From Washington, this is VOA news. G8 summit opens in Northern Ireland, and car bomb kills ten near Damascus. I’m Bob Doughty reporting from Washington.
The G8 summit of leaders of key world economies has started in Northern Ireland but the conference is likely to be dominated, that is, by talks on the U.S. decision to arm Syrian rebels.
President Obama said “Beyond these shores, shows right now in scattered corners of the world, there people living in the grip of conflict, ethnic conflict, religious conflict, tribal conflicts, and they know something better is out there. And they are groping to find a way to discover how to move beyond the heavy hand of history.”
Mr. Obama is planning to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the G8 sidelines Monday to discuss his decision to provide weapons to the rebels in their two-fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It is an action that Mr. Putin has vocally opposed.
Activists say a car bomb near a key military airport in Damascus has killed ten Syrian soldiers and wounded ten others.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bomb Monday targeted a checkpoint near the Mazzeh military airport in an upscale neighborhood in western Damascus.
The violence comes as Russia, which has a veto in the U.N. Security Council, said it will not permit no-fly zones to be imposed over Syria.
The United States and the European Union said they are starting talks on a new trans-Atlantic free trade agreement. European officials and U.S. President Barack Obama announced the agreement Monday to begin what are likely to be lengthy negotiations on the trade deal as the G8 summit opened in Northern Ireland.
The U.S. and 27-nation EU already account for nearly half of the global economy, with $1 trillion in annual trade. But Mr. Obama said a new deal to cut tariffs and permit the free flow of business deals could be “potentially groundbreaking.”
“It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade embarrassment. As part of broader growth strategies in both our economies, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean.”
U.S. and EU trade talks are likely to be difficult. EU officials are already consented to a French demand to exclude European film, music and television industries from any trans-Atlantic agreement.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is hosting the summit, set other economic goals for the two-day summit.
“Making sure we have more trade deals so we keep prices down, making sure we have greater transparency so we can help developing countries get the tax and the revenue that they need, and this issue of taxation, making sure we crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance so right across the world, countries get the tax revenue (they) need to keep tax is down for hard working people and to make sure we can have good health and education systems for all our people.”
Iran’s newly elected president is promising to follow a path of modernization, saying his victory signals a new era for the Iranian people. Moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani spoke during a televised news conference Monday, his first since his surprise win in Friday’s presidential election.
Mr. Rowhani said he would follow the path of modernization and justice, not extremism.
He also promised to revive what he called constructive interaction with the rest of the world and who helps fix Iran’s faltering economy.
The Turkish government says it may use the army to help quell anti-government protests after nearly three weeks of violent demonstrations in several cities across the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Monday that if police power isn’t enough, “elements of the Turkish Armed Forces” will assist to maintain order.
His comments come as five major Turkish trade unions began a nationwide strike against the police crackdown on the Gezi Park demonstrators. The unions, which together represent hundreds of thousands of workers, called for the police violence to “end immediately.”
Most of the strikes were peaceful but riot police used tear gas and water cannon Monday to prevent about 1,000 trade union workers from marching in the capital, Ankara.
And the British newspaper, The Guardian says documents leaked by a former U.S. intelligence contractor showed that Britain spied on diplomats attending the 2009 Group of 20 summit in London.
In a report published Monday, The Guardian said Britain’s eavesdropping agency, the General Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, hacked into the phones and computers of Turkish and South African delegates at the summit. It said the GCHQ also tricked some 20 delegates into using Internet cafes that it secretly modified to intercept diplomatic communications.
For more news and information, visit our website, voanews.com. I’m Bob Doughty.
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