Here at ABC News we remember the day – not only for its horror – but because so much of the trauma played out on ABC, with a then-young Peter JENNINGS leading the coverage. Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympics massacre. It was 40 years ago today that a group of gunmen from the militant Palestinian group “Black September” broke into the quarters of the Israeli men’s team at the Olympic Village, killing an athlete and a coach, taking nine others hostage, and demanding the release of 232 prisoners. German and Israeli government officials have joined Israeli survivors and relatives of the victims at a wreath laying ceremony, and Bavaria has ordered flags on public buildings to be flown at half-mast. And in case you missed it yesterday, a New York Times op-ed, “When It Pays to Talk to Terrorists,” warned, “we should be careful not to let our fears of terrorists continue to blind us to opportunities when diplomatic openings present themselves.”
-THE TOLL…Lakhdar Brahimi, The new UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, said yesterday at the UN General Assembly that “The death toll is staggering, the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions and the suffering of the people is immense.” He isexpected to travel to Damascus in the next few days. Meanwhile regime forces have shelled parts of Aleppo, killing at least 19 people, according to activists. Alex MARQUARDT says Syrian rebels claim to have downed two jets and a helicopter gunship. This clip from yesterday shows the wreckage of a jet in Idlib province and graphic images of the dead pilot.
-SLAMMING ASSAD…Egypt’s new leader has again criticised Assad, warning that the Syrian leader must “take lessons from recent history” and step down before it is too late. “This is the time for change in Syria,” President Mohamed Morsi told the Arab League today. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has separately accused President Assad of creating a “terrorist state” in Syria.
-IRAN’S ROLE…The New York Times reports that Iran has resumed shipping military equipment to Syria over Iraqi airspace, according to senior (and unnamed) US officials. An Iraqi spokesman has acknowledged that Iran is ferrying supplies through Iraqi airspace but said Tehran has assured Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the flights contain food and other humanitarian aid for victims of Syria’s civil war. The spokesman says the U.S. has promised to provide proof that the Iranian flights are shuttling arms — a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
MAURITANIA EXTRADITES GADHAFI’S SPY CHIEF
The man accused of having helped orchestrate some of the worst crimes committed by the Gadhafi regime has been extradited by Mauritania back to Libya. Abdullah al-Senoussi, who ran Gadhafi’s intelligence service, is wanted by Libya, the International Criminal Court and France. He is accused of complicity in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, as well as the Abu Salim prison massacre of more than 1,200 prisoners in 1996.
-HELICOPTER CRASH KILLS TWO…A NATO helicopter has crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing two service members. Muhammad LILA reports that it happened in Logar Province, which is patrolled mostly by US forces. The Taliban have claimed responsibility, saying they shot it down. It marks the third time in 10 days that a coalition helicopter has come down. Last Thursday, two Australian troops were killed when their helicopter crashed. And on Aug 26th, a NATO helicopter crashed in Logar, with no fatalities.
-SOLDIERS PUNISHED…Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry says hundreds of soldiers have been discharged or detained as part of an investigation into the backgrounds of its military forces after the surge in insider attacks. Many of the troops are said to have been discharged because they had suspect documents, either incomplete or forged. The investigation began about six months ago.
IRAN: SANCTIONS BITING – AND HURTING THE SICK?
The tightening of U.S. banking sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program is increasingly hitting vulnerable medical patients as deliveries of medicine and raw materials for Iranian pharmaceutical companies are either stopped or delayed, reports the Washington Post.
-GREEK BAILOUT, AND A 6-DAY WORK WEEK?…A team of inspectors from the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund arrive in Athens today to see how the government is progressing with its austerity program. The Guardian reports that the so-called Troika are demanding that the government in Athens introduce a six-day working week.
-MARKETS CAUTIOUS AHEAD OF ECB MEETING…Global markets have been up and down this morning, as investors weighed poor economic data against expectations that the European Central Bank will announce a plan to support financially weak countries in the 17-member eurozone. The ECB is expected to outline how it may help reduce the borrowing costs of heavily-indebted countries in the eurozone. Spanish two-year yields, which were more than 7 per cent in July, are now 3.14 per cent. But the wide spread suggests many investors believe it does not represent a longer term solution. And Europe’s economy remains fundamentally weak.
SHOOTING AT POLITICAL RALLY IN CANADA
A masked gunman opened fire during a midnight victory rally for Quebec’s new premier, killing one person and wounding another. The new premier, Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois, was whisked off the stage by guards while giving her speech and uninjured. More from CTV News.
CLINTON IN CHINA
The AP reports that talks between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese leaders have failed to narrow gaps on how to end the crisis in Syria and how to resolve Beijing’s territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea. Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi both maintained they are committed to working together despite the differences. ”I think history will judge that China’s position on the Syria question is a promotion of the appropriate handling of the situation,” Yang told a news conference with Clinton. She responded bluntly to Yang by saying the violence was boiling over into other countries like Jordan and Turkey and that the Security Council has to act. Gloria RIVIERA notes that in the past year, the two countries have engaged in tense diplomatic negotiations over blind dissidents, trade regulations, disputed territories and human rights abuse.
WHEELCHAIR RUGBY OPENS AT PARALYMPICS, PISTORIUS CONTROVERY CONTINUES
Wheelchair rugby, arguably the most brutal event at the games, starts today. The USA are the defending champions (remember the movie Murderball?). Meanwhile, Oscar Pistorius returns to the track today when he runs in the 100m heats and 4x100m final. South Africa made an official complaint yesterday that athletes are switching the size of their running blades after Pistorius claimed longer prosthetics that break competition rules gave a rival an unfair advantage. The International Paralympic Committee says there is no evidence that any athlete competed on different size running blades.
ARAFAT INVESTIGATION LATEST
Yasser Arafat‘s widow says French judges are planning to visit Ramallah to have Arafat’s body exhumed and tested as part of the criminal investigation in France into the circumstances surrounding his death. In a statement issued through her lawyers Wednesday, she said French scientific experts will “soon” be able to take samples from Arafat’s body, without elaborating.
PUTIN TO HANGLIDE WITH CRANES
From Alexandra NADEZHDINA: Vladimir Putin is expected to go hang-gliding with cranes, ahead of his attendance at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok on Friday. The president, we are told, will be hangliding ”in the role of the alpha male.”
MAN TRIES TO STEAL DIAMOND BY SWALLOWING IT
Police in Sri Lanka say they’ve arrested a man who swallowed a diamond worth more than $13,000 at a gem and jewelry exhibition. The 32-year-old Chinese national, is reportedly being fed laxatives in custody.
MCDONALD’S, WITHOUT THE BEEF
Religious pilgrims to two of India’s most sacred spiritual sites will soon find themselves welcomed by a more secular icon: the golden arches of McDonald’s, the US hamburger chain, which is opening its first purely vegetarian restaurants near the shrines. Expected on the menu are the McVeggie, a patty of carrots, peas with potato; the McAloo Tikki, a deep fried patty of spicy mashed potatoes; and McSpicy Paneer, a patty of traditional Indian cheese. McDonald’s already has 271 stores in India (but hopes to double this number in the next three years) and has never served beef. As the Wall Street Journal notes, part of McDonald’s success globally has been attributed to its ability to cater to local tastes without losing its brand image.
CHINA’S “GATE TO THE EAST” SKYSCRAPER
China’s newest superstructure is legging it into the ranks of the world’s strangest skyscrapers, along with an elephant-shaped building in Thailand and the UK’s famous Gherkin. The $700 million Gate to the East skyscraper in Suzhou has been mocked for its striking resemblance to a giant pair of pants.