Cuba upset about U.S. Internet access

HAVANA — Cuba says a U.S. ruling that makes it easier for companies to provide Internet communications services on the island is meant to destabilize the country, not loosen Washington’s 48-year economic embargo.

“The government of the United States has said clearly that its objective is to use these services as a tool of subversion and destabilization,” Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs office, said Monday in a written response to questions from The Associated Press.

German diocese suspends convicted sex abuser

BERLIN — A German archdiocese that Pope Benedict XVI oversaw from 1977 to 1982 said Monday that a priest convicted in 1986 of sexually abusing children has been suspended for violating a condition that he have no contact with minors.

The disclosure came as the church is grappling with claims by about 300 Germans who have alleged this year that priests sexually or physically abused them in church-run boarding schools and other institutions.

Iran bans leading pro-reform political party

TEHRAN, Iran — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hard-line government said Monday it has banned Iran’s largest pro-reform political party in a new strike against an opposition movement that has largely been swept from the streets since last year’s postelection turmoil.

Keeping the pressure on elsewhere, dozens of government-supporters descended on the home of Mahdi Karroubi, one of the main opposition leaders, on Sunday night, shouting slogans against him and vandalizing his property.

Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June ignited Iran’s opposition, first in challenging the legitimacy of the official vote results and then in confronting the entire ruling system for supporting him and killing protesters. Besides the crackdown in the streets, authorities responded with a mass trial of pro-reform leaders and activists, restrictions on journalists and a campaign to choke off hundreds of opposition Web sites.

Thai protesters vow to spill their own blood

BANGKOK — Protest leaders vowed Monday to collect blood from tens of thousands of anti-government activists and splash it onto the Thai government headquarters in a symbolic sacrifice to press their demands for new elections.

As many as 100,000 “Red Shirt” protesters converged Sunday on Bangkok to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva agree to dissolve parliament by midday Monday. Abhisit refused and blanketed the capital in security, but said his government was open to listening to what else the protesters have to say.

Frustrated, the protest leaders said they would collect “1 million cubic centimeters” of protesters’ blood, or about 264 gallons, to spill at Government House in the Thai capital by Tuesday evening — a tactic slammed by the Red Cross as wasteful and potentially unhygienic.

A protest leader and doctor, said the plan would test Abhisit’s conscience.

— Herald wire services