Lithuania: N-plant

VILNIUS — Lithuania's Soviet-built nuclear power plant was shut down late Thursday as part of an agreement with the European Union, ushering in a new era of energy dependence for the small Baltic nation.

The shutdown was greeted with anguish across Lithuania, as the recession-hit country will lose a source of cheap electricity and be forced to import more expensive energy. But the shutdown was mandated by the EU, where the Chernobyl-type facility is considered unsafe due to inherent design flaws.

Britain: Body scans

LONDON — Britain is considering introducing new technology such as full body scanners to improve airport security after the attempted Christmas Day airline attack, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Friday.

The failed attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit last week was a "wake-up call" for Britain to move quickly to combat changing terrorist techniques by updating its security measures and improving the way it shares information about terror suspects, Brown said.

Uganda: Priests

KAMPALA — Twenty renegade Catholic priests who are either married or want to marry have broken from the mainstream Roman Catholic Church here and formed a new church where celibacy is not required, members said.

The Ugandan government said Thursday it was investigating the breakaway Catholic Apostolic National Church in Uganda and would ban it if found to be illegal. Vatican officials said the priests were now considered "outside" the Catholic Church and would likely be excommunicated.

Gaza Strip: Protests

GAZA CITY — Hundreds of demonstrators rallied on opposite sides of an Israeli-Gaza border crossing on Thursday to protest the blockade of the seaside territory imposed by Egypt and Israel.

In Gaza, about 100 international activists gathered with some 500 Gazans, chanting and carrying signs denouncing the blockade.

A small number of anti-Zionist, Orthodox Jews were among them — a rare sight in Gaza.

Russia: Detained

MOSCOW — Police detained dozens of people at an anti-Kremlin protest on Thursday, including 82-year-old Lyudmila Alexeyeva, one of Russia's most respected rights activists.

Alexeyeva was among those seen being pushed into five buses as police broke up the protest on a central Moscow square.

Small groups of protesters Thursday shouted "Freedom" or "End Putin's Reign" before being detained or shoved away from the square.

Somalia: Released

MOGADISHU — In a setback for U.S. investigators probing links to the attempted attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, a Somali official said Thursday that another suspect who tried to board a plane with chemicals already had been freed.

His release earlier this month will hamper efforts to learn if the incident in Mogadishu was linked to the attempted attack against the U.S.-bound plane on Christmas Day. Terrorism analysts had said the arrest in Somalia could prove highly valuable to the U.S. investigation.

Iran: Threats

TEHRAN — Iran's opposition leaders faced new threats Thursday with the state prosecutor warning they could be put on trial if they do not denounce this week's anti-government protests — the worst unrest since the immediate aftermath of the disputed June election.

Police firing tear gas and wielding batons dispersed opposition supporters trying again Thursday to gather in two locations in central Tehran.