New Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand chose not to walk though the thousands of protesters massed outside Parliament Monday, delaying his much-anticipated first policy speech to legislators. The address must be given by Jan. 7, but legal experts suggested that he could ask for an extension on grounds of political turbulence. The protesters, supporters of exiled former government chief Thaksin Shinawatra, vowed to remain in place until Abhisit schedules a new national election.
"Provocative, belligerent posturing" by India and Pakistan must stop and the two sides should resume "a peace dialogue," the chairman of the latter's joint chiefs of staff said Monday. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani's remarks were believed to be the first on the subject by the most senior Pakistani military leader and were seen as a sign that his government doesn't want further escalation of tensions with its nuclear-armed neighbor. India has blamed Pakistani-based terrorists for last month's assault on Mumbai. Pakistan has shifted some troops from the border with Afghanistan to the boundary with India, but denies that the latter is a military buildup.
Would-be voters were still waiting on line Monday as closing time arrived at polling places in Bangladesh in the first election in seven years. A clear picture of the outcome isn't expected until Tuesday. But while the election to restore democracy was largely incident-free, analysts speculated that unresolved corruption charges against former prime ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina would prevent needed reform or stability.
As expected, the transitional president of Somalia quit Mon-day, acknowledging that he'd lost control of the country to Islamist militias. Abdullahi Yusuf also lost a struggle for power with Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, whom he tried unsuccessfully to fire. On an interim basis, the presidency will be filled by parliament speaker Aden Mohamed Nur. But analysts said Yusuf's resignation may result in even more political chaos as various militias bid for power.
In a rampage that began Christmas Day, rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army of Uganda killed 189 villagers in neighboring Congo, UN officials said Monday. Citing local sources, they said the rebels also abducted at least 20 children. Rebel chief Joseph Kony is believed to be hiding in northeastern Congo, and the rampage followed his most recent failure to show up for the signing of a peace accord with Uganda's government.
Twenty-two generals representing all branches of Guinea's armed forces were stripped of their posts by the junta that seized power last week. In a statement, the junta said they'd reached mandatory retirement age and would be reassigned "at a later date." But analysts cautioned that the move risks confrontations with armed units that the generals commanded. Meanwhile, the African Union suspended Guinea from its ranks "until the return of constitutional order in that country."
Two days after insisting that he'd never accept the prime ministership, veteran politician Herman Van Rompuy agreed to a request by Belgium's king to form the new government of the ethnically split nation. Van Rompuy , the speaker of Parliament, is expected to maintain the Dutch/French five-party coalition of his predecessor, Yves Leterme. The latter's nine-month-old government collapsed two weeks ago amid allegations that it had meddled in the bailout of the giant financial group Fortis.
Rescue crews searched for eight missing snowmobilers in the back country of British Columbia Monday after the latter were buried under the second of two avalanches. But hopes for their survival were dimming, and the danger of yet another avalanche was rated high. Three others in the party escaped.