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Political Violence in Bangladesh Claims Two Lives

Clashes between rival political activists in Dhaka, Bangladesh have left at least two people dead and 100 others injured.

The clashes came as Prime Minister Khaleda Zia prepared to hand over power to a caretaker government which will oversee the January elections.

The main opposition Awami League has strongly opposed Mrs. Zia's plan to install a former supreme court chief justice as the head of the caretaker government. The opposition says Justice K.M. Hasan is biased in favor of the government. The opposition has vowed to paralyze Bangladesh Saturday with a transport strike across the country.

In her farewell address to the nation Friday, the prime minister called on the people to maintain peace.

She urged opposition parties to maintain peace during the tenure of the caretaker government to ensure a peaceful and credible election.

The outgoing prime minister's final days in power were marked by political turmoil. At least 24 politicians, including several lawmakers and ministers, defected from the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party Thursday to start a new party.

Former president Badruddoza Chowdhury and Oli Ahmed, a former minister with the ruling party, head the newly formed Liberal Democratic Party, which accuses the government of widespread corruption.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.