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Myanmar Reuters journalists lose appeal against 7-year sentence

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YANGON: A Myanmar judge dismissed an appeal Friday by two Reuters journalists jailed for seven years while investigating atrocities committed against the Rohingya, dashing slim hopes that the pair could be freed early.

Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested in Yangon in December 2017 and later jailed for violating the state secrets act, a charge Reuters said was trumped up to muzzle their reporting.

Prosecutors say the two had classified information regarding security operations in Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled during an army-led crackdown the United Nations has dubbed “ethnic cleansing”.

Aung Naing, a judge at the Yangon Regional High Court, said Friday the original verdict was “not wrong according to the law” and was a “reasonable decision”.

“The court decides to dismiss the appeal,” he said.

Lawyers can now appeal to the Supreme Court in Myanmar, a process that could take an estimated six months.

The reporters’ wives cried after the decision which condemns the pair to continue their stay at Yangon’s notorious Insein prison, where they have been held for the last 13 months.

The two men — who were not present for the decision — have insisted they were victims of a police set-up, pointing to testimony from a serving officer who said a superior ordered others to entrap them.

At the time of the arrest they were probing a massacre of 10 Rohingya.

The original trial was widely regarded as a sham and seen as punishment for their investigation, sparking outrage around the world including from US Vice President Mike Pence.

Outside the country, the two men have been hailed as media freedom heroes and jointly named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2018, alongside other persecuted and slain journalists.

 

 

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Business

Is Uber buying Careem for $3.1b?

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DUBAI: According to the rumors making rounds here today it seems that Uber is about to acquire Careem for $3.1b!

Sources privy to NPTV have insinuated that the deal will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday 26th March). Initially Uber will pay $1.4 billion in cash and the rest in notes convertible to Uber shares.

It comes as Uber prepares for its initial public offering — expected next month — which could see the rideshare giant’s value increase to $100 billion.

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Environment

British Shadow Justice Minister on climate change

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BRADFORD: Climate/ecological change is one of the biggest challenges that humanity faces in the modern era. 

British Shadow Minister  Imran Hussain maintains: “With disaster awaiting if we do not make substantial changes to the way that we live our lives, and I was visited recently by school children from Bradford who came to talk to me about their campaign against climate change.

“It’s always positive to see young people get involved in a deeply important issue, and their actions should serve as a wakeup call to the Government that their views must no longer be ignored.

“They are also right to be worried about the kind of planet they will inherit and demand far-reaching action, for if we do not act over the next 12 years, we will forever miss the opportunity to do anything about it.”

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Politics

Egypt-Israel peace treaty lives on in troubled region

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CAIRO: The US-mediated 1979 treaty between Egypt and Israel may only have resulted in a “cold peace” but their ties have survived four decades in a turbulent region, analysts say.

The watershed treaty brought together late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli premier Menachem Begin for a 26th March, 1979 signing ceremony in Washington as a beaming Jimmy Carter, then-US president, looked on. The peace deal, the first ever between Israel and an Arab state, and which cost Sadat his life at the hands of an Islamist extremist, has kept Cairo out of any armed conflict with its neighbour.

The treaty has emerged unscathed from upheavals in Egypt, notably the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, proving its “stability”, said Amr al-Shobaki, political analyst with the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. The 40th anniversary comes as armed conflicts roil several countries across the Arab world, from Libya in the far west to Yemen in the south.  It also comes at a time of major US policy changes.

In 2017, President Donald Trump’s administration recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, causing uproar in the Muslim world. He followed up on Friday with a pledge to recognise Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. Israel seized mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem, Syria’s Golan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in the 1967 Six-Day War, when it also occupied the West Bank and Gaza. But under the 1979 peace treaty, Israel returned the Sinai to former enemy Egypt.

 

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