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4 November, 2012


Car bomb kills 1, injures many in southeastern Turkey

­A car explosion killed an 11-year-old boy and injured 18 others in southeastern Turkey close to the border with Iraq and Iran, Itar-Tass reports citing the country`s PM Tayyip Erdogan. According to him the blast occurred near wedding celebrations. The area has been cordoned off and police have launched an operation to find the perpetrators. So far no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack.


Syrian rebels capture major oilfield – opposition watchdog

­Syrian opposition forces have seized a major oilfield in the country’s east after three days of stand-off with government troops, says the London-based Observatory for Human Rights. The rebels allegedly captured the al-Ward oilfield in Deir el-Zour province, near the Iraqi border, on Sunday. The field is reported to have been functioning almost up to the time when the rebels overran it. The observatory also claims the rebels downed a warplane in the same region. Al-Ward is known as one of the most important oilfields in Deir el-Zour, which holds most of  Syria's energy reserves.


Iran sets up new naval base on Strait of Hormuz

­The Fars news agency has reported that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has established a new naval base on the Strait of Hormuz, which carries around 35 per cent of the world’s sea-traded crude oil to export markets. The base is located next to Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Lengeh, about 1,100 km (700 miles) south of the capital Tehran. Iran has threatened to close the strait at the end of the Persian Gulf if it is attacked by outside forces. Most of Iran’s lager naval bases are at the head of the Gulf some 450km away.


Tehran has not suspended 20% uranium enrichment – MP

­Recent allegations in media that Iran has suspended its 20 per cent uranium enrichment program are “untrue”, semi-official FARS news agency quoted a member of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission as saying. "This claim is unrealistic because the 20 per cent enriched uranium is required for Tehran's [Research] Reactor and medical purposes," Kazzem Jalali said on Sunday. Iran has long been under international fire over its controversial nuclear program. The US, EU and Israel cite fears Tehran may be seeking to build nuclear weapons. Washington and Brussels have imposed economical sanctions on Iran’s oil sector. Iran says nuclear development is its right and it wants to meet its own needs in energy and medical treatment.


UK soldier murdered in Cyprus knifing

­A British soldier stationed on the island nation of Cyprus was stabbed to death during an altercation with a UK tourist in a nightclub in the resort of Ayia Napa. One of the three tourists involved in the dispute reportedly drew a knife and stabbed the 19-year-old soldier. The name of the dead soldier has not been released as his family has not been notified yet, but he is reported to have served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Ayia Napa is a resort in the Republic of Cyprus, which is the Greek part of the island; its northern part is a self-declared state known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The UK has two military bases on the island which used to be its colony.


Egypt sacks head of security after deadly Sinai attack

­Egypt’s Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal ordered Sunday that the head of security for North Sinai, Ahmed Bakr, be replaced by his deputy in response to complaints by police of lawlessness in the area. His sacking comes a day after an attack that killed three policemen, which sparked outrage from their colleagues. The army and the police in North Sinai, which borders Israel, have become the target of militants operating in the region. In August 16 soldiers were killed in an attack on a border outpost.


Iran claims production of advanced hovering drone

Iran has developed an advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of hovering in midair, several media sources in the Islamic Republic reported Sunday. The drone, reportedly capable of lifting off and landing vertically, is set to be unveiled in February. Iran regularly makes claims regarding breakthroughs in military technology which analysts say are impossible to verify independently.


One dead, 11 injured in Kenya blast new toll

­At least one person was killed while the number of injured grew to 11 after a grenade was thrown on the roof of a church in Kenya’s northeast Sunday, Reuters reported via Twitter. Police believe Al Shabaab militants or their sympathizers are behind the attack on the Utawala Inter-denominational Church in Garissa Town. Al Shabaab, who launched similar attacks in two churches in summer, killing at least 17 people, formally joined forces with Al-Qaeda earlier this year. The group controls much of southern Somalia and is fighting the weak UN-backed interim government and African Union peacekeepers.


Iraqi Sunni VP gets new death penalty

­An Iraqi court Sunday found the country's fugitive Sunni vice-president guilty of ordering his bodyguards to attack Shiite pilgrims and sentenced him to death. It is the third case in which Tariq Hashemi has been condemned to capital punishment since last spring when courts began trying him in absentia on terrorism charges. Hashemi has been living in exile in Turkey since he fled Iraq in 2011 when the Shiite-led government tabled accusations against him. Sunday the court also sentenced Hashemi’s son, Ahmed Qahtan, to death on similar charges. The trial over Hashemi has been fueling resentment among Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority, since the fugitive VP is a longtime opponent of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shiite Muslim.
Output - Sandy Higgs


Blast near hotel in Damascus, several wounded

­Syrian state TV reports of an explosion near Dama Rose hotel in Damascus. Several people have reportedly been injured. No information about casualties is available at the moment. The hotel Dama Rose is situated close to the residence of government-controlled labor union.


Egypt’s Coptic Church names new pope

The Coptic Orthodox Church has officially chosen Bishop Tawdros to replace Pope Shenouda III, who passed away in March this year. In a lavish ceremony at the Abbasiya cathedral in Cairo, the 60-year-old bishop's name was picked by a blindfolded child from a glass bowl that also contained the names of two other candidates. The Copts are Egyptian Christians and constitute 10 per cent of Egypt’s population. They have long complained of discrimination in Egypt. Many are hoping the new pope will ensure the voice of Christianity is heard in the region. Since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted, there have been several attacks on churches by radical Islamists.


Iran’s parliament to grill Ahmadinejad over currency woes

Iran’s government will summon President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for questioning over the country’s crumbling currency. A report stating a petition had been signed by 77 lawmakers questioning the president’s reluctance to help regulate the currency's value was behind the move. It will be the second time Ahmadinejad has had to explain himself to Iran’s parliament. The Iranian rial has dropped significantly in value over the past year, with the drop increasing in the last month. Blame has been put on Western-led sanctions and the president’s unwillingness to better manage the currency market as a result. On Saturday the rial traded at 31,000 to the dollar. It was around 11,000 per dollar in June this year.


Malaysian man arrested over ‘seditious’ Facebook remarks about royals

­A man has been arrested over allegedly posting "seditious" remarks on Facebook about Malaysia’s Johor State royal family. Ahmad Abd Jalil was arrested under the Sedition Act, a bill that until recently the Malaysian government was planning to repeal. Each state's royal family is given limited powers in the federation of Malaysia. They are widely revered by the majority Malay Muslim population as the rulers are the heads of Islam in their respective areas. Police have told the man’s family they may take Ahmad to the palace to beg the Sultan's pardon and could then drop the case, but that is highly unconstitutional. If found guilty, the 27-year-old quantity surveyor would be the third person in two years to have been convicted under the controversial law.


Grenade blast injures seven churchgoers in Kenya

­At least seven people, including police officers, were injured on Sunday after a grenade was thrown on the roof of the Utawala Inter-denominational Church in Garissa Town in the northeast of Kenya. Police believe the attack is the work of Al Shabaab militants or their sympathizers who launched similar attacks in two churches on July 1, killing at least 17 people. Al Shabab formally joined forced with Al-Qaeda earlier this year. The group controls much of southern Somalia and is fighting the weak UN-backed interim government and African Union peacekeepers.


Police station bombed in Benghazi, 3 officers injured

­A car stuffed with explosives and parked by a police station in Benghazi went off on Sunday. Because the blast occurred just before dawn the streets were empty and only three law enforcement officers have been reportedly lightly injured. The police station building has sustained considerable damage. The act of terror in Libya’s second-largest city comes as the central government tries to curb countless militias that are tearing the country apart after the Libyan civil war.


Three dead after boat with illegal immigrants capsizes in Mediterranean

­A vessel carrying an unknown number of illegal immigrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, killing three. The incident happened roughly 56km off Libyan shores and about 224km south of Italy’s Lampedusa Island, according to Italy’s leading wire service ANSA. Rescuers at the scene have managed to pull 70 survivors out of the water; however the rescue mission is still ongoing to assess whether there are any further survivors.


Atlanta police helicopter crash kills 2

A police chopper has crashed on a busy intersection close to the center of Atlanta, killing both people on board. The helicopter went down at 10.30pm local time (02.30 GMT) around where two main highways intersect, say local police. An investigation is now underway to ascertain the cause of the crash.


Ten killed in rising drug-related violence in Sao Paulo

A wave of violence targeting police in Sao Paulo has killed 10 people in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll of people killed in the rising unrest to 20. The latest incident saw police gun down a suspected drug trafficker following his refusal to stop his car. Separately, six other people died in the suburban town of Sao Bernardo do Campo in a police shootout. In addition, more than 11 people were killed on Thursday night in various incidents across the city. Police stormed Sao Paulo’s infamous Paraispolis slum on Monday after receiving reports that drug barons were planning to target police officers in imminent attacks.


European Commission chief Barroso calls for peace in Myanmar, vows financial aid

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has called on the Myanmar government to end the ethnic strife between Rohingyas and Buddhists. The recent violence last week claimed the lives of at least 89 people. Barroso arrived in the capital city Yangon, where he participated in the opening ceremony of the Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC).  The EC chief also vowed financial aid for immediate humanitarian needs and peace establishment, as he met the with national president, Thein Sein. Both sides vowed to cooperate closely in their joint efforts to build peace in Myanmar.


Ukraine’s ruling party wins elections

­With more than 99 per cent of ballots counted in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, the ruling Party of Regions appears to have won, gaining 29.99 per cent of the vote, RIA Novosti reports citing Ukraine’s central elections commission. It is followed by opposition party Batykivshina (Fatherland) led by jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which took 25.53 percent. Former world boxing champion Vitaly Klichko's, Udar Party came third with 13.95 percent. The final result for the vote, with all ballots counted, will be announced by the central election commission on Monday, at 11:00 a.m. local time.