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Nation & World briefs, June 2

Turkey

Thousands swarm Instanbul square

In a scene reminiscent of the Arab Spring, thousands of people yesterday flooded Istanbul’s main square after a crackdown on an anti-government protest turned city streets into a battlefield clouded by tear gas.

Though he offered some concessions to demonstrators, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan remained largely defiant in the face of the biggest popular challenge to his power in a decade in office, insisting the protests are undemocratic and illegitimate.

Public anger has flared among urban and secular Turks after the police violently broke up an anti-development sit-in in the landmark Taksim Square, with protests spreading to dozens of other cities as demonstrators denounced what they see as Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian style.

Britain

2nd suspect charged in soldier slaying

The British police charged a second suspect yesterday with the murder of a soldier who was hacked to death in a London street, as right-wing and antifascist groups both demonstrated in response to a slaying that has heightened religious tensions in Britain.

The Metropolitan Police said 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo was charged in the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Adebolajo also is accused of attempting to murder two police officers, and possession of a firearm.

Texas

Firefighters killed in motel blaze ID’d

Anne Sullivan was a gifted athlete filled with energy who came out of high school with a focus on being a firefighter. But about a month after graduating from the Houston Fire Department Academy, the 24-year-old was among four firefighters who died while searching for people they thought might be trapped in a blazing Houston motel and restaurant.

Also killed in the collapse during the Friday afternoon fire at the Southwest Inn were: Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35, who had been with department for 11½ years; engineer operator Robert Bebee, 41, who joined the department almost 12 years ago; and firefighter Robert Garner, 29, who joined the department 2½ years ago.

The Houston Fire Department said 14 firefighters were taken to the hospital Friday. One remained in critical condition yesterday.

Illinois

Gov. says water bodies should be separated

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said yesterday that separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems is the “ultimate solution” to prevent voracious Asian carp from overrunning the lakes, a potential step toward resolving a longstanding regional feud.

During a meeting with governors of several neighboring states, Quinn said it would be a massive and costly undertaking to rework the Chicago canal project that linked the two giant watersheds a century ago. He defended Illinois’s efforts to block the advance of silver and bighead carp toward the lakes by hiring commercial fishermen and operating an electric barrier, but acknowledged more needs to be done.

The Associated Press

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