Reports of abductions multiply, UN reports
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) The United Nations said Sunday it has received hundreds of reports of people being abducted from their homes at night by armed assailants in military uniform and that there is growing evidence of massive violations of human rights since Ivory Coasts disputed election.
The statement from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights came a day after the U.N. said it would remain in Ivory Coast despite demands from the man refusing to give up the presidency that thousands of peacekeepers get out of the West African country.
International pressure is mounting for Laurent Gbagbo to concede defeat to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, whose victory has been recognized by the United Nations, the United States, former colonizer France and the African Union.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department on Sunday ordered most of its personnel to leave Ivory Coast because of the deteriorating security situation and growing anti-Western sentiment.
Thousands try to storm government building
MINSK, Belarus (AP) Thousands of opposition supporters in Belarus tried to storm the main government building to protest what they claim was large-scale vote-rigging in Sundays presidential election, but they were driven back and beaten by riot police.
Dozens of protesters were injured in clashes with the police, left bruised and bloody after being beaten with clubs.
As many as 40,000 opposition activists rallied in central Minsk to call for longtime authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko to step down. It was the largest opposition rally since mass street protests against Lukashenko in 1996.
Protesters broke windows and glass doors, but were pushed back by riot police waiting inside the building, which also houses the Central Election Commission. Hundreds more riot police and Interior Ministry troops then arrived in trucks and sent most of the demonstrators fleeing.
Taliban show their reach, kill 13 Afghan troops
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) Insurgents struck Afghan security forces in Kabul and the north Sunday, killing 13 soldiers and police officers in attacks that show the Talibans capability to strike far from their southern strongholds.
The attacks, both claimed by the Taliban, began at daybreak in the northern city of Kunduz, when four militants stormed an army recruitment center. At least two of the insurgents detonated suicide vests, and the remaining fighters battled security forces in a daylong firefight that left four Afghan army soldiers and four police dead, Kunduz deputy police chief Abdul Rahman Aqtash said.
In Kabul, two insurgents strapped with explosives ambushed a bus carrying Afghan army officers to work during the morning rush hour on a main road into the city center, killing five and wounding nine, said Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi.
Snow cancels flights, delays holiday travelers
LONDON (AP) Stranded travelers slept on makeshift beds at European airports Sunday as wintry weather caused travel havoc, dashing the hopes of those attempting to head away for the holidays by road, rail and air.
It is almost inevitable that some cancelations and delays will continue through this week, potentially causing further disruption for many Christmas travelers, British travel industry group ABTA said.
Heathrow Airport, Europes busiest hub for air passengers, stopped accepting arrivals Sunday.
Icy conditions curtailed Europes high-speed train services, left cars skidding through slushy streets and saw major events postponed.
In Paris, a Lady Gaga concert was canceled because trucks delivering sets for the pop divas extravagant event couldnt get to the citys Bercy stadium.
Teenage sailor completes longest leg on solo voyage
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) A 15-year-old Dutch sailor on Sunday completed the longest leg so far of her attempted circumnavigation of the globe, saying it felt really weird to be back on dry land after nearly three weeks out in the ocean.
Fifteen-year-old Laura Dekker, aiming to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, was in good spirits after completing the 2,200 nautical-mile trip from the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa.
The Dutch teenager started her trip from Gibraltar on Aug. 21 and spent two months in the Canary Islands waiting for the hurricane season to pass. She left the Cape Verde Islands on Dec. 2.