I tried turning off extensions as you suggested, Bee, but the problem persists. As you can see Chrome is working. Turning on auto proxy discovery in preferences made no difference.
The message I get when trying to open a web page is:
Safari can't open the page "http:www.apple.com/support/". The error is: "The operation couldn't be completed. Operation not permitted" (NSPOSIXErrorDomain:1)
Any chance you can decipher this and tell me what it means other than the web page can't open which I kind of figured out.