Suicide blast kills 10
A suicide bomber yesterday targeted a senior police commander near the US consulate in Peshawar, killing at least 10 people, including two women, officials said. A security official said Abdul Majeed Marwat, commander of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, survived the attack and was taken to a military hospital with “only scratches.” About 28 other people were wounded in the blast, medics said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
University attack kills 15
Mortar fire killed at least 15 students in Damascus on Thursday, with state media blaming “terrorists.” “A total of 15 students were killed in a mortar attack launched by terrorists targeting the architecture faculty,” Damascus University dean Amer Mardini said, quoted by the official SANA news agency. The regime uses the term “terrorists” for rebels who are increasingly targeting President Bashar al-Assad’s seat of power. SANA said six other people were wounded by mortars targeting the faculty cafeteria. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the attack, saying many of the wounded were in critical condition.
Show reject threatens blast
A 70-year-old man was so enraged at being rejected by a TV talent show that he allegedly threatened to blow up the program’s broadcaster, police said yesterday. Kazumi Yaoita applied for a spot in an NHK singing contest that is shown nationally every Sunday afternoon, hoping to fulfill a long-cherished ambition, a police officer in the city of Niigata said. However, his application was rejected before he even got to the audition stage, with a postcard from the show’s producers saying he had not made the grade, the officer said. Infuriated, Yaoita allegedly telephoned NHK from his own mobile phone and said he would bomb the contest site. He was arrested on charges of forcible obstruction of business. If convicted he could face up to three years in jail.
Pol Pot’s deputy fit for trial
The war crimes court yesterday ruled that Pol Pot’s former deputy, Nuon Chea, was fit to continue standing trial after the death of a codefendant renewed fears that the elderly accused may not live to see verdicts. “The accused Nuon Chea is fit to stand trial,” Judge Nil Nonn said at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge war crimes court after speaking with medical experts. Nuon Chea, 86, the most senior surviving leader of the genocidal communist regime in the late 1970s, did not attend the hearing due to poor health, a clerk told the court. He is on trial with former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, 81, over war crimes and genocide charges.
Ottawa defends action
Canada defended its decision to pull out of a UN convention that fights the spread of droughts just a month before a major gathering would have forced the country to confront scientific analysis on the effects of climate change. Canada is the only country in the world outside the agreement. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has been vilified an as outlier on climate change policy in past international meetings. Harper said on Thursday that the UN Convention to Combat Desertification is too bureaucratic. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called it a “talkfest” that does a disservice to taxpayers.