Southeast Asia Bureau Chief
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Oct 19, 2012

U.S. to invite Myanmar to joint military exercises

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The United States will invite Myanmar to the world’s largest multinational military field exercise, a powerful symbolic gesture toward a military with a grim human rights record and a milestone in its rapprochement with the West.

Myanmar has been invited to observe Cobra Gold, which brings together more than 10,000 American and Thai military personnel and participants from other Asian countries for joint annual manoeuvres, officials from countries participating in the exercises told Reuters.

Oct 19, 2012

Exclusive: U.S. to invite Myanmar to joint military exercises

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The United States will invite Myanmar to the world’s largest multinational military field exercise, a powerful symbolic gesture toward a military with a grim human rights record and a milestone in its rapprochement with the West.

Myanmar has been invited to observe Cobra Gold, which brings together more than 10,000 American and Thai military personnel and participants from other Asian countries for joint annual maneuvers, officials from countries participating in the exercises told Reuters.

Sep 19, 2012

Blacklisted Myanmar tycoon seeks salvation in Singapore

YANGON (Reuters) – As Myanmar implements reforms and foreign investors jet in, most find precious few ways to make money. There is no stock market. A new foreign investment law is delayed. And the biggest local companies are entangled in U.S. and European sanctions.

Zaw Zaw, one of Myanmar’s most powerful businessmen, wants to change that in a complex transaction in Singapore that would blaze a path for foreign investors into a company at the heart of Myanmar’s economy – and help Myanmar’s sanctions-hit tycoons rebrand themselves.

Sep 18, 2012

Myanmar frees prisoners in amnesty, dissidents included

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar pardoned more than 500 prisoners on Monday in an amnesty that included at least 80 political detainees, according to activists, a step that could strengthen the former military state’s growing bonds with Washington.

An announcement on state television did not make clear if any of the 514 were political prisoners, but two activist groups who monitor dissidents jailed in Myanmar said more than 80 were given presidential pardons.

Sep 12, 2012

With Suu Kyi’s help, Myanmar inches towards investment law

NAYPYITAW, Sept 12 (Reuters) – A law intended to accelerate
foreign investment in Myanmar will be signed soon by the
president after pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi helped
kill a clause that would have protected crony businessmen, a
government minister said on Wednesday.

The long-delayed foreign investment law, passed by
parliament last week and now awaiting approval by President
Thein Sein, is widely expected to clear the way for an increase
in foreign investment by companies such as Coca-Cola Co
in the resource-rich country that emerged only last year from 49
years of military rule.

Jul 4, 2012

Myanmar poised for cabinet shake-up, MPs say

NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Myanmar President Thein Sein plans to reshuffle his cabinet and appoint a new vice-president to reduce the influence of anti-reform ministers and accelerate changes in the former pariah state, several lawmakers said.

The imminent reshuffle could sideline some hardliners by reducing their responsibilities in the 37-member cabinet or give them new roles, said the lawmakers.

Jul 4, 2012

Myanmar poised for cabinet shake-up, lawmakers say

NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Myanmar President Thein Sein plans to reshuffle his cabinet and a ppoint a new vice president soon to reduce the influence of anti-reform ministers and accelerate changes in the former pariah state, several lawmakers with close ties to the government said.

The reshuffle is expected in the current session of parliament that reconvenes on Wednesday and could sideline some hardliners by reducing their responsibilities in the 37-member cabinet or give them new roles, say the lawmakers.

Jul 4, 2012

Exclusive: Myanmar poised for cabinet shake-up, lawmakers say

NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Myanmar President Thein Sein plans to reshuffle his cabinet and appoint a new vice president soon to reduce the influence of anti-reform ministers and accelerate changes in the former pariah state, several lawmakers with close ties to the government said.

The reshuffle is expected in the current session of parliament that reconvenes on Wednesday and could sideline some hardliners by reducing their responsibilities in the 37-member cabinet or give them new roles, say the lawmakers.

Jun 30, 2012

ADB sees progress in resuming aid to Myanmar

BANGKOK (Reuters) – When the Asian Development Bank cut off aid to Myanmar in 1988, troops had just crushed a pro-democracy movement, killing thousands.

Today, Myanmar, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank are inching closer to a deal that would lead to a full-fledged resumption of aid, possibly within a year, a senior ADB official said on Saturday.

Jun 26, 2012

Breakneck reform pace overloads Myanmar

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – The desks are mostly empty. Two computers idle in a corner. A young woman in a sarong leafs through a newspaper. Welcome to what should be the fast-beating heart of Myanmar’s economy: the headquarters of the central bank.

The first tour of the complex in the capital Naypyitaw by a foreign journalist reveals an almost lifeless institution. The Monetary Policy Department has just three computers, about the same as the Bank Supervision Department. A training department has fewer than five, including one being used for video games. Two children giggle in the corner.

    • About Jason

      "As Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Jason Szep manages text, pictures and television news operations across 10 countries for Reuters. He has been a Reuters correspondent, bureau chief and editor since 1990 and won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award in 2007. He is a Boston native and has had postings with Reuters in Toronto, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Boston and Bangkok. His assignments have ranged from Kabul and Islamabad to the U.S. presidential campaign trail during the 2008 election."
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