Strike greets Singh visit
Shops, businesses and schools were closed in Kashmir after separatist groups called for a strike yesterday to protest a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the disputed Himalayan region. Large numbers of police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Srinagar, Kashmir’s main city, a day after a daring rebel attack in which eight soldiers were killed and 13 were wounded. Police closed off several main roads in Srinagar. Paramilitary soldiers with automatic weapons swarmed a convention center where Singh was due to meet local officials later yesterday to review the progress of development projects in the state. Late on Monday, in a message to local news agencies, Kashmir’s biggest rebel group, Hizb-ul Mujahedeen, claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities have directed residents of Srinagar’s old quarters to stay indoors, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Today, Singh is expected to inaugurate part of an ambitious rail line that connects southern and northern Kashmir. However, separatist groups say the Kashmir dispute cannot be resolved by economic grants and developing rail services.
Terror suspects arrested
Police on Monday arrested six people who are suspected of belonging to a radical Islamist cell and of preparing attacks in the country, a police source said. The suspects, aged 22 to 38, were arrested in and near the Paris region. They were all known to police for various offenses and one had appeared in an anti-terrorism investigation. They can be held for questioning for up to 96 hours before judges decide whether to put them under formal investigation.
The state-run news agency says police have raided homes in the capital, Ankara, detaining at least 20 people involved in protests against the government. The Anadolu Agency said yesterday that police searched about 30 addresses and rounded up 20 people with alleged links to “terror” groups and suspected of “attacking police and the environment” during nearly three weeks of protests that swept Turkey. The protests began in Istanbul on May 31 and quickly turned into widespread demonstrations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership following a heavy-handed police clampdown on peaceful activists.
Train ad sweeps awards
A public service ad campaign that became an Internet hit for its black-humored list of reckless ways to die — such as “poke a stick at a grizzly bear” — has added to its luster by scooping up a record number of international advertising prizes. The three-minute short co-produced by Melbourne private rail service Metro Trains to teach people to be careful around trains, Dumb Ways to Die, has notched up more than 50 million views on YouTube since its release in November, sparked hundreds of parodies and even become a smartphone game. The clip employs a catchy tune and colorful blobs which die in a variety of ways, including “keeping a rattlesnake as a pet” and “selling both kidneys on the Internet,” before culminating in train-related deaths that are described as “the dumbest way to die.” It swept the awards at Sunday’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, winning a record five Grand Prix awards, 18 Gold Lions, three Silver Lions and two Bronze Lions, the most ever awarded to one campaign in the festival’s 59-year history.