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Around The World Nantes, France Anarchists riot

Nantes, France
Anarchists riot: Hundreds of violent anarchists rampaged through the historic city of Nantes last week, burning cars, smashing store windows, and throwing rocks at riot police, who responded with water cannons and tear gas. The estimated 1,000 rioters were among the 20,000 people prmesting a plan Urban gucmlla warfarc to build a regional airport. Farmers and environmentalists have long opposed the development, which would destroy dozens of farms and two nature preserves, and anarchists have taken up their cause. Interior Minister Manuel Valls blamed the ultraleft Black Bloc, which he said included foreigners, for turning the protest into "urban guerrilla" warfare.

La Ruana, Mexico
Vigilantes march: Hundreds of armed vigilames paraded through La Ruana this week to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the militia movement that ended a drug cartel's reign of terror in Michoadn state. Local ranchers and businessmen pitched in to buy weapons for the militia groups so they could battle Knights Templar gang members who had been extorting protection money. "People are happy; there is work," said Javier Cortes, a local priest. But now some former Knights have been allowed to join the militias, raising fears that the vigilantes could be undermined. "I am worried about letting the lookouts in because what they do is report to the Knights Templar what is going on," farmer Raul Jimenez told The New York Times.


Caracas, Venezuela
Masses in the streets: Unrest spread across Venezuela this week as anti-government protesters heaped furniture and trash to barricade major thoroughfares. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles urged demonstrators to stay in the streets, calling President Nicohis Maduro "an error in the history of the country" and rejecting Maduro's invitation to a peace conference of government and opposition figures. "This is a dying government," Capriles said. "I'm not going to be like the orchestra on the Titanic." Since the Maduro: De(imlt protests began two weeks ago, at least a dozen people have been killed in dashes with police, including a beauty queen who was shot in the head. The crisis began in San Cristobal, where students protesting a crime wave on campus were beaten and tear-gassed by police. More student demonstrations followed, along with more police brucality. That brought ordinary people into the streets along with the students, and now the protests encompass anger at rising crime, food shortages, and blackoucs as well as government repression. Maduro said the protests were the work of a foreign plot. "It's a campaign to justify an imervention in the domestic , . affairs of Venezuela," he said. Tear-gassed: A paroxysm ofanger Many Venezuelans, particularly the rural poor, still do support the governmem. But the more Maduro equates protest with treason, the more people pour imo the streets to assert their right to demonstrate. It is "a nationwide paroxysm of anger that putS the governmem's stability in question," said journalist Francisco Toro.

London
Ex-Gitmo detainee arrested: British police have arrested a former Guamanamo Bay detainee on suspicion of abetting terrorism in Syria. Moazzam Begg, a British citizen, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and transferred to U.S. custody in Bagram, Afghanistan-where, he said, he was tortured-and then Guanra.namo Bay. The U.S. released him without charge in 2005, and he became one of Britain's most famous Muslim activists and TV pundits, speaking frequently on human rights and discrimination. Begg says his trips to Syria in 2012 were for humanitarian work; British police say he attended a terrorist training camp there. Begg's passport was revoked in January.

Fortaleza, Brazil
Bypassing the U.S.: Brazil is going to build a new undersea communications cable to Europe that will be impervious to U.S. spying. President Dilma Rousseff struck a deal with European leaders to build the cable from Fortaleza, Brazil, to Lisbon, Portugal, at a cost of about $185 million. "We have to respect privacy, human rights, and the sovereignty of nations," Rousseff said. "We don't want businesses to be spied upon." Right now, Brazilian Internet traffic to Europe is routed through American undersea cables. Last fall, Rousseff canceled a trip to Washington after leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that her ccllphone and email had been tapped.

Ankara, Turkey
'Son, get rid of the money': Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdugan is on the defensive after the release of secret phone recordings in which he seems to be telling his son to hide some $1 billion in bribes. Erdugan said the recordings wete "an immoral produce of montage" and "completely false." They were purportedly made in December on the day police raided the homes and offices of Erdogan allies in a large corruption probe. Suspects in that investigation include the sons of three of Erdogan's cabinet ministers as well as his business allies and the chief of a state bank. Erdogan's government contends that the allegations afC being orchestrated by his rival, U.S.based Islamic scholar Fcrhullah Gulen. Hundreds of police and bureaucrats believed to be sympathetic co Gulen have been fired.


Bangui, Central African Republic
Muslims flee: Christian militiamen armed with guns and machetes are killing and terrorizing Muslims in the Central African Republic. Tens of thousands of Muslim families have fled to neighboring Chad or Cameroon, leaving behind their possessions to be looted or burned. The Christian militias say they are retaliating for anti-Christian violence by the Muslim Seleka rebels, who rook power last year. The French government agreed this week to extend its peacekeeping mission in the C.A.R. indefinitely, but critics say the country needs a much larger U.N. intervention. Some 1,600 French troops are trying to protect hundreds of thousands of refugees in a nation the size of France.

Beijing
Like nuclear winter: The smog that has settled across six provinces of China has made life "unbearable," Chinese officials said this week. Particulate concentration, considered unsafe over 25 micrograms per cubic meter, is well over 500 in Beijing, where the government told people to wear masks or stay indoors. He Dongxian, a professor at China Agriculrural University, said that if the current levels persist, China 'Unbearable'smog will experience conditions "similar to a nuclear winter," as smog blocks out the sun and stuntS crops. The government said it was checking to make sure that local authorities had closed polluting factories, as ordered last year.

Bangkok
Monks call for calm: Buddhist monks this week called on all sides to renounce violence after attacks on anti-government demonstrations left three children dead. "Hopefully, conscience and mindfulness will prevail and quickly be restored," said Phra Phaisal, a prominent abbor. The Bangkok protests against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have been going on for months, with protesters saying she is a front for her brother, ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup amid corruption allegations. Last week, an anti-corruption panel filed charges against Yingluck that could lead to her removal from office over excesses in a rice purchasing program, which is popular among farmers who back her.


Cairo
Mubarak ally in: An ally of ex-dictaror Hosni Mubarak is the new prime minister of Egypt. Ibrahim Mehlib, a construction magnate who once served as housing minister, was asked to form a new government after the military-backed government abruptly quit this week. "We will work together co rescore security and safety to Egypt and crush terrorism in all corners of the country," Mehlib said. The government's resignation was expected to pave the way for the popular military chief, Field Marshal AbdelFarrah e1-Sissi, to launch his campaign for the presidency. He will have to resign as defense minister in order to run.

Kampala, Uganda
Anti-gay witch hunt: Gays in Uganda can now be imprisoned for life, after President Yoweri Museveni this week signed a sweeping anti-gay law. Unlike the bill's first draft, the new law does not include a death penalty, but it provides prison terms for anyone who has gay sex or counsels gay people, which could include any Publlshmg a Int Its! international human rights group. "Aggravated homosexuality," including sex wirh a minor or while KIV-positive, brings a life sentence. Museveni said homosexuality is a choice, and he railed against the imposition of "Western values," saying, "Outsiders cannot dictate to us." The next day, a tabloid printed what was effectively a hit list of gays, under the headline" EXPOSEDl Uganda's 200 Top Homos Named." The U.S., which gives Uganda $400 million a year, said it would reassess its aid policy.

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