Egyptian soldiers beat protesters in second day of violent crackdown
HUNDREDS of Egyptian soldiers swept into Cairo's Tahrir Square yesterday, chasing protesters and beating them to the ground with sticks and tossing journalists' cameras off balconies in the second day of a violent crackdown on protesters that has left nine dead and hundreds injured.
The chaotic scenes suggested that the military -- fresh after the first rounds of parliamentary elections that it claimed bolstered its status as the country's rulers -- was now determined to stamp out protests by activists demanding it transfer power immediately to civilians.
TV footage, pictures and eyewitness accounts showed a new level of force being used by the military against pro-democracy activists in the past two days. Military police openly beat women protesters in the street and slapped older folk in the face. Witnesses said they beat and gave electric shocks to men and women dragged into detention, many of them held in the nearby parliament buildings.
Troops rescue 11 Afghan policemen
AFGHAN security forces and international troops freed 11 Afghan policemen kidnapped by militants nearly two weeks ago, it was confirmed yesterday.
Militants abducted the Afghan policemen on December 5 during an ambush in Wardooj district of Badakhshan province. Two policemen were killed and four wounded during the kidnapping, said police.
Alleged Wikileaks source in US court
BRADLEY Manning, the young US Army intelligence specialist accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified items to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, spent his 24th birthday in court yesterday as his lawyers argued that his status as a gay soldier before the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" rule played a big role in his actions.
Lawyers for Manning began laying out a defense to show that his struggles as a gay soldier in an environment hostile to homosexuality contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material.
Manning is accused of leaking a huge arrary of items, such as a video of a 2007 US helicopter attack in Iraq that shows US troops killing 11 men, including a Reuters journalist -- and then firing missiles at by-standers and their children, who had tried to ferry the wounded away.
'Downton' creator surprised at success
DOWNTON Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes has admitted he does not "fully understand" why the stately home show has been such a hit with viewers.
He told Radio BBC4's Desert Island Discs he had been "a bit pompous" about complaints regarding the show's accuracy, after viewers took it to task for using modern phrases and other historical errors. "I don't understand why it did so well, I think we did one or two things right."
Moscow vote protest begins week two
SEVERAL hundred demonstrators demanding a rerun of parliamentary elections are in central Moscow for a second weekend of protests against the fraud-tainted vote.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has effectively rejected calls to rerun the December 4 election that chose members of the State Duma, parliament's lower house.
Look at yourself, Turkey warns France
PRIME Minister Tayyip Erdogan told France yesterday to study its own history rather than Turkey's, in a warning against the French parliament passing a law making it illegal to deny the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was genocide.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a major critic of Turkey's flagging bid to join the EU, told Turkey in October that unless it recognised the 1915 killings as genocide, France would consider making denial a crime.