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Tensions grow in Thai standoff

BANGKOK — Tensions escalated in the standoff between anti-government demonstrators and Thai security forces as the army said deadly force could be used against protesters besieging the heart of the capital.

The "Red Shirt" demonstrators, meanwhile, reinforced defenses at their urban encampment — already shrouded with netting to foil the prying eyes of potential attackers — and prepared homemade weapons including hundreds of sharpened bamboo poles and broken pavement stones.

No new clashes were reported as the Red Shirts, who have occupied Bangkok's streets for more than five weeks, abandoned plans to march into the central business district after soldiers in full combat gear were garrisoned there to bar the way.

Kyrgyzstan won't let ex-president return

MINSK, Belarus — Kyrgyzstan's ousted president was in exile in Belarus on Tuesday, as the interim authorities controlling the Kyrgyz capital warned he would be imprisoned if he tried to return to the Central Asian country.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who fled the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek after an April 7 protest rally that exploded into gunfire and left 85 people dead, had taken refuge last week in neighboring Kazakhstan, then left Monday for an unannounced destination.

Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that "Bakiyev and his family are in Minsk under the protection of our state and me personally."

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