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lebanonfactions agree to resume talks

Lebanese factions took another major step toward calming a flare-up of sectarian and political violence Thursday by agreeing to immediately resume long-stalled talks over a new government.

The deal, brokered by a visiting delegation of Arab diplomats, appeared to be a victory for the Shiite militia Hezbollah, which leads the opposition to the U.S.-backed government and the so-called March 14 movement behind it. Hezbollah fighters occupied parts of Beirut last week, forcing concessions from the administration of Prime Minister Fauod Siniora.

"Politically, it's obvious that the opposition won the first round," said Karim Makdisi, a professor of international relations at the American University of Beirut. "March 14 is in a state of strategic retreat. They will come back, but they recognize that they lost for now."

ROME

Aiming at foreigners, Italy arrests 400

Italian police have arrested nearly 400 people — mostly foreigners from Romania and North Africa — in a weeklong crackdown on street crime and illegal immigration, authorities said Thursday. The sweep was one of the first actions taken by conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's new government, which has pledged to improve safety after a spate of crimes in recent months blamed on foreigners.

dominican republic

President expected to be re-elected

Dominican President Leonel Fernandez, who has led the nation out of economic crisis and turned the capital into a huge construction zone, is expected to win a third term in today's elections.

Despite widespread concern about long-serving politicians in a country with a history of strongman rule, polls show Fernandez is likely to win at least 50 percent of the vote against six challengers and avoid a runoff.

Fernandez, a lawyer who grew up in New York and has warm ties to the U.S. government, has overseen a flurry of spending on roads, universities and the Caribbean's first true subway, even though a quarter of the country still lives below the official poverty line.

Afghanistan

U.N. official alleges secret Afghan killings

Foreign intelligence agents are leading secret, deadly raids on suspected insurgents in Afghanistan and shirking responsibility when innocent civilians are killed, a U.N. official alleged Thursday.

Philip Alston, a special investigator for the U.N. Human Rights Council, referred to three such recent raids in the country's south and east. While he didn't specifically mention any intelligence agencies, he appeared to imply U.S. involvement. U.S. military officials declined to comment.

canada

Canada moves to OTC sales of Plan B pill

Canada's National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities is recommending that "morning-after" contraceptive pills be sold over the counter. The agency decided Wednesday to support sales of the drug known as Plan B from drugstore shelves instead of from behind the counter.

The agency advises Canada's provincial authorities, which will have final say in their own regions. Under current rules, women who want to buy Plan B have to ask pharmacy staff for it, the same system as in the United States.

Times wires

lebanonfactions agree to resume talks 05/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:58pm]
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  1. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  2. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  3. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Police release name of man found dead in north Tampa vacant lot

    Crime

    TAMPA — Authorities have released the name of a man found dead in a vacant lot in north Tampa on Tuesday and have confirmed his death is a homicide.

  5. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]