Rebels oust president of C. African Republic Syrian opposition in disarray Anti-gay-marriage clashes in Paris Cyprus, creditors reach deal Turkey: No quick ties with Israel
BANGUI, Central African Republic -- Rebels overthrew Central African Republic's president of a decade on Sunday, seizing the presidential palace and declaring that the desperately poor country has "opened a new page in its history." The country's president fled the capital, while extra French troops moved to secure the airport, officials said.
The rebels' invasion of the capital came just two months after they had signed a peace agreement that would have let President Francois Bozize serve until 2016. That deal unraveled in recent days, prompting the insurgents' advance into Bangui and Bozize's departure. Bozize is believed to have fled to neighboring Congo.
"Central African Republic has just opened a new page in its history," said a communique signed by Justin Kombo Moustapha, secretary-general of the alliance of rebel groups known as Seleka.
Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million, has long been wracked by rebellions and power grabs.
BEIRUT -- Syria's opposition plunged into disarray Sunday as its president quit and its military chief refused to recognize the newly elected prime minister of an interim government for rebel-held areas.
The first blow to the opposition Syrian National Coalition was the surprise resignation of its president, who said he was quitting in frustration over what he called lack of international support and constraints imposed by the body itself. Mouaz al-Khatib, who rose to prominence as a preacher in Damascus' most famous mosque, said in a statement posted on his Facebook page that he blamed world powers for not offering Syria's rebels the support they demand.
Also, despite electing a U.S.-educated prime minister last week to head a planned interim government, the head of the coalition's military branch, Gen. Salim Idris, said his group refused to recognize the new prime minister, a little-known IT professional from Texas, because he lacked broad support among the opposition.
PARIS -- Paris riot police fought back crowds who pushed their way onto Paris' landmark Champs-Elysees avenue as part of a huge protest against a draft law allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.
Hundreds of thousands of people converged on the capital Sunday in a last-ditch bid to stop the bill. The lower house of France's parliament approved the "marriage for everyone" bill last month with a large majority, and it's facing a vote in the Senate next month.
As the protest was winding down, about 100 youths tried to push past police barricades onto the Champs-Elysees. Police officers wrangled with the youths and then fired tear gas to force them back. Gaining momentum, more and more protesters took side streets to reach the avenue, blocking a key intersection on the route to the president's Elysee Palace.
Police fired more tear gas but were unable to block the crowds from spilling onto the avenue. "Hollande, Resignation!" the protestors chanted, before breaking into the French anthem, "La Marseillaise."
BRUSSELS -- A diplomat saysCyprus and its international creditors have agreed on the key elements of an agreement that paves the way for the nation to receive a $13 billion bailout.
The European Union diplomat said early today that Cyprus' second-largest bank, Laiki, will be restructured and holders of bank deposits of more than 100,000 euros will have to take losses. The diplomat did not elaborate on how much large deposit holders would lose.
He said the agreement between Cyprus, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission still needs approval by the 17-nation eurozone's finance ministers.
ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested "normalization" of ties with Israel would take time, hinting that Turkey wanted to ensure that the victims of a flotilla raid were compensated and Israel remained committed to the easing of restrictions of goods to Gaza before relations are restored between the two nations.
Erdogan's comments on Sunday came days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Turkish leader to apologize for the botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 that killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American. Erdogan accepted the apology and both leaders said they would begin the work of restoring full relations.