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Various ethnic Burmese and ethnic minority city-states or kingdoms occupied the present borders through the 19th century. Over a period of 62 years (1824-1886), Britain conquered Burma and incorporated the country into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; in 1948, Burma attained independence from the Commonwealth. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In September 1988, the military deposed NE WIN and established a new ruling junta. Multiparty legislative elections in 1990 resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory. Instead of handing over power, the junta placed NLD leader (and Nobel Peace Prize recipient) AUNG SAN SUU KYI (ASSK) under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, 2000 to 2002, and from May 2003 to November 2010. In late September 2007, the ruling junta brutally suppressed protests over increased fuel prices led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks, killing at least 13 people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations. In early May 2008, Burma was struck by Cyclone Nargis, which left over 138,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless. Despite this tragedy, the junta proceeded with its May constitutional referendum, the first vote in Burma since 1990. Parliamentary elections held in November 2010, considered flawed by many in the international community, saw the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party garnering over 75% of the seats. Parliament convened in January 2011 and selected former Prime Minister THEIN SEIN as president. Although the vast majority of national-level appointees named by THEIN SEIN are former or current military officers, the government has initiated a series of political and economic reforms leading to a substantial opening of the long-isolated country. These reforms have included a senior-level dialogue with ASSK, re-registering the NLD as a political party, enabling party members, including ASSK, to contest parliamentary by-elections on 1 April 2012, the release of many (but not all) political prisoners, preliminary peace agreements with some armed ethnic groups, a reduction in media censorship, and an increasingly open debate in the Parliament.


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Communications

Telephones - main lines in use World Ranking: 96
521,100 (2011)

Telephones - mobile cellular World Ranking: 148
1.244 million (2011)

Telephone system
General assessment
Meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government
Domestic
System barely capable of providing basic service; mobile-cellular phone system is grossly underdeveloped
International
Country code - 95; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2, Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and ShinSat (2011)

Broadcast media
Government controls all domestic broadcast media; 2 state-controlled TV stations with 1 of the stations controlled by the armed forces; 2 pay-TV stations are joint state-private ventures; access to satellite TV is limited; 1 state-controlled domestic radio station and 6 FM stations that are joint state-private ventures; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available in parts of Burma; the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), BBC Burmese service, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) use shortwave to send broadcasts into Burma; VOA, RFA, and DVB produce daily TV news programs that are transmitted by satellite to audiences in Burma (2009)

Internet country code
.mm

Internet hosts World Ranking: 171
1,033 (2010)

Internet users World Ranking: 158
110,000 (2009)


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  Burma (Rangoon):


  GPS points from Burma (Rangoon)

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Thapangyaung (bm09)

Hkyawngsha Shan State

Nyaungbintha Sagain

Minbintin Sagain

Nampaman Myauk Shan State

Thibin Mandalay

Wan Hsenhkamlao Shan State




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