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In brief: Dozens arrested at UC Berkeley

A broken light lies outside University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s residence on Saturday.  (Associated Press)
A broken light lies outside University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s residence on Saturday. (Associated Press)

Berkeley, Calif. – Eight people were under arrest Saturday after protesters broke windows, lights and planters outside the home of the chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

University spokesman Dan Mogulof said 40 to 70 protesters also threw lighted torches at police cars and the home of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau late Friday. There were no fires or injuries.

The protest at the chancellor’s home came late the same day that police arrested 66 protesters at a campus classroom building that was partially taken over for four days.

The demonstrations are against state funding cuts that have led to course cutbacks, faculty furloughs and sharp fee increases.

“The attack at our home was extraordinarily frightening and violent. My wife and I genuinely feared for our lives,” Birgeneau said in a statement.

The eight were arrested on suspicion of rioting and several other charges.

Obama promises financial reform

Washington – President Barack Obama on Saturday blasted Wall Street for worsening the economy’s downturn and promised to make financial markets more transparent and accountable.

In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, the president applauded the House of Representatives for passing sweeping financial reform legislation on Friday and said the economy is recovering from the “irresponsibility” of Wall Street firms that “gambled on risky loans and complex financial products, seeking short-term profits and big bonuses.”

It was “risk management without the management,” Obama said. “Their actions, in the absence of strong oversight, intensified the cycle of bubble-and-bust and led to a financial crisis that threatened to bring down the entire economy.”

Obama also blamed an “era of easy credit” for some of the excesses. “Millions of Americans borrowed beyond their means, bought homes they couldn’t afford and assumed that housing prices would always rise and the day of reckoning would never come,” he said.

Canadian writer arrested at border

Port Huron, Mich. – Police arrested a Canadian science fiction writer after he became aggressive and refused to comply during an inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, a government official said Saturday.

Peter Watts, of Toronto, was detained Tuesday in Port Huron in Michigan, Customs spokesman Ron Smith told the Associated Press. Smith said Watts was trying to cross into Canada at Blue Water Bridge when his vehicle was selected for inspection.

Smith said Watts got out of the vehicle and became “noncompliant” and “aggressive,” so officers detained him.

On Watts’ blog, comments attributed to him Friday denied he had been aggressive and said he had been punched in the face during the arrest. Watts did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment Saturday.


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