Sunday 18 March 2018

Protesters gather across Russia to call for the resignation of Putin

Thousands of people across Russia took to the streets yesterday demanding the resignation of Vladimir Putin in the largest show of discontent since he came to power more than a decade ago. Opposition movements called the nationwide "Day of Wrath" to express discontent at falling living standards following years of oil-fuelled growth.

The protests followed weeks of sustained demonstrations across Russia that have riled a leadership that does not forgive displays of unrest. Cries of "freedom" and "Putin resign" filled the main square in Kaliningrad, where up to 5,000 people gathered in pouring rain.

Veteran Colombian reporter shot dead

a veteran reporter for Colombian radio was gunned down on his front porch on Friday in Cordoba province.

Clodomiro Castilla, a 50-year-old father of four, had reported on far-right, drug-funded paramilitary militias and their friendly ties to the business elite. Cordoba has long been a paramilitary stronghold.

Police had no immediate suspects and offered a $26,000 (€19,000) reward. Castilla's employer said he had received threats and was assigned bodyguards for two years until last year.

Violence follows anti-Islam protest

SIXTY-SEVEN people were arrested during clashes between right-wing and anti-fascist protesters and police yesterday. Police condemned the violence in Bolton, Lancashire, during which protesters attacked police officers and injured members of the public.

Thousands of people took part in a rally in Victoria Square, organised by right-wing group The English Defence League (EDL), which campaigns against "militant Islam". Police said protesters from Unite Against Fascism (UAF), who organised a counter-demonstration, were responsible for most of the violence. Of those arrested, at least 55 were from UAF and nine from the EDL, police said.

Goody had feared taking smear tests

Jade Goody missed several smear tests because she feared doctors would tell her she could not have more children, her doctor said yesterday.

The late reality TV star did not attend potentially life-saving check-ups because she was desperate to have a girl.

Dr Ann Coxon said that after Goody had her second son, Freddie, now five, she suffered heavy bleeding and was told by a nurse that she may not be able to have more children.

Dr Coxon said that Goody ignored invitations to have smear tests because "she didn't want to go back because she was scared she could not get pregnant again".

"She really wanted a little girl and she did not know that cervical smears were about cancer. She said to me 'I am not stupid -- if I'd have known I would have gone'." The Big Brother star died on Mother's Day last year, aged 27.

Quakes strike in Cuba and Guatemala

A 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck near Guantanamo, Cuba, yesterday, the US Geological Survey reported. The quake was centred 27 miles southwest of Guantanamo.

The US has a naval base at Guantanamo Bay that includes a prison housing 188 detainees. There was no immediate word on damages and no reported casualties.

Also yesterday, a magnitude-5.3 quake also struck in Guatemala, about 97km from the border with Mexico.

Man to be quizzed on Mumbai attacks

INDIAN investigators will be able to question a Chicago man who pleaded guilty to scouting targets for the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, a senior US official said yesterday.

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said investigators probing the Mumbai terror attack would gain access to David Coleman Headley to learn more about his involvement, although he would not be extradited to India. Headley has pleaded guilty to making surveillance videos in preparation for the siege and to involvement in a plot to attack a Danish newspaper over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

'Terrorists' in video really firefighters

A SPANISH firefighting force says a video released by French officials investigating an alleged ETA shooting does not show the suspected gunmen, but rather a group of Catalan firefighters on holiday.

Paris police had released the surveillance camera shots showing the men in a supermarket 5km from where a French officer was shot dead on Tuesday outside Paris. Police hoped the photos would lead to the suspects' arrest.

But Catalonia's firefighting force said yesterday that friends and relatives of the group of men on holiday in northern France had phoned to say they recognised their loved ones in the images.

Israel must stop illegal settlement: UN

ISRAELI settlement building anywhere on occupied land is illegal and must be stopped, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said yesterday, after getting a closer look at some of the Israeli enclaves scattered across Palestinian-claimed territories.

From a hilltop observation post on the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, the UN secretary-general saw the sprawling West Bank settlement of Givat Zeev, home to 11,000 Israelis who live in rows of red-roofed houses.

The panorama included Jewish neighbourhoods in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, the Israeli-annexed sector of the city that Palestinians claim as a future capital for them.

The visit came a day after Mr Ban, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other major Mideast mediators -- known as the Quartet -- met in Moscow to try to find a way to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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