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Friday, March 4, 2011

ivory coast

Gbagbo loyalists kill 6 female protesters

Security forces loyal to the man clinging to power in Ivory Coast fatally shot six women protesting his refusal to leave office Thursday, as the United Nations said more than 200,000 people have fled intensified fighting.

The demonstrators were cut down by machine-gun fire in Abobo, the suburb of the main city, Abidjan, that has been the scene of the bloodiest clashes since a Nov. 28 election that international observers say Laurent Gbagbo lost to Alassane Ouattara.

An assistant to the mayor of Abobo said forces in an armored personnel carrier and several pickup trucks appeared as the women were protesting and shot them, adding that one woman was "torn to pieces" by the barrage.

Nearly 400 people have been killed during the three-month-old crisis, almost all of them men who had voted for Ouattara, according to U.N. and Associated Press tallies.

Last week, Gbagbo's security forces entered Abobo and began shelling it with mortars, escalating the conflict from one mainly fought with guns to one fought with war-grade weapons.

- Associated Press


Airport killings called possible terrorism

The suspect in the slaying of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport has acknowledged targeting American military members, a German security official said Thursday as investigators probed what they considered a possible act of Islamist terrorism.

German federal prosecutors took over the investigation into Wednesday's shooting, which also injured two U.S. airmen. They are working with U.S. authorities, who said Thursday that the suspect was not on any American watch list.

Hesse state Interior Minister Boris Rhein said that the suspect, a 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo whose family has lived in Germany for 40 years, was apparently radicalized in recent weeks.

- Associated Press


Warnings stepped up for foreign journalists

Chinese police are further intensifying pressure on foreign reporters, warning them to stay away from spots designated for Middle East-inspired protests and threatening them with expulsion or revocation of their credentials.

Staff from overseas news organizations including the Associated Press were called in for videotaped meetings with Beijing police Wednesday and Thursday and told that reporters trying to film or interview near sites designated for demonstrations in Beijing or Shanghai on Sunday would be punished.

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