CHILE

Youths clash with police

Bands of hooded youths clashed with police in Chile’s capital Thursday during another round of riots on what has come to be known as the “day of the combatant.” Young people have been staging the violence every March 29 in memory of two youths killed by police in 1985 during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Chile has been democratic for more than two decades and other activists criticized the rioting, saying the violence is used by Chilean news media and government officials to weaken support for movements pushing for social change.

CANADA

Retirement age rising

Canada’s Conservative government said Thursday that it is raising the retirement age to 67 from 65 for pension benefits as the finance minister introduced a federal budget featuring the biggest cuts since the mid-1990s. Jim Flaherty presented cuts of $5.2 billion in annual federal spending in the government’s first budget since the Conservative party won majority rule. The government said delaying retirement benefits, worth more than $6,000 a year, for two years, will encourage people to stay in the workforce longer and save the government billions of dollars.

MALI

Neighbors OK sanctions

Seeking to force from power the mutinous soldiers who seized control of Mali last week, the body representing countries in the region announced late Thursday that it will close all its borders with the landlocked Mali, as well as freeze the nation’s bank account if the junta does not step aside. The financial sanctions would be among the harshest imposed in recent years on a nation in West Africa and could strangle impoverished Mali, which imports nearly all of its gasoline from neighboring Ivory Coast. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, the president of the commission of the Economic Community of West African States, told reporters in the capital of Ivory Coast that the sanctions will take effect in 72 hours if the coup leaders do not take steps to restore the country’s democratic institutions.

Compiled from wire reports.