An escalation in fighting between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Tatmadaw near the town of Mong Ko on the China border has emptied villages, while inflaming longstanding tensions over who controls the area.
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Panic over a falling currency and surging gold prices has put the spotlight on a network of brokers and speculators profiting from – and possibly fuelling – volatility.
Thirteen electoral contests on November 3 won’t alter the balance of power, but will serve as a barometer of political change across Myanmar.