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Morning Brief: Nepal’s peace process collapsing

Top Story Nepal’s fragile peace process seems to be in peril today with Maoist Prime Minister Prachandra resigning amid a constitutional scandal. Prachandra’s government, in power since a peace deal in 2006, had been trying to integrate former Maoist fighters into Nepal’s army and attempted to fire army chief Rookmangud Katawal who Prachandra accused of ...

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Nepalese workers affiliated to the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) shout slogans and wave flags during a procession to mark the 120th International Labour Day in Kathmandu on May 1, 2009. Various trade organisations in Nepal are organising different programmes to celebrate International Labour day. AFP PHOTO/Prakash MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Top Story

Nepal’s fragile peace process seems to be in peril today with Maoist Prime Minister Prachandra resigning amid a constitutional scandal. Prachandra’s government, in power since a peace deal in 2006, had been trying to integrate former Maoist fighters into Nepal’s army and attempted to fire army chief Rookmangud Katawal who Prachandra accused of hampering the effort. 

The Maoists lost the support of the Communist party over the firing, which was blocked by President Ram Baran Yadav. Prachandra resigned over the conflict with Yadav.

The controversy has the potential to reignite Nepal’s decade-long civil war. The Maoists are describing the peace process as “in peril” as their supporters took to the streets. Much will depend on the words of Prachandra, who is expected to address the nation shortly.

Asia

  • Sri Lankan forces continue to fight the Tamil Tigers in a 3-mile long strip of coast where the rebels are holding thousands of civilians as human shields. The government is reported to still be using air strikes despite agreeing to stop them last week.
  • Pakistan’s peace pact with the Taliban is all-but-over as government forces continue to fight militants in the Buner district.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai registered for reelection, selecting a powerful Tajik warlord as his new running mate.

Middle East

  • U.S. reporter Roxana Saberi, imprisoned in Iran on espionage charges, was taken to the hospital after she intensified her hunger strike by refusing to drink water.
  • Robert Gates is headed to the Middle East where he will try to reassure the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia about U.S. outreach to Iran.
  • Iraqi authorities arrested a senior member of the U.S.-backed Awakening movement.

Americas

  • Swine flu cases around the world are up to nearly 1,000, though Mexican authorities report that new cases are leveling off at the disease’s epicenter.
  • Campaigning for Mexico’s midterm elections has begun amid the swine flu epidemic.
  • Conservative businessman Ricardo Martinelli was elected president in Panama.

Africa

  • The Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone rejected former Liberian leader Charles Taylor’s motion of acquittal on war crimes charges.
  • An influential Islamist leader in Somalia ruled out cooperation with the country’s president and urged militants to continue fighting the government.
  • Niger’s president is holding peace talks with the country’s Tuareg rebels for the first time.

Europe

  • The European Commission cautiously declared the end of Europe’s recession in sight.
  • Despite an invitation, Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko will not attend the EU summit in Prague this week.
  • Controversial Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman is heading to Europe in his official trip abroad.

PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images

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