Gaza Strip

Marathon is canceled over ban on women

GAZA CITY - The United Nations on Tuesday canceled a planned marathon in Gaza after the Palestinian territory's Hamas rulers banned women from participating, in a new attempt by the Islamic militant group to impose its ideology inside the crowded coastal strip.

The dispute threatened to further strain the already delicate relationship between Hamas and the United Nations. Gaza sportswomen met the news with resignation, saying their conservative society had made it difficult to train even before the ban.


3 held in acid attack on Bolshoi director

MOSCOW - Police detained and questioned three people, including a principal Bolshoi Ballet dancer, as suspects in the acid attack that almost blinded Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi's artistic director, a crime that cast a shadow on Moscow's iconic company and exposed bitter infighting among dancers.

Principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, detained Tuesday, was reportedly suspected of masterminding the attack. Police also brought in Yuri Zarutski, 35, believed to be Filin's assailant; as well as Andrei Lipatov, a man suspected of driving Zarutski to and from the attack, according to the Interior Ministry.

A masked assailant threw sulfuric acid at Filin Jan. 17, searing his face and neck with third-degree burns and damaging his eyesight.


Morsi weighs using army in Port Said

CAIRO - A security agency headquarters was set on fire as protesters battled police for the third straight day in Port Said on Tuesday, and Egypt's Islamist president considered handing the military full control of the restive Mediterranean coastal city in a sign of the collapse of control there.

A handover to the military would be recognition of the failure of President Mohammed Morsi's government to bring calm to Port Said, which has been in turmoil since late January. Furious at the president and the security forces, residents have been waging campaign of protests and strikes amounting to an outright revolt against the central government.

But Morsi appeared to back down from the idea. Tuesday evening, his office issued a statement denying Morsi had made such a decision and underlining that the police remain "the main authority in charge of securing the city."


'Harlem shake' videos provoking battles

TUNIS - After attacks by religious extremists, the assassination of an opposition politician and the resignation of the prime minister, Tunisia is now being assailed by an Internet dance craze.

The YouTube phenomenon of the "Harlem shake" has popped up all over the world, but in Tunisia it's more than just a fad - it has become part of a bitter rivalry between the secularists and Islamists.

Videos have provoked a violent backlash by conservative Muslims, condemnations from the education minister and hundreds of new copycat videos online.

Wire reports