constituency in the Nov. 8 poll due to poor health. However, under Myanmar's constitution the president does not have to be an MP and is chosen by an electoral college. President's Office Director Zaw Htay said, that Thein Sein would decide whether to run for a second term "based on our country’s political situation". Read more.

Profits of Drug Trade Drive Economic Boom in Myanmar: “The seed capital of the Burmese economy is heroin,” said Ronald Findlay, an economist at Columbia University. illicit drug profits have been a major source of investment in rebuilding the country, and companies linked to the drug trade are building new roads and bridges and reshaping the skyline of the biggest city, Yangon. In a country where many business deals and real estate transactions are still done in cash and less than 15 percent of adults have a bank account, it is nearly impossible to trace where all that money goes, writes Thomas Fuller. He writes about the following companies: Asia World, founded by druglord Lo Hsing Han, Shwe Taung Group and Jewellery Luck.

Things fall apart along a violent stretch of the Myanmar-China border: Is the fighting in Kokang finished, as the Myanmar Government says? "The Economist" found a different picture. "Many roads into the region are closed, and villages lie deserted. During the first week of March—long after the government crowed that stability had been restored—Burman refugees from Kokang were still streaming into the Mansu monastery in central Lashio.". Read more. Read also: Kachins are grabbing opportunities for change from a reluctant government. And read: The Kokang conflict causes problems for China, too.

Myanmar says it has found a rare, white elephant in the jungles of the western Ayeyarwaddy region. According to Forestry official Tun Tun Oo the 7-year-old female was captured after it was initially spotted in a forest reserve in Pathein township. White elephants, actually albinos, have for centuries been revered in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and other Asian countries. Myanmar has eight white elephants in captivity — five in Naypyitaw Zoo and three in Yangon Zoo, as Bangkok Post reports.

Myanmar declares martial law in troubled Kokang region: Fighting broke out on Feb. 9 between the Myanmar army and an ethnic Kokang force called the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), as reuters.com reports. The MNDAA was formerly part of the Communist Party of Burma, a powerful Chinese-backed guerrilla force that battled the Myanmar government before splintering in 1989. Read background of then leader Peng Jiasheng (Pheung Kya-shin) and the role of MNDAA in illicit drug trade. Read report by Kyaw Myo Thun after the fightings this week in the border town of Laokkai, after thousands of people fled the fighting between the Myanmar Army and the MDNAA. Yang Mao-liang is said to be the a leader of MNDAA. Pheung Kya-shin (84) seems to be still active, he gave an interview in December 2014.
See the location on Myanmar Conflicts Google Map

China’s Influence in Myanmar Facing Growing Scrutiny: Mounting local opposition to Chinese-backed infrastructure projects in Myanmar over the past few months has again led to growing scrutiny on Beijing’s influence in the Southeast Asian state. In the Letpadaung copper mine in northwest Myanmar, a joint venture between a Chinese state-owned arms manufacturer and the Myanmar military, dozens of villagers obstructed the erection of a fence in the project area. Myanmar police fired on protesters near the mine, leaving one woman dead and nine other villagers wounded. Read more on thediplomat.com


Picture by marhas
Jade and gem market in Mandalay

Searching for Burmese Jade, and Finding Misery: Jade’s journey is marked by drugs and death, writes The New York Times. "Myanmar’s jade industry is booming and should be showering the nation, one of the world’s poorest, with unprecedented prosperity. Instead, much of the wealth it generates remains in control of elite members of the military, the rebel leaders fighting them for greater autonomy and the Chinese financiers with whom both sides collude to smuggle billions of dollars’ worth of the gem into China, according to jade miners, mining companies and international human rights groups." The article highligts heroin use among the poor jade miners in Kachin state with its capital Myitkyina, the Kachin ethnic group, a largely Christian minority, the mining area in Hpakant, which is not accessible to foreigners, the role of Kachin Independence Army and of Myanmars military elite and the role of China. An article by Seamus Martov names Kyaing San Shwe, the son of officially retired head of Burma’s former military regime, General Than Shwe, as involved in the Jade Business in Hpakant. It names also the jade operations of The United Wa State Army. The military-controlled Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (UMEHL) is also said to be a major player in the jade trade. Another military-owned firm involved in the jade business is the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC). According to "The Irrawaddy" the in 2013 government received 250 million euros in revenue from the government’s jade mining joint ventures. "The poor condition of Kachin State’s schools, hospitals and general infrastructure make clear that the vast sums of money generated by the jade trade is not helping the conflict-wracked state much, if at all", notes Semaus Martov.

China's jade obsession drives a multi-billion dollar black market in Myanmar that fuels a drug-infested jade mining industry: At this year's Shanghai World Jewellery Expo jade items realized a price of $160 a gram, exceeding four times the price of gold. Most of Myanmar's raw jade enters a murky black market. Its official revenue from jade exports over from 2011 to 2014 was $1.3bn. But Harvard University's Ash Center estimates total jade sales - including through unofficial channels - were $8bn in 2011 alone. In Kachin State tens of thousands of small time jade pickers have flooded the mines in the town of Hpakant to sift through mine tailings, risking life and limb to toil in harsh conditions, hoping to strike jackpot. Then a smuggling network brings the jade to China. Read more on aljazeera.com.

Myanmar's main cities are beset by power cuts, prompting several waves of candle-lit street protests, while villagers are forced into debts to finance the grid: Roughly 70 per cent of Myanmar's population still does not have access to power. Myanmar has promised access to electricity for 50 per cent of its population by 2020 and for all by 2030. Read more on The Nation.

Inside the Kachin War Against Burma: Myanmnar's rulers have promised cease-fires with various ethnic groups that have been battling the military, in some cases for decades. But in the hills of Kachin, peace is further away than ever. Read more on time.com.

The Life of Burmese Male Sex Workers in Chiang Mai: In the backstreets of Chiang Mai on a small stage, around 20 young men in tight white briefs are dancing under disco lights. They are good looking and appear young; the oldest ones were perhaps 25 years of age, while some of them look like they could be teenagers. The dancers all come from Burma, they are Shan from Panglong, Loilem and Mong Nai townships. And they serve the gay visitors of Chiang Mai. Read more on irrawaddy.org.

Can Coffee Replace Opium in Southern Shan State? In the hills in southern Shan state surrounding Taunggyi, up a tangle of roads barely passable in a Hilux, deep into an ocean of opium poppy fields barely clinging to the hillside, a few islands of other crops have sprung up. They are most prominently coffee and rubber – all part of a UN effort to guide farmers away from drug production with the promise of sustainable crops and stable income. Read more on mmbiztoday.com.

Colorful Fields in Shan State Signal Another Bumper Opium Crop: In west-Padaung, a hilly region located on the border of Shan and Karenni states, farmers are hard at work in their fields. It’s harvest season and the ethnic Kayan tribes here are busy tending to their crop: Papaver somniferum, or the opium poppy. Read more on irrawaddy.org

Myanmar names developer for Hanthawaddy International Airport located north of Yangon: A Japanese-Singaporean joint venture has won the contract to build the new USD1.5 billion airport. Part of the joint venture are Yongnam Holdings Ltd. and Changi Airport Planners and Engineers (CAPE), as well as Japan’s JGC Corporation, reports ttrweekly.com.

Burma’s Story, Told by One Crumbling Building: The little apartment building on 41th street in Yangon was graceful once. The building whispers of a past. Of solid middle-class lives. Of a cosmopolitan, colonial city that was once a great Asian crossroad, the capital of a country once called Burma. But that was a long time ago. How live the inhabitants these days? Why are they still careful, when speeking about politics? Read more on irrawaddy.org.

Myanmar has licensed a few foreign banks. Its financial sector is still broken (The Economist)

Changing Myanmar - a report in German by Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Burmas Wandel - Eine Reportage - Mehr als freie Gedanken and Der Stoff, aus dem die Albträume sind

Sectarian Violence in Myanmar Threatens Livelihood of Muslims: It has been more than a month since Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, was rocked by deadly anti-Muslim riots. Broken windows and large dents in the facades of a dozen small Muslim-run businesses are the only visible reminders of when about 300 radical Buddhists rode into town wielding swords and bricks, killing two people. Read more on nytimes.com. It happened in in Chan Aye Thar Zan township, 35th and 84th streets.

Undercover in Myanmar's Sin city where anything goes: The BBC's Myanmar Correspondent Jonah Fisher visited the gambling city Mong La in Shan State. It's a rebel-held territory, where the Myanmar army dares not go, called Special Region Number Four, on the border between China and Myanmar. It has existed entirely outside central government control for more than 25 years. See video. Mong La is also known for illicit Trade in Wild Cats. See pictures of illegal wildlife trade along the Burma-China border. Read also: China's Expanding Middle Class Fuels Poaching, Decadence in Myanmar. And: Dirty Old Town.

Plan for Burma-China Train Link Derailed: In 2011 Burma signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese state-owned enterprise to construct a railway from Kyaukphyu, on the Bay of Bengal, to the Chinese border and on to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, on the route of the Chinese-built oil and gas pipelines. Now this project has been abandoned due to concerns over the potential cost and environmental impact of the project, according to a Myanma Railways official. But there are rumours of China attempting to construct a direct motorway into Myanmar, as Eleven Myanmar reports.

Mandalay’s Chinese Muslims Chilled by Riots: When hundreds of Buddhist men carrying clubs and swords marauded through the streets of this old royal capital earlier this month, the owner of a Muslim-Chinese restaurant took down the Koranic scriptures and the image of Mecca hanging above the cashier and removed the Arabic writing from signs on the street. Read more on nytimes.com. Read also irrawaddy.org.

Dragon at the doorstep: The rising Chinese middle class in Myanmar feels the resentment of a wider population left behind by a real estate boom, reports The South China Morning Post. Legal and illegal trade with gems, rice and timber are booming along the porous border with the country’s largest trading partner, China. Corruption in Myanmar has allowed many Chinese migrants to settle in the country, where citizenship is still difficult to obtain. It is estimated, that a half million of Chinese are now living in Mandalay. Chinese dominate the trade. Anti-Chinese sentiment is on the rise. In Myitkyina Chinese Power Investment, a Chinese state-owned company, plans a dam, where the Mayka and Malika Rivers merge to become the mighty Irrawaddy. The Myitsone Dam would flood an area the size of Singapore, displacing an estimated 15,000 people, to provide electricity to China’s Yunnan province. After growing opposition on September 30, 2011, the dam construction was suspended by President Thein Sein. China Power Investment continues to push for its resumption. Another Chinese-backed project is Monywa copper mine in Myanmar’s Sagaing Division, operated by Wanbao, a subsidiary of Chinese arms manufacturer Norinco, and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings. Locals oppose the expansion into into nearby Letpadaung hills. Read more on South China Morning Post.

Fight against drugs in Myanmar is failing: Every morning, more than 100 heroin and opium addicts descend on the graveyard in Nampatka, the northeastern Myanmar village to get high, reports Associated Press. This report describes a breakdown of law and order since generals from the formerly military-run country handed power to a nominally civilian government three years ago. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimates the country produced 870 tons of opium last year, a 26 percent increase over 2012 and the highest figure recorded in a decade. The report of AP describes, that the decrease of the fight against drugs ist linked to efforts to forge peace with dozens of ethnic rebel insurgencies that control the vast majority of the poppy growing territory. If President Thein Sein "goes after the rebels' main source of income, the drug trade, he risks alienating them at a delicate time." AP continues: "The No. 123 Infantry army base and several police posts overlook waves of white and pink poppies in full bloom on both sides of the dusty road leading to Nampakta, blanketing the sloping valleys and jagged peaks as far as the eye can see." But: This region is not territory of the rebels, but controlled by government forces.

Myanmar president Thein Sein supports changes of constitution that would make opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi eligible to lead the country: Myanmar's president gave his backing on Thursday for amending a military drafted constitution. Until now, Suu Kyi is ineligible because her two sons are British citizens. Read more on reuters.com.

Ethnic traditions vanishing as Myanmar opens up: Report from the hills of Myanmar’s Chin state. Tribal ways — dress, festivals, even languages — passed down countless generations are vanishing in the course of one as the long-isolated country opens its doors wider to the outside world. Read more on washingtonpost.com.

Bad Medicine and sick System take their Toll: Those streaming across the border to Mae Sot for help illuminate how, despite reformist pledges, Myanmar's hospitals are ailing. Read more by Justin Heifetz on bangkokpost.com.

As Myanmar Modernizes, Old Trades Are Outpaced by New Competitors: For years they poured out their hearts on the broken pavements of Myanmar’s cities and towns, young lovers desperate for privacy yet with no choice but to use what the Burmese call roadside phone shops. But as this country opens to the world, the phone rental business is losing customers quickly, one of a number of antiquated trades that are disappearing from a rapidly modernizing country. Read more by Thomas Fuller on nytimes.com

Dagon: the new darling of Yangon: Expats and professionals are finding a home on the outskirts of Yangon in the new Dahon townships. Read more.

The Road to Mandalay: About Chinese influence and US role in Myanmar. A report beginning with the road from the Chinese border to the Burmese town of Lashio. Read more on mag.newsweek.com.

The strange bird behind the '88 coup How Gen Than Shwe consolidated his power after the coup. Read more on aungzaw.net.

Myanmar pipeline project gives China pause for thought
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) on June 4 announced the completion of its Sino-Myanmar gas pipeline project (Myanmar section), signaling that it is ready to enter trial production. The pipeline is expected to deliver 22 million tons of oil and 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China each year. The pipeline will provide China with another major energy import channel, in addition to the current shipping route through the Strait of Malacca. But doubts have been expressed about the potential profitability of the pipeline. Read more on china.org.cn

"The Face of Terror" was written below an image of Buddhist monk U Wirathu on the cover of "Time" Magazine. This was critizised by many voices in Myanmar
Read more on elevenmyanmar.com

Extremism Rises Among Myanmar Buddhists
After a ritual prayer atoning for past sins, Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk with a rock-star following in Myanmar, sat before an overflowing crowd of thousands of devotees and launched into a rant against what he called “the enemy” — the country’s Muslim minority. Read more on nytimes.com

Myanmar constitution likely to dash Suu Kyi's presidential hopes
Suu Kyi's most immediate problem is the constitution. It bars anyone married to a foreigner or who has children who are foreign citizens. Suu Kyi and her husband, the late British academic Michael Aris, had two children who are British. She must convince a military-dominated parliament to amend the constitution. She could then face a voter backlash over her position on a violent and widening rift between her nation's Buddhists and minority Muslims. To win power, she would also have to fend off two former generals who covet the top spot. The first is Shwe Mann, the influential speaker of Myanmar's lower house. The other is the popular incumbent Thein Sein. Read more on reuters.com.

Myanmar: Whose reforms?
Many question, whether economic reforms are taking priority over the political reforms that President Thein Sein promised to implement. "The business community needs to help political reforms," said Zin Mar Aung, a former political prisoner and civil society leader. She would like to see the President giving more attention to democratic reforms, "because without political reforms to guarantee transparency and the rule of law, there will not be businesses return[ing] in Myanmar." Read more on asiasociety.org

The Rush to Tap Myanmar's Energy Promise
No one sector is as critical to Myanmar’s growth prospects as energy. The country has 7.8 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, worth about $75 billion at current U.K. benchmark prices. In April, the government commenced an auction for 30 blocks of offshore gas and oil. Read more in BloombergBusinessweek.

How a Myanmar tycoon is profiting from change
Zaw Zaw, a businessman with ties to the old regime reinvents himself to succeed in the new Myanmar. A story of how one man, who remembers being too poor to afford a soccer ball, built an empire by befriending the military government in what was one of the most oppressive and isolated countries on earth; and how, as Myanmar opens up, he is quickly breaking with the past to embrace a prosperous, cosmopolitan future. "I am friends with everybody," Zaw Zaw says. Read a portrait by Erika Kinetz, Associated Press.

Myanmar Struggles to Put Down Buddhist Attack on Muslims
Security forces on struggled to bring peace to Lashio, a northern city in Myanmar after Buddhist mobs set fire to a mosque, a Muslim school and shops, the latest outbreak of religious violence in Myanmar.Read more on nytimes.com.

In Myanmar, apartheid tactics against minority Muslims
There are no doctors, painkillers or vaccines in this primitive hospital near Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State in western Myanmar. It is a lonely medical outpost that serves about 85,300 displaced people, almost all of them Muslims who lost their homes in fighting with Buddhist mobs last year. Read more on reuters.com

Myanmar Pipeline Puts China Ahead in Energy Shipping Dilemma
A new crude oil pipeline through Myanmar due to begin operations in September will put China in a favorable position compared to other Asian economic powerhouses challenged by energy security issues. Read more on blogs.wsj.com

China Showers Wary Towns In Myanmar With Gifts
China is spending millions of dollars on schools and health clinics in Myanmar in an attempt to soothe rising resentment against two pipelines it is building through the country. Read more on wsj.com.

Myanmar Pipelines to Benefit China
New Oil, Gas Supply Routes Are Set to Help Slake Nation's Growing Thirst for Energy; Local Tensions Rise. Read more on wsj.com

Thein Sein Enjoys Myitsone Praise as Dams on Salween Secretly Proceed
President Thein Sein’s surprise suspension of the Chinese-led hydroelectric dam on the Irrawaddy River at Myitsone in northwestern Burma secured him widespread praise. But large hydro dams further east in Burma on the Salween River are quietly going ahead. At the upper end of the Salween in Burma, China could yet get the electricity it needs for Yunnan Province — without the Myitsone dam project. Read more on irrawaddy.org

Wa Rebels Caught Up in Regional Chess Match
China did not sell helicopter gunships to ethnic Wa paramilitaries in eastern Burma, Wa sources speaking to The Irrawaddy claimed this week. Read more on irrawaddy.org

Change the Incentives Behind Burmese Violence
Elites are demonizing Muslims to win Buddhist votes. Smarter election rules can reduce that temptation. Read more on wsj.com

In Myanmar, Cheap SIM Cards Go for $2 – If You’re Lucky
The long wait for affordable SIM cards for mobile phones is ending for some Myanmar citizens, as a government lottery system slowly kicks in cutting prices from $200 to $2. Read more on blogs.wsj.com

Talking peace, waging war
The Burmese government rakes in more foreign-aid money while its army kills more ethnic Kachin. Read more on economist.com

The Kachin dilemma
Over the border, the Kachin conflict causes headaches for China. Read more on economist.com

The Race for Rangoon
American investors are lured by the siren call of this newly opened Southeast Asian country. Sanctions, imposed by the U.S. in the late ’90s, have been suspended since U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s December 2011 visit. Luxury hotels today are packed with business delegations from Europe, the U.S., Australia, Japan, and Korea. During a May visit to Thailand — her first trip abroad in 24 years — Aung San Suu Kyi urged investors to be aware of the potential dangers of rushing into Myanmar. These comments upset Myanmar officials and drew a skeptical response from Joseph Stiglitz, a professor of economics at Columbia University who is helping the government to further its political and economic reforms. Read more on BloombergBusinessweek.

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