New York (AFP) - Wall Street stocks fell slightly in opening trade Friday after a downward revision to fourth-quarter US economic growth came in less severe than expected.
Turkish police detained a suspect outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul who claimed to have a bomb, the consulate said on Friday. The consulate said it had taken measures to protect its staff and visitor "An individual claiming to have a bomb parked a vehicle in front of the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul," the consulate said. Istanbul police said in a statement a 33-year-old man with the initials E.C. had been subdued and detained, although they did not find him to be carrying illegal materials during a search of his person and car. Istanbul has been on high security alert since January, when a suicide bomber blew herself up at a police station in the historic Sultanahmet district, killing one officer and wounding another.
A video of jihadists in Iraq gleefully smashing ancient statues to pieces with sledgehammers sparked global outrage and fears Friday that more of the world's oldest heritage will be destroyed. The destruction of priceless Assyrian and other artefacts from the main museum and an archeological site in the northern city of Mosul drew comparisons with the 2001 dynamiting of the Bamiyan buddhas in Afghanistan. "This attack is far more than a cultural tragedy –- this is also a security issue as it fuels sectarianism, violent extremism and conflict in Iraq," UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said.
France and Britain dismissed on Friday any suggestion of restoring relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying this would likely end all hope of a political transition and push moderates into the arms of radical Islamist groups. With the rise of Islamic State insurgents, some European |Union member states are critical of the position in Paris and London and say it might be time to re-establish communication with Damascus given that a four-year-old revolt has failed to overthrow Assad, diplomats say. In a column published in Arabic daily Al-Hayat and France's Le Monde, the French and British foreign ministers hit back at those who sought a rapprochement with Assad by saying he was using the fear of Islamic State, which has seized wide areas of northern and eastern Syria, to win back international support. "Some seem sensitive to this argument," Laurent Fabius and Philip Hammond wrote.