Wilileaks registers company in Iceland

Whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks has set up a private limited company called Sunshine Press Productions in Iceland for administrative purposes, a spokesman said Saturday, as part of a move to restructure its global operations.

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It was set up as a private limited company because it was a simpler procedure than establishing a nonprofit organization, spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said. The company was registered at the home of one of WikiLeaks' employees in Iceland. The organization is also establishing legal entities in Sweden and France as bases from which to carry out tasks such as opening bank accounts.

The international anti-secrecy group has drawn global headlines — and outrage in some quarters — by publishing highly sensitive, classified material on its website.

It angered the Pentagon when it posted half a million secret Iraq and Afghanistan war files earlier this year, and the group is also believed to have another 15,000 Afghan war field reports, 260,000 diplomatic cables and U.S. video of casualties in Afghanistan.

ROME

Italy's Berlusconi will seek confidence vote

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi pledged on Saturday to put his government to a make-or-break confidence vote to see if his weakened coalition still has enough support in Parliament to survive. Berlusconi wrote to the presidents of the Senate and the lower Chamber of Deputies, saying he decided to seek the crucial vote in view of the planned pullout next week from his Cabinet of ministers loyal to breakaway ally Gianfranco Fini. If Berlusconi loses a confidence vote, he must resign. If the center-right leader can't assemble another government, President Giorgio Napolitano can call early elections, widely expected to be held early next spring.

PARIS

Cabinet resigns to prepare for reshuffle

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, beginning a long-postponed reshuffle of his government, on Saturday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his Cabinet. In a break with tradition, however, Fillon is expected to be reappointed prime minister as early as today. A steady presence popular in the ruling party, Fillon will then formally name a new Cabinet, although the choices will be Sarkozy's. The resignations are a legal formality that allows the president to alter the Cabinet without firing his entire team; the prime minister must resign before a new government is installed.

MADRID

Thousands protest Moroccan crackdown

Thousands of people demonstrated in Madrid on Saturday against Morocco's recent crackdown that has left at least 10 people dead in the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara in northwestern Africa. Many protesters blamed Spain for not taking a firmer stance against what they see as human rights abuses by Morocco's police and army in the territory. Demonstration organizers said in a statement that the Moroccan government had sent in soldiers and police to quash local demands for better working and social conditions to mark the 35th anniversary of the territory's annexation by Morocco.

CARACAS, Venezuela

Chavez backers march through the capital

Supporters of President Hugo Chavez took to the streets by the thousands Saturday, flooding a downtown avenue to demonstrate their backing for the socialist leader's crackdown on allegedly crooked real-estate and construction companies. Waving Venezuelan flags and wearing T-shirts bearing pro-government slogans, roughly 5,000 Chavez supporters marched through downtown Caracas. Some chanted "Viva Chavez!" while others held up banners heralding the president's order for officials to seize control of more than a dozen residential complexes.

ABUJA, Nigeria

Military threatens raid against militants

Nigeria's military is warning anyone who lives near a militant camp in the country's oil-rich southern delta to leave to avoid becoming "collateral damage." Saturday's statement by Nigerian Chief of Defense Staff Oluseyi Petinrin comes after the kidnapping of seven expatriate workers from an offshore oil rig working for London-based Afren PLC and a nearby support ship. The statement suggests the military is preparing an offensive in the region, which was supposedly calmed after a government-sponsored amnesty program offered last year. Nigeria, an OPEC-member nation, is a top crude oil supplier to the U.S.

BERLIN

Twenty-six animals die in fire at German zoo

Police said a fire at the Karlsruhe zoo in southwestern Germany killed 26 animals including Shetland ponies, goats, sheep and a llama. Karlsruhe police said elephants and hippos were saved from their enclosures next to the petting zoo. Authorities launched an investigation but no cause had yet been determined.

Times wires

Wilileaks registers company in Iceland 11/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 13, 2010 10:10pm]

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