- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2003

INDIA
Dozens hurt at Imphal as police quell protest
GUWAHATI, India A dozen persons were injured on Thursday as police shot into the air and sprayed tear gas to stop thousands of demonstrators from storming a government complex in northeastern Manipur, witnesses said.
More than 30,000 people took to the streets with flaming torches at Imphal, Manipur's capital, late Thursday to oppose any move by New Delhi to agree to a rebel demand to carve territory from the state to create a Greater Nagaland region.

AFGHANISTAN
Presidential guards complete U.S. course
KABUL Afghanistan's first presidential bodyguards graduated this week after seven weeks of training by U.S. Special Forces, whose place they will ultimately take at the side of President Hamid Karzai.
"These men belong to the elite, they have undergone an extremely tough training regimen, they have proved their competence and their morality," U.S. Ambassador Robert Finn said at the graduation ceremony for 52 guards Thursday at Kabul's military academy.
Currently U.S. Special Forces guard Mr. Karzai, who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in September at Kandahar.

THAILAND
2 Burmese nuns arrested in Rangoon
BANGKOK Burma's military government arrested two Buddhist nuns on Thursday as they protested in the capital, Rangoon, against surging prices and called for political change, witnesses said.
Dressed in light pink robes and waving a peacock flag symbol for Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) the nuns were shouting "A fall in prices is the people's cause," one witness told Reuters in neighboring Thailand by telephone.
The NLD swept to a landslide election victory in 1990, but has never been allowed to rule by the military, which has kept a grip on power for more than four decades.

Weekly notes
One of India's "untouchables," a member of Hinduism's lowest caste, was elected two days ago to the highest position in the country's most prosperous state. Legislators of the Congress party, which runs a coalition government in western Maharashtra state with seven smaller parties, chose Sushil Kumar Shinde, 61, as chief minister. Senior Congress leaders hope the leadership change will stem the growing influence of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra, where Dalits have a big presence. Nepal's defense ministry blasted former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala this week after he demanded a halt to Western military aid, saying the weapons threaten democracy. The ministry said the comment was "irresponsible" and "could demoralize the army." Mr. Koirala, who heads the Nepali Congress, the country's largest party, told a rally last week that Western shipments of arms meant to help snuff out a Maoist insurgency should be halted until the army came under the control of parliament, which was dissolved last year.


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