Myanmar state television has broadcast live footage of a ceremony honouring General Aung San, the father of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The move is being seen as a another sign of change, as Myanmar's leadership has downplayed the anniversary of Gen Aung San's assassination for many years.
Thursday, 19 July, was Martyrs' Day in Myanmar, marking the assassination of Gen Aung San and other members of his interim government in 1947. This year is the 65th anniversary of the event. For decades the day was not allowed to be observed freely. But on Thursday, the country's reform-minded government held a joint ceremony with opposition lawmakers, including his daughter Aung San Suu Kyi.
The ceremony took place near the Shwe Dagon pagoda, the country's most important Buddhist pilgrimage site. Ms. Suu Kyi also prayed and laid flowers at her father's tomb. Flags were flown at half mast and a period of silence was observed. Senior government officials, including one of Myanmar's two vice-presidents, Sai Mauk Hkam, were in attendance.
A National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesperson said the practice of recognizing Martyrs' Day persisted for years, although opposition members were not allowed to participate openly. The public ceremony this year is thus a good sign for the future and cooperation with the government.
Report: Burma TV marks Suu Kyi father's Martyrs' Day memorial [BBC News, 19 July 2012]
Report: Aung San Suu Kyi Marks Day in Father's Honor [Voice of America, 19 July 2012]
Aung San Suu Kyi to Visit United States, Receive Honours
United States officials have confirmed that the US Congress will present Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi its highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on 19 September, during her visit to the United States.
Her trip to the US follows her successful visits to Thailand and Europe this year.
In addition to the congressional award, Ms. Suu Kyi will be presented with the Global Citizen Award from the Atlantic Council, a prominent think-tank and policy advisory group.
The US State Department said Ms. Suu Kyi will be meeting with US government officials during her visit.
Report: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to receive Congressional Gold Medal in September [Washington Post (AP), 19 July 2012]
Myanmar's Top General to Visit India
Finally, India is rolling out the red carpet for Myanmar's top general during his visit to the country next month. Commentators say India is keen to ensure China does not outflank India in its ties with Myanmar.
General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in Myanmar, will be in India from 1-8 August. His visit comes after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to Myanmar towards the end of May.
Report: Myanmar General to get red carpet treatment in India [Times of India, 19 July 2012]