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Abe pledges support for Myanmar's reforms from "whole of Japan"

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Saturday that "the whole of Japan" -- both public and private sectors of the country -- will support ongoing reforms in Myanmar to ensure the development of the rapidly democratizing country. Abe, who is on a three-day visit to the Southeast Asian country through Sunday, told reporters in Yangon that Japan is eager to assist the development of infrastructures in Myanmar, such as a thermal power plant, high-speed communication network and waterworks, as well as the country's legal system.

Indonesia holds two suspects over Myanmar embassy plot

Indonesian anti-terrorist police have detained two men suspected of planning a bomb attack on the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta on Friday in the wake of fresh violence against Muslims in Myanmar, officials said. The suspects were arrested late Thursday travelling by motorbike in a busy residential area in the south of the capital with five assembled pipe bombs, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said in a statement.

OIC urge Myanmar to probe death of 13 young Muslim boys

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu expressed his deep sorrow over the death of 13 boys at an Islamic school in Yangon, Myanmar, last Tuesday.Ihsanoglu , in a press statement, said such tragic circumstances must be avoided.He urged the authorities in Myanmar to launch a full investigation into the causes of the fire in order to prevent recurrence of the tragedy.

Soros in consortium bid for Myanmar telecom license

A private investment fund linked to billionaire George Soros is bidding with a consortium for a new telecommunications license in Myanmar, the consortium leader said Thursday. Quantum Strategic Partners, whose principal investment adviser is Soros Fund Management, is bidding with consortium leader and telecom provider Digicel Group Limited and YSH Finance, a newly established holding company, Digicel said in a statement. "The liberalization of the telecommunications market in Myanmar will serve as an important economic stimulus for the country," Soros said in the statement.

US completes first MIA mission to Myanmar since 2004

The United States said on Tuesday that it had completed a successful first mission to Myanmar since 2004 to search for the remains of missing American servicepeople. A nine-person team, which conducted research and field investigations in Taungoo, Yangon, and Mandalay, "yielded multiple new leads" during the three-week visit that ended on Friday, a US embassy statement said. Notices were placed in local journals appealing for information about the possible whereabouts of servicepeople left unaccounted for in World War II.

Myanmar-drama co-production

BAGAN, Myanmar, March 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's educational TV channel EBS has co-produced a television drama series for children with a major Myanmar network, EBS said Friday. Provisionally titled "The Dream," the co-production with Myanmar's MRTV-4 will go on air in both countries in May, the company said. "This is the first time that the television networks of the two countries have worked together to make a program," it added.

Malaysia rescues 136 Myanmar refugees

Malaysian authorities have rescued at least 136 people believed to be ethnic Rohingya Muslims fleeing strife in Myanmar aboard a leaking boat with no food or water, an official said Monday. The rescue brings the number of boats intercepted this year to 11, marking a "big increase" in refugee arrivals, said Tan Kok Kwee of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, following deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar.

US allows business with four Myanmar banks

The United States authorized US entities to do business with four major Myanmar banks Friday, extending the easing of economic sanctions on the former pariah state. The Treasury Department said it had issued a general license to allow individuals, companies, and financial institutions to conduct most financial transactions -- such as opening and maintaining an account and a range of other financial services -- with the banks. The banks named were Myanma Economic Bank, Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank, Asia Green Development Bank, and Ayeyarwady Bank.

UN sounds alarm over Myanmar boat people

The UN's refugee agency on Friday raised the alarm over the rising number of boat people perishing in the Indian Ocean, including Rohingya Muslims fleeing communal strife in Myanmar. "It is clear that for people fleeing violence and conflict in their homelands, this has become one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world," said UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic. In 2012, some 13,000 people took to smugglers' boats in the Bay of Bengal, of whom 500 died at sea when the vessels broke down or capsized, said Mahecic.

Visa credit cards make Myanmar debut

US credit card giant Visa launched electronic payments in Myanmar on Friday, marking the long-awaited debut of plastic in a country that until now has had a cash economy. For years visitors to Myanmar have had to carry wads of notes to pay hotel and restaurant bills, following US sanctions on the former junta that barred American financial services firms from entry to the country.
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