World Digest: Nov. 28, 2013

November 28, 2013
CANADA
Report: NSA allowed to spy in Toronto

Canada allowed the National Security Agency to conduct widespread surveillance during the 2010 Group of 20 summit in Toronto, according to a media report that cited documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is the latest potential embarrassment for the NSA as a result of Snowden’s leaks, although it remains unclear precisely what information the agency was looking for during the summit.

Snowden has already revealed that the agency spied on close allies such as Germany and Brazil, prompting heated diplomatic spats with Washington.

The CBC report, aired late Wednesday, cited briefing notes it said showed the United States turned its Ottawa embassy into a security command post during a six-day spying operation by the NSA as President Obama and other world leaders met that June.

The Reuters news agency has not seen the documents and cannot verify their authenticity. One of the bylines on the CBC report was Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who has worked with Snowden on several other NSA stories.

CBC said the operation was no secret to Canadian authorities, and it quoted an NSA briefing note describing the operation as “closely coordinated with the Canadian partner.”

U.S. authorities declined to comment on the report.

— Reuters

THAILAND
Premier wins votebut protests continue

Thailand’s embattled prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, easily won a no-confidence vote in parliament Thursday but failed to pacify anti-government protesters who rejected calls for talks and massed by the thousands in the capital.

Waving multicolored flags, blowing whistles and blocking traffic, protesters rallied outside the heavily barricaded national police headquarters, urging police to join their bid to topple
Yingluck and her billionaire brother, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The numbers of the protesters appear to have dwindled since the start of the week, raising questions about what’s next in a conflict that broadly pits Bangkok’s middle classes against the mostly rural supporters of Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup.

Yingluck, who won a 2011 election by a landslide to become Thailand’s first female prime minister, asked protesters to clear the streets and enter talks to avoid confrontation, saying Thailand’s economy was at risk after demonstrators occupied the Finance Ministry on Monday.

Yingluck’s party holds a commanding majority in parliament. She needed more than half of the 492 lower house votes to win the no-confidence vote. She got 297, with 134 against.

— Reuters

IRAQ
Multiple attacks kill at least 29 people

Three car bombs exploded at outdoor markets and on a street full of shops south of Iraq’s capital, part of a series of attacks across the country that killed at least 29 people Thursday, officials said.

The deadliest attack took place Thursday afternoon in the town of Hilla, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, when three car bombs went off at two outdoor markets and a line of shops, killing nine people and wounding 21, police said. Authorities said the blasts happened in a five-minute period.

Police said a car bombing killed seven people and wounded 12 in the southern city of Najaf. In the town of Suwayrah, a car bomb ripped through a commercial area, killing five civilians and wounding 14, police said.

A suicide bomber attacked a police checkpoint in the town of Samarra, killing three officers. The blast wounded four officers and five civilians. A roadside bomb struck a patrol of a pro-government Sunni militia in Tarmiyah, killing three and wounding seven, police said.

— Associated Press

Quake kills seven near Iranian nuclear plant: At least seven people were killed in an earthquake in Iran on Thursday near the city of Bushehr, where the country’s sole nuclear power plant is situated, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The temblor, which had a magnitude of 5.6, struck about 40 miles northeast of Bushehr on the Persian Gulf coast, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. No damage to the nuclear plant was reported.

— Reuters

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