Myanmar

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Myanmar

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Myanmar, is a country in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. One - third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 1,930 kilometres (1,200 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. At 676,578 km2 (261,227 sq mi), it is the 40th largest country in the world and the second largest country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is also the 24th most populous country in the world with over 58.8 million people.

Myanmar is home to some of the early civilizations of Southeast Asia including the Pyu and the Mon. In the 9th century, the Burmans of the Kingdom of Nanzhao, entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Kingdom in 1057, the language and culture of these peoples slowly became dominant in the country. Sometime during this period, Buddhism became the predominant religion of the country. Following the Mongol invasion of Myanmar in 1287, the kingdom of Pagan fell and a period of control by several warring states emerged. In the second half of the 16th century, the country was reunified by the Taungoo Dynasty which, for a brief period of time, was the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia. The 18th century Konbaung Dynasty ruled over an area that includes modern Burma as well as Manipur in India. In the 19th century, following three Anglo - Burmese Wars, Myanmar was colonized by Britain.

British rule brought social, economic, cultural and administrative changes to the once - feudal society. Since independence in 1948, the country has been in one of the longest running civil wars among the country's myriad ethnic groups that remains unresolved. From 1962 to 2011, the country was under military rule. The military junta was dissolved in 2011 following a general election in 2010 and a civilian government installed.

Myanmar is a resource rich country. However, since the reformations of 1962, the Burmese economy has become one of the least developed in the world. Myanmar’s GDP stands at $42.953 billion and grows at an average rate of 2.9% annually - the lowest rate of economic growth in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Among others, the EU, United States and Canada have imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar. Myanmar's health care system is one of the worst in the world: The World Health Organization ranked Burma at 190th, the worst performing of all countries.

The United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country, including child labour, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech.

Geography
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (also known as Burma) is the northwestern - most country on the mainland of southeast Asia. It is strategically located near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes.

Climate
Tropical monsoon in the lowlands below 2,000 m (6,562 ft), cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September), less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April). Climate varies in the highlands depending on elevation, subtropical temperate climate at around 2,500 m (8,202 ft), temperate at 3,000 m (9,843 ft), cool, alpine at 3,500 m (11,483 ft) and above the alpine zone, cold, harsh tundra and Arctic climate. The higher elevations are subject to heavy snowfall and bad weather.

Tourism
Since 1992, the government has encouraged tourism in the country. However, fewer than 750,000 tourists enter the country annually. Burma's Minister of Hotels and Tourism Maj - Gen Saw Lwin has stated that the government receives a significant percentage of the income of private sector tourism services. Much of the country is completely off - limits to tourists, and the military very tightly controls interactions between foreigners and the people of Burma, particularly the border regions. They are not to discuss politics with foreigners, under penalty of imprisonment, and in 2001, the Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board issued an order for local officials to protect tourists and limit "unnecessary contact" between foreigners and ordinary Burmese people.

Culture
A diverse range of indigenous cultures exist in Myanmar, the majority culture is primarily Buddhist and Bamar. Bamar culture has been influenced by the cultures of neighbouring countries. This is manifested in its language, cuisine, music, dance and theatre. The arts, particularly literature, have historically been influenced by the local form of Theravada Buddhism. Considered the national epic of Burma, the Yama Zatdaw, an adaptation of India's Ramayana, has been influenced greatly by Thai, Mon, and Indian versions of the play. Buddhism is practised along with nat worship which involves elaborate rituals to propitiate one from a pantheon of 37 nats.

Mohinga, rice noodles in fish soup, is widely considered to be Myanmar's national dish.
In a traditional village, the monastery is the centre of cultural life. Monks are venerated and supported by the lay people. A novitiation ceremony called shinbyu is the most important coming of age events for a boy, during which he enters the monastery for a short period of time. All male children in Buddhist families are required to be a novice (beginner for Buddhism) before the age of twenty and to be a monk after the age of twenty. Girls have ear-piercing ceremonies at the same time. Burmese culture is most evident in villages where local festivals are held throughout the year, the most important being the pagoda festival. Many villages have a guardian nat, and superstition and taboos are commonplace.
Thingyan festival, the Burmese New Year

British colonial rule also introduced Western elements of culture to Myanmar. Myanmar's educational system is modelled after that of the United Kingdom. Colonial architectural influences are most evident in major cities such as Yangon. Many ethnic minorities, particularly the Karen in the southeast, and the Kachin and Chin (people) who populate the north and north - east, practice Christianity. According to CIA World Factbook, the Burman population is 68%, and the Ethnic groups comprise of 32%. However, the exiled leaders and organisations claims that Ethnic population is 40% which is implicitly contrasted with CIA report (official U.S report).

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