Myanmar junta gains hold on jade profits as fighting flares

BANGKOK (AP) — Independent researchers say the military takeover in Myanmar has given the junta full control of the country’s lucrative and conflict-ridden jade mining. That control gives the junta the mining profits and leverage for consolidating power. Research group Global Witness also says in its new report that fighting has flared around mines in Hpakant, in remote Kachin state, worsening instability in the region bordering China. Army and ethnic guerrilla forces have been fighting in Kachin for years, but they had largely cooperated to share in profits from mining of the world’s richest jade deposits. Experts say the Feb. 1 coup has upended those arrangements.