Opposition Groups Stage

Rallies Against Mubarak

CAIRO -- Egyptian opposition groups staged anti-government protests in Cairo on Wednesday, calling for an end to emergency laws and the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.

"We want a free government. Life has become bitter," chanted the protesters, who were allowed to march through one of the busiest squares in Cairo and down a main road near parliament. The protesters demanded term limits for Egypt's presidency and an end to emergency laws in place since 1981.

In a separate protest, scuffles broke out between police and a small group of demonstrators who tried to march down the street.

Riot police hit two or three of them with batons but there were no serious injuries.

EUROPE

* BRUSSELS -- A Belgian court has sentenced two Rwandan half brothers to 12 and 10 years in prison for helping Hutu militias slaughter about 50,000 people during a 1994 genocide that killed hundreds of thousands. Prosecutors had accused businessmen Etienne Nzabonimana and Samuel Ndashyikirwa of supplying militant Hutus with vehicles and weapons for their rampages and plying them with beer after their killing sprees.

* BRUSSELS -- The European Commission formally proposed opening membership talks with Turkey on Oct. 3, but acknowledged there were misgivings about letting the relatively poor, predominantly Muslim nation into the bloc.

The recent rejection of a proposed E.U. constitution by French and Dutch voters had led senior French politicians to demand a pause in the union's expansion.

AFRICA

* DURBAN, South Africa -- Ousted deputy president Jacob Zuma appeared in court on corruption charges. He was immediately released on $150 bail and the case was postponed until October.

Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the court as Zuma arrived for the hearing in a case that has hobbled his chances of becoming president in 2009.

-- From News Services

A 646.2-pound giant catfish, netted by fishermen along the Mekong River in Thailand, is believed to be the largest freshwater fish ever found. Environmentalists and government officials tried to negotiate the fish's release, but the adult male died and was later eaten in a remote village.