- - Sunday, September 30, 2012

JERUSALEM — International sanctions could trigger a popular uprising in Iran similar to last year’s revolution in Egypt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, Israel’s foreign minister said in statements published Sunday.

“The opposition demonstrations that took place in Iran in June 2009 will come back in even greater force,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview published by Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper.

“In my view, there’s going to be an Iranian-style Tahrir revolution,” he said, referring to last year’s mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that forced Mr. Mubarak to quit.

“The young generation is sick of being held hostage and sacrificing their future,” Mr. Lieberman said.

“The situation in Iran, and the feelings of the man on the street, is one of economic catastrophe.”


Security increased for Western embassies

MANILA — The Philippines on Sunday increased security around Western embassies, as the government monitors potential threats to foreign diplomats after a security alert raised last week.

On Friday, the U.S. Embassy warned that an unspecified threat against Americans in the capital, Manila, had been detected by “reliable security forces.”

Britain, Canada and Australia on Saturday joined the United States in issuing security alerts, warning Westerners to be on guard amid fears they could get caught up in an attempted attack against Americans.

Philippines deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the U.S. Embassy had asked Manila for additional security.

“As a matter of precautionary measures, we responded to their request to augment security,” she said on government radio, adding that it had also “responded quickly” to improve security for the other missions.

While the U.S. Embassy did not elaborate on the threat, Philippine and Western intelligence officials have previously warned that al Qaeda-linked terrorists maintain sleeper cells in Manila.


Erdogan says era of coups is over

ANKARA — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that the era of military coups in the country is over and that Turkey is a model for other Muslim countries to follow.

Mr. Erdogan was addressing a major congress of his ruling party, which is marking a decade of electoral success, a strong record of economic growth and a rising regional stature.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, which came to power in 2002, has maintained Turkey’s secular system but has also has curtailed the power of the military, which has staged three coups since the 1960s and forced an Islamic government out of office in 1997.

Earlier this month, a court sentenced more than 300 military officers to long prison terms for attempting to topple the government in 2003.

“The era of coups in this country will never return again,” Mr. Erdogan told thousands of delegates attending the congress at a sports arena. “Anyone who intervenes or tries to intervene in democracy will sooner or later go in front of the people’s courts and be made to account.”


Muslims trash Buddhist temples over insult

CHITTAGONG — Thousands of rioters torched Buddhist temples and homes in southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday over a photo posted on Facebook deemed offensive to Islam, in a rare attack against the Buddhist community.

Officials said the mob comprising some 25,000 people set fire to at least five temples and dozens of homes in Ramu town and its adjoining villages, more than 200 miles from the capital, Dhaka.

The rioters claimed the photo allegedly defaming the Koran was uploaded on Facebook by a young Buddhist man from the area, district administrator Joinul Bari said.

Police officer Rumia Khatun said that about “25,000 Muslims chanting ‘God is Great’” first attacked a Buddhist hamlet in Ramu, torching centuries-old temples, and later stormed Buddhist villages outside the town.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties, and authorities did not say if any of the rioters were arrested.

Witnesses described rioters leaving a trail of devastation at the Buddhist villages.


Bomb kills child in Sunday school class

NAIROBI — An explosive device set off in a Sunday school class killed one child and seriously wounded three.

Police official Moses Ombati said he suspects sympathizers with the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab were behind the attack at an Anglican church in Nairobi.

Kenya has seen a series of attacks on churches ever since Kenyan forces moved into Somalia to fight al-Shabab last year. Kenyan forces kicked the rebels out of their last stronghold, Kismayo, on Friday.

Grenades are often used in the attacks, but Mr. Ombati described the cause of Sunday’s attack only as an explosive device. One church member, Julius Macharia Maina, brought four children to the hospital. One child’s head was cut open; the others had bruises.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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