Hondurans hail ex-leader's return

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Ousted former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya returned from exile on Saturday to a boisterous welcome from his supporters, ending a nearly two-year political crisis that started when the military deposed him in an internationally condemned coup.

The Venezuelan plane carrying the ex-president took off from neighboring Nicaragua and landed in the afternoon at Tegucigalpa's international airport, where thousands of his supporters had set up a tent camp nearby, dancing and singing to celebrate his arrival.

Zelaya, 59, was accompanied by his wife, two of his daughters, several former officials in his government, ex-Panamanian President Martin Torrijos, and the foreign ministers of Venezuela and Bolivia, countries that have backed Zelaya.

Venezuela and Colombia helped negotiate Zelaya's return, which paves the way for Honduras to reenter the world community. The Organization of American States had suspended Honduras' membership after the June 2009 coup, in which Zelaya was spirited out of the country at gunpoint in his pajamas.

- AP

Mubarak fined for cutting links

CAIRO - A judge fined former President Hosni Mubarak and two officials about $91 million Saturday for cutting cell phone and Internet services during the protests that forced Mubarak to step down. It was the first court ruling against Mubarak since he was ousted Feb. 11.

Egyptian state television reported late Saturday that an administrative court fined Mubarak about $33.6 million, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif about $6.7 million, and former Interior Minister Habib Adli about $50.4 million.

The three were found guilty of "causing damage to the national economy," according to state TV. Political analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah said the ruling was a watershed for activists and academics who struggled to express themselves under the Mubarak regime. - Los Angeles Times

Benedict alludes to Nazi-era youth

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI, who was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a child, made a rare mention Saturday of life in Germany under the Nazis, calling it a "dark time."

The 84-year-old, German-born pontiff turned his thoughts to 70 years ago, a time "already marked by war" and in which Adolf Hitler "had already subjugated" one country after another, including Poland, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France.

Benedict said "it looked like the continent was in the hands of this power, which put the future of Christianity in doubt." Benedict was speaking during an audience at the Vatican with members of a German Catholic group in Regensburg, which he entered as a 14-year-old boy.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar traveled Saturday to Khartoum to meet northern officials in a bid to defuse tensions sparked by the north's takeover of the disputed Abyei border region, an official said.