NEW YORK – The world’s biggest international news agencies declined to cover the wedding of Sweden’s crown princess and her fitness trainer Saturday after a dispute over the release of television images of the event.
The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters argued that restrictions by Sweden’s national broadcaster would mean many viewers in Europe and North America would not see video images of the wedding until many hours – for some an entire day – after Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling took their vows.
The three agencies jointly issued a protest to the royal household and broadcaster SVT, calling the access restrictions unreasonable. When no resolution was reached on the video issue, the three agencies decided to withdraw coverage altogether.
The Swedish news agency TT quoted SVT’s Director of Communications Helga Baagoes as saying, “They’ve got a nerve.” Baagoes could not be reached for further comment.
Victoria, 32, and Westling, 36, exchanged vows in Stockholm Cathedral on Saturday – the same date the princess’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, wed Queen Silvia 34 years ago – in front of nearly 1,000 royals and dignitaries from across the world.
Poles vote today for new president
WARSAW, Poland – More than two months after Poland’s president was killed in a plane crash, Poles are voting today to choose his successor – and polls show they might pick one of his political rivals rather than his twin brother.
The outcome is expected to shape the European Union member’s stance on issues such as the adoption of the euro, welfare reform and Poland’s mission in Afghanistan.
Poland is the only European Union country to have avoided recession during the global economic downturn. The election will also determine how it fares amid the new debt crisis.
The front-runner, Bronislaw Komorowski, is a pro-EU, moderate member of the governing Civic Platform party. He has pledged to work closely with the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk to adopt the euro in about five years, end the unpopular military mission in Afghanistan and promote pro-market reforms.
Polling in second place is Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the identical twin brother of the late president, Lech Kaczynski. He is a social conservative whose main goals are to fight crime and corruption, scale back market reforms in order to preserve a strong welfare state, and promote Roman Catholic values in public life. He is more skeptical about the European Union and adoption of the euro, saying it’s too early to set a timetable for giving up the Polish currency, the zloty.
Lech Kaczynski and his wife were among 96 people killed when their plane crashed while trying to land in heavy fog in Smolensk, Russia, on April 10. The delegation included many civilian and military leaders, and the loss of so many provoked deep grief across the nation.
U.S. wants probe
of ethnic violence
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – A top U.S. envoy called Saturday for an independent investigation into the violence that has devastated southern Kyrgyzstan, as amateur video emerged of unarmed Uzbeks gathering to defend their village during the attacks.
Prosecutors on Saturday charged Azimzhan Askarov, the head of a prominent human rights group who shot the video, with inciting ethnic hatred. Askarov had accused the military of complicity in the bloody rampages that sent hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks fleeing.
The country’s rights ombudsman Tursunbek Akun insisted the charges against Askarov were fabricated, and activists in Bishkek demonstrated before U.N. offices to demand his release.
Askarov was detained with his brother on Tuesday, colleagues told the Associated Press.
Entire Uzbek neighborhoods in southern Kyrgyzstan have been reduced to scorched ruins by rampaging mobs of ethnic Kyrgyz who forced nearly half of the region’s roughly 800,000 Uzbeks to flee. Interim President Roza Otunbayeva says up to 2,000 people may have died in the clashes.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake met with Otunbayeva in Bishkek, the capital, on Saturday after touring several packed refugee camps in neighboring Uzbekistan.
Blake said the interim government should probe the violence and “such an investigation should be complemented by an international investigation by a credible international body.”
Blue mozzarella just doesn’t cut it
ROME – Italian police confiscated some 70,000 balls of mozzarella in Turin after consumers noticed the milky-white cheese quickly developed a bluish tint when the package was opened, authorities said Saturday.
State TV said a woman called police after noticing the mozzarella, made in Germany for an Italian company, turned blue after contact with air, and that several merchants in Turin had received similar complaints.
Samples were sent to laboratories to see if they could detect any foreign substances. Results were expected in a few days.
No cases of illness were immediately reported.
The Italian agriculture lobby Coldiretti lamented that many consumers don’t know that half the mozzarella sold in Italy is made from foreign- produced milk. It is pushing for legislation that would oblige producers to put the origin of all ingredients on the label.