Mexicans protest

higher food prices

MEXICO CITY - Tens of thousands of trade unionists, farmers and leftists marched through downtown Mexico City yesterday to protest price increases for basic foods such as tortillas, the staple of Mexico's poor.

The march represented a challenge to President Felipe Calderon's market-oriented policies and one banner read, "Calderon stole the elections, and now he's stealing the tortillas!" But it was also a setback for his archrival, leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, whom protest organizers prevented from speaking at the demonstration.

Tortilla prices have doubled over the last year to about 45 cents a pound, causing hardship among the millions of poor Mexicans. - AP

Officials get file

on ex-KGB death

LONDON - Police sent the results of a two-month investigation into the death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko to prosecutors yesterday, raising the possibility that a suspect could be charged with his killing. Officials declined to comment on whether the file named suspects or recommended that charges be filed.

Prosecutors will use the file - which contains details of investigations by London police in Britain, the United States and Russia - to decide whether any individual will be charged with criminal offenses, police said.

Litvinenko, a Kremlin critic who lived in exile in Britain, died in a London hospital Nov. 23 from a lethal dose of the radioactive element polonium-210. He accused Russian President Vladimir V. Putin of ordering his killing, an allegation the Kremlin has denied. - AP

Injured by snack,

but compensated

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A salesman who chipped a tooth on a cookie while visiting a customer is entitled to compensation for his dental work after a court ruled it a work-related injury.

The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favor of a claim by Calle Montell for state compensation, saying the injury, which cost $570 to repair, was work-related because it occurred while he was on the job.

"I'm very happy," Montell, 50, said yesterday. "Everyone who is out on a job can have a snack knowing that they are covered by occupational safety laws."

The Jan. 18 ruling ended a legal battle that began on Oct. 31, 2002, when Montell bit into a cookie offered by a customer and cracked his tooth on a cherry pit. - AP

Elsewhere:

Former Italian Prime MInister Silvio Berlusconi, challenged in an open letter by his wife over flirtatious comments he reportedly made to other women, publicly apologized to her yesterday, saying he never meant to hurt her dignity.

A Norwegian cruise ship carrying nearly 300 passengers, including 119 Americans, ran aground on a remote Antarctic island and damaged its hull before getting free of rocks, officials said yesterday. No one was injured.

Suspected Tamil rebels detonated a roadside bomb in eastern Sri Lanka yesterday, killing six policemen and one civilian, the military said.