Troops use live ammo to keep protesters from ministry

Egyptian troops blasted protesters with water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition, trying to prevent them from marching on the Defense Ministry Friday in clashes that left one soldier dead and scores of people injured just three weeks ahead of presidential elections.

The fierce street battles raised fears of a new cycle of violence surrounding the upcoming vote to replace Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted more than a year ago. For the first time in Egypt’s chaotic transition, hard-line Islamists, rather than secular forces, were at the forefront of the confrontation with the military rulers who have been accused of trying to cling to power.

The military council imposed an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew on the area surrounding the Defense Ministry, which has emerged as a flashpoint for the protesters’ anger after nine people were killed on Wednesday in clashes between unidentified assailants and protesters who mainly comprised supporters of a disqualified Islamist presidential candidate.

The violence has thrown the campaign for the May 23-24 elections into turmoil, with two front-runners and several other candidates temporarily suspending their campaigns to protest the military’s handling of the situation.


Forces fire on protesters after raids on dormitories

Syrian forces fired on thousands of protesters Friday in Aleppo, killing a teenager, after a raid on dormitories at the city’s main university killed four students and enflamed tensions in a key bastion of support for the regime.

An Aleppo-based activist said the protests were the largest the city has seen since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011. Aleppo is a major economic hub that has remained largely loyal to Assad over the course of the 14-month uprising.

KENT, Ohio

Bell peals in remembrance of Kent State shootings

At 12:24 p.m. Friday, the Victory Bell on the Kent State University Commons pealed 15 times.

Once each for Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder, Sandra Scheuer, who died not far from the symbol whose purpose was to ring out in triumph.

Nine more times for students who were struck by bullets but survived a volley from National Guardsmen as they opened fire on a crowd during that now-famous anti-war demonstration on May 4, 1970.

Two more solemn metallic clangs in remembrance of two Jackson State University students killed by Mississippi police during their own Vietnam War protest 10 days later.

Hundreds attended Friday’s annual commemoration. On a warm day beneath billowy clouds, an afternoon not unlike the day of the Kent State tragedy, they spread out across Blanket Hill, the slope where students ascended before charging guardsmen.

They milled about on the other side of the hill, where the dead students fell, and a bullet hole in a Don Drumm sculpture in front of Taylor Hall remains a 42-year-old reminder of that iconic moment in American history.

As has become tradition, a historical chronicle of events was read aloud, recalling the announcement of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, the downtown riots that followed, the burning of the ROTC barracks, and the tension that built as armed National Guardsmen were called in to dispel demonstrations.

Then four people took turns speaking on behalf of the four slain students on a stage framed by poster-sized photographs of Krause, Miller, Schroeder and Scheuer.


At least 14 get salmonella from handling dog food

Federal health officials say at least 14 people in nine states have been infected with salmonella by handling tainted dog food.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said no deaths have been reported, but at least five people have been hospitalized. The pet food was made at Diamond Pet Foods’ plant in Gaston, S.C.

The company said no pets were sickened but declined to comment further.

Health officials say people can get salmonella by handling infected dog food, then not washing their hands before eating or handling their own food.

The South Carolina plant was shut down April 7 and food made there has been recalled. Diamond Pet Foods paid a $3.1 million settlement after a toxic mold in its pet food killed dozens of dogs in 2005.

— From news service reports