CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Peacekeeper's death a sign of heightened danger

A U.N. peacekeeper from the Republic of Congo was killed over the weekend in Central African Republic by a Christian militia, underscoring the growing peril that international forces are facing in the troubled nation.

The Congolese soldier was stationed in the remote town of Bossangoa, which has been at the epicenter of the fighting between the country's Muslim minority, whose members grabbed power in a coup nine months ago, and its Christian majority. He was killed by the anti-balaka, a Christian militia, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak on the matter.

French and U.N. forces deployed to Central African Republic this month to try to bring order to a nation described by some as being on the verge of genocide. Initially, the foreign forces were cheered by the population, hundreds of whom lined the streets to welcome arriving brigades.

But within weeks, the mood has changed. The international forces are now being seen as having taken sides in the conflict and are coming under attack. - AP
THAILAND

Protesters try to block vote

Protesters determined to unseat Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra surrounded a Bangkok stadium Monday in an unsuccessful attempt to block political parties from registering for Feb. 2 elections. Shinawatra, who is popular among the rural majority but disliked by the urban middle class and elite, called the elections to defuse tension after weeks of protests in the capital. - AP
AFGHANISTAN

2 NATO soldiers killed

NATO says two of its service members have been killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan. A statement from the U.S.-led coalition says one soldier died after coming under direct fire by enemy forces in the country's east. Another was killed in an attack in the south, also Monday. The coalition provided no other details. - AP
FRANCE

Four die in copter crash

While on a helicopter tour of Bordeaux vineyards he had just purchased, Chinese businessman Lam Kok, his 12-year-old son, and two other people plunged into a wintry Dordogne River and died, authorities said Monday. - AP