- - Sunday, November 28, 2010

EGYPT

Opposition protests alleged vote fraud

CAIRO | Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters protested outside vote-counting stations, scuffling with police and denouncing what they called widespread fraud in Egypt’s parliament elections on Sunday, as the government appeared determined to ensure its monopoly on the legislature in uncertain political times.

The protests in Cairo and in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria capped a day of voting in which many independent monitors were barred from polling stations amid reports of ballot-box stuffing and vote buying. In some places, government candidates were seen passing out cash and food to voters near polling stations.

Overhanging Sunday’s parliamentary vote was the more significant presidential election set for next year. For the first time in nearly 30 years, there are questions over the presidential vote. The 82-year-old president, Hosni Mubarak, has had health issues, undergoing surgery earlier this year. His party says he will run for another six-year term, but that hasn’t resolved the speculation over the future of the country’s leadership.

BRAZIL

Police raid gang-ridden slum

RIO DE JANEIRO | Police and soldiers charged into Rio’s most dangerous slum at daybreak Sunday, seizing the bastion of the city’s biggest drug gang in a battle to make the seaside metropolis safe for the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup.

Black-clad officers poured into the Alemao slum complex amid heavy gunfire, with helicopters flying low overhead. But the officers encountered less resistance than expected, and they declared victory two hours later, even if many gang members still remained inside.

A Brazilian flag was raised at the shantytown’s highest point at midday.

It was the biggest victory yet in a two-year effort to drive drug gangs from their strongholds in the hundreds of shantytowns, many draped across the hills around Rio’s beaches, a crusade driven in part by the need to make foreign visitors feel secure for the final matches of the 2014 World Cup and for the 2016 Olympics that are meant to be showpieces of Brazil’s emergence as growing world force.

HAITI

Major candidates call for halt to election

PORT-AU-PRINCE | Nearly all the major candidates in Haiti’s presidential election called for Sunday’s election to be voided amid allegations of fraud and reports that large numbers of voters were turned away from polling stations throughout the quake-stricken country.

Twelve of the 19 candidates endorsed a joint statement denouncing the voting as fraudulent and calling on their supporters to show their anger with demonstrations against the government and the country’s Provisional Electoral Council.

The statement included all of the major contenders but one: Jude Celestin, who is backed by the Unity party of President Rene Preval.

“It is clear that Preval and the CEP was not prepared for elections,” said candidate Anne Marie Josette Bijou, who read the statement to a cheering crowd that sang the national anthem and chanted “arrest Preval.”

YEMEN

Al Qaeda claims attack on Shiites

CAIRO | Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing killing Shiite tribesmen in northern Yemen.

In a statement appearing Sunday on extremist websites, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula described the Shiites as “despicable plants” to be uprooted, according to the SITE Intelligence Unit, which monitors such sites.

On Wednesday, a suicide car bomber struck a convoy of Shiites in northern Yemen, killing 17.

Extremist Sunnis despise Shiites and consider them heretics.

Though an estimated 15 percent to 30 percent of the population is Shiite, Yemen has been spared the sectarian warfare once common in Iraq.

The Hawthi Shiite tribesman in Yemen, however, have waged an on-and-off struggle against the government for the last six years.

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