Security tight for Olympic torch relay in Australia
CANBERRA, Australia - Pro-Tibet activists with banners and candles staged protests of the Olympic flame Wednesday, while police put up crowd-control barriers and vowed that nothing would stop the torch from completing its trip through Australia's capital.
Organizers of today's portion of the Olympic torch relay worried that chaotic demonstrations that marred the event elsewhere could be repeated.
Protests of China's human rights record and its crackdown on anti-government activists in Tibet have turned the relay into a contentious issue for the Olympic movement.
Hopes fade for missing priest
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Hopes dimmed on Wednesday for a priest who vanished after sailing into the air under hundreds of colorful balloons. The cleric's former flight teacher called his disappearance a 'tragedy foretold.'
Paragliding instructor Marcio Andre Lichtnow, who gave courses to the Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli three years ago, described him as a 'headstrong, anxious individual who was always in a rush.'
'After two or three months, I asked him to abandon the course because of these personality traits, which are not the ideal profile for a paraglider,' Lichtnow told The Associated Press by telephone. 'So what happened comes as no big surprise.'
At least 90 dead after fierce battle on Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan troops fought one of their fiercest battles in years Wednesday, battering each other with small arms and mortars in a confrontation that the military said killed 52 guerrillas and 38 soldiers.
The rebels claimed they killed more than 100 soldiers and lost only 16 of their fighters in a 10-hour firefight they characterized as a rout of the heavily armed government forces.
US general urges al-Sadr to control his militia forces
BAGHDAD - A top American general urged radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday to rein in his fighters as a U.S. soldier was killed during a gunbattle in a militia stronghold in Baghdad.
Two bombings also struck the northern city of Mosul within 30 minutes, killing four people and wounding 12.
The U.S. soldier died from a bullet wound in a clash in New Baghdad, a stronghold of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia in an eastern section of the capital, according to Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a military spokesman.