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Professor Robin Grimes, nuclear energy specialist

Professor-Robin-Grimes
 

Professor Robin Grimes is Professor of Materials Physics at Imperial College, London, and principal investigator of the Research Council’s UK nuclear fission consortium project. Professor Grimes has been visiting Myanmar in his role as chief scientific adviser to Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He spoke to Mizzima’s Matt Roebuck about science diplomacy and why this is the perfect time for him to visit Myanmar.

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Cardinal-elect Charles Maung Bo

Photo: Hong Sar (Ramonya)/Mizzima
Photo: Hong Sar (Ramonya)/Mizzima

Archbishop of Yangon Charles Maung Bo was among 20 new cardinals whose appointments were announced by Pope Francis on January 4. The appointment of Myanmar’s first cardinal followed celebrations last November marking the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Catholicism in Myanmar. A special papal envoy who attended the celebrations praised the organisation of the anniversary, saying it was a “marvellous experience”.

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Ma Khin Ohmar, activist and Burma Partnership coordinator

Ma Khin Ohmar in her Yangon office. Photo: Hong Sar (Ramonya)
Ma Khin Ohmar in her Yangon office. Photo: Hong Sar (Ramonya)

After the change of government in 2011, President U Thein Sein invited members of the Myanmar diaspora to return home. In August 2012, more than 2,000 people, including dissidents and foreign activists, were removed from a government blacklist. Many returnees hold foreign passports and have encountered difficulties caused mainly by unclear policy and visa application procedures. Among them is veteran activist Ma Khin Ohmar, a founder and coordinator of the human rights organisation, Burma Partnership. In a wide-ranging interview, Ma Khin Ohmar spoke with Mizzima’s Portia Larlee about seeking political asylum in the United States, activism on the Thai-Myanmar border and her struggle to acquire a visa in Myanmar.

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Daw-Nang-Lang-Kham-director-KBZ-Group
 

Daw Nang Lang Kham, director KBZ Group

KBZ Group is one of the largest groups of companies in Myanmar, comprising, among other ventures, Air KBZ and Kanbawza Bank. The group, founded by U Aung Ko Win in 1994, employs more than 80,000 people and is leading the Internal Revenue Department’s list of top tax paying companies. Mizzima spoke to director Daw Nang Lang Kham about the role of women in business and the challenges the banking sector and KBZ will face in 2015.

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Author-Bertil-LintnerProminent Myanmar-watcher, journalist and author (“Outrage”, “Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Democracy”) Bertil Lintner was in Yangon for a weeklong journalism workshop. The formerly blacklisted writer was interviewed by Mizzima’s Tin Zar Aung about recent political developments and the year ahead.

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U Yan Win, Chairman, Myanmar Tourism Federation

Yan-Win-Chairman-Myanmar-Tourism-Federation
Photo: Hong Sar

Myanmar’s opening to the world and embrace of democracy after the change of government in 2011 was a boon for a tourist industry that had long languished in the doldrums.With its myriad attractions, Myanmar has fast become one of the world’s top emerging destinations.

Tourist arrivals rose from 597,015 in 2003 to 2.04 million in 2013, passing the historic one million milestone in 2012. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is forecasting five million visitors this year. Mizzima’s Oliver Slow spoke to the chairman of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, U Yan Win, about the year past and challenges laying ahead.