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Friday, February 1, 2013

Suicide Bomber Attacks U.S. Embassy in Turkey

A suicide bomber detonated himself at the entrance to the U.S. embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Friday morning killing himself and a Turkish security guard at the site. The Associated Press reported that the bomb appeared to have exploded inside the security checkpoint at a side entrance to the embassy compound. “It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground”, said Kamiyar Barnos, a travel agent interviewed by the Guardian whose show window was shattered by the blast. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, although Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler said the outlawed leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was responsible for the bombing. Reports named the suspect as 30-year-old Ecevit Şanlı, who had spent time in prison in the past.

Israeli Warplanes Violate Lebanese Airspace

Israeli warplanes once again violated Lebanese airspace on Friday, two days after reportedly targeting a convoy of vehicles carrying weapons within Lebanon or a research centre near the Syrian capital, Damascus. A spokesman for the UN interim force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Andrea Tenenti, said that the violations had begun on Tuesday and had been constant since then. “It is not unusual”, he added. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed in 2006, forbids Israeli planes from flying over Lebanon. In the meantime, Israeli commentators began speculating that the Israeli strike was the beginning of a larger confrontation. One columnist in Yediot Ahronot, the country’s most widely read newspaper, wrote that “it would seem, from a pessimistic view, that we are on the way to a military confrontation on at least one of the two northern fronts”, referring to the country’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Colombian Soldiers and FARC Rebels in Clashes as Peace Talks Restart

Fighting between Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels and government forces have left at least nine people dead as peace talks resumed in Cuba. Five FARC guerrillas died in a government military offensive in Antioquia department, in the north of the country, while four government soldiers died in clashes in Nariño department in southern Colombia. Chief Colombian negotiator Humberto de la Calle said the violence would not force the government into declaring a ceasefire, while FARC chief negotiator Iván Márquez said that the group was committed to the talks “until we find a path that leads us to peace”. The current negotiations in Cuba are the first attempt in a decade to end the long-standing conflict through dialogue. The FARC wants the government to adopt radical land reform measures as one of its demands, handing more than 20% of the country’s land to the poor.

‘Staggeringly Incompetent’ Hitmen Killed Innocent Student in Wales

Two hitmen have been found guilty of murdering a student in Cardiff in April 2010 in a case of mistaken identity. Described by prosecutors as “staggeringly incompetent”, 38-year-old Jason Richards and 39-year-old Ben Hope attacked 17-year-old Aamir Siddiqi in his home with daggers. The student had answered the door expecting to see his imam, who was due to give him a Koran lesson, but found the two masked hitmen high on heroin. The teenager tried to run back into the house, but was repeatedly stabbed. His parents could not stop the attackers, who were carrying out a contract killing on the wrong victim, in the wrong house. They had been paid to kill a businessman who lived in a neighbouring street. The killers will be sentenced next Friday.

Weekend Read: Àrsene’s Austerity

Àrsene Wenger, a 63-year-old French economist and manager of London’s Arsenal Football Club, stands accused of practicing the sport’s version of austerity, enraging the club’s fan base. Will his prudence finally pay off? In the Financial Times.

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