Global Incidents: 11-Jun-13
Afghanistan: Explosion targets Supreme Court in Kabul killing three.
India: Five die in building collapse.
Iraq: Dozens killed in day attacks.
Syria: Damascus hit by double suicide bombing.
Turkey: Police clear Istanbul’s Taksim Square.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (High)
Military kills five rebels: Fighters loyal to the Central African Republic’s new government killed five rebels near the Cameroon border, a military source said on Monday, adding that their leader escaped the weekend attack on horseback. The forces of the ruling Seleka movement launched an attack on the Democratic Front for the Central African People (FDPC), former allies, in the western region of Baboua on Saturday, the source said.
Police gun down terror suspect: A suspected terrorist has been shot dead by police in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate Tuesday. Police said the man was behind Sunday’s grenade attack that injured 4 people in the sprawling suburb. Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) officers gunned down the suspect in an operation early Tuesday morning and recovered a pistol. Nairobi police boss Benson Kibui said the man was on a wanted list of dangerous criminals and had traveled to Nairobi on June 5 from Mandera, barely four days before Sunday’s incident where a grenade was hurled at pedestrians.
SOUTH AFRICA (Low-Moderate)
Police arrest 180 protestors: At least 180 people have been arrested, some carrying bags of human waste, ahead of a planned protest over the lack of proper sanitation in the South African city of Cape Town. Despite the arrests, some bags of waste were dumped inside some local government offices, local media say. Last week, raw sewage was thrown at opposition leader Helen Zille as she toured poor areas of the city. She is premier of Western Cape – the only province not run by the ANC.
Peace talks to resume: Members of Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Farc, will resume peace negotiations with representatives of the Colombian government on Tuesday. The talks are restarting in Havana, Cuba, a fortnight after the two sides reached agreement on land reform. They will now discuss how the Farc will join in politics if a deal is reached to end the five decades of conflict. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said he wants the talks to be wrapped up by the end of the year. On May 26, negotiators announced that after half a year of talks, they had struck a deal on agrarian reform, the first of six issues on their agenda.
Rebel attacks leaves two children dead: Two children were killed and two other people wounded in an attack staged by National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas on Sipi, a city in the northwestern Colombian province of Choco, media reports said. Rebels from the ELN’s Che Guevara front attacked the city with gas cylinders packed with explosives on Saturday, the El Colombiano newspaper reported, citing 15th Brigade commander Col. Pablo Alfonso Bonilla.
UNITED STATES of AMERICA (Low)
Bomb threat against Southwest Airlines plane: No explosives were found on a Southwest Airlines plane that was diverted to Phoenix with 143 passengers on board, authorities said. The FBI said Monday that an afternoon flight from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, landed in Phoenix after a “telephonic bomb threat” was made. Laura Eimiller of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office says Flight 2675 left Los Angeles International Airport at 2:12 p.m. and was heading to Austin before the threat was received by telephone. F-16s were scrambled out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson to monitor the flight as a precaution as it flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, according to NORAD officials. Flight 2675 landed safely at about 3 p.m., and authorities in Los Angeles asked Phoenix police to check out the possible threat.
Authorities arrest Colombians over Maduro assassination plot: The Venezuelan government says it has arrested nine Colombian right-wing paramilitaries who were plotting to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro. Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez said the nine had been instructed to go to the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, and carry out the plot. More arrests are expected, he added. On Monday the Venezuelan interior minister announced the arrests of two groups of Colombians took place at the weekend. The first group, with alleged links to the Rastrojos paramilitary organization, was arrested in western Tachira state, Mr Rodriguez said. The six people arrested were named as Elisa Cruz, Pedro Araujo, Arlington Miranda, Jose Israel Echavez, Javier Rodriguez and Giovani Sala. Another three men – Luis Enrique Gomes Lopez, Jose Guerrero Angulo and Manuel Guillermo Munoz Espino – were arrested in Portuguesa state, also in western Venezuela. Mr Rodriguez said they were under the command of Colombian paramilitary leader Jose Maria Barrera, better known as Chepe Barrera.
Explosion targets Supreme Court in Kabul: Three people have been killed in a powerful explosion in the Afghan capital, Kabul, say police. A police source said the bomb had been a suicide attack on the Supreme Court and that at least seven other people were injured. The court building is about 200m (yards) from the entrance to the American embassy. The explosion happened as employees at the court were leaving work for the day. Witnesses said they saw the wreckage of a car and buses with windows smashed.
China launches Shenzhou manned space mission: China has launched its latest Shenzhou manned space mission. Three astronauts blasted away from the Jiuquan base in Inner Mongolia on a Long March 2F rocket at 17:38 Beijing time (09:38 GMT). The commander, Nie Haisheng, and his crew, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping, plan to spend just under two weeks at the orbiting Tiangong space lab. Wang is China’s second female astronaut and she will beam the country’s first lesson from space to students on Earth. The crew’s capsule was ejected from the upper-stage of the rocket about nine minutes after lift-off. It should take just over 40 hours to raise the craft’s orbit to the operating altitude of Tiangong some 335km (208 miles) above the planet’s surface. This mission, the fifth manned mission by China and slated to be the longest, is designated Shenzhou-10. It is the latest step in China’s plan to eventually put a permanently manned station above the Earth.
Five die in building collapse: Part of a four-story building in India’s financial capital collapsed in heavy monsoon rains, killing at least five people, authorities said Tuesday. Rescuers used sensors and life detectors to search for five other people who were feared trapped in the debris of the building in the Sion area of Mumbai, said Vijayendra Dahiya, an official at the National Disaster Management Authority. Six others were injured when the structure caved in Monday night. Police cordoned off the building fearing more of it could collapse. Building collapses are common in India as builders try to cut corners by using substandard materials, and as multistory structures are built with inadequate supervision. Dahiya said the cause of the collapse was not immediately known.
Indian planes violate national airspace: The Pakistani Air Force said two Indian aircraft violated Pakistan’s airspace on Tuesday, and that it scrambled two fighter jets to “challenge the intruders.” The Indian Air Force said its planes appeared to have committed a “technical violation.” Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed arch rivals, and such airspace intrusions have happened on occasion in the past. The two countries have fought three major wars since their partition in 1947, but have taken steps to improve relations in recent years.
SOUTH KOREA (Low)
Government level talks on hold: South Korea has said high-level talks will not take place as scheduled with North Korea in Seoul on Wednesday. The two sides agreed on Monday to the two-day talks, expected to focus primarily on joint economic projects. But on the eve of the meeting, the two sides remained unable to agree on the composition of their delegations, officials in Seoul said. The planned talks would follow months of tension in the region, after the North’s third nuclear test in February.
MPs vote low confidence in PM Nguyen Tan Dung: Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has won the full support of less than half of parliament in an unprecedented confidence vote. Mr Dung received votes of “high confidence” from only 210 members of the 498-seat national assembly. He got 122 votes of “confidence” and 160 votes of “low confidence” in the three-ratings ballot. Remaining lawmakers did not cast ballots. Correspondents say that the vote is a rare public blow for the PM.
EUROPE & FSU
Air and rail misery for travelers: Belgian air traffic controllers affiliated to the socialist and liberal trades unions have announced work to rule action for Wednesday. Employees are protesting together with colleagues at other European air traffic control centers and the action could cause disruption in aviation across the continent of Europe. Brussels Airlines is cancelling 14 daily flights to France during the strike.
Air traffic controller strike: Half of flights serving France’s big cities have been cancelled, as air-traffic controllers begin a three-day strike to protest against EU plans to create a single European airspace. The controllers say the Single European Sky (SES) project will affect public safety and their working conditions. Walk-outs are expected to spread across Europe on Wednesday. France’s civil aviation authority says one in two flights to Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Bordeaux is cancelled. The European Commission, which drafts EU laws, estimates that inefficiencies in the way Europe’s air traffic is managed add 42km (26 miles) to the average flight.
Raid captures two wanted ETA members: Two suspected ETA members were arrested in early-morning raids Tuesday in the Gipuzkoa localities of Andoain and Urnieta. The Civil Guard said that Jon Lizarribar Lasarte and Rubén Gelbentzu González formed part of the Izarbeltz terrorist cell, which carried out four bombing attacks in 2002 against the University of Navarre, the Corte Inglés department store in Zaragoza and two local businesses in the Basque Country. The operation was the fruit of analysis of documents seized from several ETA leaders in France. The Civil Guard said the current investigation into the Izarbeltz cell remains ongoing.
Police clear Istanbul’s Taksim Square: Turkish riot police have cleared Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which has been occupied by anti-government protesters for close to two weeks. Police deployed water cannon and fired tear gas and rubber bullets, causing many protesters to flee the square into adjoining Gezi Park. Some activists hurled fireworks, fire bombs and stones at police. The unrest began after a crackdown on an environmental protest over Gezi Park’s redevelopment. The protests then widened, with demonstrators accusing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state. Mr Erdogan defended the police intervention on Tuesday, saying that an environmental movement had been hijacked by people who wanted to harm Turkey.
UNITED KINGDOM (Low)
G8 protesters in standoff with police: Riot police have surrounded a building in Soho, central London, ahead of planned protests against the G8 summit. More than 100 officers are in a standoff at a reported squat in Beak Street occupied by anti-G8 protesters. A group StopG8 has planned a “Carnival Against Capitalism” ahead of the summit of world leaders in Northern Ireland next week. Some scuffles broke out between the police and protesters. Police liaison officers have told people occupying the building in Beak Street that they will be removed and searched. They will then be held while the building itself is searched. Businesses including hedge funds and banks in central London are understood to have warned staff to take precautions after similar protests in recent years led to violent clashes with police.
MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA
Warning over Ethiopia Nile dam: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has said “all options are open” to deal with any threat to his country’s water supply posed by an Ethiopian dam. Mr Morsi said he was not “calling for war”, but that he would not allow Egypt’s water supply to be endangered. Egypt was apparently caught by surprise when Ethiopia started diverting the Blue Nile last month, amid works to construct a hydroelectric dam. The river is a tributary of the Nile, on which Egypt is heavily dependent. The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a $4.7bn (£3.1bn) project that Ethiopia says will eventually provide 6,000 megawatts of power. It says the Blue Nile will be slightly diverted but will then be able to follow its natural course.
Mohammad Reza Aref quits presidential race: The sole reformist candidate in this week’s Iranian presidential election, Mohammad Reza Aref, has dropped out of the race, his website says. Mr Aref said the head of the reformist movement, former president Mohammad Khatami, had asked him to withdraw. There have been recent calls for Mr Aref to quit in favor of moderate candidate Hassan Rowhani. Most of the six remaining candidates in the poll are conservatives close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Conservative Gholam Ali Haddad Adel withdrew his name on Monday, urging people to vote for a conservative candidate though he did not endorse any individual. Seen as completely loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei, he had been trailing in the polls and his withdrawal is not expected to have much impact on the voting outcome.
Dozens killed in day attacks: At least 70 people died Monday in a wave of bombings and attacks in central and northern Iraq, officials say. Two car bombs and a suicide attack at a market in the predominantly Shia town of Judaida al-Shat in Diyala province left at least 13 dead and 50 injured. Car bombs targeting checkpoints later killed at least 24 people in the mainly Sunni city of Mosul. Dozens of people were also killed in separate attacks in the cities of Kirkuk, Taji, Tikrit and Tuz Khurmato.
Damascus hit by double suicide bombing: Two suicide bombers have blown themselves up in the center of the Syrian capital, Damascus, killing 14 people, Syrian state media says. At least 30 other people were injured in the blasts, in Marjeh Square. The explosions happened near a police building in the busy commercial district. The attack comes as regime forces prepare an assault to recapture the northern city of Aleppo after having retaken Qusair from the rebels. Images on Syria’s al-Ikhbariya TV showed a scene of widespread damage, with shop fronts blown out and debris littering the street.