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4/30/2006 World News: Laos Voters Cast Ballots for New National Assembly


Laos Election: More than two million voters in communist-ruled Laos head to the polls today (Sunday) to elect a new national assembly.
Nationwide voting began this morning at more than five thousand polling stations across the country.
Voters in the impoverished nation are casting ballots for the 115-member parliament, with 175 candidates in the running.
Today's election comes one month after President Khamtai Siphandone stepped down as head of the ruling Communist Party, and his vice president, Choumali Saignasone, was chosen as his replacement.

Sudan Darfur: Sudanese negotiators representing the Khartoum government and Darfur rebels are facing a deadline of today (Sunday) to accept a peace deal drafted by African mediators.
Rebel leaders attending the peace talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, say the draft agreement does not meet some of their key demands.
The rebels say the proposed deal fails to give the Darfur region a vice presidential position in the Sudanese government. Rebel leaders also want better terms for integrating their forces into the Sudanese army, and for disarming pro-government (Janjaweed) militias.
The Sudanese government has said it is willing to sign the draft agreement.

Nepal: Nepal's King Gyanendra has sworn in Girija Prasad Koirala as prime minister after weeks of protests forced the monarch to give up absolute power.
Mr. Koirala took the oath of office this (Sunday) morning at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace.
The ceremony had been scheduled for Friday, but was postponed while the 84-year-old Mr. Koirala recovered from a lung condition.
The ceremony came hours before Nepal's parliament was to discuss plans for elections to a body that will frame a new constitution widely expected to reduce the king's powers.

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