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Royal fight over nude pics

NANTERRE, France -- Lawyers for Prince William and wife Kate asked a French court on Monday to block further publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, saying the two were sharing a deeply intimate moment caught by the snap of an intruding photographer -- images that ended up in a popular French gossip magazine, then in publications in two other countries.

The court in Nanterre, outside Paris, said it would announce its ruling this morning on the request to stop Closer from reproducing the images. The magazine published 14 of the images of a partially clad Kate in its pages on Friday. On Monday, an Italian magazine, Chi, published a 26-page spread of the photos of Kate. Chi, like Closer, is part of the Italian publishing house owned by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.

An Irish tabloid published more Kate topless photos over the weekend, drawing a vow from Ireland's justice minister to revise privacy laws there.

PQ removes Canadian flag

QUEBEC -- The Canadian flag was removed from its spot inside the Quebec legislature as members of the pro-independence Parti Québécois took the oath of office Monday.

The removal of the Maple Leaf was part of a see-saw ritual: It had been long absent in the legislature but was restored nine years ago when Jean Charest's Liberals took office.

It was gone again Monday as the PQ's 54-member, minority-government caucus took the oath of office in the ornate old upper chamber, where the Quebec Fleur-de-lis was once again standing alone.

While the Canadian flag was gone, for the PQ, there was still no escaping the Queen. Every member of the caucus swore an oath to the monarch, which is a prerequisite for taking office in Canada.

Background-check alarm

TORONTO -- A prominent civil liberties group is warning innocent people are being hurt by information disclosed in police background checks. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says hundreds of thousands of Canadians are affected.

The problem is police disclose non-conviction records when a background check is done. Those records carry a stigma, even though the person was never convicted of any crime. The association says people are being denied jobs or run into border-crossing issues as a result, even though they have done nothing wrong.

The group recommends such records be deleted in most cases, and included in background checks only in "exceptional" cases.

Muhammad riots hit Asia

KABUL -- Rioting demonstrators battled with police outside a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia Monday as violent protests over an anti-Islam film spread to Asia after a week of unrest in Muslim countries worldwide.

In an appeal that could stoke more fury, the leader of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah called for protests in a rare appearance at a rally in Beirut.

The turmoil surrounding the movie that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad shows no sign of ebbing nearly a week after protesters first swarmed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Italy to aid Canada in Iran

ITALY announced Monday it will protect Canadian interests in Iran following Ottawa's recent severing of diplomatic relations with Tehran.

Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Canada had made the request after the Sept. 7 closure of the Canadian Embassy in the Iranian capital. Canada branded the Islamic republic as the most significant threat to world peace when it made the move, including ordering Iranian diplomats to leave.

The Italian foreign ministry said "it is a decision taken on the basis of the traditional existing relations with an important friendly and allied country."

More trouble for Romney

WASHINGTON -- Already scrambling to steady a struggling presidential campaign, Republican Mitt Romney confronted a new headache Monday after a video surfaced showing him telling wealthy donors that almost half of all Americans "believe they are victims" entitled to extensive government support. He added as a candidate for the White House, "my job is not to worry about those people."

U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign seized on the video, made public on a day Romney's campaign conceded it needed a change in strategy to gain momentum in the race.

Romney's campaign did not dispute the authenticity of the video, but sought to clarify his remarks. "Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy," spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2012 A8

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