Berlin, Aug 3(AP/UNB) — Dozens of environmentalists are blocking the entrance to a coal-fired power plant in the German city of Mannheim in protest over the burning of fossil fuels.
Mannheim police said about 40-50 climate activists have been staging the protest since the early hours of Saturday.
Police spokesman Michael Klump said that while most protesters are gathered at the plant's main entrance, several have entered the premises and are blocking a conveyor belt used to transport coal.
German group Ende Gelaende, which has staged numerous demonstrations over the years against coal mines and plants, said its members want the Grosskraftwerk Mannheim shut down because its greenhouse gases emissions contribute to global warming.
The 2,150-megawatt power plant by the banks of the Rhine river is jointly operated by three German utility companies.
Moscow, Aug 3 (AP/UNB) — Police cracked down hard on an unsanctioned demonstration in Moscow for a second weekend in a row, detaining about 600 people protesting the exclusion of some independent and opposition candidates from September city council elections.
The issue taps growing dissatisfaction with a political environment dominated by the Kremlin-aligned United Russia party, in which dissenting voices are marginalized, ignored or repressed.
An arrest-monitoring group, OVD-Info, said 685 people were detained Saturday. The Russian Interior Ministry said the number was about 600.
The detentions came a week after authorities arrested nearly 1,400 people at a similar protest.
Lyubov Sobol, one of the excluded candidates and a driving figure of the current wave of protests, was among those detained. She was grabbed by police in central Moscow and hustled into a police van, loudly demanding to know why she was being held.
Demonstrators were aiming to hold a march along the Boulevard Ring, which skirts central Moscow and is a popular locale for people to walk around, despite repeated warnings that police would take active measures against a protest.
The Interior Ministry said the total number of protesters was about 1,500, although the police are widely believed to understate crowd estimates for opposition events.
Helmeted riot police lined the route and started seizing demonstrators from a scattered crowd on Pushkin Square and pushing them back from another square further along the route.
Some of the detentions were harsh, including one young bicyclist who was beaten with truncheons as he lay on the pavement still straddling his bike. Some other detainees appeared nonchalant, smirking or checking their phones as police led them to buses.
The demonstrations dissipated after about four hours as a steady, cold rain began falling.
Once a local, low-key affair, the September vote for Moscow's city council is now emblematic of the division within Russian politics and the Kremlin's ongoing struggles with how to deal with strongly opposing views in its sprawling capital of 12.6 million people.
In the past month, the issue has provoked a surprisingly large outcry for a local election. On July 20, about 20,000 people turned out for a demonstration that was the largest in the city in several years.
On Saturday, about 2,000 people attended another rally in St. Petersburg supporting the Moscow protests, the local news site Fontanka.ru reported.
The Moscow city council, which has 45 seats, is responsible for a large municipal budget and is now controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. All of its seats, which have a five-year-term, are up for grabs in the Sept. 8 vote.
Also Saturday, Russia's Investigative Committee announced it was opening a criminal case against the Foundation for Fighting Corruption, headed by the Kremlin's most prominent foe Alexei Navalny. The committee said the organization was suspected of receiving funding that had been criminally acquired.
Navalny is serving 30 days in jail for calling last week's protest. The head of the foundation also is jail in connection with that protest.
Budapest, Aug 3 (AP/UNB) — Two Bangladeshi girls who were born conjoined at the head have been successfully separated by a medical team led by 35 Hungarian doctors.
The 3-year-old sisters, Rabeya and Rukaya, were in a stable condition after the 30-hour procedure ended Friday at a military hospital in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.
The medical team of a Hungarian charity, Action for Defenceless People Foundation, was led by Dr. Andras Csokay.
The separation process dubbed "Operation Freedom" was a cooperative effort between doctors from both countries.
Three operations were needed to separate the girls.
The process began last year in Dhaka with the separation of the shared cerebral vein parts. Earlier this year, in Budapest, the twins were implanted with a special, Hungarian-designed system to expand their skin and soft tissue.
London, Aug 2 (AP/UNB) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's governing Conservative Party has a lost a special election, leaving it with a wafer-thin working majority in Parliament of just one vote.
Jane Dodds of the opposition Liberal Democrats won the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency in Wales with 43% of the vote. Conservative Chris Davies, who was fighting to retain the seat after being ejected for expenses fraud, got 39%.
The pro-EU Liberal Democrats have seen their support surge across Britain as Brexit looms.
The result, announced early Friday, makes it harder for Johnson's government to pass laws and win votes, with Brexit less than three months away.
Johnson says Britain will leave the European Union on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal. But Parliament is likely to try to thwart his plans.
London, Aug 1 (AP/UNB) — After a first week in office that saw him booed in Scotland and berated in Belfast, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was facing his first electoral test on Thursday — a special election that could see the Conservative government's working majority in Parliament cut to just one vote.
Voters are electing a lawmaker in a by-election for the seat of Brecon and Radnorshire in Wales after Conservative incumbent Chris Davies was ousted. He was dumped by a petition of local electors after being convicted of a 700 pound ($847) expenses fraud.
Davies is running to regain the seat but faces a strong challenge from the Liberal Democrats' Jane Dodds in a vote overshadowed by Brexit. Polls close at 10 p.m. (2100 GMT), with results expected early Friday.
In Britain's 2016 EU membership referendum the Brecon constituency — a hilly, largely rural area about 175 miles (280 kilometers) west of London — voted by 52%-48% to leave the EU, an outcome that exactly matched the national result.
As in the rest of the U.K., the area's voters remain deeply divided over the decision — and over the fact that, three years later, Britain is still a member of the bloc.
Johnson became prime minister last week after winning a Conservative leadership race by vowing to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal.
The Conservatives hope Johnson's commitment to complete Brexit "come what may" will neutralize a challenge from the new Brexit Party led by longtime euroskeptic figurehead Nigel Farage.
The pro-EU Liberal Democrats are hoping to win support from voters opposed to Brexit.
The centrist Lib Dems hold just 12 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons but have seen their support surge because of their call for Britain to remain in the EU. In European Parliament elections in May, the party took 20% of U.K. votes, trouncing both the Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party, whose stance on Brexit is complicated.
Johnson, who visited the area Tuesday, said "a vote for any party other than Conservatives pushes the Liberal Democrats one step closer to cancelling the referendum result."
While many farmers back Brexit out of frustration with the EU's rules-heavy Common Agricultural Policy, sheep-raisers in Brecon worry that, without an EU divorce deal, steep tariffs on lamb exports will devastate their business.
Johnson was criticized by Welsh farmers and booed in the capital, Cardiff, this week during his first tour of the U.K. as prime minister.
He also faced jeers from Scottish independence protesters in Edinburgh and censure from politicians in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Both areas voted to remain in the EU, and many there resent being forced to leave the bloc against their will.
Johnson has just over 90 days to secure and ratify a new divorce deal with the EU, or get Britain ready to leave the 28-nation bloc without one. Lawmakers are unlikely to make it easy for him.
The Conservatives lack an overall majority in the House of Commons, and rely on an alliance with 10 lawmakers from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. If the Conservatives lose the Brecon seat, the governing alliance will have 320 of the 639 voting lawmakers — the bare minimum needed to carry votes.
That will leave the government struggling to pass any legislation and vulnerable to an opposition no-confidence vote that could trigger an early general election.
Parliament previously voted to prevent Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, from taking Britain out of the EU without a deal, and pro-EU lawmakers say they will try to stop Johnson doing the same thing.
Johnson says he wants a deal, but is demanding the EU make major changes to the divorce agreement it struck with May, which was rejected three times by Britain's Parliament. The EU is adamant that it won't renegotiate.
European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Thursday that the Brexit "withdrawal agreement is not up for re-opening."
Economists say a no-deal Brexit would severely disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession. Johnson's hard-line stance has unnerved currency markets, were the pound fell to a new 28-month low on Thursday of $1.2085.
The government insists it can ease the shock of a no-deal Brexit by being prepared, and has set aside more than 2 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) for measures including hiring 500 border officers, stockpiling essential medicines and mounting a public information campaign.
Opponents called the measures a waste of cash. The government spent heavily before the originally scheduled March 29 Brexit date on measures including hiring ferries and booking warehouse space to stockpile essential goods — money that ended up being wasted because Britain did not leave.
Labour lawmaker Meg Hillier, who heads the Commons Public Accounts Committee, accused the government of conducting "megaphone diplomacy with Brussels using taxpayers' money."