Party leaves coalition over state TV debacle

The smallest party in Greece’s ruling coalition pulled out of the government Friday after a dispute over the abrupt closure of the state broadcaster, leaving Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with a mere three-seat majority in Parliament.

After talks on resuming broadcasts on the ERT radio and television station collapsed late Thursday, Democratic Left lawmakers voted to withdraw their ministers from Samaras’s cabinet.

They have yet to decide whether to offer external support in Parliament to keep Greece’s international bailout on track.

The party’s withdrawal will make it tougher for Samaras to pass unpopular reforms demanded by foreign lenders and is likely to embolden the hard-left opposition. But in a defiant address to Greeks after midnight, Samaras said he was ready to press ahead without the leftists if necessary.

— Reuters

DEA agent killed in attempted robbery

A DEA agent has died in an apparent robbery attempt in Colombia, U.S. Ambassador Michael McKinley said Friday. Colombian authorities said the American agent was stabbed four times.

McKinley told Radio Caracol that the robbery attempt occurred after the agent left a meeting with friends at a Bogota restaurant and got into a taxi.

In Washington, the Drug Enforcement Administration said that Special Agent James “Terry” Watson was assigned to the DEA office in Cartagena, Colombia, but was on temporary assignment in Bogota. Colombian police have offered a $25,800 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for his death.

— Associated Press

15 killed in attack on Shiite worshipers

Militants opened fire on a Shiite mosque in northwestern Pakistan as worshipers were gathering for Friday prayers, and then a suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside, killing 15 people in the latest attack aimed at the minority sect, police said.

The attack occurred in the city of Peshawar, which is on the outskirts of Pakistan’s tribal area, the main sanctuary for Islamic militants. No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but radical Sunni Islamists, who view Shiites as heretics, have targeted the city with scores of bombings in recent years.

— Associated Press

Indonesia tackles smog-producing fires: Air pollution in Singapore soared to record heights for a third consecutive day, as Indonesia dispatched planes and helicopters to battle blazes blamed for hazardous levels of smoky haze in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia. Responding to complaints, Indonesia’s environment minister pledged that Jakarta will take stern legal action against those who started fires. Some Indonesian officials have suggested that Malaysian and Singaporean companies might be among those responsible.

Guard fatally shoots man at holy site in Israel: A private security guard shot and killed an Israeli Jewish man at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest shrine, after the man reportedly shouted in Arabic, police said. The guard told police that the man shouted “Allahu Akbar!” — “God is great!” in Arabic — and had his hands in his pockets. Israeli news media said the man, whom police later identified as Doron Ben-Shlush, was a regular visitor to the revered site, describing him as an “eccentric” who was known to act strangely.

Flood rescuers on “war footing” in India: Rescue teams frantically searched for survivors in India’s flood-ravaged state of Uttara­khand as the death toll exceeded 550, state disaster officials said, adding that rescue operations were being carried out on a “war footing.” More than 13,800 people were missing, and an additional 32,000 people, many of them pilgrims, were believed to be trapped after devastating monsoon rains.

Flooding forces evacuations in Canada: The western Canadian city of Calgary ordered the evacuation of its entire downtown as floodwaters reached the 10th row of the city’s hockey arena. Twenty-five neighborhoods, with an estimated population of 75,000, have already been evacuated in the city of more than 1 million people since torrential rains hit the region Wednesday night. Police said as many as four people may have died in the area.

— From news services