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Protesters take to the street against the military coup in Myanmar. Photo: Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

Myanmar's military appeared to have broadened its crackdown on internet access Saturday amid protests over the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected civilian government, AP reports.

What's happening: Netblocks, a U.K.-based site that tracks internet disruptions worldwide, tweeted Saturday that “a near-total internet shutdown is now in effect” in Myanmar. The broad outages followed the military's order to block Facebook, Instagram and Twitter earlier this week.

The big picture: The outages came as thousands of people took to the streets to protest Monday's military coup.

  • The country's army declared a one-year state of emergency after taking power and detaining Suu Kyi and other top ruling party leaders.
  • The coup followed escalating tensions between the civilian government and the military following last November's elections, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide. The military called the elections unfair.
  • The international community, including the United States, has largely condemned the coup and urged Myanmar's military leaders to "adhere to democratic norms and the rule of law."

Between the lines: "The communication blockages are a stark reminder of the progress Myanmar is in danger of losing after Monday’s coup plunged the nation back under direct military rule after a nearly decade-long move toward greater openness and democracy," AP noted.

  • "During Myanmar’s previous five decades of military rule, the country was internationally isolated and communication with the outside world strictly controlled," the news agency added.

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Driving the news: South Africa recorded 11,535 new cases Thursday with 22.4% of tests coming back positive — up from an average of about 300 new cases, with a 2% test positivity rate 10 days earlier. The country's top public health officials expect that exponential rise to continue as Omicron rapidly becomes the dominant variant.

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Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.