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Despite Myanmar reforms, much remains to be done

(AP) Despite Myanmar reforms, much remains to be done
By TODD PITMAN
Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar
In Myanmar, the country hailed by the West for its stunning democratic transformation, terrified villagers flee burning homes after an explosion of ethnic and religious violence.

Refugees from a civil war cower in chilly camps. And hundreds of political prisoners languish in dank jails, wondering when they'll ever be freed.

These troubling aspects of Myanmar will not be in view Monday, when President Barack Obama becomes the first American head of state to visit the pagoda-studded country.

The nation's warp-speed revolution remains fragile, its transition sometimes bloody. There are concerns that Obama's trip, aimed at encouraging democracy, may be premature. But White House officials say it is not a "victory celebration" and agree Myanmar still has far to go.

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