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TURKEY

Turks mark anniversary of attack in Karabakh war

ANKARA | Tens of thousands of Turks, waving Azeri flags, rallied Sunday to mark the anniversary of a notorious attack that Azerbaijanis say killed hundreds of people during the six-year war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin made an impassioned nationalist speech at the rally in Istanbul, estimated at between 20,000 and 50,000 participants, which underlined the deep tensions with neighboring Armenia, even though fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in 1994.

Ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia drove Azerbaijani troops out of Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s during the war that killed some 30,000 people and sent 1 million fleeing from their homes.

A cease-fire was reached in 1994, but the final status of the enclave, whose self-proclaimed sovereignty is not recognized internationally, is unresolved. The dispute continues to damage both nations’ economies and the threat of renewed war hangs over the region.

NORTH KOREA

New leader issues threat on eve of U.S. military drills

SEOUL | North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to launch a powerful retaliatory strike against South Korea if provoked, state media said Sunday, a day before the start of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills.

South Korean and U.S. officials have said the 12-day, largely computer-simulated war games are defensive in nature, but North Korea claims the exercises are a rehearsal for an invasion.

The threat came a day after a senior U.S. envoy said ties between the rival Koreas must improve before the United States and North Korea can achieve real progress in their relationship.

Mr. Kim, supreme commander of the North’s 1.2 million-member military, made the comment during a visit to front-line military units, including one that shelled a South Korean island in 2010.

SENEGAL

Voters boo president when he went to cast ballot

DAKAR | Voters booed Senegal’s president so loudly when he went to cast his ballot Sunday that his bodyguards whisked him away, another sign of how much his popularity has dipped ahead of an election that has sparked weeks of riots.

This normally unflappable republic has been rocked by back-to-back protests following President Abdoulaye Wade’s decision to seek a third term, threatening Senegal’s reputation as one of the most mature democracies in Africa.

In choosing to run again, the 85-year-old leader is violating the term limits he himself introduced into the constitution.

Mr. Wade argues that those restrictions should not apply to him because he was elected before they went into effect. He has predicted that he will win Sunday’s poll with a crushing majority.

ISRAEL

Israel signs arms deal with Azerbaijan

JERUSALEM | Israeli defense officials on Sunday confirmed $1.6 billion in deals to sell drones as well as anti-aircraft and missile defense systems to Azerbaijan, bringing sophisticated Israeli technology to the doorstep of archenemy Iran.

The sales by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries come at a delicate time. Israel has been laboring hard to form diplomatic alliances in a region that seems to be growing increasingly hostile to the Jewish state.

Its most pressing concern is Iran’s nuclear program, and Israeli leaders have hinted broadly that they would be prepared to attack Iranian nuclear facilities if they see no other way to keep Tehran from building bombs.

Iran denies Israeli and Western claims that it seeks to develop atomic weapons, and says its disputed nuclear program is designed to produce energy and medical isotopes.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Activists rally against dictator’s U.N. prize

JOHANNESBURG | Human rights groups are urging UNESCO to abandon a prize named after Africa’s longest-ruling dictator, one they say could be tainted by some of the millions he allegedly has looted from oil-rich but poverty-stricken Equatorial Guinea.

The board of the U.N. agency for education, science and culture meets Monday and is expected to discuss the $3 million UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which it accepted in 2008.

A chorus of outrage from around the world so far has delayed a decision on the prize that activists say should be quashed definitively.

Many ask how President Teodoro Obiang Nguema can offer such a prize while thousands of his people live without electricity or a clean water supply.

Railing against Mr. Obiang’s effort “to abuse the reputation and standing” of UNESCO, the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative accused him of using the prize “to launder the image of his regime.”

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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