May 20, 2012 12:15 am Greece calls for elections
ATHENS — Greece's Parliament was formally dissolved and fresh elections called Saturday, a day after politicians in Athens reacted angrily to an alleged suggestion that a referendum should be held asking whether Greeks want to stay in the eurozone.
A presidential decree formally dissolved the short-lived 300-seat Parliament elected May 6 and called an election for June 17.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has denied widespread reports that she suggested — during a telephone call with Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Friday — that a referendum on the eurozone should be held at the same time as parliamentary elections. nevertheless, Greek politicians rejected the suggestion angrily, with many saying it was an inappropriate attempt to interfere in domestic affairs.
Torch relay under way
LAND'S END, England — British sailing standout Ben Ainslie kicked off the torch relay for the 2012 London Olympics on Saturday with a stroll through teary, flag-waving crowds who cheered the arrival of the flame to Britain.
Hundreds snapped photos as the gold medal winner jauntily walked past. they banged on plastic tambourines handed out by sponsors, creating a roar that shook the hillsides of this picturesque spot — the farthest point west in England.
The event will last for 70 days and end with the lighting of the cauldron to start the games July 27.
Syria car bomb kills 9
BEIRUT — a car bomb in the parking lot of a Syrian military compound killed at least nine people Saturday, the latest in increasingly frequent bombings in major cities to target the regime's security services.
The suicide bombing struck the eastern city of Deir al-Zour, blowing holes in walls of buildings and sending up a plume of smoke that stretched across the horizon. Syrian TV showed smoldering cars and trucks flipped upside down. Debris filled a street that was stained with blood. No one immediately claimed responsibility.
7 facing terror charges
DUBLIN — seven Irish republicans were arraigned Saturday on terror charges following a security sweep against militants plotting to sabotage Northern Ireland's peace process.
Three were charged with “directing terror,” a crime never before levied against a suspected Irish Republican Army member in Northern Ireland. use of the charge suggests that police and Britain's domestic spy agency, MI5, believe they have caught senior members of the Real IRA faction.
Thailand marks crackdown
BANGKOK — Buddhist monks led prayers as tens of thousands gathered Saturday in Bangkok to mark the second anniversary of deadly clashes between soldiers and “Red Shirt” protesters.
The scene Saturday was a sharp contrast with two years earlier, when Thailand was at war with itself and troops moved in to crush a nine-week anti-government protest that left more than 90 people dead and 2,000 injured. it was the country's worst political violence in decades.
Drug kingpin arrested
SAN DIEGO — Alleged drug kingpin Victor Emilio Cazares, among the most wanted trafficking suspects in the U.S., has been arrested in Mexico, U.S. and Mexican officials say, despite having changed his appearance through plastic surgery.
A senior U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico confirmed last week that mr. Cazares was captured April 8 at a highway checkpoint near the western city of Guadalajara. Mexican authorities Friday confirmed Cazares was in custody.
– Compiled from news services
first Published May 20, 2012 12:00 am