NGOs face restrictions
Moscow is considering new restrictions on human rights and other non-governmental groups (NGOs) to limit their ability to participate in Western democracy organizations, an activist said on Saturday. The proposed restrictions appeared to be the latest Kremlin effort to hamper the work of NGOs. Lyudmila Alexeyeva, director of the Moscow Helsinki Group, said the proposals were also backed by several other ex-Soviet republics with authoritarian governments, including Uzbekistan and Belarus.
Rebels claim killed troops
Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels said yesterday they had killed another 270 government troops in heightened fighting in the remote eastern region of the Horn of Africa. Most were blown up in packed trucks, the rebels said. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government has regularly denied ONLF reports of mass casualties as propaganda from its foreign supporters. It has itself reported many deaths on the rebel side during its offensive against them this year.
Gunman kills one
A gunman opened fire from his apartment balcony on Saturday evening, killing one person and injuring at least six others before surrendering to police, reports said. Two media reports described the man as a former army marshal, who was armed with both a rifle and a pistol. Police could not immediately confirm his identity. The man set fire to gasoline on his balcony then opened fire intermittently, hitting people below his apartment in the municipality of Guidonia, just outside Rome. Earlier reports said a doctor who was trying to rescue the injured was among the seriously wounded. Other reports said police were also injured, though final figures were unclear and reporters were kept away from the crime scene.
More than 100,000 Israelis gathered in the square where prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated to remember him 12 years after his killing. They also protested a court decision that would allow the killer to attend his son's circumcision ceremony, scheduled for yesterday, the anniversary of Rabin's slaying. Participants filled Rabin Square and spilled over into the surrounding streets on Saturday night. Some carried signs and banners calling for peace and tolerance. Police would not give an exact number, but organizers said as many as 150,000 attended the gathering. The square in front of Tel Aviv city hall was the site of a peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995. After it ended, Rabin was gunned down by an ultra-nationalist Jewish opponent of his policy of trading land to the Palestinians for peace.
■ Obama appears on SNL
After spending most of the day criticizing Hillary and Bill Clinton, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama took the stage with two impersonators -- Amy Poehler and Darrell Hammond -- on Saturday Night Live. The opening sketch of Saturday's broadcast featured Poehler and Hammond, as the Clintons, hosting a Halloween party. Toward the end of the sketch a man walked in wearing an Obama mask -- which he removed to reveal he was, indeed, Obama.