Russian police quash protest

MOSCOW - Police thwarted an anti-Kremlin protest in central Moscow yesterday, seizing dozens of demonstrators and shoving them into trucks. Organizers said 130 people were detained, but police put the number at 90.

The Other Russia movement organized the protest, in defiance of a ban, to draw attention to Russia's economic troubles and to protest Kremlin plans to extend the presidential term from four years to six.

Critics say that the constitutional change is part of a retreat from democracy and that it is aimed at strengthening the grip of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin and his allies.

The opposition movement is headed by Kremlin critic and former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who said a co-leader of the group was detained. Kasparov's Web site said police also broke up a nearby protest by a group of retired generals and seized about 50 participants.

- AP

Calm returns to riot-torn Athens

ATHENS, Greece - Athens was calm yesterday after eight days of the worst riots Greece had seen in decades, sparked by the police killing of a teenager.

Traffic returned to normal in the center of town and open-topped double-decker buses carried tourists around the city's main sights. The cafes in the Thissio area under the Acropolis were busy, and couples took their children for Sunday walks. But Greek youths have vowed to remain on the streets until their concerns are addressed.

Violence has wracked Greece since the death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos Dec. 6. It spread from Athens to more than a dozen other cities. At least 70 people have been injured, hundreds of stores have been looted, and more than 200 people have been arrested.

- AP

Thai lawmakers to elect leader

BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand's main opposition party was poised to take power today as the parliament convened to elect a new prime minister after mass protests that paralyzed the government for months.

The Democrat Party, which has not been in power for eight years, was confident it had the support of enough lawmakers to elect its Oxford-educated leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, as the country's prime minister.

But parties loyal to the legacy of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra also claim to have enough votes to name their candidate, former national police chief Pracha Promnok. The expected vote comes after demonstrations culminated late last month in a takeover of Bangkok's two airports.

- AP

Elsewhere:

A wooden-hulled ferry

with 100 people aboard capsized after being battered by big waves in the northeastern Philippines, drowning at least 22 people and leaving 34 missing, officials said today. Most of the 46 survivors swam about a half-mile to shore, where police and villagers found them shivering close to midnight.

A bus packed with passengers

traveling along a narrow road in southern Egypt plunged into an irrigation canal yesterday, killing 57 people, officials said. The bus, with at least 70 passengers, swerved to avoid an oncoming pickup truck near the city of Minya.