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Myanmar passes new law to attract foreign investors

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YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s parliament on Friday, September 7 passed an eagerly awaited new law aimed at boosting foreign investment in the former pariah state, which is emerging from decades of military rule, a lawmaker said.

The legislation allows foreign companies to own a 50-percent stake in joint ventures with local partners.

“The foreign investment law was approved by the union parliament,” said ruling-party lawmaker Soe Yin, adding that a controversial minimum investment of $5 million proposed in an earlier draft had been dropped.

Business leaders had warned that the earlier draft, which would have allowed foreign firms to hold only up to 49 percent of a joint venture, risked undermining smaller companies’ chances of attracting investment.

The investment law is aimed at regulating a flood of interest from overseas corporations, which have been eyeing resource-rich Myanmar since the international community began dismantling sanctions to reward reforms.

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With huge natural resources and a strategic position between China and India, Myanmar is seen as a potentially huge market for foreign firms as it opens up to the world after decades of isolation.

President Thein Sein has vowed to put the economy at the centre of a new raft of reforms, following a series of dramatic political changes since almost half a century of outright military rule ended last year.

Myanmar has invited foreign firms to invest in the mining sector and signed a series of oil exploration deals with foreign companies.

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Critics say the rewards of the nation’s energy bounty have so far only been shared among foreign investors and the regime, rather than its impoverished people.


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‘They are lemmings’: Democratic strategist blasts Republicans as ‘the party of cowardice and complicity’

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In a CNN panel Monday, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona unleashed on the way Republicans are continuing to give President Donald Trump a pass on his racist attacks on four congresswomen of color.

In a press availability, Trump told reporters that the four women are changing the Democratic Party, saying no one knows how to handle them.

After playing the tape, one of the panelists off-camera could be heard saying, "He's such a liar."

"It’s so insulting that he even talks about these four young women of color as 'people who need to be handled,'" Cardona said of Trump's casual misogyny. "They are elected members of Congress. They deserve respect. What I think really drives this president crazy is that they are young, and they are women of color, and that they are doing things that really take him off of his message. And they are also exposing what many of us have already known — that he is a racist, that he has taken a playbook out of the handbook of white supremacists telling them to 'send her back.' And then — then using that at his rallies and saying he doesn’t agree with it."

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2020 Election

Georgetown Law professor: Top broadcaster ‘likely’ killed interview because Buttigieg is gay

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A prominent Georgetown Law professor says Cumulus Media likely blocked an interview one of its country music station hosts had conducted with Pete Buttigieg from airing because the Democratic presidential candidate is gay.

After Huffpost reported that Blair Garner had been told by Cumulus Media he could not air any part of his interview with Buttigieg, Cumulus – the number three broadcaster in the nation of AM and FM radio stations – claimed the decision was based on the “equal time rule.”

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‘Trump will be glued to the screen with an IV drip and a catheter’ when Mueller testifies: GOP strategist

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President Donald Trump will be glued to his television during former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress, Republican strategist Rick Wilson predicted on Monday.

On Wednesday, Mueller is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee in the morning and then the House Intelligence Committee in the afternoon.

"This is also a moment where the preeminence of television in our political lives is going to come to the fore," Wilson said. "And Donald Trump knows this."

"That little nervous moment this morning, where 'I might watch a little' — no, Donald Trump will be glued to the screen with an IV drip and a catheter," Wilson predicted.

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