Australia: Gates talks Turkey
CANBERRA Turkey's military assault into northern Iraq will not solve the terrorist problem there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday, calling for greater political and economic initiatives by the Turks to win over supporters of the Kurdish rebels.
Speaking as the Turkish military continued its first major ground incursion into Iraq since 2003, Gates said it will take a broader approach, similar to U.S. and coalition efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, to erode support for the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party in northern Iraq. And he called on the Turks to bring a quick end to the incursion.
Brazil: Barge toll rises to 16
SAO PAULO Search crews plucked the bodies of two more victims of a ferryboat wreck from the Amazon River on Saturday, Brazilian media reported, raising to 16 the number of dead after the vessel collided with a barge and sank.
The Almirante Monteiro, a two-story wooden ferry carrying more than 100 people, sank before dawn Thursday near the isolated town of Itacoatiara in the jungle state of Amazonas. Ninety-two people were rescued.
China: Philharmonic visit
BEIJING Facing dwindling popularity in the West, classical music could receive a boost from a large Chinese population increasingly interested in other cultures, the music director of the New York Philharmonic said Saturday.
Speaking ahead of two performances in Beijing's new National Grand Theater, Lorin Maazel noted that China is embracing outside influences. "We need defenders of our tradition of classical music if classical music is to survive," he told reporters. "It could very well be that one of the most important defenders of classical music will be found in the country of China."
Colombia: Guerrillas' revenge
BOGOTA Colombian guerrillas vowed Saturday to hold three U.S. hostages for "60 years in a jungle prison," because a U.S. court sentenced a fellow rebel to a similar term in their kidnapping.
The three U.S. defense contractors, captured when their plane went down in rebel-held jungles in February 2003, will remain hostages for that time unless U.S. and Colombian officials release captive guerrillas, Ivan Marquez of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was quoted as saying.
Ecuador: Floods kill at least 16
QUITO Persistent rains and floods have killed at least 16 people since mid-January, leaving Ecuador in a state of disaster as concern over food shortages grows, President Rafael Correa said Saturday.
"This is not an emergency, this is a disaster," Correa said on his weekly radio program. "We don't have enough resources to help all the victims."
Rains and swollen rivers have caused flooding in 13 of the country's 24 provinces, destroying homes, crops and infrastructure and costing the economy $200 million, Correa said.
Turkey: Military kills 35 rebels
CUKURCA Turkish warplanes, helicopters and artillery bombed suspected hideouts of Kurdish rebels in remote, mountainous terrain of northern Iraq Saturday.
The Turkish military said at least 35 Kurdish rebels and two Turkish soldiers died in fighting Saturday. A total of seven soldiers and at least 79 rebels have been killed in Iraq since Turkey launched a ground incursion late Thursday, according to the military.