- - Thursday, October 6, 2011


Swedish poet wins Nobel in literature

STOCKHOLM | The 2011 Nobel Prize in literature was awarded on Thursday to Tomas Transtromer of Sweden, whose surrealistic works about the mysteries of the human mind won him wide recognition as the most influential Scandinavian poet of recent decades.

Characterized by powerful imagery, Mr. Transtromer’s poems are often built around his own experiences and infused with his love of music and nature. His later poems are darker, probing existential questions of life, death and disease.

Mr. Transtomer is considered a master of metaphor, weaving powerful images into his poems without much embellishment. The award citation noted that his collections “are characterized by economy.”

A psychologist and avid amateur pianist, Mr. Transtromer, 80, suffered a stroke in 1990 that left him half-paralyzed and largely unable to speak. But he continued to write, publishing “The Sorrow Gondola” in 1996 and the “The Great Enigma.” He has since retired from writing.

Mr. Transtromer has been a perennial favorite for the Nobel and in recent years Swedish journalists have waited outside his apartment in Stockholm on the day the $1.5 million award is announced.


Bomber who killed 100 opposed education

MOGADISHU | The Somali suicide bomber who killed more than 100 people in an attack near the Education Ministry was a school dropout who had declared that young people should forget about secular education and instead wage jihad.

Bashar Abdullahi Nur, who detonated a massive blast Tuesday that covered the capital in dust more than a half-mile away, had given an interview before the attack that was later aired on a militant-run radio station.

“Now those who live abroad are taken to a college and never think about the hereafter. They never think about the harassed Muslims,” he said. “He wakes up in the morning, goes to college and studies and accepts what the infidels tell him, while infidels are massacring Muslims.”

The United Nations said Thursday that more than 100 people had died in the explosion in Mogadishu. Dozens were wounded, including Somalia’s deputy health minister.

Tuesday’s attack killed some of Somalia’s brightest young minds, including students gathered around a notice board to learn about the results of scholarships from the Turkish government.


Police disrupt student march with water cannons, arrests

SANTIAGO | Chilean police used water cannons and tear gas to break up a student march for free public education on Thursday, hours after protesters’ talks with the government collapsed.

A huge deployment of riot police surrounded students in the Plaza Italia, Santiago’s traditional gathering place, where student leader Camila Vallejo tried to lead the march while holding a sign saying “United and Stronger,” only to be pummeled by water cannons and forced to retreat by tear gas.

Protesters hurled rocks at police and set blockades ablaze in the streets as officers on horseback chased students onto nearby campuses. Ms. Vallejo said officers shot tear gas into their student government offices in “a direct attack against our organization.”

Students occupied the Alameda, one of Santiago’s main avenues, by dancing in large numbers, but were blasted with water from police. Small groups managed to elude officers and approach the presidential palace before being beaten back by police.

The regional governor, Cecilia Perez, said 28 people were arrested by midafternoon, and that six officers and two civilians were injured. At least a half-dozen journalists also were arrested. She called this “lamentable” and said their arrests would be investigated.

Thursday’s march was the 37th weekly protest since the movement against Chile’s largely privatized education system began in April, demanding more spending and higher taxes on the wealthy so that quality public education can be free for all.


EU moving toward more Syria sanctions

BRUSSELS | The European Union is moving to widen its sanctions against Syria because of the Arab state’s brutal crackdown on protesters, officials said Thursday, adding that Syria’s largest commercial bank is a target.

The EU moves would come after the failure by the U.S. and European allies to pass a U.N. Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against Syria.

Russia and China vetoed Tuesday’s measure, which would have been the first legally binding council resolution against Syria since President Bashar Assad’s forces began attacking pro-democracy protesters in mid-March.

The U.N. estimates the crackdown has led to more than 2,900 deaths. The killings already have prompted the 27-nation EU to expanded sanctions against Syria several times.

The latest sanctions will likely not be ready yet for EU foreign ministers to endorse during Monday’s monthly council meeting. But a high-ranking EU official said they should be pushed through “in the coming days.”

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