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Asia Steps up Security as Olympic Torch Comes to Region བོད་སྐད།


Australia and countries across Asia are stepping up security for the arrival of the Olympic torch, which begins its journey through the region this week.

Large chaotic protests like those in Paris, London and San Francisco are not expected during all of the torch's stops in Asia, but officials are making preparations just the same.

On Wednesday, the torch travels to Pakistan where officials are promising a trouble-free leg for the Olympic flame.

Authorities there have canceled a street relay citing security concerns, and instead plan to run the flame inside a stadium. Bomb attacks are common in Pakistan, where the government is battling Islamic militants.

Officials in Japan and Australia say Chinese paramilitary officers who have accompanied the torch so far will be excluded from security detail in both of those countries.

The torch escorts have been accused of responding roughly to protesters in London and Paris.

Tuesday, Britain's Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell admitted her unease about the role they played in London and says stricter rules should have been laid down. China insists that its practice of using the escorts is in line with Olympic regulations.

After Pakistan, the torch will travel to India on Thursday and Thailand on Saturday. Officials in New Delhi are expected to shorten the relay's nine-kilometer route, fearing Tibetan protesters will try to disrupt the relay.

A final distance has not yet been given, but local media say the route could be shortened to only three kilometers.

Also today, authorities in New Delhi arrested a dozen Tibetan protesters after they held a march on the path the torch is supposed to take.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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