The leader of a Tatmadaw-controlled Border Guard Force in a remote region of Kachin State has emerged as a key player in the global rare earth trade, and has turned the territory under his de facto control into a mining hub at a high environmental cost.
New restrictions on the sale and distribution of oxygen to the public have made it harder to treat COVID-19 patients at home and social welfare groups have warned the rules could result in more preventable deaths.
Debilitating mosquito-borne diseases pose an increasing threat to migrant workers and refugees just across the border in Thailand, where clinics running on dwindling foreign aid struggle to meet needs.
The government’s need to secure new supplies of natural gas and a desire to send a positive signal to investors has likely helped a consortium including Total, Woodside and MPRL negotiate favourable fiscal terms to develop the A-6 block.
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.