- - Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TURKEY

Website threatens to post more sex tapes

ANKARA — A Turkish website that posted compromising videos that forced four far-right politicians to resign threatened Wednesday to post new sex videos that could hurt more opposition politicians ahead of next month’s election.

A group calling themselves “Different Nationalists” claimed they have videos of six other senior Nationalist Action Party members, and urged the party’s leader, Devlet Bahceli, to step down before the June 12 general election.

Mr. Bahceli retorted that his party would “not bow to threats and blackmails” and said no other party official would resign over any new Internet videos. Four senior party members already resigned this month when the secretly filmed videos showed them having extramarital affairs.

Mr. Bahceli has accused supporters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being behind the videos to deliberately hurt the far-right party, which appeals to nationalist and religious voters.

Mr. Erdogan’s party has denied the allegation.

The scandal could have far-reaching implications for Turkish democracy if the nationalist party fails to make it into parliament in elections.

VATICAN CITY

Pope asks prayers for China’s bishops

Pope Benedict XVI has urged bishops in China to remain loyal to Rome, speaking out in the latest round in the Vatican’s struggle to obtain a church free of official interference.

Benedict called for prayers for Chinese Catholics at his weekly general audience Wednesday, saying the faithful want “unity with the universal church, with the supreme pastor, with the successor of Peter.”

Beijing insists that it has a right to assign bishops, defying the pope’s authority to make such appointments.

Benedict said he hoped through prayers the bishops’ wish to remain loyal to Rome “will prove stronger than the temptation to follow a path independent of Peter.”

AFGHANISTAN

Rally over NATO raid turns violent; 11 die

KABUL — Hundreds of protesters, angered by an overnight NATO raid they believed killed four civilians, clashed Wednesday with security forces on the streets of a northern Afghan city.

Eleven people died in the fighting, and 50 were injured, government officials said.

The demonstrators fought with police and tried to assault a German military outpost in the city of Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, the officials said.

The protest was triggered by an overnight NATO raid on the outskirts of the city. The coalition said four militants died in the operation and two others were detained.

Night raids targeting insurgents regularly stir up controversy in Afghanistan, where angry residents often charge the next day that international forces go after the wrong people or mistreat civilians.

IRELAND

Queen seeks reconciliation on four-day tour

DUBLIN — Queen Elizabeth II’s journey of reconciliation took her to the site Wednesday of a notorious massacre where British troops killed 14 Irish civilians in 1920.

The queen’s visit to Croke Park on the second day of her trip to the Republic of Ireland highlights improvement in Anglo-Irish relations since those dark days. The large sports stadium is a revered spot for Irish nationalists who mourn those who died there during the conflict with Britain.

The seats of the stadium — the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association — were empty, a sign of the extensive security during her visit. A band played, its sounds echoing off the stadium walls.

PERU

Humala struggles to shake association with Chavez

LIMA — Leftist presidential candidate Ollanta Humala’s past ties to Venezuela’s fiery President Hugo Chavez are haunting him, even though he has tried to recast himself as a moderate ahead of a June 5 run-off election.

Mr. Humala has consistently toned down his once-radical views since narrowly losing the 2006 race on a platform endorsed by Mr. Chavez, but nearly half of Peruvian voters still think he would follow the socialist path of his former political mentor if elected, local pollster Datum said this week.

Three weeks before the election, Mr. Humala is slipping in polls and falling behind his opponent, Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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