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Myanmar court jails Reuters reporters for 7 years

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YANGON — A Myanmar judge has found two Reuters journalists guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years on Monday, in a landmark case seen as a test of progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin said Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, breached the colonial-era Official Secrets Act when they collected and obtained confidential documents.

“The defendants … have breached Official Secrets Act section 3.1.c, and are sentenced to seven years,” the judge said, adding that the time served since they were detained on Dec.

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12 would be taken into account. The defense can appeal the decision to a regional court and then the supreme court.

The verdict comes amid mounting pressure on the government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi over a security crackdown sparked by attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on security forces in Rakhine State in west Myanmar in August 2017.

More than 700,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims have fled into Bangladesh since then, according to U.N. agencies.

The two reporters, who were investigating the killing by the security forces of Rohingya villagers at the time of their arrest, had pleaded not guilty.

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2 killed, 5 injured in tractor accident

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HETAUDA — Two persons were killed and five others were seriously injured after a tractor fell off the road last evening at Panchpandav village in Bagmati Rural Municipality-4, Makawanpur.

Police said that 50-year-olds Hem Kumar Shrestha and Bakhat Rai of Hariharpur Rural Municipality in Sindhuli district lost their lives in the fatal accident.

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Shrestha died on the spot while Rai breathed his last on the way to a hospital in Hetauda, police added. The tractor (Na 6 Ta 442) was heading to Sindhuli district from Phawarbari in Makawanpur by supplying construction materials.

Those seriously hurt in the incident are Shivamaya Magar, Shakti Rai, Mohan Rai, Krishna Rai and Tilak Rai. The incident site is near Makawanpur-Sindhuli border along Dharan-Chatara road section.

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