Burma has officially changed its name in English to the Union of Myanmar and also dropped "socialist" from the designation in an apparent bid to placate anger over 25 years of ruinous socialist policies.
In the law changing Burma's name, the nationality - Burmese - also was changed to Myanmar, the state-run Working People's Daily announced Monday. The word for Burma and Burmese in the Burmese language are both pronounced Myanmar.The names of states, towns and other geographical sites are to be written in English according to the Burmese pronunciation, the law says. Rangoon, for example, is to be written as Yangon, which is closer to the Burmese pronunciation of the capital.
The country's military rulers, who seized power in September while brutally putting down a popular uprising for democratic reforms, also tightened controls on political literature and reopened primary schools a year after all classrooms were closed because of the unrest.
The government said it would reopen junior high schools, high schools and universities but gave no specific dates.
Also Monday, the government increased penalties against violators of a 1962 law on publications. The government increased maximum prison terms from three to seven years and fines from $320 to $4,800 for those who publish material without proper registration.