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WORLD IN BRIEF: Dutch rock fans snap up tickets to avoid new tax

Dutch rock fans snap up tickets to avoid new tax

AMSTERDAM — Tickets for a Dutch rock festival sold out in hours Friday, even though it’s nearly nine months away and not a single act has yet been announced.

The lure? Buy now, sock it to the man, and avoid higher ticket taxes.

Lowlands Festival organizers put tickets on sale months ahead of schedule to protest a government plan to increase taxes on live performances from 6 percent to 19 percent on Jan. 1.

The result: fans snapped up all 45,000 tickets in hours, even though the festival won’t take place until Aug. 19-21. The purchasers, most of them young, saved about $26 on each ticket, which were priced at $218 apiece.

North Korea fires artillery warning shots

YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea — A defiant flash of North Korean artillery within sight of the island that it attacked this week sent a warning signal to Seoul and Washington: The North is not backing down.

The apparent military drill Friday came as the top U.S. commander in South Korea toured Yeonpyeong island to survey the wreckage from the rain of artillery three days earlier. As a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier headed toward the Yellow Sea for exercises next week with South Korea, the North warned that the joint maneuvers will push the Korean peninsula to the ‘‘brink of war.’’

Forces arrest 149 al-Qaida suspects

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi authorities said Friday they arrested 149 al-Qaida suspects in a months-long sweep and thwarted attacks inside the kingdom on government officials, media personalities and civilian targets.

Saudi Arabia’s anti-terror campaign has largely crushed al-Qaida’s operations in the kingdom since a series of attacks there that began in 2003. Some key militants, however, fled across the southern border to Yemen, where the regional al-Qaida branch has re-established a stronghold from which to plot attacks on Saudi Arabia and beyond.

The new arrest raids over the past eight months revealed that al-Qaida-linked militants have also been able to maintain or rebuild an organizational structure inside Saudi Arabia with close links to al-Qaida leaders in Yemen.

— From wire reports