ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Police crack down on lawyers, critics

Police yesterday fired tear gas and clubbed lawyers protesting against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s emergency rule. The U.S. and other nations called for elections to be held on schedule and said they were reviewing aid to Pakistan.

In the largest protest in the eastern city of Lahore, lawyers dressed in black suits and ties chanted “Musharraf Go!” as they defied the government’s ban on rallies. Some fought back with stones and tree branches.

The crackdown mainly targeted Musharraf’s most potent critics – the judiciary and lawyers, independent television stations and opposition activists. Opposition groups said 3,500 had been arrested, though the government reported half that total.

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico

Gov’t rushes to send aid to 20,000 stranded by flood

Hungry and dehydrated victims of one of the worst floods in Mexico’s history scrambled for government packages of food and medicine, while at least 20,000 people remained trapped yesterday on the rooftops of homes swallowed by water.

Residents were running dangerously short of food and water after nearly a week of floods left 80 percent of the Gulf Coast state of Tabasco under water and destroyed or damaged the homes of about half a million people. Gov. Andres Granier ordered central streets in the state capital of Villahermosa closed to all but rescue workers to prevent looting.

Authorities said two more bodies were found Sunday in the brackish waters covering much of the region. If the deaths are confirmed to have been caused by the flooding, the disaster’s death toll would stand at 10.

WASHINGTON

Dems threaten to hold Bush aides in contempt

House Democrats threatened yesterday to hold President Bush’s key confidants in contempt of Congress unless they comply with subpoenas for information on the Justice Department’s purge of federal prosecutors last winter.

The White House shrugged off the ultimatum, saying the information is off-limits under executive privilege and that the aides in question – White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former presidential counselor Harriet Miers – are immune from prosecution.

“It won’t go anywhere,” predicted White House press secretary Dana Perino.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.

Astronauts prep for difficult re-entry tomorrow

Shuttle Discovery’s astronauts surveyed the wings of their ship yesterday to ensure a safe descent over the American heartland after leaving the international space station.

On the ride home tomorrow, the space shuttle will make the first coast-to-coast re-entry since Columbia shattered in the sky over Texas in 2003 and sent tens of thousands of pounds of wreckage raining down on at least two states.

Discovery was not supposed to re-enter over the entire United States – just Florida after zooming up from the southwest over Central America and the Caribbean.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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