November 12, 2006 in Nation/World

Candidates’ forces engage in gunfire

The Spokesman-Review

Gunfire and explosions boomed through Congo’s capital Saturday in a new round of fighting between forces loyal to two presidential candidates awaiting the results of a runoff election meant to secure an end to years of war.

Residents dashed for cover and street vendors hurriedly packed up stalls in Kinshasa. Two civilians were killed in the crossfire between loyalists of President Joseph Kabila and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba.

The shooting lasted less than four hours and was confined to a couple of blocks in front of the residence and a television station of Bemba, a former rebel leader.

But it raised fears about what could happen when results are announced in Congo’s first free elections in nearly 50 years.

With two-thirds of the vote counted Friday, Kabila had a commanding lead of 61 percent to 39 percent for Bemba. Final results are expected by Nov. 19.


John says religion promotes hatred

Organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination and other forms of bias, pop star Elton John said in an interview published Saturday.

“I think religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people,” John said in the Observer newspaper’s Music Monthly Magazine. “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.”

“But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion,” he said. “From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.”

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Wife survives six shots to head

A woman was released from the hospital a day after she was shot in the head six times in an attack police blamed on her ex-husband, Brazilian media reported Saturday.

Patricia Goncalves Pereira, a 21-year-old housewife, was shot Friday after an altercation with her ex-husband, who was upset because she refused to get back together with him, Globo TV reported.

Doctors could not explain how Pereira survived the attack. The .32-caliber bullets didn’t break through her skull and didn’t even need to be immediately extracted, doctors said.

Police said the ex-husband was still at large, Globo TV reported.

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