In Turkey, the death toll of Thursday’s twin bombings against British targets has risen to 27. More than 450 people were injured. Among those killed was Roger Short, Britain’s top diplomat in Istanbul. Today British and Turkish officials vowed to join together to fight those who carried out the attacks that hit the British consulate and the headquarters of the British bank HSBC. A Turkish news agency reported that an anonymous caller said the attack was a joint effort between al Qaeda and a Turkish group called the Islamic Front of the Raiders of the Great Orient. Police have reportedly arrested seven Turkish citizens in connection to the bombings.
In London, between 100,000 and 200,000 demonstrators took to the streets Thursday to protest President Bush’s state visit. In Trafalgar Square tens of thousands celebrated when an effigy of President Bush was taken down in a manner meant to resemble the pulling down of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad. The BBC reported the demonstration may have been London’s biggest weekday protest ever. The White House played down the size of the opposition. First Lady Laura Bush said, "We actually have not seen that many protests. I don’t think the protests are near as large as everyone was predicting before we got there."
Bush: Iraq Invasion Needed To Save UN
Meanwhile President Bush told a crowd in London that the invasion of Iraq was in part necessary in order to save the United Nations. Bush said the UN would have suffered the same fate as the League of Nations, if UN resolutions were not backed up by force. In other comments Thursday Bush surprised many at the Pentagon when he acknowledged more U.S. troops may be needed in Iraq. He vowed to do "whatever is necessary to secure" the country.
Free Trade Area of the Americas talks ended early last night in Miami after ministers from 34 countries accepted a watered-down proposal in order to save the talks from total collapse. All that was agreed was to scale back the FTAA’s scope in a deal that is being described as "FTAA-Lite." Outside the meeting, more than 10,000 union members marched through downtown Miami. Also more than 70 people were arrested and dozens more were injured at the hands of the Miami police. Tear gas and rubber bullets were repeatedly fired at the crowd hitting both protesters and journalists. We’ll have a full report from Miami later in the show.
In a blow to President Bush, two major unions, the United Auto Workers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have publicly come out opposing the massive energy bill before the Senate. The Teamsters Union last weekend also withdrew its support for the legislation. Meanwhile a Democrat-led filibuster may block the bill which represents the largest overhaul of US energy policy in a decade. Among other things the bill would shield from lawsuits the makers of the gasoline additive MTBE which contaminates water supply. The bill also gives out nearly $26 billion in tax subsidies to the energy industry.
In other news from Capitol Hill, 85 Democratic legislators have vowed to give up their membership to AARP or to never join the organization in order to protest the group’s decision to back a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare.
And the House has also voted to establish a national museum of African-American culture, a move long sought by Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.
In Baghdad, the Iraq Oil Ministry and the Palestine and Sheraton hotels, came under rocket attack this morning. The Associated Press reports more than a dozen rockets were fired from donkey carts at the targets. There were no reports of fatalities. On Thursday, a Thai military camp in the Iraqi city of Karbala came under mortar attack.
Wash. Post: Gov’t May End Registration Program
The Washington Post reports the Department of Homeland is expected to abandon a program that forced men living in the U.S. for 25 predominantly Muslim nations to register with the government. Over the last year thousands of men were arrested or deported when they showed up at government offices to register. Of the 83,000 visitors who voluntarily registered, nearly 14,000 were ordered to be deported.
A new report by the House Committee on Government Reform has determined that more than 20 people have been killed by FBI informants in the Boston area since 1965 often with the assistance of FBI agents. And the FBI has allowed innocent men to be sentenced to death in order to protect informants. No FBI agent has ever been disciplined. The report concluded that the FBI’s use of killers as informants "must be considered one of the greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement."
And in the music world, Michael Jackson surrendered Thursday and was arrested on multiple charges of child molestation. And famed record producer Phil Spector was charged with the murder in the shooting death of a woman earlier this year.