Two Blasts Hit Iranian Embassy in Lebanon
Two explosions hit the Iranian embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 100 others who were in the area at the time of the blasts. The embassy’s cultural attaché, Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari, was killed in the attack. Iran blamed Israel for the blasts, but the Adbullah Azzam Bridages claimed responsibility for the attack through the Twitter account of one of its officials, Sirajuddin Zurayqat, with a message declaring that the group was “behind the invasion of the Iranian embassy in Beriut”. Other attacks could be forthcoming, warned the brigades, unless Hezbollah withdrew from Syria and its members were released from Lebanese prisons. The bombing is seen as the latest spillover from the Syrian civil war into Lebanon.
Italy Declares Emergency as Sardinia Is Swept by Cyclone
Italian authorities declared a state of emergency in Sardinia on Tuesday after a cyclone swept through the island, killing at least 18 people and displacing more than 2,000 people from their homes amidst widespread floods. Cyclone Cleopatra dropped 450mm of rain in an hour and a half overnight, more than six months’ worth of the rainfall normally experienced in the region. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called it a “national tragedy” and announced the immediate release of €20m to fund the initial rescue efforts. The mayor of Olbia, one of the towns worst affected by the storm, said the sudden floods were “like a bomb” and many houses across his jurisdiction had been submerged by the waters. “We’ve just found a dead child we had been searching all night for”, said mayor Gianni Giovannelli. “We’re facing an exceptional event here which has put our system of territorial planning and management into crisis. We really have to assess how we manage these situations, which are becoming more frequent”, said Antonello Frau, deputy head of the island’s geological service.
Cost of Rebuilding in the Philippines Could Reach €4 Billion
The government of the Philippines said on Tuesday that the cost of repairing the damage caused by Typhoon Haynan could reach €4 billion, with economic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan saying he “would not be surprised” if the final figure went above that amount. The estimate comes as relief efforts seem to be picking up pace in the most affected areas. “It looks completely different to when I came in last week. I’m really delighted that so much progress has been made, so much more aid is going out, and the people are getting the vital supplies that they need”, said Valerie Amos, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. The director of the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the efforts how now entered a new phase. “Basically, we’ve provided everyone with relief. What we are doing right now is sustainment”, said Eduardo del Rosario.
German Parties Say EU ‘May Not Be Able To Let Turkey Join’
The two main German parties negotiating a coalition government, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), have issued a paper on foreign policy stating that EU membership talks with Turkey are currently “open-ended”. “If the EU is not in a position to accept (new members) or if Turkey is not able to fully meet the criteria for membership, Turkey should be bound closer to European structures, allowing it to further develop the privileged relationship it enjoys with the EU and Germany”, said the paper, a copy of which was obtained by the Reuters news agency. The EU and Turkey had begun a new round of membership negotiations earlier this month. The talks had been blocked by Germany and other EU governments since June.