Ennahda agrees to talks
The governing Islamist party Ennahda switched course on Sunday and agreed to meet with opposition parties to seek a consensus on resolving the country’s worst political crisis since its 2011 Arab Spring revolution. Fethi Ayadi, chairman of the party’s supreme council, said the talks could start by the end of the week and could consider opposition demands for a caretaker technocrat government to find a way out of the current standoff. Ennahda chairman Rached Ghannouchi firmly rejected that demand on Thursday last week, prompting criticism from opposition leaders who accuse his party of complacency toward threats from violent hardline Salafis.
Al-Qaeda plots attacks: ‘Bild’
Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on Europe’s high-speed rail network, the mass circulation daily Bild reported yesterday, citing intelligence sources. The extremist group could plant explosives on trains and tunnels or sabotage tracks and electrical cabling, Bild said. Bild said the information came from the US National Security Agency, which had listened in to a conference call involving top al-Qaeda operatives. The attacks on Europe’s rail network was a “central topic” of this call, Bild said. Authorities have responded with discrete measures such as deploying plainclothes police officers at key stations and on main routes, the daily said.
Rare Ferrari auctioned
A rare 1967 Ferrari owned by an orphan-turned-millionaire sold at auction for US$27.5 million. The red Ferrari was one of only 10 ever built, and its single-family ownership increased interest in the sale, the Los Angeles Times reported. The owner, the late Eddie Smith, was a former mayor of Lexington, North Carolina. He died in 2007 at age 88. “This is a bittersweet moment for us,” Eddie Smith Jr told a crowd before bidding began on Saturday. In keeping with his father’s philanthropy, the family was giving all proceeds to various charities, Smith Jr said.
Gunman holds three hostage
A gunman took three people hostage at the city hall in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt yesterday, officials said, and a planned election rally there featuring Chancellor Angela Merkel was canceled. The hostage-taker was a young man armed with a handgun, and the hostages were believed to include Ingolstadt Deputy Mayor Sepp Misslbeck, police spokesman Hans-Peter Kammerer said. The incident started shortly before 9am. Police said they are in contact with the man by telephone. There is no immediate word on what he wanted. The dpa news agency reported that Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the man had previously stalked a female employee at the city hall. The hostage-taking happened several hours before Merkel was due in the city for a late afternoon rally in the square in front of the city hall.