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AROUND THE WORLD

Mayors of Paris, Berlin join respective gay pride parades

PARIS (AP) -- Paris and Berlin celebrated gay pride Saturday with rollicking parades that drew revelers who held hands, waved rainbow banners and danced to techno beats. The cities' mayors, both openly gay, were at the center of the festivities.

Bertrand Delanoe -- the first Paris mayor to participate in his city's parade -- held a banner reading "All together against discrimination," as he led a parade of tens of thousands in the French capital. Police said there were 250,000 demonstrators and the same number of spectators.

In Berlin, a rainbow flag symbolizing the gay rights movement flew over City Hall for the first time, as hundreds of thousands turned out to watch or participate in the parade.

Klaus Wowereit, the German capital's mayor, was greeted by cheering crowds as he promised to lead the city in tolerance and to fight politically against the Neo-Nazi scene. "We won't give the right extremists a finger's width," he said.

Beijing controls protests at Three Tenors concert

BEIJING (AP) -- Police guarding against protests outside an opera concert by the Three Tenors beat at least one man Saturday night and dragged him away. A news photographer also was punched and detained.

The performance by Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo was one of the biggest in a series of events publicizing Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics.

Security was intense for the $10 million gala concert, which was supposed to be a showcase for Beijing and its ability to hold large international gatherings.

Hundreds of police and members of the paramilitary People's Armed Police ringed the ancient Forbidden City in central Beijing, and officers stopped and questioned some pedestrians.

The Three Tenors performed before an audience of about 30,000 in the courtyard of the Meridian Gate in the heart of the 250-acre former imperial palace. The home of Chinese emperors for five centuries is now a museum. Tickets ranged in price from $60 to $2,000.

Washing machine needs no detergent, firm claims

TOKYO (AP) -- Clean duds without suds?

That's the promise from Japanese appliance maker Sanyo Electric Co., which has unveiled what it describes as the world's first washing machine that cleans clothes without needing detergent.

Sanyo's new Denkaisui model range uses ultrasonic waves and electrolysis instead of liquids or powders, the Osaka-based company announced.

The ultrasonic waves produce bubbles that batter dirt particles, which are then dissolved by a combination of activated oxygen and hypochlorous acid generated by electrolyzing the wash water.

Sanyo is billing the Denkaisui as an environmentally friendly washing machine. But for the meanest stains, the manufacturer still recommends using detergent.

The top-of-the-line Denkaisui will retail for $1,030 and is to arrive in Japanese stores in August.

Japan's premier eyes cuts in U.S. Okinawa forces

ITOMAN, Japan (AP) -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Saturday he wants to "lighten the burden" on residents of Okinawa who resent the heavy U.S. military presence on the island.

At a ceremony honoring troops who died in a World War II battle on Okinawa, Koizumi said he was considering steps that would reduce U.S. troops and move an airport and training exercises to other locations.

"My Cabinet views this as a major issue," he told 5,000 people gathered at Peace Memorial Park. "We are doing our utmost to find ways to lighten the burden on the people of Okinawa."

A recent series of crimes and embarrassing remarks by U.S. troops and officers stationed here has triggered resentment toward American forces.

Koizumi is expected to ask President Bush about the possibility of military cutbacks when he flies to Camp David in Maryland next Saturday.

Okinawa is home to about half of the 47,000 U.S. military troops stationed in Japan.

Castro appears wobbly on stage, puts off speech

HAVANA (AP) -- Fidel Castro appeared to faint during a live televised speech before tens of thousands Saturday and was helped off the stage by aides. He returned to the podium within a few minutes to assure his audience that he was fine, but said he needed some rest.

The 74-year-old Cuban leader, wearing his traditional long-sleeved uniform and heavy black boots, was addressing the crowd under the bright sun with temperatures in the mid-80s when his body suddenly began listing to the side.

People at the rally said that the president never fell, and was immediately helped off the stage by uniformed members of his security staff.

Less than 10 minutes later, Castro was back behind the podium, telling the crowd not to worry, that he was merely tired and would return in the evening to finish his speech.

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