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Myanmar's new capital gets royal surname

Myanmar's state-controlled newspapers, TV and radio stations started referring to the new capital as Pyinmana NayPyiDaw.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 15:25 IST

Myanmar's new capital in the boondocks has been elevated to "Pyinmana The Royal City," state-run media revealed on Wednesday.

Myanmar's state-controlled newspapers, TV and radio stations started referring to the new capital as "Pyinmana NayPyiDaw," after the new name was first used on Tuesday evening on national TV in a weather report.

The name change adds to the mysteries surrounding Myanmar's new capital, which has yet to be visited by foreign ambassadors based in Yangon, the old capital, and remains off bounds for tourists and ordinary citizens.

The country's ruling junta announced on November 7 last year that it had decided to move the capital to Pyinmana, a provincial backwater situated 300 km north of Yangon, formerly Rangoon.

No formal explanation was provided for the capital shift.

Most ministries have already been moved to Pyinmana NayPyiDaw, although living quarters and public utilities are reportedly very limited in the new city.

Armed Forces Day, which marks the birth of the institution that has ruled Myanmar for the past 44 years, is to be celebrated for the first time at the new capital on March 27, sources in Yangon said.

Most Myanmar-watchers believe the shift to Pyinmana was made for security reasons at the behest of military leader Senior General Than Shwe, head of Myanmar's self-styled State Peace and Development Council, as the ruling junta calls itself.

Myanmar is a pariah state among Western democracies for its abysmal human and labour rights record, failure to pursue democratic reforms and the imprisonment of opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for the past two and a half years.

First Published: Mar 22, 2006 15:19 IST