Syria-linked group blamed in Turkey blasts that kill 43
REYHANLI, Turkey | In one of the deadliest attacks in Turkey in recent years, two car bombs exploded near the border with Syria on Saturday, killing 43 and wounding 140 others. Turkish officials blamed the attack on a group linked to Syria, and a deputy prime minister called the neighboring country's intelligence service and military "the usual suspects."
The blasts, which were 15 minutes apart and hit the town of Reyhanli's busiest street, raised fears that Turkey could increasingly be drawn into Syria's brutal civil war.
Turkey already hosts Syria's political opposition and rebel commanders, has given shelter to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and in the past retaliated against Syrian shells that landed in Turkey.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the assailants were from Turkey, but were linked to Syria's intelligence service.
"We have to a great extent completed our work toward identifying the assailants," he told reporters. "We have established that the organization and assailants have links to the pro-regime mukhabarat (intelligence) organization."
Woman rescued from Bangladesh rubble recovering
SAVAR, Bangladesh | A seamstress who survived 17 days before being rescued from a collapsed garment factory building was panicked, dehydrated and suffering from insomnia as she recovered in a Bangladesh hospital Saturday, but was in generally good condition, according to her doctors.
The rescue Friday of 19-year-old Reshma Begum brought a boost to the workers who had spent more than two weeks pulling decaying bodies from the rubble. By Saturday, they had resumed their grim task and the death toll surpassed 1,100 in the world's worst garment industry disaster.
Two divisive figures enter Iran's presidential race
TEHRAN, Iran | A pair of powerful and divisive figures registered Saturday to run in Iran's presidential election, jolting the political landscape ahead of next month's vote to pick a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who still wields enormous influence, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close confident of Ahmadinejad, submitted their official paperwork just before Saturday's deadline. Each has a good shot at winning the vote, raising a tough challenge to conservative candidates loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The race to choose a successor to Ahmadinejad, who under term-limit rules cannot seek a third mandate, culminates with the June 14 vote.
Pakistanis defy violence in historic election
ISLAMABAD | Despite attacks that killed 29 people, Pakistanis turned out in huge numbers Saturday to vote in an election that marked a historic democratic transfer of power in a country plagued by military coups.
The Pakistan Muslim League-N party, led by two-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has long been considered the front-runner in the race. The party appeared to be moving toward a significant victory Saturday based on partial vote counts announced by Pakistan state TV.
Sharif expressed a desire to work with all parties to solve the country's problems in what appeared to be a victory speech given to his supporters in the eastern city of Lahore as his lead in the election became apparent.
The heavy voter turnout signaled a yearning for change after years of hardship under the outgoing government. It also offered a sharp rebuke to Taliban militants and others who have tried to derail the election with attacks that have killed more than 150 people in recent weeks.
Pro-Berlusconi rally in Italy draws cheers, jeers
ROME | Thousands of supporters of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi rallied in a northern Italian city Saturday to protest the media mogul's recent conviction by a Milan appeals court for tax fraud, cheering their hero as police in riot gear separated them from jeering opponents.
The backers turned out for the "Everyone for Silvio" rally by his Freedom People party in a square outside the cathedral in Brescia, a small industrial city that is a bastion of the conservative leader's political support. As some arrived, waving pro-Berlusconi banners, some detractors shouted "jail, jail." Helmeted police holding plastic body shields moved in between the noisy camps to prevent any physical violence.