Extremists battle police over parade
Belfast, Northern Ireland Protestant extremists threw homemade grenades, gasoline bombs and other makeshift weapons Saturday and at least a dozen police and two civilians were wounded in the latest fury over a restricted Belfast parade.
Protestants clashed with police, British troops and Catholic crowds in several parts of Belfast after authorities blocked the Orange Order – the territory’s major Protestant brotherhood – from parading past the hard-line Catholic end of disputed Springfield Road.
At least six officers were injured by flames and shrapnel from homemade grenades and gasoline-filled bottles on the nearby North Circular Road.
Bush congratulates Mubarak on victory
Washington President Bush called Hosni Mubarak on Saturday to congratulate him on his victory in Egypt’s first multicandidate election, the White House said as it called for further democratic reforms.
Last Wednesday’s election was marred by low turnout, voting irregularities and reports of widespread pressure for people to back Mubarak, one of Bush’s strongest allies in the Middle East. Still, some of Mubarak’s opponents said it was a first step toward greater democracy.
Mubarak, 77, has been in power for 24 years, re-elected in referendums in which he was the sole candidate. He won a new six-year term with 88.5 percent of the vote. Only one out of every four of the nation’s 32 million registered voters cast a ballot.
Fewer blacks attending Florida universities
Tallahassee, Fla. New figures show fewer black students are attending Florida universities, providing ammunition for critics of Gov. Jeb Bush’s five-year-old policy that excludes race in admissions decisions.
Six of the state’s 11 public universities reported a drop, and the percentage of blacks in this year’s freshman class is at its lowest since Bush became governor in 1999.
The decline comes despite continued growth in the overall student population at the state’s public universities – a 3.1 percent increase to nearly 282,000 students, according to figures released Friday.
“We need to find out what’s going on,” said David Griffin, former secretary of the Florida Department of Lottery and a trustee for the historically black Florida A&M University.
Quake causes panic in Aceh province
Jakarta, Indonesia A strong earthquake rocked Indonesia’s tsunami-battered Aceh province on Saturday, causing residents to flee their homes in panic.
The magnitude-5.8 earthquake was centered under the Indian Ocean, about 20 miles northwest of the province capital Banda Aceh, said Sutiono, an official at the Jakarta office of Meteorological and Geophysical Agency.
Officials at the local geophysical office in Banda Aceh said the quake lasted about one minute. Residents of the city ran out of their homes in panic after the tremor jolted them awake, Sutiono said.
Protesters clamor for president to resign
Baku, Azerbaijan More than 2,000 orange-clad opposition members rallied in the Azerbaijani capital Saturday, demanding that President Ilhan Aliev resign and that authorities ensure that parliamentary elections in November are free and fair.
Mounting pressure on authorities has led some observers to predict the oil-rich Caspian nation could see a popular uprising similar to those that have taken place in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.
Yelling “Resign” and carrying orange flags and banners in Russian and English, the government opponents railed against Aliev.
“We have shown our strength and this is only the beginning,” said Sardar Jalaloglu, a top leader with the opposition Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, which is one of three parties making up the opposition Azadlig bloc alliance.