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Question of the Day
Kurdish lawmakers end boycott of parliament
ANKARA — A pro-Kurdish party on Wednesday said it is ending its 4-month-old boycott of Turkey’s parliament even as tensions grow over a surge in attacks by Kurdish separatist rebels.
The lawmakers of the Peace and Democracy Party have been refusing to take an oath of office following their election in June as they press for the release of five pro-Kurdish legislators held on charges of rebel ties.
They also wanted another Kurdish politician, Hatip Dicle, whose election was canceled because of a conviction for rebel links, to be allowed to take office.
Selahattin Demirtas, chairman of the party, however, said Wednesday that it decided to end the boycott to be able to work for peace more effectively.
The party has 29 lawmakers, and those who remain free will take their oath when the 550-seat parliamentary session opens Saturday, he said.
New cruise missiles delivered to navy
TEHRAN — Iran said Wednesday it has begun large-scale production of a domestically developed cruise missile designed for sea-based targets and capable of destroying warships.
Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said an unspecified number of the missiles, called “Ghader,” or “Capable” in Farsi, were delivered to the Iranian military and the powerful Revolutionary Guard’s naval division, which is assigned to protect Iran’s sea borders.
Gen. Vahidi said the missile, which has a range of 124 miles, can travel at low altitudes and “can sink giant warships.” The comments appeared to suggest that the new missile potentially could counter the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
The West already is concerned about Iran’s military capabilities, especially the implications of the country’s disputed nuclear program. The West fears Iran is trying to produce a nuclear weapon. Tehran denies the charges.
Iran’s growing arsenal includes short- and medium-range ballistic missiles that are capable of hitting targets in the region such as Israel and U.S. military bases in the Gulf.
Police investigating videos of ‘Zetas Killers’
MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government said it is investigating videos posted on the Internet in which a gang of masked men vows to exterminate the violent Zetas drug cartel.
At least two videos have been posted by a group believed linked to the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which calls itself the “Mata Zetas,” or “Zetas Killers.” The Zetas were founded by deserters from an elite military unit and are known for their brutality.
In the most recent video, posted over the weekend, the group says it is attacking the Zetas because people are tired of the gang’s kidnappings and extortion.
“We are the armed wing of the people, and for the people,” says a man with a ski mask, who is seen in the video sitting at a table with four other masked associates and reading from a prepared statement.
“We are anonymous warriors, with faces, but proudly Mexican.”
The speaker said his group was prohibited by its ethical code from carrying out kidnappings or extortion.
Fire destroys iconic sports arena
COPENHAGEN — A fire raced through a 73-year-old sports arena in the Danish capital Wednesday, destroying the iconic building just hours before a sex fair was to open, officials said.
About 20 people involved with the erotic trade fair, who were sleeping inside the K.B. Hallen Arena when the blaze started, got out safely.
Three people were hospitalized with smoke inhalation, but they were discharged later Wednesday.
The blaze most likely started when overheated light bulbs set fire to nearby cardboard boxes inside the 1938 arena, police spokesman Lars-Christian Borg said.
K.B. Hallen was the capital’s main sports, concert and exhibition facility for decades, hosting several international tennis and badminton tournaments, boxing matches, concerts and exhibitions.
Tennis greats including Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Boris Becker played in the arena. Louis Armstrong, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones performed there.
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