POLAND: Arab Spring audits election
With activists from Egypt, Libya and Tunisia observing to gain experience of democratic elections, Prime Minister Donald Tusk appeared to clinch a second term for his centrist, pro-European Civic Platform party in parliamentary elections Sunday, a historic first in Poland's post-communist era. An exit poll gave Tusk's party nearly 40 percent support, well ahead of the conservative Law and Justice party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski. A new left-wing party, Palikot's Movement, was third, gaining popularity on promises to fight the power of the Roman Catholic church, support gay rights and legalize pot.
TUNISIA: Islamists protest film
Police arrested dozens of Islamist demonstrators set on attacking the offices of a television channel that had shown the award-winning film "Persepolis," officials said yesterday. It was the latest attack against perceived symbols of secularism by hard-core Muslims ahead of this month's election. Suppressed by the former regime, conservative Muslims are increasingly making themselves heard.
SYRIA: Regime denounces council
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem warned the international community Sunday not to recognize a new umbrella council formed by the opposition, threatening "tough measures." He said countries that do not protect Syrian missions could find their own embassies treated similarly. The Syrian National Council, announced last week in Turkey, is a broad-based group that includes major opposition factions. No country or international body has recognized it so far.
CHINA: Marking ouster of emperor
The government held low-key celebrations Sunday marking the centennial of the revolution that ended thousands of years of imperial rule. Rebels loyal to Sun Yat-sen launched an uprising Oct. 10, 1911, against the Qing dynasty's military in Wuchang, present-day Wuhan, eventually toppling the last emperor, Pu Yi.