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Myanmar

  • Sweeping on Shwedagon: An act of merit
    Every evening, more than a dozen men and women walk in a tight row in front of Myanmar’s most revered Buddhist pagoda, sweeping the vast marble terrace in unison in hopes of keeping it clean for barefoot pilgrims.
  • Hunt starts for massive bell in Myanmar river
    Divers attached to safety ropes have plunged into waters south of Myanmar’s old capital as part of renewed efforts to retrieve a bronze bell that has been lying for centuries at the confluence of three rivers.
  • Planting rice traditionally in Myanmar
    Flooded paddy fields stretch along both sides of the highway leading to Myanmar’s capital where thousands of farmworkers, mostly women, uproot sprouts and then gently tap them on their feet to remove mud from the roots.
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Associated Press
Catholics hold candles outside a church before they parade on the main roads in Laiza, chanting prayers for peace, in northern Myanmar's Kachin-controlled region, on Saturday.

Myanmar to allow UN aid deliveries to Kachin state

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar will allow the United Nations into strife-torn Kachin state to deliver humanitarian aid for the first time since a recent escalation of fighting between ethnic rebels and government troops, officials said Wednesday.

The announcement came after the government and rebels agreed Monday to work toward ending a bloody conflict that has forced thousands of civilians to flee the area in northern Myanmar.

Presidential spokesman Ye Htut confirmed that agencies providing humanitarian assistance will be allowed access to Kachin state.

“Who will be in the group, how it will be done or who will take charge of security will be discussed,” he said in response to an emailed query.

A U.N. spokesman, Aye Win, said it was “significant” that aid could be delivered for the first time since fighting escalated in December.

The U.N.’s last aid mission to Kachin state was in July.

The conflict in Kachin state has cast a shadow on Myanmar’s progress in implementing democratic reforms after a half-century of repressive military rule.

Myanmar is commonly known as Burma.

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