World Newsbits for September 24,2013
ANKARA (AFP) — Turkey’s fragile peace process is in limbo as government and Kurdish rebels accuse each other of failing to respect a pact seen as the country’s best shot at ending three decades of conflict. Politicians and analysts say that six months after a rebel ceasefire that was hailed as a breakthrough, negotiations are deadlocked after Kurdish rebels this month halted their pullout from Turkey. The banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) announced it was stopping its pullout from the country, accusing Ankara of dragging its feet on reforms designed to enhance the rights of Turkey’s estimated 15-million strong Kurdish community. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in turn accused the PKK of breaking its promises, saying barely 20 percent of its fighters had left Turkish soil for bases in Iraqi Kurdistan and that most were women, children and the elderly.
BOZCAADA, Turkey (AFP) — Blasted by winds whipped up on the Aegean Sea, the Turkish island of Bozcaada sits close to the ancient city of Troy and has been known since the time of Helen and Paris for one thing: wine. But that may be all about to change.In early September in Bozcaada, another grape harvest was coming to an end, and with the final fruit of the season heading to the pressing room, Mehmet Tanay was feeling gloomy. “It will be an average year,’’ the vintner said.
SEOUL (AFP) — South Korea on Monday urged North Korea to review its decision to postpone a reunion for families separated by the Korean War, saying it had ‘’deeply wounded’’ those chosen to participate. Hundreds of divided family members from both Koreas were scheduled to meet at the North’s Mount Kumgang resort from Wednesday in the first such reunion for three years. But the North abruptly announced on Saturday that it was putting the event on indefinite hold, blaming the ‘’hostile’’ attitude of the South Korean government.
PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s long-ruling party pushed ahead with the formation of a government Monday despite an opposition boycott of parliament and mass protests over its disputed election win. Anti-riot police were deployed near the National Assembly following weeks of political turmoil that has at times descended into violence in one of the biggest challenges to Hun Sen’s nearly three decades in power. The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) refused to take its seats for the opening session of the lower house, warning that the kingdom was sliding towards ‘’dictatorship’’.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A tiny exotic snake was found on a Qantas Boeing 747 airliner, leading to 370 passengers being grounded in Sydney overnight, the airline said Monday. Staff found the 20-centimeter (8-inch) Mandarin Rat Snake in the passenger cabin near the door late Sunday before passengers were due to board the flight bound for Tokyo from Sydney International Airport, Qantas said in a statement. Australia’s flagship airline said passengers were given hotel rooms overnight and left Sydney on a replacement plane Monday morning. Qantas said the original jet would be fumigated before returning to service in case there were other snakes on board. The snake was taken by quarantine officials for analysis.