By Leigh Thomas and Emmanuel Braun PARIS/BANGUI (Reuters) - Two French soldiers were killed in overnight fighting in Central African Republic, France's first casualties in an operation to restore stability in its former colony, the French government said on Tuesday. Seleka's leader, Michel Djotodia, installed as the interim president, has lost control of his loose band of fighters. The soldiers' deaths were announced just before French President Francois Hollande's office said he would make a quick stop-over in the capital Bangui on his way back from a memorial service for the late Nelson Mandela in South Africa. "He renews his full support for French forces alongside African forces as they restore security in the Central African republic, protect the population and guarantee access to humanitarian aid," it said.
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Her eyes welling with tears, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pleaded on Tuesday for anti-government protesters to clear the streets after she called a snap election, but protests leaders said she should step down within 24 hours. After weeks of sometimes violent street rallies, protesters dismissed her call on Monday for a general election and said she should be replaced by an unelected "people's council", which has stoked concern that Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy may abandon the democratic process. Yingluck insisted on Tuesday she would not step down and said she would continue her duties as caretaker prime minister until the election, which is set for February 2. "Now that the government has dissolved parliament, I ask that you stop protesting and that all sides work towards elections," Yingluck told reporters as she went into a cabinet meeting held at an army club.