Iraqi officials say fierce fighting between government security forces and Shi'ite militias in the southern city of Basra has killed at least four people and wounded more than 18 others. Iraqi military officials say security forces have clashed with gunmen from the Mahdi Army of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Officials say the fighting follows the starts of a major military operation this morning (Tuesday) against rival Shi'ite militia factions.
PAKISTAN POLITICS: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has sworn in the country's newly-elected Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Mr. Musharraf administered the oath of office to the former parliament speaker in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Islamabad today (Tuesday). Mr. Gilani, who spent more than four years in jail under Mr. Musharraf's rule, is a senior member of the Pakistan Peoples Party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Members of the party chanted "Long Live Bhutto" as Mr. Gilani completed his oath during the short ceremony.
NEPAL-TIBET: Police in Nepal armed with batons dispersed a protest today (Tuesday) by Tibetan refugees and monks in front of the Chinese Embassy. Nepal has seen almost daily anti-China protests since March 10th when demonstrations began in Tibet's capital, Lhasa. At least 400 protesters were detained in Nepal Monday. Police in Katmandu said more than 70 protesters were loaded into trucks and vans today and sent to detention centers.
China has criticized human rights activists for disrupting the lighting ceremony of the Olympic torch in Ancient Olympia, Greece, Monday, saying their actions were "shameful." Speaking to reporters today (Tuesday) in Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman (Qin Gang) called on authorities in countries on the route to ensure the torch's smooth transit.
BHUTAN ELECTION: Voters in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan have given a landslide victory to the Bhutan Prosperity Party in an election that ended a century of absolute monarchy. Bhutan's election commissioner (Kunzang Wangdi) announced today (Tuesday) that the party - officially called the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa - won 44 of 47 seats in the lower house of parliament. Its opponent, the People's Democratic Party, won the other three seats in Monday's election. Voter turnout was nearly 80 percent.
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