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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Taxes collected by municipalities from owners and occupiers are structurally sound and administratively straightforward, but play a much smaller role in Myanmar than they could.
The public response to the arrest of the two Reuters reporters is indicative of a wider debate about the role of journalists in Myanmar.
Reuters executive editor Mr Reg Chua tells Frontier’s Thomas Kean about the news agency’s campaign to free its reporters and the “chilling” effect their arrest will have on Myanmar’s media.
Ward and village-tract administrator elections have been mostly peaceful but activists say that in some areas competition between political parties and other groups has caused conflict – and even resulted in some participants being attacked.