Earthquake Damage to Bushehr Reactor

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Diplomats to AP: The Bushehr nuclear reactor has certainly been damaged by recent earthquakes, “with long cracks appearing in at least one section of the structure.”

2. French scientists: tests found sarin gas used several times in Syria. CNN quotes foreign minister Laurent Fabius blaming the Syrian army for using the chemical on at least one occasion:

There is no doubt that it is the regime and its accomplices,” Fabius said. He added the French government examined the chain of events from the moment of the attack through the lab results to determine that government was responsible.

3. The Iranian street got a little lively. The BBC reports that a dissident cleric’s funeral turned into the country’s biggest anti-government protest in years. Tens of thousands of mourners chanted slogans calling Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a dictator.

Joe Hyams

4. HonestReporting Participants Complete 18th Mission to Israel: It’s hard to get the real news about Israel simply from reading newspapers or watching network news. That’s why a group of 21 people from across the world came to see some of the hot spots in person.

Israel and the Palestinians

Interesting tidbit from The Hill:

Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev hoped to join an anti-Israeli movement in Gaza, but ended up joining Chechen rebels in Dagestan because he didn’t speak Arabic, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) told The Hill in an interview on Tuesday.

It’s deja vu all over again.

Jerusalem Post

NPR looks at the Hamas campaign against collaborators, including comments from Khulud Badawi (not to be confused with Khulood Badawi). Her husband, Ribhi, was lynched last year, making front page news.

The Palestinian Authority freed journalist on bail. George Canawati was arrested after reporting on a leaflet attacking Bethlehem’s mayor. The leaflet was issued by the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, but Fatah claimed it was fabricated. In any event, the PA now says the leaflet was never the issue. The Jerusalem Post reports:

The PA prosecutor-general, Abdel Ghani Uwaiwi, denied that Canwati’s arrest was linked to his journalistic work. He insisted that the journalist was arrested for a “criminal offense.”

A delegation of Jordanian Islamist politicians visited Gaza and met with Hamas leaders. Maan News reports that the group entered Gaza via smuggling tunnels even though it wasn’t necessary:

A senior Egyptian security official told Ma’an that the delegation would have been allowed to travel to Gaza via the Rafah crossing, but instead chose to enter via smuggling tunnels in order to keep the visit a secret from the Jordanian government.

For commentary analysis, see NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, David Makovsky, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff-ed, and Benjamin Weinthal.

Arab Spring Winter

Terrorism Threats to the Pharmaceutical Industry – Hezbollah as a Case Study: It’s not far-fetched for terrorists to spread counterfeit or tainted drugs.

Efforts to get the EU to blacklist Hezbollah took a hit. First, Bulgaria’s new government backed away from accusing the terror group of last year’s Burgas bombing.

“There is an indication that it is possible (that Hezbollah was behind it) but we cannot take decisions with important consequences for the EU based on indirect data.

“If we have enough serious proof from other cases, then we will not waver to back such a decision,” Vigenin said.

Also, The Independent reports there’s still significant opposition within the EU to the UK’s push to proscribe Hezbollah.

An Egyptian court convicted 43 non-governmental organization employees — including 15 US nationals — of operating without government approval and of illegally receiving foreign funding. More on the story at Reuters.

Turkish media slammed for poor riot coverage.

For commentary/analysis of the latest from Turkey, see Claire Berlinski and Der Spiegel.

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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