Israel police ban Arab culture day

JERUSALEM - Israeli authorities broke up a series of Palestinian cultural events in Jerusalem on Saturday, disrupting a children's march and bursting balloons at a schoolyard celebration in a crackdown that underscored the emotional battle over control of the disputed holy city.

Palestinian activists called for Saturday's celebrations to mark the Arab League's designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009. The 23-nation group chooses a different city for the honor each year.

But Israel said the events violated a ban on Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the crackdown.

Witness contradicts accused in Italy

PERUGIA, Italy - A grocer testified Saturday that an American student accused of killing her British roommate in Italy was in his store early on the morning after the death, contradicting the timeline she offered.

Defendant Amanda Knox has said she woke up mid-morning the day after her roommate Meredith Kercher died from a stab wound to the neck.

Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are accused of killing the 21-year-old British student on the night of Nov. 1, 2007. Prosecutors say Kercher was killed between

9 p.m. and 11 p.m. during what started as a sex game. Kercher's body was found the next morning in the Perugia house they shared.

Pope urges Angolans to convert

LUANDA, Angola - Tens of thousands of Angola's Catholics lined the streets of the capital Saturday for a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI, who urged the country's faithful to reach out and convert people who believe in witchcraft.

'In today's Angola,' he said at Mass in Luanda, 'Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits, of evil powers by whom they feel threatened.'

He also gave a message of hope to young people, including some wounded and maimed during Angola's long civil war, when he addressed a crowd of some 30,000 people later at a sports stadium, where a drum concert was held.

'I think of the many tears you shed for the loss of relatives,' he said.