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Commonwealth Summit Officially Opens in Uganda

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth has officially opened the three-day Commonwealth summit in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Leaders of 53 nations are attending the biennial meeting of Britain and its former colonies.

In her opening remarks Friday, Queen Elizabeth said societies must promote democracy and education if they are to improve.

Later, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a $320 million-plan to build new classrooms in Nigeria and to provide scholarships for university students across the Commonwealth.

So far, the summit has been dominated by Pakistan, which Commonwealth leaders have suspended for failing to lift a state of emergency and military rule.

Among the other items high on the agenda are climate change, global trade and strengthening democracy.

Outside the conference Friday, police using wooden batons clashed with Ugandan political opposition members. At least one policeman and several protesters were injured.

The protesters, led by opposition leader Kizza Besigye, were demanding that the Commonwealth address what he said are Uganda's democratic shortcomings.

The clash occurred after the demonstrators tried to leave a government-designated protest site. - VOA News

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