In Istanbul, at least 25 people have died and nearly 400 injured after two near simultaneous suicide bombs exploded outside the British consulate and the HSBC Bank headquarters. This comes days after 25 others died in another bombing in Istanbul that targeted two synagogues. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said “I’m afraid it has all the hallmarks of international terrorism practiced by al Qaida.” On Tuesday Turkish officials revealed that two Turks were behind the weekend bombings. Turkey is one of Washington’s closest political and military allies in the Muslim world. Meanwhile in southeastern Turkey, the Turkish military killed 12 members of the Kurdish resistance Wednesday.
On Capitol Hill, the House and Senate included a measure in the $284 billion omnibus spending bill that would block the implementation of the Federal Communications Commission new rules regulating media ownership. By including the provision in a major spending bill, it sets up a potential battle with the White House which has vowed to veto any effort to roll back the media ownership laws. But now President Bush can only do that by vetoing the entire spending bill.
In another setback to President Bush, lawmakers prevented an effort by House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay to include a provision within the spending bill that would have allowed the nation’s overtime laws to be rewritten. Up to 8 million working Americans could have lost overtime pay.
In other news from Capitol Hill, Congressional negotiators approved a controversial measure that will grant the FBI greater power to seize private business records without the approval of a judge or grand jury in cases considered to be related to terrorism. Six members of the Senate Judiciary Committee protested the inclusion of the new powers in the intelligence spending bill because the committee had yet to hold public hearings or public debate on the matter.
A series of attacks in Iraq have targeted and killed Iraqis who have worked closely with the U.S. In Basra, a pro-U.S. politician was assassinated. In Kirkuk four people died after a bomb exploded outside the offices of the pro-US Union of Kurdistan political party. And in Ramadi a car bomb exploded killing two outside the home of a Sunni tribal leader with close ties to the U.S.
The Guardian of London is reporting that Pentagon advisor Richard Perle has admitted that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. Perle, who was a strong backer of the invasion, told an audience in London, “I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing.” He added “international law … would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone.”
The backlash against AARP’s support for President Bush’s proposed overhaul of the Medicare system continued Wednesday. In Washington, about two dozen AARP members from Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania rallied outside the organization’s Washington headquarters to cut up their membership cards. Meanwhile the Washington Post reports that the AARP’s support for the measure came after years of courtship from President Bush and Congressional Republicans.
The Pentagon said Wednesday a 22-year-old Army medic may have died as a result of receiving vaccinations including ones for anthrax and smallpox.
In Zimbabwe, the leading unions have called for a two-day strike in response to the arrest of up to 360 anti-government protesters.
The International Atomic Energy Agency now believes that Russia, China and Pakistan likely supplied Iran with technology that allowed Iran to enrich uranium possibly as part of a nuclear program.
And in London, up to 100,000 people are expected to march today to protest President Bush’s visit to Britain.
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