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Thein Sein Begins Three-Nation Tour


Tuesday, Mar,20,2012


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Burmese President Thein Sein left Naypyidaw on Tuesday on state visits to three member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), official sources said. He is scheduled to spend one day each in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos before returning to Burma on Thursday. In December, Naypyidaw hosted the 4th Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion, which includes all four countries. Thein Sein made his first overseas trip of the year to Singapore, which is also a member of Asean.

Kyat to be Set at 820 to the Dollar


Tuesday, Mar,20,2012

Burma's central bank aims to set the exchange rate of the kyat at around 820 per US dollar, according to Burmese private bank officials quoted by Reuters. “There is a plan to manage the float of the currency at 820 kyat, plus or minus 2 percent, to one US dollar,” said Aung Kyaw Myo, an official of Kanbawza Bank Ltd. A central bank official said last week that the government plans to hold trial foreign exchange auctions in March before floating the currency from April 1.

World War II Era Bomb Kills 3


Tuesday, Mar,20,2012

A security official in Burma said a mortar round left over from World War II exploded accidentally in the country's second city, killing a 12-year-old boy and two other people. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the blast occurred on Monday in Mandalay as it was being dismantled for scrap metal at a smelting plant. Bombs from the war are still found in Burma from time to time. In September, seven people were reported killed when World War II ordnance they found in a river in the west of the country exploded.—AP

Mitchell Calls Burma a 'Friend' of US


Tuesday, Mar,20,2012

The US special envoy to Burma Derek Mitchell told Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann that his country considers Burma “a friend” since the country embarked on reforms last year, according to an official cited by The Myanmar Times. Mitchell made the comment during a meeting in Naypyidaw on March 13, said Toe Naing Mann, the speaker’s son and a member of the Legal and Special Affairs Assessment Commission, who was present at the meeting. During the 70-minute meeting, Shwe Mann also said that sanctions were a “big obstacle” to reforms, Toe Naing Mann added.

Chinese Politician Sacking Tied to Probe


Tuesday, Mar,20,2012

News reports say Bo Xilai's removal as Communist Party boss of China's Chongqing city last week was linked to his alleged interference in an investigation involving a family member. His sudden departure on Thursday followed a visit to the US consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu by Chongqing's police chief, Wang Lijun, in what was believed to have been an attempt to seek political asylum. The reports on numerous online news sites said Bo transferred Wang after the police chief informed him of an investigation into one of Bo's relatives.—AP

Vietnam Arrests 6 for Allegedly Trafficking Women


Tuesday, Mar,20,2012

Police in Vietnam have arrested six people for allegedly trafficking 21 women and teenagers to China to work as sex slaves. The state-run Labor newspaper said the ring allegedly promised the victims they would be given jobs in China, but were instead sold to brothels for US $500-$750 each. The paper says 20 of the victims managed to escape to Vietnam or were rescued by authorities. Tuesday's report said the ringleader was herself was trafficked to China in 2008. More than 2,400 Vietnamese women were trafficked to China between 2004 and 2009, according to official figures.—AP
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