An estimated 20,000 supporters of exiled ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra were gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, with more expected to join in protests until the new government holds a national election. Police locked the gates to Parliament Sunday, but the so-called Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship said it would not block legislators from the building. Parliament is due to hear new Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's first policy address Monday. Abhisit's opponents consider him illegitimate because he was installed by the military.
More than 80 million people are eligible to vote Monday in Bangladesh's first national election in seven years, and the interim military-backed government vowed it will be free and fair. Still, despite intense security precautions, 85 people were hurt in violence Saturday between supporters of the rival Awami League and the Nationalist Party. The former is seen by analysts as the more likely to win.
Voter turnout was reported to be heavy in Ghana in the runoff election for president, with the race considered so close that official results may not be known for days. Neither ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo nor challenger John Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress won a majority of ballots in the first round Dec. 7, and analysts worried that the runoff loser might not concede defeat.
As thousands of Guineans cheered, the nation's coup leader said the Army would enforce a zero tolerance policy on corruption, executing anyone caught embezzling state funds. Capt. Moussa Camara also vowed that contracts with foreign mining companies would be renegotiated if their terms are found to be unfavorable to Guinea. In an apparent bow to international condemnation of the coup, however, Camara said opposition political parties would be invited to nominate a prime minister.
Distributors of dairy products in China's tainted-milk scandal will make a one-time payment to the families of 294,000 affected children, the Xinhua news agency reported. "By doing so, they hope to earn understanding and forgiveness," it quoted the Dairy Industry Association as saying. But the size of the payment or when it would be made weren't disclosed. Twenty-two dairy companies also will set up a fund to cover medical expenses due to "relative after-effects" from the poisoning, it said.
At least eight people died and 17 others were wounded Sunday in a suburb of Sri Lanka's capital as a suspected Tamil rebel approached a police checkpoint and detonated explosives he was carrying. Meanwhile, a Tamil website said 50 government troops were killed in combat near the rebel capital, Kilinochchi. The government said it lost nine soldiers in the clash.
Free vacation trips and other rewards for Cuba's most productive workers will be eliminated because they cost more than the government can afford, leader Raul Castro said. Appearing before the National Assembly Saturday, he said the estimated $10 billion in damage caused by this year's hurricanes, plus the global economic downturn mean that "you have to adjust the dreams to the true possibilities." Castro said Cubans must work harder in exchange for free healthcare.
One of Mexican President Felipe Calderón's guards is under house arrest and being investigated as a possible spy for drug cartels, reports said. But although he is accused of passing information to drug cartels for cash, Calderon's office said he wouldn't have had access to information on the president's travels. Meanwhile, a multiple beauty pageant winner was stripped of her Queen of Hispanic America title after being arrested in a roundup of suspected drug gang members.