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Myanmar: Hell hath no fury like Hpakant

KACHIN STATE, Myanmar — An ancient Chinese proverb likens jade to the character of men. As the saying goes, 'both are sharpened by bitter tools.' But in the jade mines south of China’s border — a wasteland known as Hpakant in Myanmar — men’s lives are not so much sharpened but shredded to bits. 

Opium war

MYITKYINA — It was nearly 10 a.m. here in Myanmar’s northernmost provincial capital. On the rutted streets below, church hymns competed with the clamor of roosters and motorbikes. The singing beckoned townsfolk dressed in their finest Sunday sarongs to join a Baptist service. But in the attic of a house overlooking the chapel, two addicts had found their own sanctuary. Their heroin was already half gone. Everything about them screamed addiction. The scratching. Ropey limbs. Eyes shellacked with yellow film.

Broke, abandoned and depressed

YANGON — A tragic end game for Myanmar’s freed democracy advocates.

Youth interrupted: Underage, illiterate breadwinners

YANGON, Myanmar — Little King can’t read or write. Little King can’t tell you the name of his country’s president. But he’s sturdy enough to balance heavy, spine-bending bundles of cargo atop his skull. Strong enough to tug dinghies loaded with bananas across the Yangon River’s mucky banks at low tide. Down by the docks, where men work like mules, Little King can earn $3 per day. He is a breadwinner, the primary supporter of a woman he adores and her two children. But that woman is his mother. Those children are his sisters. Little King is just a kid. “I’m not even interested in girls,” said Little King. “I already have a woman to take care of,” he said. “That’s my mother.”

Myanmar to North Korea: I can’t quit you, baby

BANGKOK — The past two years have witnessed a great rollback of longtime Western sanctions against Myanmar. And yet this month, the White House announced a surprising new decree: US citizens and banks are hereby forbidden from doing business with a high-profile general overseeing missile defense. His alleged misdeed? Buying “military goods” from North Korea. 

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Have you been to Myanmar? GlobalPost has and we have the GIFs to prove it.

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