Syrian Council head quits amid chinks
Damascus—Syrian National Council chief Burhan Ghalioun said on Thursday he will step down to avert divisions within the opposition bloc, after activists on the ground accused him of monopolising power. “I will not allow myself to be the candidate of division, I am not attached to a position, so I announce that I will step down after a new candidate has been chosen, either by consensus or through new elections,” said the Paris-based academic.
34 dead, 21 injured in bus plunge
Hanoi—A crowded overnight bus plunged off a bridge into a river in central Vietnam, killing 34 people and injuring 21 others in one of the country’s deadliest road accidents. The 50-seat coach lost control and ripped through the bridge’s guardrails Thursday night, diving about 18 meters (60 feet) and landing on its top, partially submerged in the Serepok River, said local official Tran Bao Que.
N Korea holds hostage 29 China fishermen
Beijing—China has been striving to rescue 29 Chinese fishermen kidnapped by an unidentified North Korean gunboat, as the hostages faced death threats in a rare public spat between the two communist neighbours. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said yesterday that “China is maintaining close contact with North Korea through the relevant channels, and we hope this problem will be appropriately solved as soon as possible”.
Protesters call for end to Afghan war
Chicago—A group of anti-war demonstrators staged a peaceful “die in” on Thursday at President Barack Obama’s election campaign headquarters in Chicago to demand an end to the war in Afghanistan and unmanned drone aircraft attacks overseas. The Obama campaign did not respond to requests for comment about the protest. It was the second small protest at Obama’s campaign headquarters this week in the run-up to the two-day NATO summit starting on Sunday in Chicago.
Bull in the China shop ...
Shah Husain ImamNOT even a week has passed since the prime minister beamed a certain geniality towards the opposition but here we are now pushed to the throes of a deeper uncertainty. Surprising, yes; but not inexplicable. After the visits of three foreign dignitaries to Dhaka recently a sobering wind has been blowing across the political terrain. But recall the wise words of James Herbert, a British author: “Never underestimate the hypocrisy of politicians.”
The BNP thought the AL was on the back foot and vice versa. None emerged a gainer, none a winner. Both diminished with their mutual distrust of each other which couldn’t be concealed to the foreign visitors.