Irans police chase hundreds protesting
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iranian police swinging clubs chased protesters and made arrests Sunday to disperse hundreds of people who gathered in the capital to mark the second anniversary of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejads disputed re-election, the opposition said.
Claims of fraud in the June 2009 election sent waves of protesters into streets around the nation for months, triggering a deadly crackdown and mass trials of activists and pro-reform politicians. The movement grew into the most serious challenge to Irans ruling system since its birth in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but it was largely swept from the streets after half a year and has failed to regain momentum.
The opposition website Kaleme.com said police wielding clubs tried to disperse protesters in one location of the capital, but there were few details.
Libyas rebels claim resurgence
MISRATA, Libya (AP) From the east and west, working with NATO air strikes, resurgent rebels battled Libyan government forces on Sunday at flashpoints along the Mediterranean coast, rebel commanders reported. The government said their victory claims were wishful reporting.
Insurgents had reported fighting street by street to retake the Mediterranean port city of Zawiya, 18 miles west of Tripoli, a prize that would put them within striking distance of the capital and cut off one of Moammar Gadhafis last supply routes from Tunisia.
But government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said late Sunday Gadhafi forces had driven off the attackers, and reporters taken to Zawiya saw secure streets and the green national flag flying over a central square. The insurgents, for their part, claimed a high-ranking Gadhafi commander was badly wounded in the fighting.
Jordans king bows to popular demands
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) Jordans king bowed to popular demands for elected Cabinets on Sunday but gave no timetable, saying that sudden change could lead to chaos and unrest in this country that has averted the turmoil seen in other Arab nations.
It was the first time King Abdullah II has made such a concession to Jordanians, who have taken to the streets during six months of pro-democracy protests to demand a greater political say in this key U.S. Arab ally.
Many Jordanians want the king to loosen his absolute grip on power, which includes appointing prime ministers and Cabinets.
In the televised speech Sunday marking his 12th year as Jordans ruler, Abdullah said that future Cabinets will be formed according to an elected parliamentary majority. He did not say when the change would take place, but suggested that it would come after relevant laws are in place.
Political analyst Labib Kamhawi said the kings remarks were a step forward, but we have to wait and see the final outcome.
The speech was positive on critical issues like electing a prime minister in the future, added Kamhawi, who is usually an outspoken critic of the kings policies. But we want to see more being done for wider civil liberties and less security interference in the affairs of the state.
Chileans urged to avoid volcano
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) Chilean officials ordered most residents already evacuated from homes near an erupting volcano to stay in shelters and with family and friends Sunday because of the threat of deadly landslides. The ash spread across the Pacific, prompting authorities to suspend flights in Australia and New Zealand.
The Cordon Caulle volcanos activity had diminished, but there was still a threat of deadly landslides containing mud and water as well as rocks and ash thrown from the volcano, Chiles National Geology and Mines Service said in a statement.
About 4,000 Chileans have been evacuated since the volcano began erupting June 4. The agency said the area north of the volcano is in danger of landslides and avalanches.
Thousands of passengers in Australia and New Zealand were affected Sunday as the ash cloud approached the two countries. Australias national carrier, Qantas Airways, grounded flights within the country and in New Zealand.
National carrier Air New Zealand did not cancel or delay any flights but adjusted flight routes and altitudes to ensure aircraft remain clear of any ash, company spokeswoman Tracy Mills said. The drifting clouds of fine grit can severely damage airplane engines.
Germany still seeks E. coli outbreak cause
BERLIN (AP) German authorities said Sunday that they havent yet been able to resolve how sprouts at a farm became contaminated with an aggressive strain of E. coli that has been blamed for 35 deaths.
Officials determined Friday that sprouts grown at the farm in Lower Saxony state, in northern Germany, were to blame for the outbreak, which also has sickened more than 3,000 people.
But the states agriculture ministry said it wasnt clear whether workers brought in the bug, or whether the bacteria got onto the farm on seeds or by some other means.
Tests on about 1,100 samples, nearly 300 of them from the farm, are ongoing in an effort to answer that question, the ministry said, but they have produced no positive results yet.
The total number of deaths linked to the outbreak now stands at 35, according to the World Health Organization all in Germany, except for one in Sweden.