From Washington, this is VOA news. Lawyers protest government crackdown in Turkey. Still no U.S., British decision on lethal aid to Syrian rebels. I’m Ray Kouguell reporting from Washington.
Turkey’s government says it may be willing to put to referendum the question of building in a public park–the very issue that sparked violent anti-government protests.
A spokesman says that in a democracy, only the will of the people counts and demanded that the protests stop.
Thousands of Turkish lawyers left courthouses Wednesday in a demonstration against detention of their colleagues amid Turkey’s biggest anti-government protests in years. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.
Outside Istanbul’s main court house, over 2,000 lawyers chanted “everywhere Taksim, everywhere resistance.” The protest by the lawyers was in response to a crackdown by police on anti-government protesters in the city’s Taksim Square. Taksim Square is under police control and the adjacent Gezi Park, while still occupied by protesters, is surrounded.
Government plans to redevelop the park prompted the initial protests that subsequently spiraled into the largest nationwide anti-government movement in the decade-long leadership of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mr. Erdogan met Wednesday with a delegation of 11 students, academics and artists.
Dorian Jones, VOA news, Istanbul, Turkey.
Iran’s six remaining presidential candidates wrapped up a final day Wednesday trying to win over voters before Friday’s election.
Iranians will choose the successor to current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from a slate dominated by conservatives loyal to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says still no decision yet on how the United States will help opposition fighters save Syria.
Secretary Kerry spoke Wednesday in Washington alongside British Foreign Secretary William Hague as London and Washington press for strategies to end Syria’s civil war and establish a transitional government.
“We are deeply concerned about the dire situation in Syria, including the involvement of Hezbollah as well as Iran across state lines and in another country. So we are focusing our efforts now on doing all that we can to support the opposition as they work to change the balance on the ground.”
Both the United States and Britain have provided no-lethal support to rebels opposed to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and have discussed the possibility of sending weapons.
The head of a secretive U.S. spy agency says he has “great concerns” about how a contractor with limited education and work experience was cleared to access key details about the government’s surveillance program and then leak the information to two newspapers.
During testimony before a congressional panel Wednesday, National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander said his agency is investigating how Edward Snowden was approved for clearances.
And those clearances allowed him to look at information about the NSA monitoring of telephone calls and messages sent through the Internet, all despite having dropped out of college and working in several junior-level jobs.
Mr. Alexander’s testimony came after Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he plans to stay in Hong Kong and fight any U.S. effort to extradite him to face possible criminal charges.
A U.S. man accused of holding three women captive in his Cleveland, Ohio, home for a decade pleaded not guilty to more than 300 charges of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder.
Ariel Castro made a brief court appearance Wednesday. Another hearing is set for next week.
Castro was arrested last month after one of the women escaped and alerted police.
The World Health Organization warns there is a global shortage of safe blood. In advance of World Blood Donor Day Friday, the WHO is appealing for more voluntary blood donors to boost the supply. Lisa Schlein has more.
The World Health Organization says the need for blood and blood products is increasing every year. Unfortunately, it says millions of patients requiring life-saving transfusions do not have timely access to safe blood.
In low- and middle-income countries, WHO says blood transfusion is usually given to mothers suffering complications from pregnancy and childbirth. It also is given for the treatment of severe childhood anemia.
In high-income countries, WHO says transfusion is commonly used for supportive care in heart surgery, transplant surgery, trauma and cancer therapy. WHO says the need for blood is growing globally in both developed and developing countries.
Lisa Schlein, for VOA news, Geneva.
And I’m Ray Kouguell, VOA news. More at voanews.com.
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