Iraq: Thousands of Iraqis marched through the streets of two Shi'ite holy cities today (Monday) in an anti-American protest to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to U.S. forces.
Men, women and children carrying Iraqi flags marched through Najaf and the neighboring city of Kufa, shouting slogans hailing radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and demanding that U.S. forces leave Iraq.
Sadr urged Iraqis Sunday to protest the American presence and demand that Iraqi security forces stop cooperating with the U.S. military.
Sadr, who led two uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004, is believed to be living in exile in Iran. His supporters deny he left the country to avoid the security crackdown in Baghdad.
The threat of car bomb attacks prompted authorities to impose a 24-hour vehicle ban in Baghdad from five a.m. Monday.
East Timor Election: East Timorese have voted for a new president in an election many hope will bring stability to the young nation after a year of bloodshed.
Tens of thousands of voters waited under the hot sun today (Monday) to choose among eight candidates to replace President Xanana Gusmao, who plans to run for prime minister later this year.
About half a million people were eligible to vote at 700 polling stations across East Timor. A few thousand international peacekeepers provided security, and 200 foreigners joined East Timorese observers to monitor the voting.
The head of the European Union observer team (, Javier Pomes Ruiz,) says the process is running smoothly, despite some reports of minor attempts to intimidate voters.
Thailand – Internet: Thailand's military-backed government has expanded its censorship of the Internet by blocking a popular online political forum.
Thai Communications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudoom says the government is now blocking the political page of Thailand's most popular online chat room, pantip-dot-com.
On Sunday, he said the site was closed because some of its topics were considered a threat to national security, while others were offensive to the king. He said the page would closed until the political situation improves.
Thailand has blocked the video-sharing Web site YouTube since Wednesday, because videos considered insulting to the Thai king had been posted on it. Insulting the monarchy is a criminal offense in Thailand.
Thai military leaders conducted a peaceful coup last year to push former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from power.
Burma – North Korea: Japanese media say a senior North Korean official will travel to Burma on April 25th in an effort to normalize diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK says North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Young Il will spend three days in Burma's new administrative capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
Burma severed diplomatic ties with North Korea in 1983, accusing North Korean agents of detonating bombs in Rangoon. That attack killed 17 visiting South Korean officials, including four cabinet ministers.
Burma and North Korea are two of the world's most reclusive countries. They are both subject to Western economic sanctions and face criticism because of alleged human rights abuses.
Philippines – Militants: Philippine officials say soldiers trained by the U.S. military have raided an Abu Sayyaf camp on Jolo island, but two suspected terrorists evaded capture.
Officials say an Abu Sayyaf leader, Isnilon Hapilon, and Umar Patek of Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiyah group escaped during the firefight early today (Monday).
Military officials say three Abu Sayyaf members were captured in the raid, but soldiers are still searching for the two key wanted men.
Patek is wanted for his alleged involvement in the deadly bombings on Indonesia's Bali island in 2002.
Thailand Prime Minister: The doctor for Thailand's military-installed prime minister, Surayud Chulanont, says the country's leader has been admitted to the hospital.
The doctor (Prinya Thaweechaikarn) says Mr. Surayud is fine, but will spend a few days in the hospital for a check-up, including tests on his intestinal system.
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