- - Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Chaos feared at democracy march

HONG KONG | Tens of thousands in Hong Kong are expected to join an annual pro-democracy march Thursday amid growing tension inside the city’s opposition camp over the pace of political reform.

Some politicians fear the protest will be “very chaotic” — with campaigners directing their anger at the government and at the formerly uncompromising Democratic Party, which recently changed course and is now willing to negotiate with Beijing.

The march, which coincides with the anniversary of Hong Kong’s 1997 transfer from colonial power Britain to China, has become an annual opportunity for campaigners to show the strength of opposition to Beijing and the local authorities.

But last week’s enactment of a package of political reforms that promise an incremental boost to democracy — but not one person, one vote — has split the opposition camp.

Radicals, who have campaigned for a firm blueprint for universal suffrage for the city of 7 million people, have condemned the Democratic Party for voting for the package and giving up on their fight for universal suffrage for Hong Kong in 2012.


Merkel candidate falls short of hopes

BERLIN | Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to secure a swift victory for her candidate to be Germany’s president in an election Wednesday, but still appeared likely to get an embarrassingly lackluster win in a vote seen as a test after a bumpy few months.

Mrs. Merkel’s center-right government had the simple majority in the special parliamentary assembly that chooses the president, but her candidate, Christian Wulff, fell short of the absolute majority needed in the first two rounds of voting.

The governing coalition hoped to show strength after a strife-riven start since it took office in October.

But Wolfgang Bosbach, a lawmaker with Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democrats, voiced regret that the alliance “hasn’t shown the unity — at least so far — that would significantly have stabilized the coalition.”


Chechen leader safe after suicide bomb

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