Somalis issue plea for help

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somali lawmakers pleaded yesterday for international military intervention to help fight Islamic insurgents in the lawless African nation, where fierce fighting has resumed in the capital.

A suicide attack in western Somalia killed the country's national-security minister and four other government officials on Thursday. Battles between rebels and government troops have left at least 10 people dead in Mogadishu since Friday, witnesses said.

"We have, as a parliament, decided to ask the regional governments - like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti - as well as the international community to intervene militarily in Somalia within 24 hours to help the Somali nation," said parliament speaker Sheik Adam Mohamed Nor. - AP

Museum opens in Athens

ATHENS, Greece - Gods, heroes, and long-dead mortals stepped off their plinths into the evening sky of Athens yesterday during the lavish launch of the new Acropolis Museum, a decades-old dream that Greece hopes will also help reclaim a cherished part of its heritage from Britain.

The digital animated display on the museum walls ended years of delays and wrangling over the ultramodern building, set among apartment blocks and elegant neoclassical houses at the foot of the Acropolis hill.

The nearly $4.1 million opening ceremony was attended by about 400 guests, including European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, and foreign heads of state and government.

Conspicuously, there were no government officials from Britain, which has repeatedly refused to repatriate dozens of 2,500-year-old sculptures from the Parthenon temple that are held in the British Museum. - AP

I before e . . . o, forget it

LONDON - It's a spelling mantra that generations of schoolchildren have learned - "i before e, except after c."

But new British government guidance tells teachers not to pass on the rule to students, because there are too many exceptions.

The "Support for Spelling" document, which is being sent to thousands of primary schools, says the rule "is not worth teaching" because it doesn't account for words like sufficient, veil, and their.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Angry protesters shouted Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai off stage yesterday when he appealed to exiles to return to the battered African nation. Tsvangirai, who reluctantly joined President Robert Mugabe in a power-sharing deal in February, made the appeal to exiles in a London church but was forced off stage briefly by protesters who want Mugabe to step down after 28 years in power.

A coroner told a jury yesterday that a stab wound to the neck of a British student slain in Italy was caused by a shorter knife than the one believed to be the murder weapon, lawyers said. Francesco Introna took the stand at the murder trial of U.S. student Amanda Knox and Italian codefendant Raffaele Sollecito.