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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Turkey Continues to Shell Syrian Towns

Turkey’s armed forces continued to fire on military targets in Tel Abyad, a border town in Syria, marking the second day of aggression. This onslaught continues in retaliation to a Syrian shelling that killed five Turkish civilians in Akcakale, Turkey on Wednesday. The Turkish Parliament has authorized further operations against Syrian positions should the situation warrant more strikes. Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said that the sanctioned use of force was not a declaration of war but a caution against further Syrian hostilities. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi offered his “sincerest condolences on behalf of the Syrian government to the family of the deceased and the Turkish people.” But he also called on Turkey to prevent Syrian opposition forces from using Turkey’s borderlands as a base: “There’s a special condition on the Syrian-Turkish borders in terms of the presence of undisciplined terrorist groups spread across the borders who have varying agendas and identities.”

Argentina Fires Top Military Officials Over Strikes

On Wednesday Argentina’s Coast Guard and military police went on strike, protesting salary cuts despite the country’s 20 percent yearly inflation rate. This was the first time uniformed military forces have demonstrated in Argentina. Today, despite assurances that basic national security functions continue, several top officials in the armed forced were fired or forced to retire. “We support democracy. This is not a political uprising. It’s nothing strange… we are workers, like any others, who need to support our families” said military police officer Fernando Parodi. Despite provisional promises by the government to repay wages lost to the salary cuts, the demonstrators have vowed to continue their strike until the government issues a written response to to the striker’s 20-point list of complaints.

Women’s Health Ship Blocked by Moroccan Warship

Today a Moroccan warship has prevented a boat belonging to the controversial non-profit Women on Waves from docking in Smir, a city 40km (25miles) east of Tangier, Morocco. Founded by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, Women on Waves works to promote safe abortion in countries where it is illegal, by teaching women how to induce “safe legal medical abortions” and offering the necessary medication to make it possible. The organization was invited to Morocco by the local youth group Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms in hopes of initiating a discussion on legalizing abortions in the country. According to a statement by the national health ministry, Morocco “[had] never been informed of this event and [did] not authorize any non-resident party or doctor in Morocco to carry out this medical intervention.” Gunilla Kleiverga, a gynecologist affiliated with Women on Waves responded, “we are only treating women in international waters. We’re on a Dutch ship, where Dutch law applies. Of course we [will] adhere to Moroccan law, and we’re not going to offer abortions in Morocco.” During the 11 years Women on Waves has been active, it has faced protests by anti-abortion groups in all five of the countries it has visited.

Landslide in China Kills 16

A landslide in the Yunnan province of China killed 16 school children when it hit a primary school yesterday. The landslide also damaged several homes, and three people remain missing. The landslide, coupled with severe rains in the mountainous region, has caused a nearby river to back-up; a subsequent evacuation has been ordered. According to Chinese government media, more than 500 rescue workers are currently involved in efforts to recover survivors throughout the province, but their work has been hampered by continuous rain. Over the past three years, Yunnan has been afflicted by tremors, with death tolls numbering in the thousands.

Spanish Police Foil Bomb Plot

Police have arrested a man on the Spanish island of Mallorca today, on suspicion of plotting to bomb the University of the Balearic Islands. The man has no apparent connection to the university but was evidently an admirer of the duo behind the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, an incident wherein two high school students killed 12 of their peers and one teacher. Alerted to his weblog, with details of this fascination, Spanish authorities launched an investigation five months ago and opted to arrest the man as he had received a shipment of 140kg (310lbs) of materials related to bomb making.

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