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Chinese Navy Ships Pay a Four-day Visit to Myanmar

Chinese navy ships arrived in Myanmar on May 18 for a four-day friendly visit. The two warships, the Chang Chun and the Jing Zhou, arrived in Thilawa’s deep seaport in Yangon Region and were scheduled to conduct communications, search and rescue, and other joint exercises with the Myanmar navy, according to China’s defence ministry.

“This visit is intended to improve relations between the two nations. The relationship of the two navy commands will have an effect on both nations and also the peace process (of Myanmar),” said Rear Admiral Shen Hao, who led the Chinese navy fleet to Myanmar. The visit came after Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi attended the One Belt One Road Forum for International Cooperation on the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who proposed the initiative.

On the visit, a Chinese spokesman said that China was willing to strengthen strategic communication and deepen cooperation with Myanmar. China already had a close relationship with Myanmar’s former military government.

Myanmar’s Forest Cover is under Pressure from Political and Economic Changes

Myanmar’s intact forest is unprotected and is increasingly subject to pressures from rapid political and economic changes in the country, warned a study conducted by Peter Leimgruber from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Ned Horning from American Museum of Natural History and colleagues. Although the country has retained much of its original forest cover on account of decades-long political and economic isolation, the loss of intact forest cover in Myanmar has accelerated over the last decade, the study said, which was published on 17 May 2017 in the journal PLOS ONE.

In Myanmar, 38 per cent of forest cover is intact forest and the researchers found during their survey period that this intact forest cover is remaining from declination by 11 per cent (more than 2 million hectares) with an annual loss of 0.94 per cent over the last decade. The authors discovered that in 2014, 63 per cent of the country was covered by forest (more than 42 million hectares), making Myanmar one of the region’s most forested nations. One of the researchers said, “We found that forests cover 42,365,729 hectare or 63 per cent of Myanmar, making it one of the most forested countries in the region. However, severe logging, expanding plantations, and degradation stage more and more threats. Only 38 per cent of the country’s forests can be considered intact”.

Rate of HIV Infection in Myanmar Reduced

The yearly rate of infection of HIV virus (the pre-curser to AIDS) in Myanmar has been reduced, according to official figures. With measurements beginning in 2016 the virus was found to be infecting thousands of people yearly through either unprotected sex or intravenous needle sharing. It has also been reported that 50 per cent of Myanmar sex workers are suspected of carrying HIV.

The rate of infection reached its zenith at 30,000 new cases per year in Myanmar. Today, that rate has fallen below 10,000 according to Htun Nyunt Oo, lead doctor at the AIDS Programme of the Ministry of Health.

Those considered to be at high risk of contracting HIV virus are people who share needles when injecting drugs and those who have unprotected sex with sex workers or casual partners