What’s been going on lately?
Monsoon season is around the corner. For many that means more power cuts, floods, dangerously hidden potholes, moldy clothes etc. In some extreme cases, people sheltering in bamboo and tarpaulin tents will be forced to weather cyclones and landslides on land mere meters above sea water. But for those lucky enough to escape the monsoon, wet season is a time of cheap prices, few tourists and fairly dry weather in some parts of Myanmar. Check the best places to visit in our special feature.
The cases of Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, took a dramatic turn in a Yangon court on April 20, when prosecution witness Police Captain Moe Yan Naing took the stand. He told the court that a Myanmar police chief ordered offices to set up the reporters. Police arrested the pair on Dec. 12 on the outskirts of Yangon after they had dinner with two police officers who gave them classified documents about the Rakhine State crisis. They face up to 14 years in prison under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. The high-profile case has ignited fresh fears over press freedom in the country, with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney joining the defense team and the Danish Embassy urging for the reporters’ release to “show the world that rule of law does exist in Myanmar.”
Dozens of people were hospitalized in Yangon after a fire spread across a 300-acre landfill on the edge of the city. Some 600 firefighters tackled the blaze for days since its outbreak on April 21, as putrid smoke from the burning trash billowed over Hlaing Tha Yar Township. Twenty-six people have been hospitalized at the time of reporting, many suffering smoke inhalation, according to Reuters. The fire highlighted the growing waste problem in Yangon, a city of more than five million people without a long-term waste management solution. The 17-year-old landfill takes about half of the city’s daily trash of more than 2,500 tons.
Leeds United to tour Myanmar
Leeds United Football Club have announced they will play two matches in Myanmar this month as part of a post-season tour. The club will play the matches on May 9 and 11 against a Myanmar National League All-Star team in Yangon, and then against the country’s national team in Mandalay.
During the tour Leeds players and coaches will also run football sessions with local children and visit cultural sites, including Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. This announcement has sparked controversy amongst human rights groups in the United Kingdom, who have criticised the tour due to the situation in Rakhine State.
The ‘Straws Suck’ campaign is gathering steam, with several establishments recently joining the call to no longer serve non-reusable plastic straws. As part of the 2018 Green Award program, MYANMORE has made a commitment to support environmentally friendly initiatives just like this. This month, ‘Straws Suck’ creator restaurant and bar group 57-Below announces the venues in Yangon hat have declared themselves ‘straw-free’:
G7 Plage Gaw Yan Gyi, 50th Street, Gekko, Locale, Mahlzeit, Nourish, Parami Pizza, Paribawga Café, Rau Ram, Rose Garden Hotel, Savoy Hotel, Sprouts, The Strand Hotel, Union Bar and Grill, Father’s Office and Bodhi Nava, Burma Bistro, Oliva, Yangon Bakehouse & the monthly Yangon Zay at the Tea Factory.
And as an extra plus, the Third European Food Festival, to be held at The Rose Garden Hotel on July 28, is also confirmed to be a plastic-free event.