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Hostage reporters ‘chained’ in Syria

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Four French journalists who spent 10 months in captivity in Syria were chained to each other and kept in basements without light, one recounts.

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Wanna know what’s happened to the Gulf Coast since the BP spill? Read this blog, now

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Danny E HooksThe oil-spattered Gulf Coast in 2010. How’s it faring now?On the fourth anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the big question is whether the oil spill recovery is finally over. According to BP, yes it is. Or at least BP is wrapping up “active cleanup” and headed home to get its life back, only further available if the Coast Guard calls it. But to many of the people living along the Gulf Coast, who still have to endure the aftereffects of BP’s blunder, hell naw it ain’t over. Given the tarballs and the oil that’s still drawing a ring of eyeliner along the coast, not to mention all the devastated dolphins and oysters, it’s an insult to even suggest it. “Today should not have to be about reminding the nation that thousands of Gulf Coast residents continue to be impacted by the environmental and economic damage created by the BP oil disaster,” said Colette Pichon Battle, executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy. “The request by coastal residents four years later is the same as in 2010. Clean up the oil. Pay for the damage. And ensure that this never happens again.” There are hundreds of unresolved issues on the Gulf Coast, many of them predating the oil spill. With stories spilling in from all over the place, it’s going to be tough sussing out the true grit from the bullshit. Fortunately the good folks over at the Bridge the Gulf blog got you covered. The blog was created in response to the BP oil spill by Gulf Coast residents and activists who have a direct stake in their communities’ recovery. Many of them have struggled under prior Gulf disasters, like hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, and the most recent, Isaac. It’s where you can read about Turkey Creek, Miss., the historically troubled black community that’s the subject of the new documentary Come Hell or High Water. It’s also where you can read about a bunch of other places across the Gulf that have been pricked by storms of both the political and ecological variety. Disclaimer: I served as an editor of the blog in 2012, so I’m biased. But as someone who’s a relentless consumer of news from media sources across the Gulf — and who’s written for many of them — I can assure you that you won’t find a grander assembly of authentic voices and primary sources from the Gulf anywhere else on the web. Among the Bridge the Gulf writer corps are people like Kindra Arnesen, who was a first responder when the BP rig initially broke, and also voices from the Gulf’s top community organizations like Gulf Restoration Network, t.e.j.a.s., Women With a Vision, and the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. Bridge the Gulf just relaunched with a new website design, but with the same strong repertoire of Gulf renewal narratives. Below are a few examples of blog’s best content over the years: “On the Road With Cherri Foytlin”: You may have read about Foytlin in Rolling Stone, where she was named as one of “The New Green Heroes” of the fossil fuel resistance — she’s the “Angry Mom.” She walked from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about health problems along the Gulf believed to be the result of the BP oil spill. She’s been a contributor to Bridge the Gulf since the beginning, as a writer, photographer, and videographer, but here is a rare glimpse of her in front of the camera. “Gulf Coast Residents Appalled by Lack of Concern for Safety After EPA Drops BP’s Ban on Federal Contracts”: The whole BP Deepwater Horizon saga is summarized in this nugget from long-time Bridge the Gulf contributor Karen Savage: “The EPA banned BP from obtaining new federal contracts and oil leases from November 2012 until the ban was lifted on March 16th. Last year, the oil giant pled guilty to illegal conduct leading to and following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, including 11 counts of felony manslaughter, one count of felony obstruction of US Congress and violations of both the Clean Water Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts. Through their guilty plea, BP admitted to obstructing an inquiry by the US Congress, providing ‘false and misleading’ information regarding flow rate and manipulating internal flow-rate estimates.” On Friday, the Public Citizen, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and dozens of other environmental groups demanded that EPA against suspend BP from receiving for federal leases and contracts. “What you missed last week at the BOEM …”: People want to know what the federal government has been doing since the BP oil spill to tighten safety regulations around offshore drilling — especially since it has allowed BP back out to drill in the Gulf. Those safety questions have been handled by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management mainly through a series of nauseatingly boring public meetings. Fortunately, Bridge the Gulf editor Ada McMahon made it unboring for us by attending one and then reporting back in the form of a comic strip: Ada McMahonFiled under: Article, Climate & Energy, Politics

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Erdogan vows revenge on plotters after victory in Turkish elections

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory for his Islamic-based party in key regional elections and warned his foes they would “pay the price” for plotting his downfall. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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PM’s Win: Still a Loss in Turkey

Despite possible corruption activity, the Prime Minister’s victory in Sunday’s elections proves his party is still stronger than the opposition.

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Turkey awaits results of local elections

Counting begins across Turkey as polls test Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity after a string of scandals.

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Russia and US set for crisis talks

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sets out demands for a neutral and federal Ukraine, ahead of crisis talks with his US counterpart in Paris.

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Spanish journalists freed in Syria after six-month ordeal

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Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Villanova Garcia released but Islamist extremists still hold over 40 other western hostagesTwo Spanish journalists kidnapped in northern Syria last September were freed by their captors on Saturday night, ending a six-month ordeal in the hands of an extremist Islamic group that continues to hold more than 40 other western hostages.Javier Espinosa, a veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El-Mundo, and Ricardo Villanova Garcia, a freelance photographer working with him, were handed over to Turkish authorities near the Syrian town of Tal Abiyad, not far from where they were seized 194 days ago.

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Erdogan’s name and face dominate as Turkey heads to the polls

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The prime minister is not even standing in Sunday’s local elections, but in the divided capital the talk is of no one elseTurkey may be in turmoil and the vast city of Istanbul in ferment, bridling at the antics of a government struggling to cope with scandal and sleaze, but in Kasimpasa quarter, the prime minister’s troubles raise barely a shrug.A conservative, lower-middle-class district bordering the Golden Horn and predominantly inhabited by Turks from the Black Sea coast, Kasimpasa loves Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the powerful prime minister increasingly reviled across Turkey and tarnished internationally.

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Growing Corruption Inquiry Hits Close to Turkish Leader

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan weathered a summer of protest, but a corruption scandal poses a greater challenge.

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U.S. Suspends Some Aid to Syria

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Turkey also closes its borders to refugees.

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Stuck? Best Airport Restaurants

It’s the day before Turkey Day—or even the holiday itself—and you’re in airport hell and famished. Step away from the Cinnabon! From sushi at JFK to wine at Dulles, where to really eat.

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Syrian no-fly zone would ‘cost US$1b a month’

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Establishing a no-fly zone to protect Syrian rebels would require hundreds of US aircraft at a cost of more than US$1 billion a month, with no assurance that it would change the momentum in the civil war, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff says. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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5 Killed in Landslide in Turkey

An official says a landslide triggered by heavy rains has killed at least five people near Turkey’s border with Syria.

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Turkish Lawmakers Move to Curb Army’s Political Power

The Turkish Parliament on Saturday amended an army regulation that had paved the way for military intervention in politics.

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No Turkey Vacation For Most Israelis

Orly Halpern rounds up the news from Israel.

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Turkish police detain 20 demonstrators in raids

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Turkey’s state-run agency says police have raided homes in the capital Ankara, detaining at least 20 people involved in anti-government protests. The Anadolu Agency said Tuesday that police searched some 30 addresses and rounded up 20 people with alleged links to “terror” groups and suspected of “attacking police and the environment” during nearly three weeks of protests that swept Turkey. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Turkey detains 20 over anti-government protests

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Turkish anti-terrorism police detained 20 people in raids in the capital Ankara on Tuesday in connection with weeks of anti-government protests across the country, media reports said. The unrest began at the end of May when police used force against campaigners opposed to plans to redevelop a central Istanbul park. The protest spiralled into broader demonstrations against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his government. There have been daily protests in Ankara since then. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Turkey police storm protest camp in Gezi park after Erdogan ultimatum

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The crackdown came just two hours after Erdogan issued an ultimatum to protesters to leave Gezi Park, the epicentre of nationwide protests, ahead of a rally of his ruling party in the city on Sunday. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Police Storm Taksim Square

Riot police surged past barricades, filling the air with tear gas, and ending the relative calm of Turkey’s Occupy movement.

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Turkey PM Erdogan to meet protest leaders as demonstrations go on

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday agreed to meet with protest leaders whose mass anti-government demonstrations have rocked the country, in his first major concession since the deadly unrest began nearly two weeks ago. The surprise olive branch came as thousands again took to the streets of Istanbul and the capital Ankara, defying Erdogan’s threat that they would “pay a price” for the unrelenting unrest, the biggest challenge yet to his Islamic-rooted government’s decade-long rule. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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