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Economy

Look Who Pays The Price Of Burma's Investment Fever

The new freedom of the Asian nation, also known as Myanmar, has drawn global investors in a race to profit from new development. But Burmese workers and farmers suffer the side-effects.

Look Who Pays The Price Of Burma's Investment Fever
Ric Wasserman

Bo Bo Aung traveled to Sweden for one reason: to warn about how huge investments may soon change the landscape, the environment and the economy of Burma, the Southeast Asian country also known as Myanmar.

“The main problem is that the companies and the businessmen register a large piece of land, and it can lead the local farmers to lose their land forever,” says the former teacher who became a land rights activist after he saw the way things were heading.

“In 2010, a special economic project came to Dawei and I thought, ‘I need to do something because this is huge.’ It’s the biggest project in Southeast Asia, an $86 billion project, so we need to do something, which is why I started to find a way to protect the local people.”

The Dawei project will be the biggest industrial commercial zone in Southeast Asia. When built, villagers will lose their homes and farms, and the proposed 4,000-megawatt coal-fired plant will also be a big polluter. The farmers, despite having land deeds, will be resettled and will likely receive little compensation.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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