Thousands protest delay in Georgia's election
Tens of thousands of protesters descended on Georgia's Parliament on Friday demanding new elections. Demonstrators filled the square outside...
Tens of thousands of protesters descended on Georgia's Parliament on Friday demanding new elections.
Demonstrators filled the square outside Parliament to protest the regime of President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was swept to power with promises of democratic transformation in 2003's so-called Rose Revolution.
Opposition leaders are angry with a decision to delay parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for April, to October so they coincide with a stepped-up presidential election. The opposition hopes to capitalize on rising public dissatisfaction with Saakashvili's party, which dominates Parliament.
A coalition of 10 opposition parties was overseeing the protest, but thousands of citizens who joined in, many from outlying provinces, expressed disappointment that the new government has not improved life quickly enough for many Georgians despite its economic reforms and crackdown on corruption.
U.N. relief effort held up by rains
U.N. helicopters were waiting out driving rain that lashed Haiti on Friday before they could assess flood damage from Tropical Storm Noel, which killed at least 48 here and left thousands homeless.
In the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, the rains largely let up, allowing flights carrying urgently needed relief supplies.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic confirmed 82 deaths and said at least 62,000 were left homeless.
U.S. Southern Command officials said Friday they would send rescue teams to Dominican Republic over the weekend. Two helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard have already been deployed. The United States has contributed more than $1 million in aid.
The storm grew into Hurricane Noel as it passed Thursday over the Bahamas. The storm then shifted north over the ocean and headed parallel to the U.S. Atlantic coast toward Nova Scotia.
Noel is the deadliest storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, with at least 132 dead.
By Friday evening, it had sustained winds of 80 mph and was centered about 320 miles southeast of North Carolina. Forecasters say 2 to 4 inches of rain could fall on the state's Outer Banks, while isolated areas of New England might see 6 inches.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Ex-matron at Oprah school arrested
A former employee of Oprah Winfrey's school for disadvantaged girls in South Africa has been arrested on charges of abuse and sexual assault, police said Friday.
A police spokesman, Supt. Lungelo Dlamini, said the 27-year-old woman, a former dormitory matron at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, was arrested on Thursday by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit.
At least seven victims have submitted statements, he said. The woman was being held by police and was expected to appear Monday in court, he said.
Seattle Times news services
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