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Icelanders want bankers ousted

REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Thousands of Icelanders marked the 90th anniversary of their nation's sovereignty with angry protest yesterday, and several hundred stormed the central bank to demand the ouster of bankers they blame for the country's spectacular economic meltdown.

Iceland has seen its banks and currency collapse in just a few weeks while prices and unemployment soar - leaving a country regarded as a model of Scandinavian prosperity in a state of shock.

"The government played roulette and the whole nation has lost," writer Einar Mar Gudmundsson told a noisy but peaceful antigovernment rally of several thousand in downtown Reykjavik.

After the rally, hundreds of protesters stormed the headquarters of Sedlabanki, Iceland's central bank, demanding the firing of its chief, David Oddsson.

- AP

Russia plans missile upgrade

MOSCOW - Russia's military is planning to upgrade its missiles to allow them to evade American weapons in space and penetrate any prospective missile shield, a Russian general said yesterday.

In comments to the Interfax news agency, Russia's Strategic Missile Forces chief, Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, said Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles would be modernized to protect them from space-based components of the U.S. missile-defense system.

The upgrade will make the missiles' warheads capable of flying "outside the range" of the space-based system, Solovtsov was quoted as saying.

The Kremlin has fiercely opposed the U.S. plan to deploy a battery of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic.

- AP

Opposition aims to rule Canada

TORONTO - Canada's opposition parties signed a pact yesterday to topple the Conservative government in a no-confidence vote next week and form a coalition government less than two months after national elections.

The three parties in the alliance, which together control a majority in Parliament, plan to vote against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government Monday, removing it from power. No government of Canada ever has been ousted this way.

If Harper loses the vote, Governor General Michaelle Jean either could call a new election or ask the opposition to rule. Constitutional experts say Jean likely would allow the opposition to form a government because an election was held so recently.

The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois say Harper has not come up with a plan for dealing with the economic crisis. But they are irked also by his plan, since dropped, to end subsidies to political parties, which the opposition needs more than the Conservatives.

- AP


Al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader,

Ayman al-Zawahiri, praised the three Bali bombers recently executed in Indonesia; it was his third recording in two weeks.