At least 100 people in Nepal's capital have been wounded today (Saturday) as tens of thousands of protesters defied a curfew and shoot-on-sight orders to march against King Gyanendra's plan to return power to the people. Police in Kathmandu opened fire and used tear gas on the huge crowds of protesters marching in the vicinity of the heavily guarded royal palace. Earlier today, Nepal's seven-party opposition alliance met and rejected King Gyanendra's plan to restore democracy. In a national address Friday,
the king asked the opposition alliance to name a prime minister, and pledged to bring back multi-party democracy as soon as possible. But opposition leaders said the king's proposal was not enough.
Iraq legislators have convened a session of parliament where they are expected to approve a nominee for prime minister, paving the way for the formation of a new government. The lawmakers also plan to choose a new parliament leader. Ahead of today's (Saturday's) session, members of the dominant United Iraqi Alliance unanimously endorsed Jawad al-Maliki as their candidate for prime minister. Maliki's nomination breaks a four-month impasse on the powerful position, currently held by Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
SoKor - Japan: Senior Japanese and South Korean officials held a
second day of talks in Seoul today (Saturday) to try to settle a dispute over an island chain claimed by both nations. Details of the talks between Japan's vice foreign minister, Shotaro Yachi, and his South Korean counterpart, Yu Myung-hwan, were not available. The controversy involves a group of islands in the Sea of Japan, known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.
Asia Forum: Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong says China's imports have helped create 10 million jobs worldwide since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Zeng made the comments during opening remarks today (Saturday) at a regional meeting of politicians, business leaders and academics on China's southern island of Hainan. China's official Xinhua News Agency quoted Zeng as saying that since 2001 it has annually imported nearly 500 billion dollars worth of goods from around the world.
Vietnam - Microsoft: The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, has received a
rousing welcome in Vietnam by thousands of university students eager for a glimpse of the world's richest man. Students climbed trees and pushed through crowds at Hanoi University today (Saturday), where Gates was delivering a speech on information technology.
Burma - NLD: Burma's opposition National League for Democracy (N.L.D.) says it will recognize the government of Burma's military junta if it convenes parliament by May 27th. May 27th is the anniversary of Burma's 1990 elections in which the N.L.D. won a majority of the seats in parliament, but was not allowed to take leadership of the government.
Indonesia - Pornography: At least one-thousand people in Indonesia have gathered on the streets of the capital, Jakarta, to protest against a proposed anti-pornography bill. Many of the people demonstrating today (Saturday) are dressed in regional costumes and are criticizing the government for what they say are violations against women's rights. The bill, which has yet to be passed by parliament, would impose jail terms for anyone guilty of displaying "erotic" artworks such as traditional dances, and would impose fines for kissing in public.
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