Category Archives: BBC News

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Burma ‘closes’ Red Cross offices

The Red Cross says Burma’s government has ordered it to close five field offices in the country, severely curtailing its humanitarian work there.

The offices, some of which deal with victims of conflict in Burma’s border areas, now face closure, it said.

The Red Cross also says it will remain barred from visiting jails, said to include some 1,000 political prisoners.

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Highs and lows of return to Burma

By Kyaw Zan Tha

As a BBC journalist, I’m quite a well-known figure in Burma, and my analysis of Burmese politics is often not in line with what the government wants, so it is difficult for me to go back.

So when I said I planned to go to Rangoon, without any official evidence of permission from the authorities, some of my friends were concerned about my safety.

Last time I went, for the National Convention in 2004, I was met off the plane by a member of the military intelligence, who asked me lots of questions and followed me throughout my trip.

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Should tourists go to Burma?

By Kate McGeown

In the last of a series of articles from inside Burma, the BBC’s Kate McGeown asks whether tourism helps or hinders the local people.

It has golden pagodas, beautiful beaches and welcoming people who badly need a better income.

It also has a repressive military regime accused of serious human rights abuses, and a detained opposition leader who has repeatedly urged people not to visit.

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Burma’s opposition muted but alive

By Kate McGeown

In the fifth of a series of articles from inside Burma, the BBC’s Kate McGeown looks at the strength of opposition to the country’s hardline military government.

In a small house in the Burmese city of Mandalay, three comedians spend their days putting on shows for tourists.

Calling themselves the Moustache Brothers, they perform traditional Burmese vaudeville – a mixture of song, dance and slapstick humour.

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Burma’s confusion over capital

By Kate McGeown

In the fourth of a series from inside Burma, the BBC’s Kate McGeown looks at how the government’s abrupt decision to move its capital is affecting local people.

When Burma’s military rulers began moving their seat of power to a semi-rural area near the town of Pyinmana last year, many people were mystified.

“I don’t understand why they decided to leave Rangoon,” said one man in the former capital.

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Burma’s public service suffering

By Kate McGeown

In the third article of a special series from inside Burma, the BBC’s Kate McGeown looks at the military government’s record of caring for the health and education of its citizens.

Burma’s hospitals and schools are secretive places.

Much of what goes on inside these tightly controlled buildings remains a mystery to the outside world.

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Life under Burma’s military regime

By Kate McGeown

In the second article of a special series from inside Burma, the BBC’s Kate McGeown looks at the day-to-day problems facing ordinary people under the country’s repressive military regime.

“I hate my life here. I’m just surviving one day at a time,” a Burmese taxi driver said sadly, as he stopped to pay a bribe at yet another roadside checkpoint.

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Burma: Orwellian state, with teashops

By Kate McGeown

The BBC’s Kate McGeown has just returned from Burma, where she talked to people about life under its repressive military regime. In the first of a series of articles, she gives her impressions of a nation the international community seems at a loss to know what to do with.

As I stepped down from the plane onto Burmese soil, my head full of warnings about spies watching my every move, I was pleasantly surprised to find friendly faces rushing to greet me.

“Thank you so much for coming,” said an elderly man, smiling through betel-stained teeth.

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Burma’s confusing capital move

By Kate McGeown

Burma’s decision to shift its seat of government has left many analysts at a loss to explain the move.

After all, why go to the huge trouble and expense of relocating thousands of officials to a remote mountainous region, when there is a well-established political infrastructure in the port city of Rangoon?

Information Minister Kyaw Hsan said the site of the new capital, near the town of Pyinmana, was a more strategic location for Burma’s military rulers.

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