March 18, 2007 in Nation/World

World in brief: Gore film a boost for Green Party

The Spokesman-Review
 

A small environmental party has been showing Al Gore’s global warming documentary all over Finland – where recent mild winters have people worried – in the hope of a record result in elections today.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen’s Center Party is widely expected to win the election but some polls show the Greens on target to win a record 10 percent. That could give the environmentalists, who have been in earlier governments, a good chance of joining a new coalition.

“This has really helped us a lot,” Heidi Hautala, a candidate for the Greens, said of the party’s screenings of “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Islamabad, Pakistan

Police clash with protesting lawyers

Pakistani police clashed with protesters for a second straight day Saturday over a decision by the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to suspend the country’s chief justice.

The latest round of protests came in the eastern city of Lahore, the scene of demonstrations earlier in the week. On Saturday, police lobbed tear gas canisters at lawyers in business suits who responded by throwing rocks, according to witness accounts and television footage.

Rashed Rahman, editor of the Post newspaper in Lahore, said more than 100 lawyers were injured when police charged them with batons. He said police later ransacked about two dozen offices belonging to the protesters.

Unrest has escalated in Pakistan since March 9, when Musharraf suspended the Supreme Court’s chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, citing unspecified abuses of power. Chaudhry had been expected to rule on several key cases this year, including the timing of upcoming elections and on whether Musharraf can retain his role as head of the army while also serving as president.

Rennes, France

Thousands rally against reactors

Tens of thousands of people filled the streets of five French cities Saturday to protest plans to build the next generation of nuclear reactors.

The simultaneous protests organized by Get Out Of Nuclear, a collective made up of hundreds of associations, was intended to raise the prominence of the issue in the run-up to April-May presidential elections.

The nation must “get out of the nuclear business” and “invest in renewable energies like solar energy or wind power,” said Olivier Besancenot of the Radical Communist League, marching with protesters in the western city of Rennes. Organizers claimed the number of protesters in Rennes was 30,000 to 40,000. Police estimated the crowd at 10,000.

There also were protests, with estimated crowds ranging from 4,000 to 9,000 people, in Lyon, Toulouse, Lille and Strasbourg.

The most nuclear energy-dependent country in the world, France has dozens of reactors churning out most of its electricity.

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