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Voters choose new parliament

BAKU | Nearly 700 candidates competed Sunday for the 125 seats in the single chamber of the parliament of Azerbaijan, an oil-rich former Soviet republic that is under the firm hold of President Ilham Aliyev and his party.

A wide range of parties was represented, and about half the candidates ran as independents, but the main rivalry was between Mr. Aliyev’s YAP party and the opposition block Musavat.

Central Election Commission Chairman Mazahir Panahov, speaking on state television, expressed his hope that the elections would be transparent and democratic. Preliminary results were not expected before Monday.

The Musavat leader, however, said he doubted the counting of the vote would be fair.

“The opposition’s chances are high, but high in terms of the number of votes it will get,” Isa Qambar said after casting his ballot.


Pope slammed by gays, cheered by faithful

BARCELONA | Gays staged a mass “kiss-in” and feminists took to the streets as the pope’s visit to Spain’s most progressive city sparked outrage from some groups on Sunday, although tens of thousands of faithful turned out to cheer him.

About 200 gays locked lips for five minutes, breaking off to shout “get out,” and “pedophile” as the 83-year-old Benedict XVI made his way to Barcelona’s emblematic Sagrada Familia church, which he consecrated a basilica.

The protesters were met by supporters of the pope, who cried out: “Long live the pope. Here is the pope’s youth.”


More building collapses possible at Pompeii

ROME | Italy’s culture minister says more buildings inside the ancient Roman city of Pompeii could collapse, a warning that comes a day after a 2,000-year-old house once used by gladiators disintegrated into rubble.

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