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10 May, 2013


Cairo police disperse angry mob near Egypt cabinet HQ

At least two people have been injured after Egyptian security forces dispersed a group of violent protesters at the cabinet headquarters with tear gas, Ahram website reports. The masked mob was reportedly throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the facility and brought down a part of the security wall near the cabinet and the interior ministry’s headquarters. Earlier on Friday clashes were reported near the Egyptian Museum located on Tahrir Square.


Officials to launch criminal investigation into Texas fertilizer plant explosion

Officials are set to launch a criminal investigation into a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, according to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). “This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a statement. It comes just after Bryce Reed, a 31-year-old paramedic in the town of West, was taken into custody by US authorities for possessing a destructive device. Officials declined to elaborate on the device or say whether the arrest was related to the explosion which killed 14 people and injured 200 others on April 17. The state fire marshal’s office says that ammonium nitrate stored at the plant detonated in the explosion but the cause but that the cause of the fire and blast are still being investigated.


Tamerlan Tsarnaev buried in Virginia – report

Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, about 15 miles from the state capital Richmond, US media reported. The body of the alleged organizer of the terrorist attack was removed from the funeral home without any public notice, police say. Tsarnaev, 26, was killed on April 19 during a shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts, four days after prosecutors said he and his younger brother Dzhokhar allegedly detonated two explosive devices near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260.


3 killed, 7 injured in bombing of Sunni mosque in Iraq

Three people were killed and another seven were injured when a bomb exploded outside a Sunni mosque 55 kilometers from the Iraqi capital city Baghdad. The bomb went off as worshippers left the mosque after Friday prayers.  In the past month, Sunni mosques have been a target of several recent attacks amid rising sectarian tension in Iraq. On May 3, seven worshippers were killed in a bomb attack outside al-Ghofran mosque in a primarily Sunni area of Rashidiya.


Britain to temporarily withdraw staff from Libya over instability

Britain will withdraw some non-essential staff from Libya over concerns about political uncertainty, the British Embassy said in a statement. "Given the security implications of the ongoing political uncertainty, the British Embassy is temporarily withdrawing a small number of staff," the statement reads. At the same time, the mission in Libya remains "open as usual," including for consular and visa services, a Foreign Office spokesperson said.


Bomb strikes police station in Benghazi, Libya

A bomb has exploded outside a police station in Libya’s second-largest city of Benghazi, causing no injuries but severely damaging a nearby building and shattering the windows of a school. The explosion struck at around 4:00am (02:00 GMT). Police stations in Benghazi have been bombed at least three times in the past month, Reuters reports.


Syrian govt has used chemical weapons, missiles - Turkish PM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, crossing a “red line” set by US President Barack Obama. “It is clear the regime has used chemical weapons and missiles,” he told NBC News on Thursday. Erdogan declined to say when or where such weapons were used. He added that Obama’s “red line” passed a long time ago, and called for stronger US action against Syrian President Bashar Assad. The US and other western countries have raised concerns about the use of chemical weapons in the two year revolt against the leader. According to UN estimates, 70,000 people have been killed since the uprising began.


Survivor found in rubble 17 days after Bangladesh factory collapse

Rescue workers have found a woman who apparently survived for 17 days trapped under the rubble of a collapsed Bangladeshi garment factory in the capital Dhaka. The survivor, identified as Reshma, was found in the basement of the eight-story building and reportedly sustained no serious injuries from the disaster. The death toll from the collapse has passed 1,000, and is expected to climb higher as the clearing of the rubble continues.


Adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei enters presidential contest

An adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has entered his name to run in the Iranian presidential elections, to be held in June. Lawmaker and former parliamentary speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel has registered to run. It is believed Khamenei wants a loyal follower to occupy the post of president. The final candidate list will be published later this month by the conservative council, made up of six clerics and six jurists, after the Guardian Council, which vets applicants, confirms his eligibility. Authorities are eager to ensure that the presidential race is conducted peacefully, compared to 2009's, which saw street protests in the wake of the polls.


Head of Russian Orthodox Church pays historic visit to China

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has arrived in China for a five-day official visit, the first such trip in history. He is due to hold services in Orthodox Cathedrals and hold meetings with Chinese officials in charge of religious affairs and leaders of religious groups. The Russian Orthodox Mission in China dates back to the 17th century; over 100 Orthodox churches opened their doors in China by 1949. In the 1950s, the Chinese Orthodox Church became independent from Russia.


4 dead, 15 wounded in Pakistan blast

A motorbike bomb exploded near a Pakistani political party's office, killing four and injuring 15 in the country's northwest on the eve of nationwide elections, AFP reported. The blast struck the Miranshah bazaar in North Waziristan, a hotbed of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants. Pakistan will go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new government – the first time a civilian administration is handing power to another though an election in the country. Violence has intensified during the campaign, with more than 100 people killed in shootings and bombings.


5 ultra-orthodox Jews arrested at Western Wall women's prayer

Israeli police have arrested five men as a crowd of 1,000 ultra-orthodox Jews protested female Jewish activists praying at the Western Wall plaza. The men attempted to break through the police cordon and reach the women, with some throwing water and trash. The Women of the Wall group secured a court order last month allowing them access to the holy Jewish site after a 20-year battle against objecting ultra-orthodox believers.


Merkel makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Afghanistan for a surprise visit, six days following the death of a German soldier, a government spokesman said on Friday. Merkel, accompanied by her Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, paid a visit to the German forces' headquarters in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the spokesman said, without providing details of the visit. Germany, which has lost 54 soldiers in the 11-year conflict, has 4,400 soldiers stationed in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF in Afghanistan). Germany is scheduled to pull its troops out of Afghanistan in 2014.


Philippines FM: Peacekeepers to be pulled from Golan Heights

All Filipino peacekeepers are to be pulled out of the Golan Heights as soon as possible after four soldiers were abducted, AFP quoted Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario as saying. Del Rosario will advise President Benigno Aquino to withdraw the more than 300 troops. "As soon as he says go, we will undertake to do that as soon as possible," del Rosario said. Four Filipino peacekeepers were seized at an observation post in the Golan Heights on Tuesday, two months after 21 Filipino soldiers were abducted by the same group for four days. "The people that abducted our peacekeepers were actually under siege and they are using our people to get themselves out of the situation they find themselves in. That thing is not for us," del Rosario said.


Indictment unsealed on alleged Canada-US terrorist attempt

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment on Thursday regarding Ahmed Abassi, a Tunisian man accused of committing visa fraud in a bid to remain in the US and assemble an Al-Qaeda terror cell on American soil. In late April Abassi was arrested along with two other individuals in Canada after allegedly planning to target a train that traveled between Toronto and New York City. Abassi had been under surveillance by US law enforcement since March, and divulged an intention to carry out a terrorist attack to an undercover agent.


Death toll in Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster reaches more than 1000

The death toll from the collapsed Rana Plaza, the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history, has reached more than 1000. “The death toll now stands at 1006” as the recovery efforts entered its 17th day with cranes, bulldozers and excavators digging the site. According to the authorities most of the corpses are badly decomposed but could still be identified through personal items in their pockets or factory identity cards around their necks. Most were female garment workers. DNA samples from the bodies have also been taken for future compensation claims. At least 2437 people have been rescued from the collapsed building that contained five garment factories. Around 1000 suffered serious injuries.