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Commonwealth Picks Indian Diplomat as New Leader

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Indian diplomat Kamalesh Sharma has been unanimously appointed to lead the British Commonwealth, the 53-nation federation of mostly former British colonies.

Sharma was appointed Saturday during the Commonwealth's three-day summit in Uganda's capital, Kampala. He will be the organization's first Asian secretary-general, and will replace New Zealand's Don McKinnon who is stepping down in April after eight years.

Pakistan is still a talking point at the summit after its suspension from the federation Friday for not lifting a state of emergency and military rule. Pakistan angrily rejected its suspension.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth opened the summit on Friday.

Also on Friday, demonstrators clashed with police outside the summit venue. They were upset that the queen had met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye led the protesters, who were demanding that the Commonwealth address what Bisigye says are Uganda's democratic shortcomings.

One policeman and several others were injured in the clashes.

The summit closes Sunday. - VOA News

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