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Thailand is heading for a political showdown as protesters plan to shut down Bangkok next week to sabotage an election while the government's supporters have vowed to stage massive counter-rallies in the country's provinces. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is facing swelling opposition in Bangkok ahead of the February 2 election in which her supporters in the rural north and northeast are expected to return her to power - if the vote goes ahead. Protesters want an appointed "people's council" to oversee a vague reform platform, which includes electoral changes and decentralizing power over a 12-month period before any election. Thousands of demonstrators marched through Bangkok on Sunday as a prelude to rallies starting on January 13, when they plan to block government offices and occupy key intersections for days in a bid to force Yingluck out and scuttle the poll. Bangladesh's 18-party opposition, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has called a 48-hour back-to-back countrywide shutdown from Monday to demand for the scrapping of the 10th parliamentary elections held reported, that Advisor of BNP chairperson Osman Farruq, made the announcement at a press conference at the party chief's Gulshan office. Polling ended in 147 constituencies in 59 districts of Bangladesh amid an opposition-led string of violent incidents. Syrian rebel fighters loyal to al Qaeda ceded ground near the Turkish border to rival Islamists on Sunday, activists said, in what seemed to be a tactical withdrawal to end clashes between Syrian-and foreign-led opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. As Syria's civil war gets ever more complex amid a broad regional confrontation between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, the United States raised the prospect of Assad's sponsor Iran, the Shi'ite power long at odds with Washington and its Sunni Arab allies, playing some role in this month's Syrian peace talks. Democrats continued on Sunday to...