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Burmese farmers barred for five years from planting crops along the route of a Chinese oil and gas line are protesting new requests by an affiliate of the pipeline company to take control of the adjoining land once restrictions end, sources in Myanmar say.
Completed in 2012, the pipeline built by the Chinese state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and its Myanmar partner, runs from the port of Kyaukpyu in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state to China’s southern city of Kunming.
Farmers in Ngape village in Myanmar’s Magway division, through which the underground pipeline passes, have been barred since then from planting crops within 50 feet on either side of the line, but believed they would be allowed two years ago to plant again.
That date for the land’s return has now passed, however, with CNPC affiliate the SEAsia Oil Pipeline-SEAsia Gas Pipeline Co. now applying for exclusive use of the restricted zone, sources say.
“They agreed that we would receive compensation for the land and our crops for five years, but that we could later grow seasonal crops there for a living,” U Soe Thint, a local farmer protesting the Chinese company’s application to use the land, told RFA’s Myanmar Service this week.
“They only said that we can’t grow perennial crops or plant trees on the land or build permanent structures there. That was the agreement. But now they are trying to use that land for their own purposes,” he said.
“We can’t accept this,” he said.
Villagers protesting the Chinese company’s request also voiced security concerns, with one farmer saying that if China builds a railroad along the line, “many Chinese soldiers and laborers may be brought into the area.”
The company’s application for exclusive use of the land along the pipeline is their second request made since 2013, and was abandoned once before, RFA’s source, U Win Ko, said.
“Now they are trying again in 2018 and 2019,” he said. “Why are they doing this now after we have already stated our objections?”
“I would like to appeal to government authorities to stop them from trying this again,” he said.
‘I have no answers’
Also speaking to RFA, U Thant Zin of the watchdog group “Follow,”one of several groups set up to monitor the Chinese pipeline project, echoed the farmers’ concerns.
“They are hoping to grow crops again, and this Chinese company is now applying for a permit for [exclusive] use of the land,” he said.
“This pipeline runs across the country. The compensations that were paid were very meager, and have not covered the losses resulting from different kinds of damage,” he said.
“One local farmer told me they are being sacrificed for the benefit of the country as a whole, and he asked me what the real benefits of hosting this pipeline are. I have no answers.”
The pipeline dispute comes as Myanmar grapples with the fate of the Myitsone Dam, a U.S. $3.6 billion Chinese-backed hydropower project on the Irrawaddy River in Kachin state that was put on hold in 2011 amid heavy public opposition.
China has pressed Myanmar to carry on with the dam, part of its Belt and Road Initiative, $1-trillion plan to connect China with Silk Road trade routes through Asia and Africa to Western markets. But opposition within Myanmar remains strong. (RFA)
Reported by Zaw Too for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Richard Finney.
Samsung Electronics will quickly decide on a foundry investment in the US, a senior executive said Tuesday, as the South Korean tech giant seeks to become the world's number one player in the logic chip and foundry sectors. Samsung Electronics, the world's number two foundry firm behind Taiwan's TSMC, announced in May that it will build a $17 billion fab in the US.
Samsung's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong is widely speculated to visit the US, possibly next month, to finalise the site, with the city of Taylor, Texas, emerging as the strongest candidate. Other candidates include Arizona, New York, and Austin, Texas. Kim Ki-nam, Vice Chairman and CEO of Samsung's device solutions division, said it takes time for the company to review all the factors such as "infrastructure, site, personnel and state incentives," and make a final decision.
"We are trying to make a decision as soon as possible," Kim told reporters on the sidelines of the Korea Electronics Show 2021, which is under way at an exhibition center in southern Seoul. He made the comments when asked whether Samsung will make an investment within this year. He did not elaborate, reports Yonhap news agency.
Separately, Kim said the company has been "calmly" preparing answers to a recent request by the US Department of Commerce about its semiconductor business. The US has asked global chipmakers, including Samsung, to share information on inventories and demanded other details by November 8 to "help improve trust and transparency within the supply chain." The request spawned concerns about the leak of chipmakers' major trade secrets. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: samsung, electronics, investment, US, chipmakers
It's been over two years since Hrithik Roshan appeared on celluloid. Fans have been waiting to witness his next performance on the silver screen and it seems like their wishes will be soon granted. Earlier, Hrithik had made an announcement about getting back to shooting schedule for the upcoming film 'Vikram Vedha'. And now, it's learnt that the actor has recently wrapped the first ever action sequence from the film.
The news came out when a few stuntmen from the film's set shared pictures of the sequence wrap. The stunt sequences seem to be quite crazy as suggested by the stuntmen. Talking about the same, a stuntman posted on his instagram as he wrote, "Wrapped up the first action sequence of Vikram Vedha. A big 'Thank you' to @parvez.shaikhh sir for this opportunity. Wouldn't have been possible without you ?? @hrithikroshan."
Another stuntman posted, "First craziest action sequence have done (sic).!! Cheer's To @hrithikroshan @parvez.shaikhh @stuntindia1 and all the stunt boys.!!"
'Vikram Vedha' is a Hindi remake of the runaway Tamil hit of the same name which was released in 2017. While the original action thriller starred R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi, the Hindi version will see Hrithik Roshan squaring off against Saif Ali Khan. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Hrithik Roshan, Vikram Vedha, action, sequence, wrap up
The niece of Japanese Emperor Naruhito, Princess Mako, married a commoner Tuesday, relinquishing her royal status following a heavily scrutinized, controversial four-year engagement.
The Japanese Imperial Household Agency issued a statement announcing the marriage of Mako to Kei Komuro, both 30 years old.
The couple broke with tradition by foregoing the usual rituals and ceremonies of royal weddings, including a reception, while Mako also refused the one-off payment of about $1.3 million typically made to royal women who leave the imperial family to marry.
The couple had been classmates at Tokyo's International Christian University when they announced their engagement in 2017, saying they intended to marry the next year.
But shortly after the announcement, a dispute involving money Komuro's mother, a widow, had received from a former suiter surfaced and the wedding was postponed. Komuro wrote a lengthy statement explaining the situation, and but it is still unclear if the dispute has been fully resolved.
Komuro spent the last three years at law school in New York City, where The New York Times reports tabloid newspapers documented everything from his hairstyle to the food trucks where he bought his lunch.
At a news conference, the former princess addressed the controversies, gossip and mixed public opinion about the relationship, saying, "I am very sorry to the people who had trouble (with our marriage). Also, I feel gratitude towards people who cared and quietly worried about me, or people who were not misled by the non-factual information and still continued to support me and Kei."
The couple expressed their love for one another, and Mako said, "As we go on with our lives, I think there will be different difficulties. But as we have in the past, we will work together and continue to move on together."
The couple plans to live in New York City. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Japan, Princess Mako, Komuro, Marriage, Royals