Iraq prominent in German debate
Berlin Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder reminded Germans of his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and his challenger Angela Merkel focused on unemployment as the two squared off Sunday in a key televised debate two weeks ahead of elections.
The 90-minute debate, broadcast live during prime time, offered Schroeder an opportunity to showcase his television skills as polls give Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats a double-digit advantage over his Social Democrats. Polls found that the media-savvy Schroeder performed better – an outcome that had been widely predicted.
Kurd demonstrators attacked in Turkey
Ankara, Turkey A group of nationalist Turks attacked dozens of buses carrying pro-Kurdish demonstrators with stones on Sunday, following violent clashes between Kurdish demonstrators and police in Istanbul, reports said.
Tensions began Sunday morning when Kurdish demonstrators in Istanbul threw stones and firebombs during a rally to protest the solitary confinement of the imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. Later, paramilitary police blocked thousands of other pro-Kurdish demonstrators loaded on buses from reaching the northwestern port town of Gemlik to stage an unauthorized demonstration.
On their return, angry Turkish nationalists stopped the convoy at a makeshift roadblock, set car tires on fire and smashed the windows of the buses with stones, video showed.
Vision problem lands Chirac in hospital
Paris President Jacques Chirac, hospitalized after suffering a small blood vessel problem that hindered his vision, is in good condition, walking and discussing the issues of the day, the French prime minister said Sunday.
The president’s hospitalization came as his party held its annual summer meeting, with the party leader, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, pressing ahead with his quest to succeed the 72-year-old president. But Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said any speculation that health problems could stop Chirac from seeking a third term in 2007 is “irrelevant.”
Climber retrieves remains of brother
Islamabad, Pakistan A famed Italian mountaineer retrieved his brother’s lost remains from Pakistan’s perilous Nanga Parbat mountain, 35 years after their conquest of the peak ended in tragedy.
Fellow members of the 1970 expedition have accused Reinhold Messner of having abandoned his younger brother Gunther, then 24, after reaching the summit of the world’s ninth highest peak, when Gunther was suffering altitude sickness.
The climb was to prove a turning point in Messner’s career. The Italian went on to make a solo ascent of Mt. Everest, and became the only man to scale the world’s 14 tallest peaks without using bottled oxygen.