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Saudi Arabia bans all protest and marches

Move follows several small demonstrations by minority Shiites

Riyadh - Saudi Arabia said Saturday it would ban all protests and marches after minority Shiites staged small protests in the oil-producing eastern province.

Security forces would use all measures to prevent any attempt to disrupt public order, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by state television.

The ban follows a series of protests by Saudi Shiites in the kingdom's east in the past weeks mainly to demand the release of prisoners they say are long held without trial.

Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority mostly live in the east, which holds much of the oil wealth of the world's top crude exporter and is near Bahrain, scene of protests by majority Shiites against their Sunni rulers.

Saudi Shiites complain they struggle to get senior government jobs and other benefits like other citizens.

The government of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament that usually does not tolerate public dissent, denies these charges.

Last week, King Abdullah returned to Riyadh after a three-month medical absence and unveiled $37 billion in benefits for citizens in an apparent bid to insulate the kingdom from protests spreading in several Arab countries.

Che Guevara

HECO strike in Hawaii: 1,300 workers walk off the job amid power outages

© Dennis Oda / doda@staradvertiser.comHawaiian Electric workers picketed yesterday at Archer Lane and King Street after about 1,300 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 went on strike at 3:30 p.m.
Hawaiian Electric Co. used managers and outside contractors to repair storm-damaged power lines yesterday after its unionized work force walked off the job over a contract dispute.

HECO executives said the strike would slow efforts to restore service to about 8,000 Oahu homes and businesses, mostly in the Ewa Beach area, that were without power last night.

"We do have management crews out there to see what we can do about the Ewa Beach situation in particular this evening, and we will do our best to restore as much of that service as possible," said Robbie Alm, HECO executive vice president. "I don't want to guarantee that, obviously, we don't have our normal full crews out there."

About 1,300 HECO workers who are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 went on strike at 3:30 p.m. yesterday and began walking picket lines on Oahu, the Big Island and in Maui County.


Bahraini protesters form human chain around capital

© AFP PhotoThousands of Bahraini Protesters march during an anti-regime demonstration in the capital, Manama, on March 4, 2011.
Thousands of demonstrators form an enormous 'human chain' around the capital Manama as protests continue against the rule of the monarchy.

Protesters joined hands to encircle the capital as the nation enters its third week of protests, The Daily Express reported.

No police presence was reported during the peaceful demonstration. Organizers reported that some of the Sunnis, which constitute a minority in Bahrain, joined Saturday's event.

Protesters have accused the government of discriminatory policies and political persecution.

Friday saw an estimated 100,000 demonstrators in the capital's financial district following the Friday Prayers. Protesters then marched towards Pearl Square, the epicenter of the movement demanding the government to step down.


Yemen attack on protesters injures 25

Forces loyal to unpopular Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh have attacked anti-government protest camps south of Sana'a, killing three and injuring over two dozens of people.

"Large groups from the ruling party attacked the protest headquarters with stones and batons, and 25 people were injured including six in critical condition," a protest leader in the town of Ibb, south of the capital, was quoted by Reuters as saying on Sunday.

Meanwhile, opposition forces have called on protesters to continue their anti-government drive.

Mohammed Sabri, a leading member of the Common Forum opposition collation said "the president is a political corpse," AFP reported.

He said the dysfunctional character of his leadership was proven by the ruler's recent refusal to accept a proposal by the opposition and religious figures to give in to a "peaceful transition of power."

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Egypt not granting Israelis travel visas

© UnknownA poster held by supporters of Egypt's revolution celebrating in the capital, Cairo
Egypt's embassy in Tel Aviv has been refusing to issue travel visas for Israeli applicants, who usually do not have trouble obtaining the permission.

The embassy has not explicitly declared any travel ban, but it is delaying their visa requests, Israel's commercial television outlet, Channel 2 reported on its website on Sunday.

Yossi Fattal, the director-general of the Israel Travel Agents Association said the Israelis are told to come back next week for processing of their applications and the postponements continue.

People, however, continue to transit between the two sides through the Taba crossing in the northeastern Egypt.

The development comes weeks after a popular revolution in Egypt, where people say they are tired of being ruled by US-backed a regime.

Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down on February 11 as a result of the revolution.


Moore: Protesters have 'aroused a sleeping giant'

© Associated Press
Michael Moore addresses a crowd at the Capitol on Saturday, the 18th day of protests over Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers.

Protesters in Madison have "aroused a sleeping giant" in the national fight for workers' rights, filmmaker Michael Moore told thousands at the Capitol Square on Saturday, as rallies opposing Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposals wrapped up their third week.

"Right now the Earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge," said Moore, the Oscar-winning maker of Bowling for Columbine, whose documentaries also include Fahrenheit 911 and Capitalism: A Love Story.


Shiite protesters in Bahrain encircle capital

© Associated PressA Bahraini woman waves a national flag and carries a sign reading 'The people want the fall of the government' during a march tens of thousands strong
Manama, Bahrain - Thousands of Shiite protesters in Bahrain have formed a huge human chain around the capital, Manama, as their campaign to loosen the Sunni monarchy's grip on power in the strategic Gulf nation enters its third week.

No police were in sight Saturday as protesters - men and women - held hands to encircle Manama, where Bahrain's Shiite majority has been leading daily demonstrations to end what they say are discriminatory policies and political persecution.

Tensions have been high in the Gulf kingdom, the host of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, since a street battle between Sunnis and Shiites on Thursday left at least a dozen people injured.

Organizers say some members of the Sunni minority joined Saturday's event.


US: Charlie Sheen latest: 'I'm Jewish, off to Haiti'

© Agence France-PresseTroubled US actor Charlie Sheen rounded off a rollercoaster week by claiming that he couldn't be anti-Semitic because he is Jewish -- and saying he is off to Haiti, to help out there
Troubled US actor Charlie Sheen rounded off a rollercoaster week by claiming that he couldn't be anti-Semitic because he is Jewish -- and saying he is off to Haiti, to help out there.

Sheen, whose children were taken away from him a week after the hit TV series in which he stars was cancelled, said he should have mentioned his Jewishness when he was accused of anti-Semitism last week.

"My mom is Jewish. Here's where it gets confusing -- we don't know who her father was," he told the TV show Access Hollywood Live. "But she is, in fact, Jewish. So, I guess that would make me Jewish, and my children Jewish.

"And Brooke, my ex-wife is Jewish. So, I guess I should've rolled all that out too," he added.

Challenged about why he didn't mention this earlier, he added: "I know, I know -- stupid me .. I just got caught sleeping. Caught napping. Which is rare for me."

The comments came a week after hit TV show Two and a Half Men was canceled for the rest of the season following Sheen's repeated attack on its producer, Chuck Lorre.


U.S. Kids Who Skip School are Tracked by GPS

© Rose Palmisano, The Orange County RegisterJuan Cruz Sr. signs an agreement with the Anaheim Union High School District to begin tracking his son's whereabouts through a hand-held GPS. The GPS was handed out to several students who have excessive truancy.
Anaheim - Frustrated by students habitually skipping class, police and school officials in Anaheim are turning to GPS tracking to ensure they come to class.

The Anaheim Union High School District is the first in California to test Global Positioning System technology as part of a six-week pilot program that began last week, officials said.

Seventh- and eighth-graders with four unexcused absences or more this school year are assigned to carry a hand held GPS device, about the size of a cell phone.

Each morning on schooldays, they get an automated phone call reminding them that they need to get to school on time.

Then, five times a day, they are required to enter a code that tracks their locations - as they leave for school, when they arrive at school, at lunchtime, when they leave school and at 8 p.m.


Risk mounts for refugees from Libya

© Emilio Morenatti/Associated PressMen from Bangladesh, who worked in Libya but recently fled the unrest, wait for information during their repatriation process in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, on Saturday. Most Bangladeshis appear to have arrived in Tunisia penniless because their Libyan employers did not pay them or because they were robbed on the way.
Ras Adjir, Tunisia - Thousands of migrant workers were on the move in Libya on Saturday, trying to flee the fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi's regime, U.N. refugee agency officials said.

Most of the thousands of foreign workers in Libya's rebel-held port of Benghazi were evacuated, the officials said, and about 10,000 others inside Libya were heading for a border crossing at Salloum, Egypt.

At the Libya-Tunisia border, thousands spent the night in a 20,000-capacity tent camp, awaiting evacuation. Some of those coming from Libya in the past two days said they had attempted the journey before but were held back by heavy fighting along the way.

There has been a marked drop in the number of migrant workers coming across the border, from a peak of 20,000 several days ago to between 1,400 and 1,800, the U.N. said. On Saturday, only 500 had crossed into Tunisia by midday, said a U.N. official at the border.