" hspace=2 src="/lao/images/AP_israel_olmert_cabinet_19feb06_eng_195.jpg" width=195 align=left vspace=2 border=0>Israel-Palestinains: The Israeli cabinet has overwhelmingly approved a range of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority today (Sunday), after the militant group Hamas assumed control of the Palestinian parliament.
Among the restrictions, Israel will halt the payment of customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, worth about 50 million dollars per month. It will also prevent residents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from crossing into Israel for work.
Earlier, Israeli Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that a government led by Hamas, which swept last month's parliamentary elections, would be regarded as a terrorist regime.
Saturday, 74 members of Hamas were sworn in as lawmakers in the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council. Afterwards, Hamas said it will not abide by previously signed agreements recognizing Israel's right to exist.
Cartoons Protests: Pakistani security forces have sealed the capital, Islamabad, after authorities banned a rally by Islamist parties to protest controversial cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad.
Witnesses say thousands of police and paramilitary troops deployed today (Sunday) throughout the capital to thwart the rally. Pakistani police arrested several lawmakers, put some radical Islamic leaders under house arrest and detained hundreds of their supporters.
The government imposed a ban on the Islamabad march Saturday following several days of violent protests in the country that left five people dead.
Cartoon Sdbr: Libya: Two government ministers, one from Libya and one from Italy have lost their jobs as a result of Friday's deadly protest outside the Italian consulate in Benghazi.
Libya's interior minister was suspended from his post Saturday amid allegations that police officers used excessive force to quell the demonstration, in which 11 people were killed and about 35 injured.
Libya declared Sunday as a day of mourning.
In Italy, Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli resigned Saturday after he was blamed for triggering the Libyan protest.
Bird Flu: Government officials in India say a man has died of suspected fird flu, a day after the country reported its first outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.
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