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Gadhafi urges followers to rise up and fill the streets

Moammar Gadhafi, the deposed Libyan leader now in hiding, broke more than a week of public silence Thursday with a recorded message beseeching his followers to flood the streets of their country and “raise our green flags to the skies.”

Gadhafi’s message also denounced the National Transitional Council, the provisional government that succeeded him, as a charlatan regime with no popular support. “How did it get its legitimacy?” asked Gadhafi, who considered himself the king of kings of Africa. “Did the Libyan people elect them? Did the Libyan people appoint them?”

He asserted that the council’s appearance of authority would vanish once the warplanes of NATO end their operations against his supporters in Libya. “Make your voice heard against NATO’s collaborators,” Gadhafi said.

It was the first time since Sept. 27 that any word had been heard from Gadhafi, whose message was broadcast by Arrai TV, a Syrian television network.

Arrai TV has been the outlet for all his appeals for support since he was toppled from power in late August by a coalition of armed insurgents. The recording gave no hint of his location, but National Transitional Council officials say they believe he is still in Libya.

In the weeks since he was deposed, many vestiges of Gadhafi’s decades in power, including his Green Book of guidance and the official green flag of his Green Revolution, have been expunged from Libya’s streets, squares and facades. The flag Libya uses now, red, black and green bars with a white crescent moon and star, is the one introduced in the 1950s by the Libyan monarchy that Gadhafi overthrew in 1969.

—Rick Gladstone, The New York Times

With caution, European Central Bank acts to shore up economy

BERLIN — The European Central Bank increased aid to struggling financial institutions Thursday, but disappointed those expecting more drastic measures to combat slowing growth and address a deepening bank emergency.

The central bank’s restraint came in contrast to the action of the Bank of England, which announced another round of bond buying to support the slowing British economy. The pound fell against all major currencies after the announcement; the euro rose against the dollar.

As a slump in German factory orders provided the latest sign of a looming recession, the European Central Bank left its benchmark rate unchanged, at 1.5 percent. The Bank of England also left its main rate unchanged, at 0.5 percent.

During his last news conference as European Central Bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet said that members of the central bank’s governing council had discussed a rate cut before concluding “by consensus” that inflation in the euro area — at 3 percent — was still too high. The statement, and a subdued assessment of the eurozone economy, suggested the bank will be open to cutting rates in coming months, as many analysts expect.

—Jack Ewing and Julia Werdigier, The New York Times

12 punished for Shanghai subway crash

SHANGHAI — Authorities here have punished 12 people for negligence over the subway accident last week that injured 290 people, according to Xinhua, the official Chinese new agency.

The government dismissed the chief dispatcher of the Shanghai Metro’s Line 10, on which the accident occurred, and disciplined 11 other managers and workers in the operation control and power sections. Xinhua said the penalties ranged from “removing from job posts to demotions.”

The accident, in which one train rammed the rear of another, occurred on the afternoon of Sept. 27 after a power failure and signal system failure.

After the power failure, Xinhua said, dispatchers “issued a number of erroneous orders, which finally led to the crash.”

The crash created an uproar in Shanghai. That subway line, which only recently had been opened, has been plagued by problems. Worries are growing about transportation safety throughout the country.

The accident was eerily similar to one on the high-speed rail network two months ago, when a train rear-ended another, killing 40 people and injuring nearly 200 near the eastern city of Wenzhou. The government’s handling of that case sparked broad outrage and accusations that public officials had tried to hide information about the case.

—David Barboza, The New York Times

Woman who killed husband is acquitted of murder

NEW YORK — She had always admitted to killing her husband, using two guns to fire 11 bullets inside the couple’s home in Queens. But she insisted she had no choice: If she had not shot him, he would have surely killed her first.

On Thursday, a jury in State Supreme Court in Queens agreed, clearing the woman, Barbara Sheehan, of second-degree murder charges in a case that had been viewed as a strenuous test of a battered-woman defense.

The trial left little doubt that Sheehan had been relentlessly abused by her husband, Raymond Sheehan, a former police sergeant, during their 24 years of marriage. But the critical question at trial was whether Sheehan was in imminent danger when she killed her husband. New York state’s self-defense law justifies the use of lethal force when a threat to a person’s life is deemed immediate.

The trial offered two narratives so diametrically opposed that jurors said it had often been difficult to decipher who the real Barbara Sheehan was.

—Dan Bilefsky, The New York Times