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The military junta that has governed Myanmar (formerly Burma) for over four decades says it was forced last month to remove price subsidies to fuel because it could no longer afford the climbing costs.

The result has been a sudden doubling of diesel prices, and a fivefold increase in the price of compressed natural gas. Transportation and food costs have risen sharply in recent weeks , leading to protests. The protests are being spearheaded by the 88 Generation Student Group, the group that led the student pro-democracy protests which were brutally shut down by the junta in 1998.
Local papers report that the decision to remove the subsidies is part of the country's economic reform program, and that it coincided with a high level visit from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank officials.
Myanmar imports most of its energy, though the country has large natural gas reserves.
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