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World Briefing - 2003-03-18


A former army chief in the Central African Republic has declared himself the new leader after a coup was launched while president Ange-Felix Patasse was out of the country. Speaking on national radio Sunday, General Francois Bozize promised new elections. He said the coup was a temporary break from democracy. His fighters seized control of the airport and presidential palace in the capital, Bangui, on Saturday. The African Union has condemned the coup and says it will take action.

Elsewhere in China, China’s National People's Congress Monday voted approval of a new cabinet, which includes nearly 20 new faces. These appointments are the last in a two-week-long meeting of parliament that transferred power to Hu Jintao as China's new president and Wen Jiabao as prime minister.

After five years of trying, Cambodian and United Nations negotiators have reached a draft agreement on setting up a genocide tribunal for surviving leaders of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime. The chief UN negotiator, Hans Corell, said in Phnom Penh Monday Cambodians would make up the majority of judges on the tribunal. That had been a major point of contention.

Police in Indian Kashmir say security forces have killed six suspected Islamic rebels during an overnight gun battle. They say the battle took place early Monday after soldiers surrounded a house believed to be a militant hideout. Police claimed the rebels were members of Kashmir's largest militant group, Hezbul-Mujahadeen. In the meantime, the entire oppositiion party in Kashmir’s legislature walked out Monday, accusing the government of security lapses in Sunday’s attack.

The first big shipment of UN food aid to arrive in North Korea for months has been unloaded, raising hopes that more than two million people could be fed over the next two months. The food is targeted for children, pregnant and nursing mothers, and elderly people.

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