Police attack protesters in Azerbaijani capital

By wire services
Published November 27, 2005

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Police used nightsticks and water cannons Saturday to beat back and disperse opposition protesters demanding a redo of disputed parliamentary elections, the first use of force against demonstrators since the vote.

Some 15,000 opposition activists gathered in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, to protest Nov. 6 parliamentary elections they claimed were rigged. It was the latest of such demonstrations in recent weeks.

The U.S. Embassy in Baku strongly condemned the police violence.

Baku's deputy police chief, Yashar Aliev, said 18 officers were injured in the clash with the protesters and that police detained 29 people. Opposition leaders said scores of protesters were beaten and many badly injured.

International observers criticized the Nov. 6 polls, saying they fell below democratic standards. But Western countries concerned about maintaining stability in the oil-rich Caspian Sea state bordering Iran have not endorsed opposition demands for repeat elections.

Tropical storm weakens further in open Atlantic

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Delta lost more strength on Saturday and threatened only shipping interests in the central Atlantic.

At 10 p.m. EST, the 25th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season had top sustained wind of 40 mph, just above the threshold for a tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center reported.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season officially ends Wednesday, but forecasters warn that tropical storms and hurricanes can develop in December.

Zimbabweans quietly avoid Senate election

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Embattled Zimbabweans showed little enthusiasm Saturday for a new Senate, forming longer lines in some areas to buy scarce food supplies than to vote for a body criticized as a costly ploy to strengthen President Robert Mugabe's grip on power.

The election has divided the main opposition party, threatening to destroy the only group to have seriously challenged Mugabe's 25-year rule.

State radio and independent observers reported a low turnout countrywide but did not specify figures. The radio said polls closed on schedule at 7 p.m. with no reports of political violence or intimidation during the day.

Outlawed political group continues streak in Egypt

BEHEIRA, Egypt - The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood captured at least 25 more seats in Egypt's Parliament in a runoff vote Saturday, despite what appeared to be a determined government effort to block its supporters and slow the Islamic-based organization's building momentum.

Preliminary Interior Ministry figures released early today showed the fundamentalist Brotherhood increasing its share in Parliament to at least 72 seats, a more than fourfold jump over its representation in the outgoing Parliament. A third and final stage of voting will be Thursday and another runoff is likely on Dec. 7.

The outcome, if it becomes final, would give the Brotherhood enough seats to nominate a presidential candidate in 2011 under new constitutional rules.

Indonesia reports new case of human bird flu

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia reported a new human bird flu infection Saturday, and Taiwan joined other Asian governments in announcing it wanted to produce the antiviral drug Tamiflu to treat people infected with the virus. At least 68 people have died from the virus in Asia since 2003, most in Vietnam. Almost all cases have been linked to contact with sick poultry.