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In brief: Riot police break up anti-government protest

Kiev, Ukraine – Police in the Ukrainian capital broke up a large anti-government demonstration in the city center before dawn today, swinging truncheons and injuring many.

The riot police used tear gas when they dispersed the crowd of about 400 protesters who were demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, demonstrators said. Some at Independence Square were seen bleeding from their heads and arms.

The crowd was the remains of a Friday night rally that attracted some 10,000 people protesting Yanukovych’s decision not to sign a long-anticipated association agreement with the European Union.

It was not clear why police took action when they did. But speakers at the rally had called for another large gathering on Sunday, raising the prospect of a wave of protests extending into a second week.

Greenpeace protesters freed from Russian jails, await trial

St. Petersburg, Russia – Russia has freed the last of 30 people detained after a Greenpeace protest in Arctic waters.

Australian Colin Russell walked free from a St. Petersburg jail on Friday, one day after being granted bail of $61,500 in an appeal hearing.

The 30 still face charges for hooliganism, which carries a sentence of up to seven years, after being arrested following an attempt by some of the activists to scale an offshore drilling platform belonging to state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom.

It is unclear whether the foreigners in the group will be allowed to leave Russia before the start of the trial.

Police seize warheads, missile machine at port

Kingston, Jamaica – Jamaican authorities have seized 3,300 warheads and a missile-making machine at the port of Kingston and sought help from international police in tracking the shipper, Jamaican media reported Friday.

The unauthorized arms shipment was discovered Thursday afternoon in a police and customs operation carried out at a berth of Kingston Wharves, the RJR News site reported.

It was unclear from any of the reports of the seized ordnance how large the warheads were, what type of launch device they were intended to arm or whether the shipment’s end destination was Jamaica or another country.

Jamaica has long been rife with gang violence and local drug wars, but arms intended for more wide-scale conflict haven’t previously been intercepted in the Caribbean country, Deputy Superintendent Steve Brown of the Jamaica Constabulary Force told the Gleaner newspaper.

Greece’s credit rating improves, still below investment grade

Athens, Greece – Ratings agency Moody’s has upgraded Greece’s credit rating, citing improved results in the crisis-hit country’s economic adjustment program.

The agency late Friday announced the two-notch upgrade from C to Caa3 – still well below investment grade – in a move seen as a boost for the government that has promised to end a crippling recession and return to international markets next year.


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U.S. Gulf Coast prepares as Alberto brings wind, rain north

UPDATED: 9:03 p.m.

Florida and Mississippi launched emergency preparations Saturday ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto, a slow-moving system expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.