Next week, President Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Burma. He will be touching down in a rapidly changing place. […]
After such a long sequestration, Burma’s entrance onto the international stage is not without scrutiny. Due to its natural resources and China’s growing soft power, Burma is attracting business and geopolitical interest in both the West and East. As a secretive place, it is also attracting journalists eager to cover untold stories.
The country’s appetite for minerals, natural gas, and electric power are equally voracious. Burma not only offers some of the richest oil and gas fields in Asia, but a strategic location on what some Chinese diplomats call China’s “second coast.”
In this light, China’s enormous investments in Burmese energy development make sense. Various “state-owned enterprises” are spending $2.5 billion on a pipeline to deliver oil and gas from the Indian Ocean. China is already the world’s largest producer of hydropower, which accounts for 16 percent of its electricity. But its highly competitive, state-owned energy utilities have run out of rivers to dam.
The war in Kachin reignited last year when the Burmese Army attacked a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) post near a disputed hydropower dam site, ending a 17-year ceasefire. It has since ramped up its offensive, calling into question the authority of a nominally civilian government that has repeatedly ordered it to stop fighting.
Rights groups say that overseas demand for shrimp products in greater volume has fueled a culture of exploitation in the Thai industry. They insist that the failure of foreign companies to sufficiently verify the origin of the shrimp they import allows abuses to persist.
The Pulitzer Center is proud to announce the publication of its first iBook: “In Search of Home,” a multimedia exploration of statelessness that focuses on the Rohingya from Burma, the Nubians of Kenya, and people of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic.