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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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BRAZIL

Gang attacks police, 30 persons killed

SAO PAULO — One of Brazil’s most notorious gangs staged dozens of attacks on police before dawn yesterday, setting off gunbattles in three cities that killed at least 30 persons, officials said. Twenty-four prison uprisings also were reported across Sao Paulo state.

It was the worst assault on authority since gangsters armed with machine guns, bombs and other weapons attacked police stations in Sao Paulo city during 10 days in November 2003. Both sprees were blamed on the gang First Capital Command, known by its Portuguese initials, PCC.

SOUTH KOREA

Thousands rally against U.S. troops

SEOUL — Thousands rallied on a downtown Seoul boulevard yesterday to protest a plan to relocate American military bases, the largest anti-U.S. demonstration in the South Korean capital this year.

According to police estimates, about 6,000 people rallied to protest moving the Seoul-based American military headquarters and some other bases to Pyeongtaek, about 40 miles south of the capital.

The relocation has been a main target of anti-U.S. activists here. They claim the project is part of a U.S. scheme to position its troops where they can be deployed quickly to possible conflicts outside the Korean Peninsula.

CHINA

Journalist on trial for Web publishing

BEIJING — A Chinese journalist who posted essays about political issues on overseas Web sites was tried last week on subversion charges but insisted he is innocent, his lawyer said yesterday.

Li Yuanlong, a 45-year-old writer for the newspaper Bijie Daily in the poor southern province of Guizhou, was indicted on Feb. 9, five months after he was detained.

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