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AFGHANISTAN: Karzai insists on tribunal

President Hamid Karzai resisted demands from winning parliamentary candidates Sunday to dissolve a tribunal investigating alleged election fraud, potentially undercutting a deal in which he agreed to inaugurate the legislature this week. Karzai's repeated refusals to accept the results of September's parliamentary elections could undermine the new legislature's authority even as Western allies design their military exit strategy around the idea of a stronger government.


IRAQ: Warning on Iraq refugees

The head of the UN refugee agency scolded nations Sunday for deporting Iraqis back into danger, delivering his criticism on a day when insurgents rattled the Baghdad area with bombings that killed 10 people. António Guterres, UN high commissioner for refugees, said an estimated 2,000 Iraqis have been fleeing their homeland every month. But some countries have turned back dozens of refugees, forcing many to return to some of Iraq's most violent regions. Guterres also called on Iraq's new government to provide better security for Christians.


OFF EAST AFRICA: Getting tougher on pirates

Daring commando raids by two nations in one day against Somali pirates show that some naval forces are taking a harder line, perhaps because nothing else they've tried has stopped the lawlessness off the east coast of Africa. The raids Friday by South Korea and Malaysia could be a sign of more aggressive tactics to come, both by navies and by the pirates. Somali pirates captured 1,016 hostages in 2010 and now hold 32 vessels and 746 crew members of various nationalities after hijacking another six ships so far this year, the International Maritime Bureau said.


VENEZUELA: 2 sides rally on anniversary

Allies and adversaries of President Hugo Chávez took to the streets of Caracas by the thousands Sunday in rival commemorations of the 53rd anniversary of Venezuela's democracy. Opposition ralliers chanted anti-government slogans and waved banners labeling Chávez a despot. Critics express concerns that Chávez is amassing power and cracking down on dissent.

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