Police in Bangladesh Prevent

Protest on Koran Desecration

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Bangladeshi police on Saturday prevented a planned march on Dhaka's diplomatic quarter by thousands of Islamic activists who said they were protesting the desecration of the Koran by U.S. troops.

Nearly 3,000 activists in the radical Islamic Constitution Movement gathered outside the Baitul Mokarram national mosque and started marching toward the U.S. Embassy in the diplomatic quarter.

There have been numerous protests in many Muslim cities over reports that U.S. military interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba mishandled the Koran to humiliate Muslim prisoners.

THE AMERICAS

* MEXICO CITY -- A former Mexican president's brother whose murder conviction was overturned last week must pay $2.9 million in bail before leaving prison.

Raul Salinas, imprisoned since 1995 for masterminding the assassination of a prominent politician, still faces charges associated with having millions of unexplained dollars in Swiss bank accounts.

ASIA

* MANILA -- An estimated 5,000 protesters demanded that Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo step down, marking the biggest anti-government rally since allegations surfaced that she fixed last year's election and that her family received gambling kickbacks.

* MULTAN, Pakistan -- A Pakistani woman who was gang-raped on orders from a village council asked the government to lift restrictions on her movement. Mukhtar Mai said she had suddenly been included without explanation on a government list of people who cannot leave Pakistan. Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Mai was raped to punish her family after her brother allegedly had an illicit affair with a woman from another family. Her comments came a day after a court in the eastern city of Lahore ordered the release of 12 men detained in March in connection with her rape.

* BEIJING -- A torrential flood hit a school in northeast China and swept 91 people -- most of them children -- to their deaths late Friday, while a fire in the south raced through the top floors of a hotel and killed 31 on Saturday. Authorities in Beijing were struggling to handle the twin tragedies thousands of miles apart.

* HONG KONG -- A Frenchman who calls himself "Spiderman" scaled a 62-story skyscraper in Hong Kong using only his bare hands.

Wearing just a pair of red pants, Alain Robert climbed the Cheung Kong Center in about an hour, pausing several times to rest and answer his cell phone.

Robert, renowned for climbing without ropes or other equipment, scaled the world's tallest building -- Taipei 101 -- in December. The 1,679-foot building is in Taiwan.

-- From News Services