In Brief | Nation & World 1-27-13


Harkin won’t seek sixth Senate term

CUMMING, Iowa — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin said Saturday he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, a decision that eases some of the burden the national Republican Party faces in retaking the Senate.

Harkin, chairman of an influential Senate committee, announced his decision during an interview with The Associated Press, saying the move could surprise some.

The 73-year-old cited his age — he would be 81 at the end of a sixth term — as a factor in the decision, saying it was time to pass the torch he has held for nearly 30 years, freeing a new generation of Iowa Democrats to seek higher office.

“I just think it’s time for me to step aside,” Harkin told the AP.

Harkin, first elected in 1984, ranks seventh in seniority and fourth among majority Democrats. He is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and chairman of the largest appropriations subcommittee.

Nearly 30 killed in Egyptian riots

CAIRO — Relatives and angry young men rampaged through the Egyptian city of Port Said on Saturday in assaults that killed at least 27 people following death sentences for local fans involved in the country’s worst bout of soccer violence.

Unrest surrounding the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution also broke out in Cairo and other cities for a third day, with protesters clashing for hours with riot police who fired tear gas that encompassed swaths of the capital’s downtown.

The divisive verdict and bloodshed highlight challenges being faced by President Mohammed Morsi, who took office seven months ago following an Egyptian revolution that ousted autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak. Critics say Morsi has failed to carry out promised reforms in the country’s judiciary and police force, and claim little has improved in the two years after the uprising against Mubarak.

Saturday’s riot in Port Said stemmed from animosity between police and die-hard soccer fans know as Ultras, who also were part of the mass uprising against Mubarak that began on Jan. 25, 2011, and at forefront of protests against the military rulers who assumed temporary power after his ouster.

French forces take control of airport, bridge in Mali

KONNA, Mali — French and Malian troops regained control of the airport and bridge of the crucial, northern city of Gao on Saturday, marking their biggest advance yet in their bid to oust al-Qaida-linked extremists who have controlled northern Mali for months, military officials said.

The move comes just two weeks after France launched its military offensive in support of the shaky, central government of this former French colony. It is unclear what kind of resistance French and Malian troops will face in the coming days.

The French military said in a statement on its website that its special forces, which had stormed in by land and by air, had come under fire from “several terrorist elements” that were later “destroyed.”

In a later press release titled “French and Malian troops liberate Gao” the French ministry of defense said they were bringing back the town’s mayor, Sadou Diallo, who had fled to the Malian capital of Bamako far to the west.

However, a city official interviewed by telephone by The Associated Press said coalition forces so far only controlled the airport, the bridge and surrounding neighborhoods.

Garment factory fire kills 7 female workers, injures 5 in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A fire swept through a two-story garment factory in Bangladesh’s capital Saturday, killing at least seven female workers and injuring another five, police and fire officials said.

The fire at the Smart factory occurred just two months after a blaze killed 112 workers in another factory near the capital city, raising questions about safety standards and treatment of workers in Bangladesh’s $20-billion garment industry that exports clothes to leading Western retailers. The country has more than 4,000 garment factories

The cause of the latest fire was not immediately known, fire official Abdul Halim said.

Halim said it took firefighters about two hours to bring Saturday’s blaze under control.

By wire sources