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Two killed in Istanbul bomb blast

Gorkha Post

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ISTANBUL — Two people were killed and eight others injured when an car bomb struck a police vehicle in central Istanbul, Turkish media have reported.

The blast, set off by remote control, occurred during the morning rush hour in the densely populated Vezneciler district.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

The area is a commercial hub as well as the location of Istanbul University and is close to key tourist sites like the Grand Bazaar.

Reports said the explosion took place close to the Vezeciler metro station, which is within walking distance of some of the main sights of the historical centre including the Suleymaniye Mosque.

Pictures showed that nearby shops had their front windows smashed out by the force of the blast.

Agencies

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South Korea to announce joint military drill plan with US before April

Thompson Reuters

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SEOUL — South Korea and the United States will announce plans before April for a postponed joint military drill, South Korea’s defense minister said on Tuesday.

Seoul and Washington had agreed to postpone the regular joint military exercise until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics being hosted in South Korea, which end on March 18.

After the decision to delay the joint exercise, North Korea agreed to hold the first official talks with South Korea in more than two years and send athletes to the Winter Games, easing a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Asked when the two countries will hold the postponed drill, Song Young-moo told parliament he and his U.S. counterpart, Jim Mattis, would make an announcement between March 18 and the start of April.

“The exercise was postponed according to the spirit of the Olympics,” Song said. “We have agreed to uphold the basis until after the Paralympics…and not to confirm nor deny anything regarding what we would do after that until we announce it”.

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Song added inter-Korean talks had not come about as a direct result of the postponed drill.

But North Korea has warned it would not sit idle if the United States and South Korea push ahead with the postponed military exercises.

North Korea denounces the drills as preparations to invade it, and it has at times conducted missile tests or taken other aggressive action in response.

The South Korean and US militaries usually hold military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle in March and April, which can involve as many as 17,000 US troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon said talks to stage the postponed military drill were moving forward.

“I am aware negotiations are moving towards a direction where the drills will be held,” Cho said in a separate parliamentary session on Tuesday, without elaborating.

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