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Mandalay officials want to incorporate a 120-year-old former British base situated in the heart of ruby land into the Mogok municipal area. The move is anticipated to bolster tourism to Mandalay region’s mountainous north-eastern frontier.

Named after former British High Commissioner to Burma, Charles Bernard, Bernard Village was set up as a base camp for British troops following the occupation of Mogok. The site was renamed Ywar Thar Yar under the former military government.

The village today contains a number of remnants of the former colonial rule including an explosives store and a cemetery with the remains of Brithsh soldiers. It memorialises soldiers who fell in the aftermath of the third and final Anglo-Burmese War, which sparked a long-running insurgency against colonial rule. The village also includes a lively local market.

These attractions make Bernard Village an attractive tourist destination, local officials say.

The inclusion in the City Development Area will mean that the village will be a priority for tourist development, according to U Win Tint, chair of the Mogok City Development Committee.

“It is just seven miles away from town. Around 70 percent of foreign tourists who come to Mogok visit Bernard Village,” U Win Tint said.

“The land is around the village is being mapped and we are in negotiations over the rezoning with the Forest Department given that some parts of the village fall within prescribed forest areas. We aim to promote tourism and increase income for local people,” he added.

Mogok was established in the 13th century and has been famed for its rubies for more than 500 years. The majority of foreign visitors to Mogok come for the gem markets and to visit the region’s rich mineral stores. By some estimates, the region accounts for as much as 90pc of the world’s high grade rubies. Long restricted to foreign visitors, Mogok reopened to tourism starting in 2013.

Mogok residents have welcomed the City Development Committee’s decision.

“Many tourists visit Bernard Village. It will be better if it is included in the development boundary. Currently, I am worried that nearby mining activities may make the cemetery and old explosives store gradually disappear. There used to be over 100 gravestones in the cemetery. Now there are only 50,” said Mogok resident, U Soe Myint.

“If they intend to encourage more tourists, it is necessary to also build better roads and hotels,” he added.

By Kyaw Ko Ko | Monday, 05 December 2016
Translation by Zaw Nyunt
Credit : Myanmar Times

At least three people were killed and more than 100 ancient pagodas and stupas were damaged by a powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday near Chauk, a Magwe Region town on the Ayeyarwady River about 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Bagan.

The temblor was felt across the region, including in Bangkok and Dhaka.

U Myo Thant, secretary of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, said nearly all of western Myanmar could feel the quake, and that even some living in the western part of the Shan Plateau could also sense the jolt.

According to the Department of Relief and Resettlement, in Magwe Region the earthquake killed two girls in Shar Pin Yone village, Yenangyaung Township, and a man from Kon village in Pakokku Township.

The Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs released a statement saying 171 ancient pagodas, stupas and temples in Bagan, the popular tourist draw in Mandalay Region, were damaged by the quake, with local authorities still collecting data on the extent of the destruction. The Ministry of Information had raised that estimate to 187 pagodas damaged in Bagan, and 228 across Mandalay Region, by midday.

Well-known structures such as the Sulamani, Dhammayangyi and Pya That Gyi temples were among the victims, possibly jeopardising an ongoing bid to get Bagan recognised as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Now, we are still checking others,” said U Aung Aung Kyaw, director of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library. “We are disappointed the earthquake hit while we are trying to be listed by UNESCO.”

In Sagaing Region’s Salingyi township, nine pagodas and stupas suffered damage, the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs said.

The Myanmar Times’ Magwe Region correspondent reported that Nga Pwet Eai Mountain was also affected, with molten lava cascading from its face following the quake.

U Kyaw Lwin, a senior official from Rakhine State’s Department of Relief and Resettlement, said three pagodas in Mrauk-U – another site on the tourist trail – were damaged along with one school building and some residences in the state. “We noticed a 15-second-long shaking,” he said.

The three Buddhist shrines in Mrauk-U are Koe Thaung Temple, Yandan Man Aung Pagoda and Yadana Pagoda.

The Myanmar Times’ Nay Pyi Taw correspondent reported yesterday that residents of the capital also felt the seismic upheaval, which even disrupted a gathering related to Myanmar’s ongoing peace process.

“Government officials and representatives of ethnic armed groups ran away from the building during the JICM meeting,” he said, referring to a Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting held yesterday between the government and several ethnic armed organisations.

Amyotha Hluttaw lawmaker U Ba Myo Thein (NLD; Yangon 5) told The Myanmar Times that the parliament building sustained damage and a workshop on federalism held in the Amyotha Hluttaw chamber was cut short due to the earthquake. “We felt the parliament building shaking and we were frightened and ran away from the building suddenly,” he said.

By The Myanmar Times | Thursday, 25 August 2016
Credit : Myanmar Times

Low cost carrier Vietjet has started connecting passengers from Yangon arriving into Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) with the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

The Ho Chi Minh City to Kuala Lumpur route will be operated on a daily basis. Flying time per sector is about one hour and 55 minutes, the Vietnamese budget airline said.

The flights depart from Ho Chi Minh City at 09:30 (local time) and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 12:25 (local time). Return flights take off from Kuala Lumpur at 13:00 (local time) and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 13:55 (local time).

The route is expected to boost socioeconomic and cultural exchange between the two countries, the airline said.

The inaugural flight coded VJ825 landed at Kuala Lumpur on June 1.

Currently, the airline boasts a fleet of 36 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, and operates 250 flights each day. It has opened 50 routes in Vietnam and across the region to international destinations such as Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and China.

Vietnam’s first privately-owned airline has been undertaking aggressive expansion strategies as it ordered 92 Airbus worth $9 billion in 2013 and last month agreed a firm order of 100 Boeing 737 MAX 200 jets worth $11.3 billion.

Author: Zwe Wai | 16 June, 2016 07:35 am | Vol 4 Issue 22
Credit : Myanmar Business Today

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