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Burmese Authorities Close Weekly Magazine

A media rights group says Burma's military government has ordered the weekly magazine Myanmar Nation to stop publishing and has arrested two of its employees.

The International Freedom of Expression Exchange said Wednesday that the arrests of Thet Zin and Sein Win show that Burma continues to crack down on the independent media, despite plans for a constitutional referendum and other promises of reform. The group said the two are being held without charge.

The statement quotes one of the exchange's members, Reporters Without Borders, as saying 11 journalists are known to be detained in Burma. Reporters Without Borders also says all of the nation's more than 100 privately-owned publications are subject to advance censorship.

Tuesday, a new law connected to Burma's upcoming constitutional referendum took effect. The new law says any Burmese citizen who gives public speeches or passes out leaflets against the referendum could face up to three years in jail.

Buddhist monks and other clergy are not allowed to vote in the referendum.

Under the proposed charter, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be barred from running in elections planned for 2010 because she was married previously to a foreigner. Her late husband died of cancer in 1999.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.