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All 3 opposition parties aim to topple Harper

TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's three opposition parties said Wednesday that they planned to topple the Conservative government in a vote of no confidence in Parliament on Friday and trigger the country's fourth election in seven years.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs the support of at least one opposition party to stay in power, but all three rejected Harper's proposed budget after it was announced Tuesday.

The trigger that's expected to bring Harper down is allegations that Harper has acted in contempt of Parliament by failing to disclose the full financial details of his tougher crime legislation, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets from the United States. The opposition is set to introduce a no-confidence vote on the contempt issue Friday, which could trigger an election that would occur May 2 or 9.

Opinion polls indicate that Harper's Conservative Party would win, but not outright, meaning he would continue to govern with a minority in Parliament.

Harper's Conservatives hold 143 seats in Parliament. The Liberals have 77, the New Democrats 36 and the Bloc Quebecois 47.


Eiffel Tower evacuated because of bomb threat

PARIS (AP) -- A bomb threat and the discovery of a suspicious package spurred French authorities to briefly evacuate nearly 4,000 tourists from the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday, according to tower officials and police.

No explosives were found, and the tourist magnet in this capital city was reopened to visitors more than two hours after the original warning, said a Paris police official.

Police officers cordoned off the sandy plaza beneath the tower, and soldiers in camouflage gear patrolled the site after the evacuation. Onlooking crowds were kept at bay by red-and-white police tape that surrounded the landmark.

France is currently at the forefront of an international military operation against Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Libya.


15 killed as police root out protesters

DARAA, Syria -- Police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood that has been sheltering anti-government protesters, fatally shooting at least 15 in an operation that began before dawn, witnesses said.

At least six people were killed in the early morning attack on the al-Omari mosque in the southern agricultural city of Daraa, where protesters have taken to the streets in calls for reforms and political freedoms, witnesses said. An activist in contact with people in Daraa said police shot an additional three people protesting in its city center after dusk. Six more bodies were found later in the day, the activist said.

Inspired by the wave of pro-democracy protests across the region, the uprising in Daraa and at least four nearby villages has become the biggest domestic challenge to the Syrian government since the 1970s. Security forces have responded with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.

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