FEATURE: Abu Dhabi counts cultural blessings at music, arts festival

FEATURE: Abu Dhabi counts cultural blessings at music, arts festivalAbu Dhabi/Istanbul  - For decades, Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Cairo were the Arab world's cultural centres. The Arab Gulf states, with their bubbling oil wells, man-made islands and glassy shopping malls, were considered a cultural desert.

But that is changing in a hurry now. Already world-class in high- rise buildings and artificial isles, Gulf Arabs want to join the international music and art elite as fast as possible, too.

Turkish investigators find bones in "death wells"

Istanbul - Turkish investigators have found bones, potentially the remains of victims of illegal executions, as part of a major search of a group of wells in south-eastern Turkey, newspapers reported Tuesday.

The search has opened up a group of so-called "death wells" where a secret unit within the Turkish police force is believed to have thrown the corpses of "disappeared" militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Work began on Monday on unsealing the wells, and bones, plus the underwear of a man, have been found.

Turkish Airlines says no fatalities in crash

Turkey MapIstanbul - Turkish Airlines and Transportation Minister Binal

Al-Qaeda deputy: Saudi royals, Yemeni president are US agents

Turkey MapIstanbul - The second in command of the al-Qaeda terrorist franchise, Ayman al-Zawahri, has lashed out at the Saudi royal house and the president of Yemen in a new audio taped message carried by Islamist websites on Monday.

The person on the tape, his voice sounding not unlike earlier authenticated recordings of al-Zawahri, says: "The rulers of the house of Ibn Saud and (Yemeni President) Ali Abdullah Salih have sold out their religion." He accuses them of being "agents" of the United States.

Turkey would provide troops for Gaza peace force - spokesman

Turkey FlagIstanbul - Turkey would be willing to provide troops for a peacekeeping force in the Gaza Strip, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

According to a report in the daily Sabah newspaper, the Turkish government is pushing for an international peacekeeping force to supervise a new ceasefire agreement.

In Ankara's view, such forces would also monitor the network of some 200 tunnels beneath the Egyptian-Gaza border which are being used to smuggle weapons, as well as goods and food products, into the Gaza Strip.

Turkish company sees boom in sales of "Bush shoes"

Turkey MapIstanbul - The Turkish shoe company that produces the brand of footware used by an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George Bush has seen a surge in orders in the past week.

Ramazan Baydan, owner of the shoe factory in Istanbul of the same name, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that he had received orders for some 300,000 pairs of the model that was thrown at the US president.

"Someone even came from America seeking distribution rights," Baydan said.