- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 24, 2007


Protestants balk at power sharing

BELFAST — Northern Ireland’s main Protestant party yesterday rejected a British deadline to share power with Catholics, officials said, setting up a showdown that could end in the collapse of the territory’s legislature.

More than 100 officials from Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party voted overwhelmingly to reject Britain’s long-held demand for a 12-member administration to be formed and receive powers by tomorrow, according to officials in both the party and the British government, speaking anonymously because negotiations between the two sides were continuing.


Porsche ups stake in Volkswagen

FRANKFURT — Prestige automaker Porsche AG will increase its stake in Volkswagen AG, maker of the Beetle, Golf and Jetta, in a widely expected move aimed at keeping the company firmly in German hands.

A spokesman for Porsche said the company did not plan to acquire Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest car maker, which is partly owned by the state of Lower Saxony and is looked to as both an industrial powerhouse and a major provider of jobs.

Stuttgart-based Porsche, which makes upscale and expensive sports cars like the 911 and Boxster, said yesterday it would increase its stake in Volkswagen from 27.3 percent to 31 percent within a week.


Hundreds arrested in anti-Putin protest

NIZHNY NOVGOROD — Anti-government activists said police arrested hundreds of protesters in this central Russian city yesterday in the third major crackdown on a demonstration in recent months as the country prepares for parliamentary elections and a presidential vote.

Authorities had not given permission for the rally in a central square in Nizhny Novgorod, saying a demonstration could only take place far from the city center.

The activists focused on local issues such as housing reform, but they also accused the Kremlin of stifling free speech, silencing dissent and depriving them of free and fair elections.


Church symbolizes ethnic divisions

AKDAMAR ISLAND — An ancient Armenian church, perched on a rocky island in a vast lake, has become a symbol of the divisions and fitful efforts at reconciliation between Turks and Armenians whose history of bloodshed drives their troubled relationship.

The Akdamar church, one of the most precious remnants of Armenian culture from a thousand years ago, deteriorated over the last century, a victim of neglect after Turks carried out mass killings of Armenians as the Ottoman Empire crumbled around the time of World War I. Rainwater seeped through the collapsed, conical dome, treasure hunters dug up the basalt floor, and shepherds took potshots with rifles at the facade.

This week, the church will showcase Turkey’s tentative steps to improving ties with its ethnic Armenian minority, as well as neighboring Armenia. Turkey completed a $1.5 million restoration of the sandstone building, and invited Armenian officials to a ceremony there on Thursday to mark what Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called a “positive” message.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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