In brief: Huge protests held across Syria
Beirut – Hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded cities around Syria on Friday in what activists described as the largest outpouring against the regime of President Bashar Assad and a powerful message of the opposition’s resolve. At least 14 people were killed in various clashes, activists said.
The centerpiece of the latest protests – the central city of Hama – brings further complications for the government. Security forces moved outside Hama in early June after shootings that left 65 people dead, and now the streets appear fully under the sway of the opposition with an estimated 300,000 people gathering Friday in the central square, activists said.
Brotherhood open to U.S. talks
Cairo – Egypt’s powerful Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, said Friday it is willing to hold talks with the United States, taking up an offer of dialogue seen as an implicit recognition by Washington that the group will likely hold significant political power in Egypt’s post-Hosni Mubarak era.
The Brotherhood’s bid for prominence comes at a time of growing discontent by pro-democracy protesters toward the military council that took power in Egypt after Mubarak’s ouster in February.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters waving Egyptian flags and banners rallied Friday in Tahrir Square, demanding speedy trials for former regime figures and policemen accused of killing protesters during the 18-day revolt that claimed 846 lives.
Prince Albert II takes a wife
Monaco – After waiting for nearly 30 years, the glitzy principality of Monaco has a new princess.
Charlene Wittstock, a one-time Olympic swimmer from South Africa, married Prince Albert II in an intimate civil ceremony Friday.
Wittstock succeeds Grace Kelly, the Hollywood beauty who wed Albert’s late father, Prince Rainier III, in 1956 and had three children with him before dying in a car crash in 1982.
Dressed in a dusty blue jacket and matching palazzo pants made by Chanel, her blond hair pulled back, 33-year-old Wittstock seemed to be channeling a bit of Princess Grace’s legendary elegance.
The couple took their vows in a ceremony before several dozen guests in the palace’s sumptuous, red silk-walled throne room.