January 27, 2013

Egyptian officials say at least 30 people were killed Saturday outside a prison in Port Said. They died in clashes that broke out after a court sentenced 21 people to death over the country's deadliest football riot. Relatives of those sentenced to death fought with police guarding the prison where those who had been found guilty were being held. Many people were reported injured in the clashes. Military police were called in to restore order. The deadly riot at the football match took place last year. Seventy-four people were killed.

Egypt deployed troops early Saturday to the city of Suez to deal with violence there. At least six people died in the clashes between police and protesters Friday. The protest marked the second anniversary of the rebellion that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. There was also violence across Egypt because of nationwide protests called to mark the anniversary of the revolution. In addition to the six killed in Suez, another person was killed Friday in Ismailia. The Health Ministry says more than 450 people were injured across the country. President Mohamed Morsi has appealed for calm.

French officials say French-supported Malian forces have re-captured Gao, an Islamist militant headquarters city in the country's north. The French Defense Ministry said some troops from Nigeria and Chad were moving into the city to increase security. The ministry also said the city's mayor was returning. The mayor had sought safety in the capital, Bamako. The VOA correspondent in Mali says the military intervention in Gao is important because the city had become a safe place for rebel groups. Earlier Saturday, French and Malian forces regained control of Gao's airport and a nearby bridge.

NATO says the first six missile defense batteries sent to Turkey are ready to operate. The radar and missile launching devices are to protect against possible attack from Syria. The alliance says the Patriot missile battery went, in its words, "under command and control" in the southern city of Adana on Saturday. The first battery was Dutch. The Netherlands, the United States and Germany are each providing two batteries of the Patriots made by the United States. NATO expects to make the rest of its units fully operational in the next few days. The Syrian government has criticized the NATO deployment of the Patriots.

International financial leaders have ended their meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The leaders warned that much still must be done to calm the world economy. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde told the meeting in Davos that the IMF expects what she calls "a fragile and timid" recovery. But she said that will happen only if leaders in the top economies of Europe, the United States and Japan make what she called "the right decisions." Ms Lagarde warned the 17 countries that use the euro against feeling too satisfied because Italy and Spain survived the worst of the European crisis.

The United States has withdrawn from a joint civil rights working group with Russia. American State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday the decision had been made because of the [Russian's government] Russian government's recent restrictions on civil society. She said the group is no longer effective. Ms Nuland said the United States will continue to work with Russia on many issues, including human rights. But she said Americans will express their opinions when the two countries disagree. In October, Russia expelled the United States Agency for International Development, accusing it of interfering in Russian political affairs. The United States strongly denied the accusation.

Officials say a riot in a western Venezuelan prison has killed over 20 people and wounded many more. Some reports say the death count at Centro Occidental prison could be 50 or higher. A statement from Prisons Minister Iris Varela said prisoners rebelled when prison officials began a search for weapons on Friday. Local prison activist groups say Venezuela's prisons are overcrowded. They say the prisons were designed to hold about one third of the 50,000 people now in them.

Prime Minister Milos Zeman has won the Czech Republic's first direct presidential election since the former Czechoslovakia divided into two nations. Mr Zeman captured 55 percent of the vote in a second election against Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. The two days of voting ended on Saturday. The president-elect supports the expansion of the European Union. Milos Zeman will replace President Vaclav Klaus, whose term ends in March. The former Czechoslovakia broke into Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1993.

The remains of Japanese hostages killed by militants in Algeria were returned to Japan on Saturday. The Japanese victims including seven survivors were taken hostage by Islamist militants at a natural gas center one week ago.