Lawmakers reject Blair's plan for terror suspects
LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair lost a crucial parliamentary vote Wednesday on sweeping new legislation allowing police to detain terrorism suspects for 90 days without charge -- the first major defeat of his premiership. Instead lawmakers voted for a maximum detention period of 28 days without charge. Lawmakers blocked Blair's original proposal by a 322-291 vote, and then approved the modified plan by an almost identical 323-290 vote. "We were trying to do the right thing for the country," Blair said after the vote. He also said he could not understand why lawmakers were putting "the civil liberties of a small number of terrorist suspects" before the public's "fundamental civil liberty" to be protected from terrorists.
HONG KONG -- A Boeing Co. jet is trying to break the record for the longest nonstop flight by a commercial jet. That means flying from Hong Kong, over the Pacific Ocean and North America, and then crossing the Atlantic before landing in London. Hong Kong-to-London flights usually fly over Russia. "We plan to smash the current record," said Capt. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, one of the four pilots of the 777-200LR Worldliner, one of Boeing's newest planes. The flight, which departed Wednesday, was expected to take about 23 hours and cover more than 12,586 miles, a Boeing statement said.
PARIS -- Authorities imposed curfews in the French Riviera cities of Nice and Cannes on Wednesday to prevent rioting, while the interior minister called for the deportation of foreigners convicted in the wave of unrest that has spread throughout France. Looters and vandals defied a state of emergency with attacks on superstores, a newspaper warehouse and a subway station. Arson attacks continued after sundown, with a nursery school going up in flames in the southern city of Toulouse, RTL radio reported.
-- From wire reports
The unrest began Oct. 27 and has grown into a nationwide insurrection by disillusioned suburban youths who complain of discrimination and unemployment. Although many of the French-born children of Arab and black African immigrants are Muslim, police say the violence is not being driven by Islamic groups. The extraordinary 12-day state of emergency, which began at midnight Tuesday, covered Paris, its suburbs and more than 30 other French cities from the Mediterranean to the border with Germany and to Rouen in the north -- an indication of how widespread arson, riots and other unrest have become.