Now the news from the Voice of America. Turkish prime minister defends crackdown. Russian president warns on aid to Syrian rebels. I’m Christopher Cruise reporting live from the VOA news center in Washington.
In Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, riot police used tear gas to keep thousands of angti-government demonstrators from regrouping at a central square near a park in the city. The move followed violence overnight.
At the same time as police and protesters were clashing at Taksim Square, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was speaking to hundreds of thousands of his supporters just a few kilometers away.
He said the past two weeks of street protests have been caused by what he called “terrorists”. He said it was his duty to evict the protesters from the park in central Istanbul.
A car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near a military airport outside Damascus, Syria, on Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that at least 20 soldiers were wounded and a still undetermined number were killed.
On the subject of Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West to be careful in arming the rebels. He spoke in London on Sunday. He is on his way to G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
Last week, the United States said that it has proof that Syria has used chemical weapons and said it will send direct military aid to the rebels although it has not said what type of weapons it will send.
Russia has been sending weapons to the Syrian government, but says it is only fulfilling contracts.
In Iraq on Sunday, at least 30 people were killed and many were injured in car bombings and a shooting. The explosions targeted mostly Shiite areas south of the capital, Baghdad. So far, there has been no claim of responsibility for any of the attacks.
Thousands of supporters of Iran’s president-elect celebrated Sunday in the streets of Tehran. The celebrations came as Hassan [Rasawi], Rowhani, that is, spoke on television.
He called on Iranians to remain committed to the law. It was the first time Iranians had heard from him since Friday’s election. He called his election a victory of moderation and intelligence over extremism.
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North Korea says it wants nuclear and security talks with the United States. The North’ offer came on Saturday just days after a planned meeting with South Korea collapsed. The VOA’s Steve Herman reports from Seoul.
North Korea’s authoritative National Defense Commission says there should be unconditional high-level talks with the United States.
This comes following previous vows by Pyongyang to attack the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons, threats not taken seriously during a period of escalated bellicose rhetoric from North Korea.
The North Korean proposal was introduced by announcers on state broadcasting as an “important announcement.”
A North Korean television announcer says “if the United States has true intent on defusing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, it should not raise preconditions for dialogue and contact.”
There was no immediate response from the White House.
Steve Herman, VOA news, Seoul.
South African President Jacob Zuma says former President Nelson Mandela remains in serious condition at a hospital in Pretoria. But Mr. Zuma says [his doctors] Mr. Mandela’s doctors, that is, say he has shown “sustained” improvement in the [last two years] last two days and continues to communicate with his family. Mr. Mandela has been in the hospital for nine days.
The Czech prime minister, Petr Necas, has announced he will resign on Monday after days of political turmoil.
His ruling coalition will try to form a new government led by someone nominated by his political party. He has been under pressure to quit since police conducted raids all across the country this week and arrested eight people including his closest aide. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, says cultural sites are under attack in such places as Syria, Mali and the Central African Republic.
It’s calling for global cooperation in protecting sites in danger of destruction from war, including the ancient cities of Damascus and Aleppo in Syria and Timbuktu in Mali.
A solar-powered plane nearing the end of a cross-country journey landed early Sunday at an airport near Washington DC. About 12,000 photo voltaic cells cover its 63-meter-long winds and charge its batteries during the day so it can fly at night. The pilots plan a flight around the world in 2015.
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