- - Monday, October 31, 2011


5 killed in attack near U.N. office

KANDAHAR — Insurgents driving a suicide truck bomb and attacking on foot killed five people, including three United Nations employees, near the offices of the U.N.’s refugee agency in the southern city of Kandahar on Monday, officials said.

Afghan forces and the militants exchanged fire for nearly seven hours before the militants were killed.

One insurgent slammed an explosives-rigged pickup truck into a checkpoint near the UNHCR’s offices at about 6:10 a.m., and immediately afterward, three insurgents rushed into area, which houses several international aid organizations, the Interior Ministry said.

The insurgents seized control of at least one building, and the ensuing gunbattle with Afghan and NATO forces lasted until 1 p.m., the ministry said.


U.S. Embassy attacker rejects court, cites ‘Allah’

SARAJEVO — A suspected radical Islamist accused of firing at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo said he did not recognize the authority of Bosnian courts, calling them “worthless” at his first court appearance on Monday.

“I would rather stay quiet. I am here because I was forced, but I don’t recognize this tribunal. In Allah’s house, it is worthless”, said Mevlid Jasarevic, 22, who was arrested after opening fire at the embassy Friday and wounding a police guard.

Mr. Jasarevic, himself wounded during the attack, had hoped to be killed by embassy guards, allowing him to die as a martyr, said his lawyer, Senad Dupovac.


Egyptians protest activist’s arrest

CAIRO — More than 3,000 Egyptians marched through downtown Cairo on Monday, protesting the military’s arrest of a prominent blogger-activist in the latest sign of discontent with the ruling generals’ managing of the country.

The activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, was ordered held by the military a day earlier for questioning.

The military says he is suspected of inciting Christian protesters to attack soldiers during an Oct. 9 protest in Cairo that turned into the bloodiest violence since the February fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

But his supporters dismiss the claim, saying the military is trying to silence a prominent critic and to deflect blame on its soldiers in the violence, which left 27 dead — mostly Christians — when troops cracked down on the protest.

In Monday evening’s march, the crowd shouted, “Down, down with military rule” and “Alaa, we’re behind you, don’t stop,” as they moved into central Tahrir Square, then headed toward Cairo’s main police station, where Mr. Abdel-Fattah is being held.

About 200 police formed a line around the station, as thousands of protesters chanted slogans against the military and police. There were no clashes.


Conservative wins presidential election

SOFIA — Conservative Rosen Plevneliev was declared the winner of Bulgaria’s presidential election on Monday in an outcome that now gives his party control over all major government posts and will bolster its push for painful economic reforms.

Mr. Plevneliev won Sunday’s contest with 52.56 percent of the vote and his Socialist challenger, Ivailo Kalfin, took 47.44 percent, said the Central Election Commission in its final tally. It said the turnout was 48 percent.

Most of the power in corruption-plagued Bulgaria, a Balkan country of 7.4 million people, rests with Prime Minister Boiko Borisov and Parliament, but the president leads the armed forces and can veto legislation and sign international treaties.

He also names ambassadors and the heads of the intelligence and security services.


Dean of St. Paul’s stepping down

LONDON — The Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral on Monday became the second high-profile clergy member to step down over anti-capitalist protests that have spilled across the historic church’s grounds.

Graeme Knowles said his position has become “untenable” as criticism of the cathedral has mounted in the press and in public opinion.

Mr. Knowles had urged protesters to leave the cathedral area to allow it to reopen its doors, saying that he recognized the group’s right to protest but wanted them to respect the church’s right to open for visitors.

His resignation follows that last week of the Rev. Giles Fraser, a senior St. Paul’s Cathedral priest who had welcomed the anti-capitalist demonstrators to set up camp outside the landmark.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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