Thousands rally for elections in Serbia

Tens of thousands of nationalist supporters demanded the pro-Western government call early elections in Serbia at a rally Saturday, as their leader announced he was launching a hunger strike until the request is met.

The government has rejected the demand for early elections, saying they will be held after Serbia wins candidacy for European Union membership in the autumn. Nationalists oppose that. "This is my personal act, I am no longer taking any food or water," Toma Nikolic, the leader of the Progressive Party, told the crowd of about 50,000 people in Belgrade. "Serbia deserves sacrifice."

Yemen

Thousands denounce leader's remarks

Yemen's antigovernment movement took up the issue of women's rights in the conservative Muslim nation on Saturday, as thousands of demonstrators seeking the president's ouster denounced his comments against the participation of women in protest rallies. In a speech Friday, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said the mingling of men and women at protests in the capital was against Islamic law. Demonstrators, including thousands of women, responded by marching through Sana and several other cities, shouting: "Saleh, beware of injuring women's honor.

Burkina Faso

Soldiers loot capital for second night

Police in the capital fired tear gas Saturday on thousands of merchants protesting a second night of looting by soldiers, the latest of several recent episodes of unrest in the small West African nation. On Saturday, the minister of security announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew for Ouagadougou on national radio and television after angry merchants marched through the capital to protest the looting sparked by soldiers protesting their unpaid housing allowances. President Blaise Compaore said late Friday that he was dissolving his government and naming a new army chief.

MADISON, Wis.

Palin: Wis. governor doing the right thing

Sarah Palin defended Wisconsin's governor at a tea party tax day rally Saturday, telling hundreds of supporters that his polarizing union rights law is designed to save public jobs. The former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee told tea party members she's glad to stand with Gov. Scott Walker. Hundreds of labor supporters surrounded the rally, trying to drown Palin out.

Elsewhere

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama issued a signing statement Friday night saying that he would not abide by a provision in the new budget that would prevent him from appointing White House "czars" handling health care, climate change, the auto industry and urban affairs.

NEW ORLEANS: Actor Nicolas Cage was arrested after he got drunk in the city's French Quarter and argued in the street with his wife over whether a house they were in front of was theirs, police said Saturday. The actor has been booked on charges of domestic abuse battery, disturbing the peace and public drunkenness. Cage was released on $11,000 bail Saturday.

PHILADELPHIA: The world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Allison Vulgamore, president and chief executive officer, cited a "tremendous decline" in audiences over the past five years.

WASHINGTON: The American ambassador to Malta resigned his post Saturday after criticism from the State Department's inspector general that he was devoting too much time to promoting better relations between religions. Douglas Kmiec, a prominent conservative constitutional lawyer and member of the Pepperdine University faculty, said he rejected the conclusion that his advocacy was outside his official mission.

Algeria: Islamist extremists attacked an army post and killed at least 13 soldiers watching the Algerian president's televised speech promising reforms, security officials said Saturday. Two militants in the group were killed by soldiers at the post in Kabyle, some 80 miles east of Algiers, the officials said Saturday. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced constitutional and electoral reforms Friday night amid upheavals in neighboring North African countries.

HOPE, Ark: Former President Bill Clinton dedicated his boyhood home on Saturday as part of the National Park Service.

Croatia: Anger at a U.N. court's jailing of a Croatian war hero erupted into fury at the European Union and the country's pro-Western government on Saturday when thousands of veterans of the Balkan conflict tore EU flags in Zagreb and denounced the administration.

LOS ANGELES: Health officials say porn producers are dodging questions and slowing down an investigation into a case of HIV that shuttered production at several companies last year. Dr. Francisco Meza says adult film companies refuse to cooperate with the investigation, and stage names for performers make it difficult to track down partners.

NEW ORLEANS: A small plane made an emergency landing on a busy boulevard median in New Orleans and struck a van carrying three women and two children. The pilot hurt his arm but there were no other injuries.

Times wires

Thousands rally for elections in Serbia 04/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:28pm]

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