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NEPAL

Maoists stake claim to new government

KATMANDU | Nepal’s Maoists staked their claim on Thursday to lead the troubled country’s next government, a day after the prime minister resigned under intense pressure from the former rebels.

The Maoists, who waged a bloody 10-year insurgency against the state before entering mainstream politics and winning 2008 elections, say that as the largest party in parliament, they should be at the helm of a new government.

“We have decided we will try to garner support from the other parties for a government of national unity led by us,” party spokesman Dinanath Sharma told Agence France-Presse after a meeting of senior Maoist leaders early Thursday.

Outgoing Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal tendered his resignation to the president late Wednesday after a live television address in which he said he wanted to end a long political stalemate.

CHINA

Google says China blocks search service

BEIJING | Google Inc. said one of its Web-search features was blocked in China on Thursday as the company awaited Beijing’s verdict on whether to renew its operating license amid tensions over censorship.

Mainland users were unable to use the search giant’s “suggest” feature, which offers suggestions for possible results as they start to type a word, the company said.

“It appears that search queries produced by Google Suggest are being blocked for mainland users in China,” said Google spokeswoman Jessica Powell in an e-mail. “Normal searches that do not use query suggestions are unaffected. As always, we will keep our China status page updated with the latest information.”

Google’s relations with Beijing have been tense since the U.S.-based search giant said in January it no longer wanted to cooperate with Chinese Web filtering.

Google closed its China-based search engine March 22 and began routing users to its unfiltered Hong Kong site. But the company said this week it will stop the automatic switching because the government objected and threatened to revoke its operating license.

The company has received no word from Chinese regulators on the status of its application to renew the license, Ms. Powell said.