- - Thursday, February 2, 2012


Police, protesters clash after soccer riot

CAIRO | Anger over a deadly soccer riot erupted in fresh clashes Thursday that injured nearly 400 people as security forces fired tear gas at fans and other protesters, who accused police of failing to stop the bloodshed.

The violence - which occurred as security had been deteriorating steadily - threatened to plunge the country into a new crisis nearly a year after a popular uprising forced former leader Hosni Mubarak to step down.

A network of rabid soccer fans known as Ultras vowed vengeance and accused the police of intentionally letting rivals attack them after Wednesday’s Egyptian league match in the seaside city of Port Said.

The Ultras have been at the forefront of protests over the past year, first against Mr. Mubarak and now against the military, which assumed power after his Feb. 11 ouster. Security officials said 74 people were killed in the world’s worst soccer violence in 15 years.


Supreme Court to charge premier with contempt

ISLAMABAD | Pakistan’s top court vowed Thursday to charge the prime minister with contempt for failing to reopen a corruption case against the president, escalating a crisis that could oust the premier from office.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told his parliament that he would appear before the Supreme Court as ordered to hear the charges against him on Feb. 13.

The political turmoil could complicate U.S. efforts to patch up its troubled anti-terror alliance with Pakistan and get the country to focus on helping wind down the decadelong war in neighboring Afghanistan.


11,000 trapped by snow in remote villages

BELGRADE | At least 11,000 villagers have been trapped by heavy snow and blizzards in Serbia’s mountains, authorities said Thursday as the death toll from Eastern Europe’s weeklong deep freeze rose to 123, many of them homeless people.

The harshest winter in decades has seen temperatures in some regions drop to minus 22 F and below and has caused power outages, traffic chaos and the widespread closure of schools, nurseries and airports.

The stranded in Serbia are stuck in about 6,500 homes in remote areas that cannot be reached because of icy, snow-clogged roads with snowbanks reaching up to 16 feet.

Emergency crews were pressing hard to try to clear the snow to deliver badly needed supplies, and helicopters were dispatched to some particularly remote areas in Serbia and neighboring Bosnia.


6 dead, 20 wounded in mortar attack

VILLA RICA | At least six people were killed and more than 20 wounded Thursday in an attack with homemade mortars on the police station in this western town, the regional police chief said.

The dead included the police post’s commander and five civilians, said Col. Ricardo Alarcon, the Cauca state police chief.

The attack came a day after a bomb planted in a tricycle killed nine people and injured 76 outside a police station in the Pacific port of Tumaco.

Leftist rebels are active in both areas, and their arsenals include homemade mortars. Col. Alarcon said it was premature to assign blame for Thursday’s attack in this town of 15,000 people about 15 miles southeast of Cali, the country’s third-largest city.


Explosions rock city; terror suspect questioned

KANO | Multiple blasts Thursday rocked the flash-point city of Maiduguri, the stronghold of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, as authorities interrogated a man believed to be the sect’s spokesman.

Six suspected Boko Haram members also were killed in Maiduguri in what the military said could be signs of divisions in the extremist group, blamed for a wave of deadly attacks targeting mainly northern Nigeria.

The explosions occurred early Thursday, and no casualties were recorded, a police spokesman said.

Residents said they heard five roadside explosions during a night curfew. President Goodluck Jonathan also declared emergency rule Tuesday in Maiduguri in a bid to curb the Islamists’ violence campaign.

The army spokesman said six people were killed in Kabar Maila in a northern area of the city.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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