26 Palestinians freed
Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners early today, the second of four batches to be released as part of a deal that set in motion the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Jubilant celebrations erupted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where the prisoners are seen as heroes who fought for independence. The release was part of an agreement brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that brought Israel and the Palestinians back to the table for peace talks that had been paralyzed since 2008. In all, 104 convicts are to be released in four rounds over the coming months.
Police seek suspects
Chinese police were seeking information on two ethnic Uighur suspects believed linked to an incident that killed five people and injured 38. Police released no word about a possible motive for Monday’s attack, in which a car plowed through pedestrians before crashing into a stone structure at Beijing’s Forbidden City. It was unclear whether the two Uighurs were believed to have perished in the car or are still at large, and whether they may have been linked to militant groups.
Tunnel links continents
Turkey has opened an underwater railway tunnel linking Europe and Asia, and the two sides of Istanbul, realizing a plan proposed by an Ottoman sultan about 150 years ago. The Marmaray tunnel runs under the Bosporus, the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and divides Istanbul between Asia and Europe. The tunnel is 8.5 miles long, including an underwater stretch of 4,593 feet.
Severe water shortage
Taps were dry across a wide swath of Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, some for nearly a week straight, prompting a flurry of criticism of the state water company and forcing some desperate residents to fill plastic bottles with water from streams. Rio’s Cedae water utility cut off service to nearly a dozen neighborhoods Thursday as part of routine maintenance on a treatment plant on the Guandu River.
Compiled from wire reports.