Mexicans Protest Move

To Oust Capital's Mayor

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico City's populist mayor led more than 150,000 demonstrators in a march Sunday to protest efforts to impeach him, an issue his supporters say threatens Mexico's political stability and pits "those on the bottom" against "those on top."

Protesters brought in by hundreds of buses from nearby states mingled with local supporters of Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leading contender in the 2006 presidential race.

Federal prosecutors have filed a case to remove Lopez Obrador's official immunity from prosecution -- a move that would bar him from running in 2006 -- because he allegedly ignored court orders in an obscure land-use case in which the city allegedly infringed on private property.

EUROPE

* -A Moscow-backed policeman won Chechnya's presidential election, according to early results from a tense poll marked by a bomb blast in which only the attacker was killed.

Acting president Sergei Abramov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying Alu Alkhanov, who benefited from Kremlin backing and a publicity campaign that overshadowed his six little-known opponents, had won more than 50 percent of votes.

The Kremlin-sponsored poll took place against the backdrop of fighting in Chechnya and two plane crashes that killed at least 89 people elsewhere in Russia.

* ROME -- A boatload of 241 migrants landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the port authority said, the latest in a series of such landings there in the last few days.

A 15-meter fishing boat was intercepted by the Italian navy. Of the men and boys found on board, 220 claimed to be Palestinians.

AFRICA

* ABUJA, Nigeria -- Darfur rebels and the Sudanese government ended peace talks in Nigeria deadlocked on how to address what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The rebels and the Sudanese delegation presented separate analyses of the situation to African Union mediators in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, a day before the U.N. deadline asking Sudan to address the crisis or face sanctions.

THE AMERICAS

* CARACAS, Venezuela -- Emboldened by a recent referendum victory, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez promised land redistribution as he pressed ahead with the "revolutionary" reforms at the heart of the nation's political conflict.

Critics say Chavez's reforms have increased state control over the economy and made investors wary of Venezuela.

* SAO PAULO, Brazil -- An overcrowded balcony collapsed inside a popular Sao Paulo nightclub that featured male strippers, killing six people and injuring at least 117, police said.

The MIDDLE EAST

* SALFIT, West Bank -- Thousands of Palestinians gathered at a West Bank park, defying the disapproval of Islamic militants, in the hope that their pop idol would become the first Palestinian to win an Arab song contest.

But an audible sigh could be heard among the more than 4,000 fans watching a giant video screen in the West Bank city of Salfit as Ammar Hassan, 27, lost to Libyan singer Ayman Atar in the "Super Star" contest beamed from Lebanon.

Some Palestinian militants objected to the hoopla. Islamic groups said it distracted the public from a two-week-old hunger strike by 2,000 Palestinian prisoners demanding better conditions in Israeli jails.

ASIA

* ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistani security forces have arrested a man suspected of involvement in a plot last year to kill President Pervez Musharraf and of links to al Qaeda, security officials said.

Omar Rehman was detained with two relatives at his village home in North-West Frontier Province, about 95 miles north of Islamabad, an intelligence official said.

* NEW DELHI -- India test-launched a surface-to-surface missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

The Agni II missile lifted off from India's testing range on the coast of eastern Orissa state, Defense Ministry spokesman Amitabh Chakravorty said.

-- From News Services

More than 150,000 people protested efforts to impeach Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico City's mayor and a contender in the 2006 presidential race.