Romney sails to Puerto Rico win; Illinois up next

Posted March 18, 2012, at 8:33 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney sailed to a win in Puerto Rico’s GOP presidential primary over chief rival Rick Santorum, according to Enrique Melendez, the Republican representative on the Puerto Rican State Electoral Commission.

He told The Associated Press o Sunday that Romney wpuld top 50 percent and win all 20 of the island’s delegates to the Republican presidential nominating convention in August.

Next up is Illinois on Tuesday. Polls show Romney and Santorum locked in a close race there.

Lawyer to meet with Afghan killings suspect

SEATTLE — With formal charges looming against his client within days, the lawyer for an Army sergeant suspected in the horrific nighttime slaughter of 16 Afghan villagers was flying Sunday to Kansas and preparing for his first face-to-face meeting with the 10-year veteran.

John Henry Browne of Seattle said he planned to meet Monday with Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is being held in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth’s military prison.

Bales, 38, hasn’t been charged in the March 11 shootings, which have endangered relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan and threaten to upend U.S. policy over the decade-old war. But formal charges are expected to be filed within a week and if the case goes to court the trial will be held in the United States, said a legal expert with the U.S. military familiar with the investigation.

That expert said charges were still being decided and that the location for any trial had not yet been determined. If the suspect is brought to trial, it is possible that Afghan witnesses and victims would be flown to the United States to participate, he said.

St. Patrick’s party mob battles police in Ontario

LONDON, Ontario — Revelers set a large street fire and battled police and fire crews who tried to intervene after St. Patrick’s Day celebrations got out of hand in this Ontario town, authorities said Sunday.

Police in London, Ontario, said at least 11 people have been arrested so far, and more arrests were expected as authorities review video of the disturbance and witness statements. At least 17 police vehicles were damaged. No serious injuries were reported.

The trouble began Saturday night when a crowd of about 1,000 people, many of whom had been drinking, celebrated in the streets in a district near Fanshawe College heavily populated by students which has been the site of previous smaller disturbances.

District Fire Chief Jim Holmes said fire crews were called to the scene after revelers flipped over a TV news van and set it on fire, but were driven back when some people in the crowd pelted them with rocks and bottles.

The vehicle exploded and partygoers fed the street fire with furniture, mattresses, fences, uprooted trees, a large TV set, and even a 20-pound propane tank.

Authorities said the crowd continuously threw bricks and beer bottles at police officers and refused to allow fire crews to douse the blaze in a scene police likened to a war zone.

Yemen says more than 2,000 killed in uprising

SANAA, Yemen — More than 2,000 people have been killed in a year of political turmoil that led to the resignation of Yemen’s longtime president, the government disclosed Sunday. The figure is much higher than human rights groups estimated.

The government released its first casualty figures on a day when crowds of protesters were marking one year since a particularly bloody day, when dozens were killed.

Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights said the figure of at least 2,000 includes both unarmed protesters and military defectors, as well as more than 120 children. It said 22,000 people were wounded over the past year.

The government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down as president last month after more than three decades in power, never released casualty figures.

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