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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

GREECE

Fresh Attack Stirs Terrorism Fears

Greek anti-terrorism police are investigating an attack Monday against riot police in Athens that severely wounded a policeman and raised fears of a resurgence of domestic terrorism.

At least two gunmen sprayed riot police with automatic-weapons fire outside the Culture Ministry before dawn Monday. Authorities said the attack may be linked to an extreme left-wing group that fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy in Athens two years ago.

The attack marked a sharp escalation in violence for Greece, which last month suffered its worst riots in decades after police fatally shot a teenager.

Death Toll in Guatemalan Mudslide Reaches 34

Rescue workers were digging for victims of a landslide that tore down the side of a mountain Sunday and buried a northern Guatemalan highway near the village of Aquil Grande, killing at least 34 people.

Blast Shuts Down Canadian Natural Gas Facility

An explosion at a natural gas facility in northeastern British Columbia forced the site to shut down, in what appeared to be the fourth attack in four months on EnCana, one of Canada's largest energy companies. Investigators said it resembled three blasts in October, also at EnCana, in the same area. No one has been injured.

Lebanon Sets June Date for Parliamentary Vote

Lebanon said its parliamentary election, in which Christian swing voters are expected to play a determining role, will be held June 7. The vote will decide whether the Sunni-led coalition supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia retains its slim majority or loses to a Hezbollah-led Shiite alliance backed by Syria and Iran.

Unlimited Terms Backed for Venezuela Politicians

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said that a constitutional referendum proposed for next month to lift limits on presidential reelection will include a measure to end similar limits for governors and mayors. Chávez lost a 2007 vote to change the constitution to allow the president to stand for reelection an indefinite number of times. Broadening the measure may mean the socialist leader hopes to boost the cooperation of local leaders for what is expected to be a close vote.

Sri Lankan Troops Close In on Rebel-Held Isthmus

Sri Lankan troops advanced toward Tamil Tiger strongholds, moving into position to assault the heavily fortified isthmus leading to the Jaffna peninsula. Troops moved just south of Elephant Pass, the gateway to Jaffna that the Tigers seized in 2000, and also took Oddosudan, en route to the Tigers' last major stronghold at Mullaittivu port.

China Targets Google in Pornography Crackdown

China warned Google and other popular Web portals that they must do more to block pornographic material from reaching Chinese users, the latest in a series of government crackdowns targeting Internet content. Pornography is banned in China but remains widely available on and off the Internet.

Ahmadinejad Ignores Volunteers for Israel Fight

More than 70,000 Iranian students have volunteered to carry out suicide bombings against Israel, Iran's state news agency reported, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not responded to their request for permission. Volunteers have made similar requests in the past, and the government has never responded.

Moroccan Immigrant Becomes Mayor of Dutch City

The son of a Muslim preacher became the first Moroccan-born mayor of a Dutch city. Ahmed Aboutaleb, a 47-year-old former journalist, has been likened to President-elect Barack Obama for breaching barriers that have long kept immigrants out of the Dutch corridors of power.

From News Services

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