KIEV, Ukraine

Opposition gives ultimatum as it calls for massive protest

Ukraine’s opposition, preparing for what it hopes will be a huge protest Sunday, says it will negotiate with President Viktor Yanukovych only if he fires the government and appoints a new one committed to deepening European integration.

Around 20,000 demonstrators crowded into Kiev’s Independence Square on a windy and snowy night Saturday, but organizers of the protests, which are now in their third week, are calling for a massive turnout Sunday. A throng estimated at 300,000 or more showed up for a similar rally a week ago.

The protests started after Yanukovych backed away from signing an association agreement with the European Union that would have deepened economic ties, thereby diminishing neighboring Russia’s influence.

BANGUI, Central African Republic

After violence kills 400, France, AU responding

France and the African Union on Saturday announced plans to deploy several thousand more troops into embattled Central African Republic, as thousands of Christians fearing reprisal attacks sought refuge from the Muslim former rebels who now control the country after days of violence left 400 people dead.

Concluding an aptly timed and long-planned conference on African security in Paris, President Francois Hollande said France was raising its deployment to 1,600 on Saturday – 400 more than first announced. Later, after a meeting of regional nations about Central African Republic, his office said that African Union nations agreed to increase their total deployment to 6,000 – up from about 2,500 and nearly double the projected rollout of 3,600 by year’s end.


Technical glitch causes hundreds of flight delays

Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled at Britain’s busiest airports Saturday after a technical glitch.

National Air Traffic Services said it was having a problem switching between nighttime and busier daytime operations at its control center in Swanwick, southern England.

NATS spokeswoman Juliet Kennedy said it was able to handle about 20 percent fewer flights than it normally does.

– From news service reports

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