Over one hundred people died in Iraq in a continuation of the sectarian violence which has followed the departure of American military at the end of 2011. Among those killed were 48 Shia Muslims who were on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala.

The Burmese government set 1 April as the date for by-elections to the lower parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi, head of the National League for Democracy, said that she intends to contest a constituency near Rangoon.

In Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the main opposition party, was cleared of allegations of sodomy by the country's supreme court which had acquitted him of a similar charge two years ago. Some observers believe that the government has fabricated these charges to discredit Ibrahim.

President Assad of Syria used a televised speech to blame unrest in his country on foreign powers and vowed to crush “terrorists” responsible for recent suicide bombings in Damascus.


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