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Friday, 21 February 2014 01:55

Ukraine presidency: crisis deal agreed

   KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's presidency says negotiations with opposition leaders, the European Union and Russia have produced an "agreement to settle the crisis," but released no details.
   A statement on the presidency's website says a document will be signed at noon local time (1000 GMT, 5 A.M. EST) Friday.
   However, Germany's Foreign Ministry says on Twitter that negotiators had taken a break "to continue talks later on."
   Street battles between protesters and police in Kiev have left more than 100 people dead this week, including some shot by snipers Thursday. The Health Ministry says nearly 600 people have been wounded and 369 hospitalized.
   A shaky peace reigned in the protest camps in downtown Kiev Friday morning. No visible police forces remained on the square, and volunteers walked freely to the protest camps to donate food and other packages.
 
Published in National News
   KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukrainian police say more than 20 officers have been wounded by gunfire in the capital as violence between anti-government protesters and police continues despite the declaration of a truce.
   A statement from the Interior Ministry on Thursday said the gunfire appeared to be coming from the national music conservatory, which is on the edge of the downtown square housing an extensive protest tent camp. It did not say when the officers were wounded, but added that they were receiving treatment on Thursday.
   Also Thursday, the parliament building was evacuated because of fears protesters were preparing to storm it, said parliament spokeswoman Irina Karnelyuk.
   Thick black smoke from barricades of burning tires belched from the protest camp.
 
Published in National News
   KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Two people have died in clashes between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, according to medics on the site, in a development that will likely escalate Ukraine's two month-long political crisis.
   An Associated Press reporter saw medics declare two people dead near the barricades where police and protesters have confronted each other for three days. Police earlier reported one death, but it was unclear whether that was a separate victim.
   Oleh Bondar, a medic, said the two men died of bullet wounds, but would not specify whether they were rubber or real bullets.
   Police began dismantling barricades near a government district in Kiev on Wednesday morning, but protesters soon pushed them back to their original positions.
   Ukraine's political crisis reached a new phase last week after President Viktor Yanukovych pushed through harsh anti-protest legislation. That prompted street battles at a cordon of riot police and buses near the Ukrainian parliament. Protesters threw rocks and fire bombs and police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
   The clashes injured hundreds of protesters and police, but the deaths were likely to stoke anger and cause more people to join the protests and clashes.
Published in National News
Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:43

Thai protesters resume siege of PM's offices

   BANGKOK (AP) — Anti-government protesters in Thailand's capital have resumed their tactic of besieging government offices, cutting off electricity to the prime minister's office compound and demanding that police abandon the premises.

   The protesters, who are seeking to force the replacement of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government before a Feb. 2 election, threatened Thursday to force their way in if police don't leave.

   In a previous confrontation, police withdrew from the compound to allow the demonstrators in without a fight. That withdrawal came after two days of increasingly violent standoffs.

Published in National News

NEW YORK (AP) - Three people participating in a New York City protest against Walmart have been taken into police custody.

About 20 employees, former employees and supporters gathered Thursday outside a Manhattan building where a member of the company's board of directors has an office. They delivered a petition calling for improved working conditions and reinstatement of workers they say were fired for engaging in labor activities.

Police say one man and two women were charged with disorderly conduct for blocking the entrance to the building and trespassing.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is based in Bentonville, Ark. It calls the New York protest "a show" put on by union activists from other states. It says in a statement the "vast majority" of its workers don't share the opinions of the protesters.

Published in National News

   CAIRO (AP) — Egypt is bracing for more violence after the Muslim Brotherhood called for nationwide marches after Friday prayers and a "day of rage" to denounce this week's unprecedented bloodshed in the security forces' assault on the supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president that left more than 600 dead.

   The government has authorized the use of deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions while the international community has urged both sides to show restraint and end the turmoil engulfing the nation.

   At least 638 people were confirmed killed and nearly 4,000 wounded in Wednesday's violence, sparked when riot police backed by armored vehicles, snipers and bulldozers smashed the two sit-ins in Cairo where ousted President Mohammed Morsi's supporters had been camped out for six weeks to demand his reinstatement.

   It was the deadliest day by far since the 2011 popular uprising that overthrew autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak and plunged the country into more than two years of instability.

   The Health Ministry said that 288 of those killed were in the largest protest camp in Cairo's Nasr City district, while 90 others were slain in a smaller encampment in Giza, near Cairo University. Others died in clashes that broke out between Morsi's supporters and security forces or anti-Morsi protesters elsewhere in the Egyptian capital and other cities.

   Violence spread on Thursday, with government buildings set afire, policemen gunned down and scores of Christian churches attacked. An angry crowd stormed the governor's office in Giza, the city next to Cairo that is home to the pyramids. State TV blamed Morsi's supporters for the arson and broadcast footage showing firefighters evacuating employees from the larger building of Giza's government offices.

   As turmoil spread, the Interior Ministry authorized the use of deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions. Egypt's military-backed government also pledged to confront "terrorist actions and sabotage" allegedly carried out by Muslim Brotherhood members.

   The Brotherhood, trying to regroup after the assault on its encampments and the arrest of many of its leaders, called for a mass rally Friday in a challenge to the government's declaration of a monthlong state of emergency and a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

   Also Thursday, the U.N. Security Council urged both the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise "maximum restraint" and work toward national reconciliation.

   In Cairo, weeping relatives filled the mosque-turned-morgue near the gutted pro-Morsi protest camp in Nasr City, spilled into the courtyard and the streets. Inside, the names of the dead were scribbled on white sheets covering the bodies, some of them charred, and a list with 265 names was plastered on the wall. Heat made the stench from the corpses almost unbearable as the ice brought in to chill the bodies melted and household fans offered little relief.

   Many people complained that authorities were preventing them from obtaining permits to bury their dead, although the Muslim Brotherhood announced that several funerals had been held Thursday.

   A woman cradled the head of a slain man in her lap, fanning it with a paper fan. Nearby, an anguished man shouted, "God take revenge on you el-Sissi!" a reference to the powerful military chief, Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi.

   Slumped over the body of his brother, Ihab el-Sayyed said the 24-year-old was getting ready for his wedding next week. "Last time I heard his voice was an hour or two before I heard of his death," he said, choking back tears.

   Elsewhere on Thursday, a mass funeral was held in Cairo for some of the 43 security troops authorities said were killed in Wednesday's clashes. Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, who is in charge of the police, led the mourners. A police band played solemn music as fire engines bore the coffins draped in white, red and black Egyptian flags in a funeral procession.

   Wednesday's deadly crackdown drew widespread condemnation from the Muslim world and the West.

   President Barack Obama canceled joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises scheduled for next month, although he gave no indication that the U.S. planned to cut off its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to the country. The U.S. administration has avoided declaring Morsi's ouster a coup, which would force it to suspend the military aid.

   "While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back," Obama said, speaking from his weeklong vacation in Massachusetts.

   Egypt's interim government issued a late night statement saying the country is facing "terrorist actions targeting government and vital institutions" by "violent militant groups." The statement expressed "sadness" for the killings of Egyptians and pledged to work on restoring law and order.

   The statement also warned that Obama's position "while it's not based on facts can empower the violent militant groups and encourage them in its anti-stability discourse."

   The biennial Bright Star maneuvers, long a centerpiece of the deep ties between the U.S. and Egyptian militaries, have not been held since 2009, as Egypt grappled with the fallout from the revolution that ousted Mubarak. Morsi, a member of the Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 during Egypt's first democratic elections.

   Attackers also set fire to churches and police stations across the country for a second day Thursday.

   In the country's second-largest city of Alexandria, Islamist protesters exchanged gunfire with an anti-Morsi rally, leaving scores injured, witnesses and security officials said. Attempts to storm police stations in the southern city of Assiut and northern Sinai city of el-Arish left at least six policemen dead and others injured.

   Ishaq Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said his group had documented at least 39 cases of violence against churches, monasteries, Coptic schools and shops in different parts of the country on Wednesday.

   Fearful of more violence Friday, some main streets were closed and people in many neighborhoods set up cement blocks and metal barricades. Residents checked IDs in scenes reminiscent of the 2011 revolution when vigilante-style groups set up neighborhood watches to prevent looting and other attacks.

   The turmoil is the latest chapter in a bitter standoff between Morsi's supporters and the interim leadership that took over the Arab world's most populous country following a July 3 coup. The military ouster came after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand Morsi step down, accusing him of giving the Brotherhood undue influence and failing to implement vital reforms or bolster the ailing economy.

   Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location ever since. Other Brotherhood leaders, including several arrested Wednesday, have been charged with inciting violence or conspiring in the killing of protesters.

   The Brotherhood has spent most of its 85 years as an outlawed group or enduring crackdowns by successive governments. The latest developments could prompt the authorities to once again declare it an illegal group and force it to go underground.

Published in National News
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:30

Egyptian troops move against pro-Morsi sit-in

   CAIRO (AP) - Egyptian state TV says security forces are moving to clear two sit-in camps in support of the country's ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

   Security officials say forces are firing tear gas into the larger of the two protest locations in Cairo, the encampment in the eastern Nasr City neighborhood.

   At the smaller protest site outside the Cairo University campus is Giza, armored carriers were securing the area on Wednesday.

   The pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV is showing images of clouds of smoke from the tear gas, collapsed tents and tires burning at the Nasr City protest site. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

   At least 250 people have died in clashes in Egypt following Morsi's July 3 ouster in a military coup.

   

Published in National News
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 00:48

Crestwood residents march over stalled mall

   Some Crestwood residents say city leaders are dragging their feet on a plan to redevelop the shuttered Crestwood Plaza.  Dozens of people marched from the old mall to City Hall Tuesday to express their concern.

   Developer Centrum Properties wants to turn the site into an entertainment center with a movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants and retail stores.  But their plan calls for $22 million in taxpayer subsidies -- a figure Crestwood Mayor Jeff Schlink says he and many aldermen are not "comfortable" with.

   "If we're going to grant and issue those tax breaks for them," Schlink said, "they're going to have to be done on terms that we feel are reasonable for the city."

   Centrum officials say if they can't work things out, they may have to sell the land one parcel at a time.

 
Published in Local News

   CAIRO (AP) - A senior Health Ministry official says clashes overnight between police and supporters of Egypt's ousted president have left at least seven people dead.

   Khaled el-Khateib also says 261 people were injured in the violence that broke out late Monday and carried on into the early morning hours of Tuesday in four different locations in the capital, Cairo.

   Thousands of supporters of Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military, were protesting to press their demands that Morsi be reinstated as president.

   Egypt's military deposed Morsi on July 3 after days of mass street protests calling for him to step down.

   The ousted president's supporters say he was ousted by a military coup that overturned democratic rule.

   

Published in National News

   Many in St. Louis are upset over the George Zimmerman verdict.  About 500 people marched in downtown St. Louis Sunday evening.  

   Many demonstrators said they were marching to show support for Trayvon Martin's family.  Most say they're calling for federal charges or a civil suit against Zimmerman who was acquitted in a criminal trial Saturday.  

   The St. Louis march was mostly peaceful, with a small splinter group getting police attention after overturning a dumpster.  Four were arrested.  

   Organizers say another march is planned for Thursday.

Published in Local News
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