Clashes at gay rights rally
A gay rights rally in St Petersburg has ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists. The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. According to news agencies, the police detained 67 people from both sides. The scuffles started after anti-gay protesters tore a rainbow flag out of a woman’s hands. The St Petersburg city government had sanctioned the rally despite the government’s June passage of a contentious law outlawing gay “propaganda.” Russian gays have faced increasing pressure and threats of violence, protesters said. St Petersburg police could not immediately be reached for comment.
Belgium wins wine tasting
Belgium on Saturday won the first world blind wine-tasting competition for teams, with Denmark and England finishing second and third, organizers said. Philippe Ketelslegers, Filip Mesdom, Eric Derenne and Serge Condens took top honors at the competition held in the southwestern town of Leognan, near the nation’s winegrowing capital of Bordeaux. A total of 16 teams from around the world, including South Africa, China, Russia, Argentina and Quebec, took part. The competition aimed to “bring together... all these amateurs, tasters from the world over, who can sometimes feel isolated in their home countries,” said Philippe de Cantenac, a journalist for the French wine monthly that organized the event. The teams, blind-tasting 12 fine wines from around the world, had to identify their countries of origin, the grape varieties used in them, their appellations and their vintages. A second edition of the competition will be held next year in another city, Cantenac said. The magazine La Revue du Vin de France has already hosted European championships in the same town since 2008.
Gaza tunnels uncovered
The military said it has discovered an underground tunnel dug from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel. The military says it believes the Islamist group, which governs the Palestinian territory, dug the tunnel to carry out an attack or to kidnap Israelis. The army yesterday said it discovered the tunnel a week ago, after finding an opening near a kibbutz along the border with Gaza. The army statement added that the tunnel is 2.5km long and appears to have been recently dug and in use until its discovery. Hamas has dug tunnels into the country in the past. In 2006, Hamas militants sneaked into the country through one such tunnel, kidnapped a soldier and held him hostage in Gaza for five years.
MiG crash kills one
An army MiG-21 aircraft crashed yesterday near the southern city of Luxor, leaving one person dead and three others injured on the ground after the crew ejected, officials said. The Russian-built MiG was conducting a routine training flight when it caught fire shortly after takeoff from a military airport in Luxor.
Both pilots parachuted out of the plane before it crashed onto a small village in the al-Madamod area, killing one person, officials said. Three people were also injured in the accident and rushed to Luxor’s main hospital. Military and civil police forces cordoned off the area of the crash as authorities worked to determine the cause, officials said.