Kumudra Weekly News 2004
Ø About 70 Policemen have been detailed to deal with people neglecting to use Zebra Crossings at selected points in Rangoon where pedestrian traffic and traffic is heavy. Fines are set at K. 2,200. The project will be expanded gradually.
Ø About 30% more people are using the Internet Cafes. The increase is due to free internet courses and lower costs, says an official of Bagan Net. Doctors, engineers, religious groups, government officials, journalists, historians are now surfing the internet skilfully. Before, users used to be business people and students of schools with foreign connections. Most of the users are in the 18-28 age group. ‘Chatting’ is also very popular with the young users.
Ø Working with the SEAFDE on Shark Research in South East Asia, Myanmar’s research in July has found that there are 15 shark species and 11 species of ray-fish in the waters around Myeik Archipelago. Large areas there have banned the catching of sharks and except for a few smaller ones hauled in with other fish, no large sharks have been seen in the markets.
Kumudra 30 July 2004
Ø Young people who have passed the 10th standard (matriculation) exam are going for private courses that will give them an internationally recognised diploma degree, in a big way. The MD of FAC Education Centre says, “You are out of date if you don’t know anything about the Internet, IT and English”. The matriculates are mainly interested in courses that will provide them a diploma or degree from (a) the London Guildhall University; (b) Various Colleges that offer LCCI, CIMA & ACCA Accounting & Management diplomas and (c) Engineering Courses at the CMG Academy. An advanced diploma holder can apply to 2nd year courses at Universities in the UK. About 10% of matriculates go for GCE courses and courses to help them apply to Polytech Colleges
Ø The Mandalay branch of the First Private Bank has posted a profit of K. 243.9 million in the nine years it has been operating.
Ø Chicks imported for breeding - legally & illegally - thoroughly checked for diseases. Alert level raised since news of new outbreaks of Avian Flu broke. Better and more equipment available this year through the help of the FAO and WHO. Breeders directed to inform authorities concerned of unusually high percentage of deaths in stocks. Limited import of Parent stocks of chickens permitted while Commercial stocks banned.
Ø Prices of electronic goods up by 8~10% because of the hike in import taxes. Some shops closed their doors from 15-17 June. Dealers are finding it difficult to set prices at a time when sales are sluggish even without the new problem.
Ø Prices of imported medicines have risen 4~10% and no one really knows the reason. Some Companies have stopped sales of certain items while others are controlling the amount sold.
Ø PSI working with the Health Department is distributing TB drugs free of charge. The drugs will be dispensed in the new DOTS Treatment programme in 69 private clinics in Rangoon Division.
Kumudra Weekly News - (10 June 2004)
Ø Passenger busses ordered to ply the routes till 10:00 instead of shutting down at 8:30 pm. Passengers piling up at bus-stops in the evening has prompted this order. The number of trips a bus makes will not be increased and busses will have to stagger their trips to comply.
Ø Dengue haemorrhagic fever can also be treated at Township Hospitals in Rangoon where new equipment has been installed, said an official of the Malaria Eradication Programme. These arrangements have been made as the Central Paediatric Hospital is always overloaded every year.
Ø A new Malaria treatment – which costs $5 a dose – will be carried out free in the ten townships of Mandalay. All the new equipment and drugs have arrived, said a Doctor. This new treatment is to be carried with the German Grant Aid Programme. The Malaria Programme is working with the WHO. Treatment in townships Sagaing and Bago will follow. The Doctor said that 80% of people in the 10 Townships were infected and the majority with Cerebral Malaria.
Ø Two foreigners apply for the MBA courses at the Rangoon University bringing the total to four. The students are in the country for other reasons. A lady from Japan said she had the time to spare and the course was of international standards. Entrance exams are stiff. About 50 out of 500 applicants are accepted.
Kumudra News Journal (28 May)
Ø The Eastern Pearl Farming Co has been successful in breeding oysters and implanting seeds before settling them in the sea. They project a production of over 50,000 pearls in the coming year. There are 5 local and foreign companies and one State Enterprise working the beds but the Eastern is the only one that is completely locally owned and managed. Foreign companies have to give 25% of their pearls to the State while local companies have to give 30%. The Eastern Co is working on the Zin-yaw Island off Boke-pyinn Township in Tanintaryi Division.
Ø Broken rice of the top quality rice is a bit more expensive than normal low quality rice. Low quality rice sells at K. 3,700~K. 4,200 per 1½ baskets while broken top quality rice fetches about K. 5,000. Foodstuff/snacks producers, alcohol distillers, rice merchants who ‘pad’ their normal rice bags and chicken, fish & prawn farms buy the broken rice.
Loans are up to K. 108.65 Lakh in 2004-05 from K. 175.55 lakh in 2002-03 and
K. 84.3 Lakh in 2001-02. The Agri. Corp. is preparing to dispense the loans in May in June and the official there has said that that the planters in Kyauk-me and Nham-hsan areas are very prompt in servicing their loans.
Ø Sales of generators from China booming > A generator priced at K. 65,000 in
mid-Feb now goes for K. 80,000 ~ K. 85,000 and a shop that sold about 10~15 units a day now sells about 50. Prices cannot be undercut because rivals would buy a shop out and then place the units in their own shops at the hiked price. Shops are now having to retrieve units they distributed to the districts, business is so good. The reason given is the 10th Standard examination.
(The power cuts are very carefully avoided - ed)
Ø UNIAP and some NGOs work with the authorities to hold 3-day workshops on awareness and prevention of human trafficking issues in 10 States & Divisions. Involved also are the Myanmar Womens’ Association and the YWCA.
Ø Onion prices dip but only because more produce coming on the market, says a wholesaler in Ba-yint-naung. Feb = K. 500 a viss. Now/Mar = K. 300 a viss.
Ø Information on the US TOEFL exam > The TOEFL will have to be taken on-line for all the four language skills in Sept 2005.
Ø Plans to attach holograms to imported medicines to distinguish them from unregistered medicines underway. This would raise the cost of medicines
Ø Daewoo Co. gets permit to explore for offshore oil & gas in 6,780 sq.kl of the Bay of Bengal (adjoining the recent new discovery) (Reported in 7-Day News also)
Ø Price of ‘Rhino’ Brand cement increased K.500 from K.3,500 because supply from the factory has stopped. Also, the earlier plunge of cement prices left traders afraid to stock up and they now have not much to deliver. Triple-A and Horse Head Brands are selling well in the vacuum. 3-A up to K.3,800 from K.2,900 and Horse head up to K.4,000 from K.3,200.
Ø Price of cooking oil certain to stay down. The flow of the 2-Prawn brand palm oil through the Thai border now influences the prices. It is deemed superior to the palm oil imported (by ship). A new toll gate spiked the price from K.12,500 (per 10 viss) to K.12,600 but this dipped back to K.12,300 as the new toll gate was very ‘understanding’ and tens of thousands of viss were flowing in