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March protests plan to silence TV station

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 20, 2007


VENEZUELA

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched Saturday in Caracas to support a TV station aligned with opponents of President Hugo Chavez, whose government plans to kick the channel off the air by not renewing its license. The protesters set off from four different points of the capital, converging downtown in the biggest show of support yet for Radio Caracas de Television, or RCTV, a network that has been critical of Chavez's government. RCTV is due to go off the air at midnight May 27, when the government says its license expires. The channel and its supporters argue Chavez is trying to silence criticism, while the government says that it will be replaced by a public-service station and that freedom of expression is being respected.

AUSTRALIA

Al-Qaida supporter lands in homeland

Australian David Hicks, who was convicted of aiding al-Qaida, landed today in his hometown of Adelaide in a government-chartered jet after more than five years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 31-year-old Hicks - the first terrorist suspect convicted by a U.S. military commission in Cuba - was transferred to a South Australia state prison to serve the final seven months of his sentence for aiding al-Qaida in Afghanistan, Attorney General Philip Ruddock said.

ROMANIA

President wins vote on his ouster

President Traian Basescu, a staunch U.S. ally, easily survived a referendum on his impeachment Saturday, according to exit polls showing a victory that he said reflected the popularity of his fight against corruption. Three-quarters of voters said they did not want to oust Basescu, according to an exit poll conducted by Insomar/Metro Media. A second poll, conducted by CURS, put the figure at 78.1 percent. Five parties in parliament called the referendum on his impeachment.

Elsewhere

Japan: State and navy police raided a Japanese naval academy Saturday over an alleged leak of sensitive warship technology data shared between Japan and the United States, officials said. Defense officials acknowledged the raid Saturday, but refused to provide details.

Pakistan: Embattled President Pervez Musharraf said in a television interview that he would not allow his two primary political opponents - Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto - to come back to Pakistan before elections slated for this year.

Mexico: Assailants shot dead a police commander in a wealthy Monterrey suburb on Saturday, the latest in a wave of killings of law enforcement officials across Mexico.