- - Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TURKEY

Official: Israel at fault in convoy deaths

ISTANBUL | Israel should admit sole responsibility for the killing of nine activists during a raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday.

A U.N. inquiry into the May 31 Israeli commando raid on the aid convoy was scheduled to meet for the first time later in the day. The killing of the activists, all Turks, although one also was a U.S. citizen, almost caused a breakdown in relations between the Jewish state and its once-close ally.

“No one else can take the blame for killing civilians in international waters,” Mr. Davutoglu told journalists. “Israel has killed civilians and should take the responsibility for having done so.”

The Turkish minister appeared to be responding to comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to a separate Israeli inquiry into the fatal raid.

Mr. Netanyahu said Turkey had ignored repeated warnings and appeals “at the highest level” to halt the flotilla, which was organized by an Islamic charity based in Turkey.

Turkey has no responsibility in the attack on the Mavi Marmara flotilla,” Mr. Davutoglu said.

On Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Israeli panel that Israel had exhausted all other options before carrying out the raid.

SAUDI ARABIA

Giant clock set for ‘Mecca time’

MECCA | Muslims around the world soon could be setting their watches to a new time when the world’s largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca.

Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock, which will loom over Mecca’s Grand Mosque from what is expected to be the world’s second-tallest building, will establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich median.

The clock is targeted to enter service with a three-month trial period in the first week of the holy month of Ramadan on or about Thursday, according to the Saudi state news agency SPA.

It boasts four glimmering 151-foot-wide faces composed of high-tech composite tiles, some laced with gold, standing more than 1,320 feet over the Holy Haram compound.

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