Tuesday, October 13th7.1°C

Mac and cheese meltdown

A University of Connecticut student who went on an obscenity-laced tirade against food service workers when they refused to sell him jalapeno-bacon macaroni and cheese has apologized.

Luke Gatti acknowledged in a 2 1/2-minute video posted online that he was drunk and said he was ashamed of his behaviour.

Gatti, a 19-year-old freshman from Bayville, New York, was due in court Tuesday on charges of breach of peace and criminal trespass stemming from his Oct. 4 outburst at the university's student union food court in Storrs, where the university is based. His mac and cheese meltdown was captured on video and has been widely viewed online.

Police and food service supervisor Dave Robinson said Gatti was refused service because he was carrying an open alcohol container. Gatti was shown on video arguing with and shoving Robinson.

"Nobody deserves to be treated that way, ever," Gatti says of Robinson in his apology video. "At the time I was, to say the least, very intoxicated."

He says he was shocked when he first saw the video of his tantrum.

"I was just watching it and saying 'Oh, my God, like what the hell is wrong with me?'" he says.

He says he has personal problems he's addressing and what happened at the student union was a "wakeup call."

Gatti shot the apology video, titled "Drunk UConn Student Apology Mac and Cheese," and uploaded it to YouTube on Sunday, his father, Vincent Gatti, told the Hartford Courant

"He's a kid that made a bad mistake," Vincent Gatti said. "My son was wrong and feels terrible about this."

Since the mac and cheese outburst, he said, his family has been subjected to a "barrage of yelling, screaming, cursing, obnoxious, horrible, hateful, spiteful people" critical of his son's actions.

Luke Gatti says in the apology video people who want to send him packages of mac and cheese should instead donate them to food pantries.

"There's a lot of hungry people out there," he says.

Some UConn students have started an online fundraiser to show their support for the food service workers.

Gatti previously was a student at the University of Massachusetts and was arrested twice last year on disorderly conduct charges, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. During one of those arrests, he was accused of using a racial slur against a police officer, court filings show.

The Canadian Press


Beards, yes, terrorists, no

Alerted by a passer-by that bearded men with a black flag were acting suspiciously at a castle ruins in southern Sweden, police found to their relief that it wasn't a group of Islamic State sympathizers but a meeting of hirsute do-gooders.

John Ekeblad, co-founder of the Swedish chapter of the Bearded Villains, says the incident Saturday ended with police acknowledging their mistake and even ignoring the brotherhood's illegal parking on the roadside by Brahehus Castle, outside the city of Jonkoping.

Ekeblad said Monday the incident was "hilarious," and that police drove off laughing. He explained the group promotes equality and does charity work in Sweden.

Bearded Villains, founded in 2014 in Los Angeles, calls itself "a brotherhood of elite bearded men from all over the world" on its website.

The Canadian Press

Firefighters killed in collapse

Two Kansas City firefighters were killed and two were injured when a burning building collapsed Monday night, a fire official said.

Fire Department Battalion Chief James Garrett told the Kansas City Star crews were dispatched to a building on the northeast side of town around 7:30 p.m. Monday. Firefighters found the building that includes apartments heavily damaged, and they evacuated people from inside, he said.

Firefighters were clearing an area with a partially collapsed roof when the structure collapsed further, injuring four of them, Garrett said. Two firefighters died. None of the four was immediately identified.

Fire Chief Paul Berardi told reporters that the firefighters who died had rescued two civilians.

"They did not die in vain," Berardi said. "They saved two civilians, carried them out of the second floor on ladders, before the wall collapsed," Berardi told KSHB-TV.

The condition of the two injured firefighters wasn't immediately clear.

"Tonight's tragic loss is a reminder that Kansas City firefighters put their lives on the line for all of us every day," Mayor Sly James said in a statement. "Our condolences go out to the loved ones of those who made the ultimate sacrifice today, and we pray for recovery of the injured."

Berardi said at a press conference that firefighters were at a hospital consoling the families of the two who died.

He called it "the worst day" and added, "It's going to be a difficult month."

Hours after the firefighters were injured, flames were shooting out of the rubble, the newspaper reported. It wasn't immediately clear what started the fire. An investigation is ongoing.

The Canadian Press

Whole lotta pumpkin

A rippled white whopper weighing in at 1,969 pounds took the title Monday for plumpest pumpkin at an annual San Francisco Bay Area contest.

Growers gathered with their gargantuan offerings to try to break the world record of 2,323 pounds, which was set by a Swiss grower during a competition in Germany last year.

It didn't happen.

But the winning entry at the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, was no small feat. Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Ore., won $12,000 for his lumpy, 1,969-pound pumpkin.

"It's been a good year," he said after the contest. "I've never grown an official 1,900-pound pumpkin before."

Forklifts and special harnesses carefully placed the massive pumpkins on an industrial-strength digital scale with a capacity of 5 tons as officials from the county agricultural commissioner's Office of Weights, Sealers, and Measures kept close watch.

Second place went to Ron and Karen Root of Citrus Heights, California, for their 1,806-pound entry. A $500 prize also was awarded to the "most beautiful" pumpkin based on colour, shape and size.

With California in its fourth year of drought, some said the dry soil deflated their pumpkin-growing dreams.

"No doubt about it," Gary Miller of Napa, the 2013 winner, told Bay Area news station KNTV. He entered a 1,303-pound pumpkin.

Last year, grower John Hawkley set a North American record with a 2,058-pound entry. He returned to defend his title, but his pumpkin registered 1,447 pounds.

Organizer Tim Beeman said the contest kicks off the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival this weekend.

The Canadian Press

A marathon of a wedding

One couple ran away to get married ... at the Chicago Marathon.

Stephanie Reinhart says she just wanted a "short and sweet ceremony." Mark Jockel wanted a big wedding surrounded by friends and family. The 35-year-old Reinhart and 46-year-old Jockel compromised, marrying at the 8-mile mark of Sunday's Chicago Marathon in the city's Boystown neighbourhood.

Reinhart wore a white running outfit and held flowers. Jockel wore a tuxedo T-shirt. They exchanged vows under a garden arch decorated with race medals. The ceremony took less than four minutes.

Reinhart says she got her simple wedding and Jockel got "several thousand guests."

Chicago Marathon organizers gave the couple customized bride and groom bibs. They toasted with Gatorade.

The couple met two years ago through the Chicago Area Runners Association.

The Canadian Press

Pair detained after shootings

Police searched for a suspect Monday after releasing two men detained last week in connection with the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old student at Texas Southern University.

Classes resumed Monday at the Houston campus where freshman Brent Randall was killed in a parking lot outside a school apartment complex. A second person was wounded in the gunfire and remained hospitalized in stable condition, police said.

Police said Friday they had detained two of three men seen running into the Courtyard Apartments after the shooting earlier in the day. The man still being sought was then seen fleeing through a side door.

Police spokesman Victor Senties said Monday the men who were questioned have since been released.

Randall and the wounded man, whose name has not been released, were standing outside the apartments when they were approached by man who opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun.

It was the third shooting within a week and the second within hours Friday at the university just south of downtown Houston.

Police said a motive in Randall's death remained unknown and it was unclear if last week's shootings are related.

The school was placed on lockdown for several hours after the shooting was reported and classed then were cancelled for the remainder of Friday.

University administrators met Monday to address student concerns about safety and ordered more stringent security measures.

"We're working on all that and discussing the aftermath of all this and what they're going to do," said university spokesman Kendrick Callis. "I know when I got here this morning there was a police officer in my building, which is normally not the case."

Among the new security measures is an 11 p.m. curfew, the addition of more patrol shifts and a mandatory sign-in and sign-out policy at all student housing and dormitories.

Randall's death came the same day as a fatal shooting at Northern Arizona University, and about a week after eight students and a teacher were fatally shot at a community college in Oregon.

The Canadian Press

Forced to change mascots

Four California high schools will be forced to change mascots after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation barring public schools from using the Redskins name for sports teams.

It was one of three sports-related bills approved by Brown in the last week. He also signed a measure that bans players and coaches from using smokeless tobacco at professional baseball parks and another that recognizes competitive cheerleading as a high school sport.

The mascot legislation signed Sunday will prevent public schools from using a term that American Indians regard as offensive and goes into effect in 2017.

Only four public schools still use the name, including Tulare Union High south of Fresno. Dr. Sarah Koligian, superintendent of Tulare Joint Union High School District, said officials were "disappointed" by Brown's decision but will change their team name.

"We will adhere to the law as it is written," Koligian said in a statement Monday. "Together with our Board of Trustees, school community and our Tulare community we will seek their input to determine our new mascot."

The Chowchilla Union High School District in the Central Valley will begin seeking public comment on a new mascot — but not happily, Superintendent Ronald V. Seals said.

The district's lone high school, which has about 1,000 students, has used the Redskins mascot and Indian chief logo since 1928 and there never have been complaints, he said.

"I have Choctaw Indian blood in my veins. I'm not offended by it," Seals said.

"You don't pick a mascot that you don't respect, dignify, love, honour, all those things," he said. "It's just taking away something that's so near and dear to their hearts...and by people who don't even live here."

American Indian groups have protested the name's continued use amid their court fight with the NFL's Washington Redskins. A federal panel ruled last year that the team's trademark should be cancelled, but the team is challenging that decision in court. Washington owner Dan Snyder is facing unprecedented opposition from those who consider his team's name a racial slur.

"This landmark legislation eliminating the R-word in California schools clearly demonstrates that this issue is not going away, and that opposition to the Washington team on this issue is only intensifying," said Evan Nierman, founder of the group Change The Mascot, which supported the bill. "The NFL should act immediately to press the team to change the name."

California schools Gustine High in Merced County, Calaveras High in Calaveras County and Chowchilla Union High in Madera County also use the name. Messages seeking comment from school officials were not immediately returned Monday, a federal holiday.

The measure Brown approved Sunday that bars players and coaches from using — or even having — smokeless tobacco on the playing field at ballparks expands on local bans passed by San Francisco and Los Angeles. It wasn't immediately clear how the statewide ban would be enforced.

Public health officials who backed the proposal cited the prevalence of youths using smokeless tobacco, even while cigarette use drops. They say smokeless products contribute to oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancers as well as other diseases.

Major League Baseball said it supported banning smokeless tobacco when the proposal was introduced earlier this year, but the league didn't immediately comment on the statewide prohibition. Chewing tobacco, known as dipping, is already prohibited in minor leagues.

The Los Angeles Dodgers issued a statement of support after city officials approved a tobacco ban last month.

The push for the ban comes after the death last June of former San Diego Padres All-Star Tony Gwynn, who believed his oral cancer was linked to longtime use of chewing tobacco.

The governor also approved a bill last week that requires the California Interscholastic Federation to oversee competitive cheerleading as it does other high school sports by 2017-18.

The formal recognition will give cheerleading the respect and safety standards that athletes deserve, said Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, who introduced the bill. At least eight other states treat competitive cheerleading as a sport, said Gonzalez, a former high school and college cheerleader.


This story has been corrected to show the bills were approved recently, not all on Sunday.

The Canadian Press

Cecil's killer not wanted

Zimbabwe is no longer pressing for the extradition of James Walter Palmer, an American dentist who killed a well-known lion called Cecil, a Cabinet minister said Monday.

Palmer can now safely return to Zimbabwe as a "tourist" because he had not broken the southern African country's hunting laws, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters in Harare on Monday. Zimbabwe's police and the National Prosecuting Authority had cleared Palmer of wrongdoing, she said.

Through an adviser, Palmer declined comment.

Palmer was identified as the man who killed Cecil in a bow hunt. Cecil, a resident of Hwange National park in western Zimbabwe, was well-known to tourists and researchers for his distinctive black mane.

Muchinguri-Kashiri had said in July that Zimbabwean police and prosecutors would work to get Palmer returned to Zimbabwe to face poaching charges.

On Monday, she told reporters in Harare that Palmer can now safely return to Zimbabwe as a "tourist" because he had not broken this wildlife-rich southern African country's hunting laws.

"He is free to come, not for hunting, but as a tourist," Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters. "It turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order."

Palmer was the subject of extradition talk in Zimbabwe and a target of protests in the United States, particularly in Minnesota, where he has a dental practice, after he was identified as the man who killed Cecil the lion in a bow hunt. Cecil roamed in Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe.

Messages left Monday with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which was handling a U.S. investigation into Palmer, were not immediately returned.

Theo Bronkhorst, a Zimbabwean professional hunter who was a guide for Palmer, returned to court last week on charges of allowing an illegal hunt. His lawyer Perpetua Dube argued that the charges are too vague and should be dropped.


AP writers Brian Bakst in St. Paul and Amy Forliti in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

The Canadian Press

'No' to $30M for FB page

Social media phenomenon Elise Andrew turned down US$30 million for her hugely popular Facebook page, IFL Science.

The British blogger revealed the offer Saturday, on World Mental Health Day, as she tweeted about her own mental health problems, Mashable reports.

Her irreverent and saucily named Facebook page has a massive 22 million likes. 

Andrew began posting weird science facts in 2012 and hasn't looked back. She's collaborated with the Discovery Channel, and there's been talk of her own TV show. But, she's also been bashed by the science community for unverifiable, inaccurate posts and not attributing credit where due.

Andrew says she was offered US$30 million for the page by an unnamed buyer, but says that it means much more to her than just money.

Andrew also revealed she has struggled with mental health since she was a child.

According to her tweets, Andrew toyed with selling the page so she wouldn't have to deal with Internet trolls and bullies.

She said her issues may make her insane, but she has the Internet to remind her "that some people are so, so much worse."

Russian terror plot foiled

Less than two weeks after Russia carried out its first airstrikes on Syria, Russian officials announced that they have foiled a terrorist plot, detaining men trained in Syria by the Islamic State group.

Russia's counterterrorism agency on Sunday raided a Moscow apartment and arrested several Russians who allegedly were preparing to carry out an attack in the capital. The FSB intelligence agency said in a statement on Monday that an improvised explosive device with five kilos (11 pounds) of unidentified explosives was found in that apartment.

The FSB said several men were detained, including two who said they had been trained by Islamic State militants and were plotting a terrorist attack on Moscow's public transport.

Authorities did not say how many people were detained but said "between six and 11 people" frequented the apartment. The men had arrived in Moscow "well before" Russia began carrying out airstrikes in Syria, the FSB said.

More than 100 residents of the apartment building in western Moscow were evacuated during Sunday's raid and supplies of natural gas were cut off for the duration.

Russia's airstrikes in Syria have been met by warnings that they encourage Islamic extremists to turn their sights on Russia and make it easier for them to recruit Russian Muslims.

Russia says 2,400 of its citizens have joined the Islamic State group.

The Canadian Press

Nobel's economic genius

Princeton University's Angus Deaton won the Nobel prize in economics Monday for his wide ranging work on consumption that's helped redefine the way poverty is measured around the world, notably in India.

Deaton, 69, won the eight million Swedish kronor (about $975,000) prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for work that the award committee says has had "immense importance for human welfare, not least in poor countries."

The secretary of the award committee Torsten Persson said Deaton's research has "really shown other researchers and international organizations like the World Bank how to go about understanding poverty at the very basic level so that's perhaps the finest and most important contribution he has made."

Persson singled out Deaton's work in showing how individual behaviour affects the wider economy and that "we cannot understand the whole without understanding what is happening in the miniature economy of our daily choices."

Deaton, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and holds U.S. and British dual citizenship, said he was delighted to have won the prize and was pleased that the committee decided to award work that concerns the poor people of the world.

In a press conference following the announcement, Deaton said he expects extreme poverty in the world to continue decreasing but that he isn't "blindly optimistic."

He said there are "tremendous health problems among adults and children in India, where there has been a lot of progress." He noted that half of the children in the country are "still malnourished" and "for many people in the world, things are very bad indeed."

The prize committee said Deaton's work revolves around three central questions: How do consumers distribute their spending among different goods; how much of society's income is spent and how much is saved; and how do we best measure and analyze welfare and poverty?

Committee member Jakob Svensson said Deaton introduced the "Almost Ideal Demand System," which has become a standard tool used by governments to study what effect a change in economic policy — such as an increase in sales taxes on food — will have on different social groups and how large the subsequent gains or losses will be.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences also highlighted the model that has become known as the Deaton Paradox, in which he laid bare a contradiction between earlier theory and data on consumer behaviour.

Ingvild Almas, associate professor at the Norwegian School of Economics, said the Indian government has changed its methodology for measuring poverty thanks to research from the likes of Deaton and that has affected poverty-reduction policies.

"For instance, Deaton found that there were a lot more poor people in rural areas of India than previously thought," she said. "In practice, that has affected India's subsidy system for the poor, which allows them to buy necessities. Households that were not defined as poor before can now be reached with these policies, and that is a direct result of Deaton's research."

Last year, French economist Jean Tirole won the prestigious award for research on market power and regulation.

The economics award is not a Nobel Prize in the same sense as the others, which were created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1895. Sweden's central bank added the economics prize in 1968 as a memorial to Nobel.

Monday's announcement concludes this year's presentations of Nobel winners.

The medicine prize went to three scientists from Japan, the U.S. and China who discovered drugs to fight malaria and other tropical diseases. Japanese and Canadian scientists won the physics prize for discovering that tiny particles called neutrinos have mass and scientists from Sweden, the U.S. and Turkey won the chemistry prize for their research into the way cells repair damaged DNA.

Belarusian investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich won the literature award while the peace prize went to The National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia for its contribution to building democracy in Tunisia following the 2011 Jasmine Revolution.

The awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896, at lavish ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo.

The Canadian Press

Boko Haram kill dozens

DAKAR, Senegal - Nigeria's Islamic extremist insurgents Boko Haram are blamed for using teens and women to carry out suicide bombings in neighbouring Chad and Cameroon this weekend, killing more than 45 people in what Cameroon's government spokesman said is a move to spread terror as a multinational force prepares to deploy against them.

Two girls between the ages of 13 and 17 carried out suicide bombings in the northern Cameroon village of Kangeleri near Mora town on Sunday, killing at least 9 and wounding 29 others, said Cameroon's Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

The Cameroon explosions come after five co-ordinated suicide bombings in neighbouring Chad on Saturday killed at least 36 people and wounded some 50 others in a village near Lake Chad that is home to thousands of Nigerians who have fled the extremists' violence. The government said a man, two women and two children carried out the attacks.

The use of girls and women in recent suicide bombings in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger raises fears that Boko Haram is using kidnap victims to target countries that are helping combat the rebels.

"They have shifted their tactics. They have noticed it is impossible to face our forces, so they are now using young girls or young boys with explosives, who go more undetected, in areas they are told to go," said Bakary. He added it is difficult to know if the young girls know that they will die. "We guess that they use the girls who were kidnapped here and there, they brainwash them and use them."

A Nigerian military explosives expert has told The Associated Press that many of the bombs are remotely controlled, meaning the bomber may not know when the explosives will be detonated.

Boko Haram members are trying to spread terror, after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group earlier this year, said Bakary.

"As a token of their commitment they have to act," he said. "This is to prove to their master how determined they are. This is the best way to receive money."

The shift also comes as Nigeria and its neighbours prepare to launch a multinational force. Earlier this year Chadian troops helped Nigerian forces drive Boko Haram out of towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria where it had set up a so-called Islamic caliphate. Boko Haram continues cross border hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings.

Bakary called for more community self-defence groups, with people trained to neutralize the attackers, until the multinational force is fully prepared.

"Boko Haram knows their days are numbered given it will be impossible to face an army like this one, and to remain in their strongholds. We are going to take them down where they are," he said.

The multinational force, with troops from Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Benin, is growing in numbers, military equipment and intelligence, Bakary said. It's a matter of weeks or months until the necessary intelligence, information and weapons are in place, he said, adding that France, U.S. and China have promised to give training.

Boko Haram's six-year-old uprising has left an estimated 20,000 people dead, according to Amnesty International.

The Canadian Press

Helicopter crash kills 5

NATO says five people have been killed and five others injured in a helicopter crash on its base in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

In a statement Sunday, the alliance said the helicopter "crashed due to a non-hostile incident Oct. 11 at approximately 4:15 p.m. at Camp Resolute Support, Kabul."

The alliance says the incident is under investigation. The nationalities of those killed and injured were not released, according to protocol.

Earlier, U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, the military spokesman, said an "incident" involving a NATO aircraft and an observational balloon had taken place "in the vicinity of the Resolute Support base."

The balloon was severed from its mooring in the incident, he said, without providing further details.

An Afghan security guard said the military helicopter appeared to strike the balloon as it was landing.

The Canadian Press

Syrians mourn

Thousands mourned the 95 victims of Turkey's deadliest attack in years as state inspectors tried Sunday to identify who sent suicide bombers to a rally promoting peace with the country's Kurdish rebels.

The government said Kurdish rebels or Islamic State militants were likely responsible, while mourners accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of fomenting violence to gain votes for the ruling party.

No one has claimed responsibility, but the attack bears similarities to a suicide bombing the government blames on the Islamic State group, which killed 33 Turkish and Kurdish peace activists near a town bordering Syria in July. Police detained 14 suspected Islamic State members Sunday in the central Turkish city of Konya, but it wasn't clear if they were related.

Some Turkish media declared that peace itself was under attack. The bombers struck hours before Kurdish rebels battling Turkish security forces followed through with plans to declare a unilateral cease-fire, to reduce tensions leading up to Nov. 1 elections.

Turkey's government rejected the declaration, saying the rebels must lay down arms for good and leave Turkey.

While no one group has been ruled out in the bombings, government opponents blamed security forces for failing to protect the peace rally.

"The state which gets information about the bird that flies and every flap of its wing, was not able to prevent a massacre in the heart of Ankara," said Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas and scuffled with the mourners — some chanting "Murderer Erdogan!" — who tried to reach the blast site to lay carnations. A group of about 70 was eventually allowed to enter the cordoned off area.

More than 10,000 also gathered in Turkey's mostly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, holding a moment of silence for the victims, including hundreds of wounded.

Thousands also demonstrated in Istanbul on Saturday, blaming the government.

Erdogan is hoping the ruling party regains its political majority, and critics accuse him of intensifying attacks on Kurds to rally nationalist votes. They worry the bombings could entice rogue Kurdish forces to attack, persuading Turks to seek security over peace.

The Islamic State group, which is fighting Syrian Kurdish forces allied to Turkey's Kurdish rebels, could benefit the most from this, since a continued military offensive within Turkey would take pressure off the extremist group in Syria.

The Syrian government also has an interest in destabilizing Turkey, which has made no secret of its desire to see President Bashar Assad ousted.

Regardless of who may have planned the attack, it showed how deeply Turkey is being drawn into the chaos in Syria, with which it shares a 900 km-long border.

Turkey already hosts some 2.2 million refugees from Syria — more than any other nation — and extremists use Turkish territory to enter or exit the fray, increasing the threat of violence.

Turkey's skies also are vulnerable. Russia reportedly violated Turkish airspace last week while bombing anti-Assad rebels in Syria, and on Sunday, Turkey's military said Syrian jets and surface-to-air missile systems locked radars on three of Turkish F-16 jets patrolling the border.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey's pro-secular opposition party, blamed Turkey's support of opposition groups in Syria for the violence.

"That policy has brought terror to our country," Kilicdaroglu said Sunday. "Turkey needs to rapidly get out of the Middle Eastern quagmire."

Turkey agreed recently to more actively support the U.S.-led battle against the Islamic State group, opening its bases to U.S. aircraft launching air strikes on the extremist group in Syria and carrying out a limited number of strikes on the group itself.

Relations between Kurds and Turks are already tense. Hundreds have died in Turkey in the last few months as a 2012 peace process was shattered.

Electoral gains by the People's Democracy Party in June deprived the ruling party, which Erdogan founded, of its parliamentary majority after a decade of single-party rule. The new election was called after the ruling party failed to strike a coalition deal.

Erdogan is seeking to extend the executive powers of his presidency, and while he denies it, opponents believe he has deliberately re-ignited the conflict with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, to shore up his party's support. Erdogan has asserted that Kurdish rebels are a bigger threat to Turkey than the Islamic State group.

Opinion polls indicate, meanwhile, that the ruling party is unlikely to regain a majority, again forcing it to build a governing coalition. Just how Saturday's bombings will affect all this remains to be seen.

The government announced that it had appointed two civil and two police chief inspectors to investigate the attack. Yeni Safak, a newspaper close to the government, said investigators had determined that one of the bombers was a male, aged about 25 or 30. Kilicdaroglu said the attacks were carried out by two male bombers.

Turkey's military on Sunday said it had carried out a new round of cross-border airstrikes against PKK shelters and positions in the regions of Zap and Metina, in northern Iraq.


The Canadian Press

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