On the Wrong Track
TURKEY A recently introduced high-speed train running from Istanbul to Ankara derailed near the northwestern town of Pamukova, killing 37 people. Two drivers and a crew chief of the train were charged with negligence, but the media and unions criticized the government for allowing its showcase high-speed rail service to start operating in June, despite warnings from experts that the existing track was not good enough.
Going Down RUSSIA Not even a bailout offer from a consortium led by ex-Yukos official Konstantin Kagalovsky could reverse a slide in the oil giant's stock. As court bailiffs threatened to sell its core asset, Yuganskneftegaz, to recoup $3.4 billion in back taxes, the prospect of bankruptcy loomed too large.
SAUDI ARABIA A grand total of six Islamic militants surrendered under a month-long amnesty offered to al-Qaeda supporters. Officials had expected a greater number to turn themselves in, but said they were still negotiating with several high-level militants.
IRAQ Insurgents continued their kidnapping campaign. One group seized the chief of an Iraqi construction firm; another, the Lions of Allah, said it took a senior Egyptian diplomat hostage because Egypt had offered security aid to the Iraqi government. Seven truckers, an Egyptian and six men from Kenya and India, were taken by insurgents who demanded their employer, Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport, close its operations in Iraq. The company said it was negotiating with the kidnappers.
His Own Private Army
AFGHANISTAN The U.S. denied claims by Jonathan Idema, a former U.S. special forces member on trial in Kabul for running a private jail, that he was acting with the approval of the Pentagon. However, the U.S. military confirmed that it took custody in May of an Afghan prisoner handed over by Idema.
meanwhile in germany ...
Busy Signal Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement invited anyone who found the new 16-page welfare benefit claims forms too complicated to give him a ring. Days later, he admitted that his office was "completely paralyzed" by phone callers who were referred to a government hotline. Maybe Clement's staff was having problems completing the forms, too.