Author Archives: The Daily Brief

Indonesian Terrorist Killed in Police Raid

Noordin Mohammed Top, one of the most wanted terrorists in Asia, has been killed in a police raid, says Indonesian police. Top is believed to have been the mastermind behind the Bali and Jakarta bombings, which killed over 200 people. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has warned that despite Top’s death, there is a still a threat in the region of terrorism, saying that “we cannot afford to be complacent,” Bloomberg.

The U.S. has pledged to give 10 percent of their H1N1 vaccine stock to the World Health Organization (WHO), which will then be given to poor countries. Australia, Brazil, Britain, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland will also donate, Washington Post.

A government airstrike in Yemen has killed more than 80 people, most of which were civilian refugees. The strike shows that the war is worsening between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, New York Times.

Hot Topic: Communism and Capitalism Are Mixing in Laos.

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War in Afghanistan Now Deadlier For British Than Iraq

The parents of 16 children, 12 of those adopted, were found shot to death in their Florida home yesterday. Eight children of the victims, Byrd and Melanie Billings, were found inside the home, all unharmed. Authorities say they are looking for three males driving a red van who may be suspects in the murders, CNN.

Five British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan today, bringing the total of British soldiers killed in the war since 2001 to 184. The soldiers were killed in two separate attacks while on foot patrols in the Helmand province, BBC News.

Hot Topic: Obama presses Africa on corruption here.

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Seven Banks Fail in One Day in U.S.

Seven U.S. banks failed today, setting a new record. This means 52 banks have failed this year – more than double the total of all of 2008. Six banks in Illinois and one in Texas are the ones closed, but California and Georgia have the most failed banks of any states so far this year, CNN.

Syria has finally amended a law that allowed men who killed female relatives suspected of having illicit sex to receive small sentences. The law, Article 548, was used to decriminalize “honor killings,” and drew fire from women’s rights groups. The new law makes the minimum sentence two years instead of one, BBC News.

An investigation into the Air France Flight 447 crash shows the plane hit the ocean vertically and did not break up while still in the air. The discovery proves the speed sensors were not the cause of the crash, although they may have played some part, USA Today.

The U.S. Marines have launched a push into the Helmand River valley in southwestern Afghanistan to fight Taliban militants. 4,000 troops entered the area today in the biggest U.S. military attack since 2001, and many are worried the Taliban will be pushed back into Pakistan, causing more turmoil in the country, New York Times. Update: U.S. Marines have suffered their first casualty in the first full day of the Afghan campaign, AP.

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Death Toll From D.C. Metro Crash Rises to Six

The death toll from the train crash in Washington, D.C. hours ago has risen to six. The toll makes the crash the deadliest in the history of the Metro. Officials have said 70 were treated with injuries, and 50 of those had only minor injuries, Washington Post.

President Sarkozy of France spoke out at a special parliament session in Versailles against burkas, the full-length garments worn by Muslim women. Sarkozy has come out in favor of banning burkas in France as he feels that “the burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience.” The speech was the first made to the French parliament since the 19th century, BBC News.

Four thieves in Somalia who stole three mobile phones and two guns have been sentenced by a Sharia court in a harsh way – they will each have one arm and one leg amputated, in public. The al-Shabab group uses the punishment frequently, but almost never in the capital city of Mogadishu, where the trial took place. Amnesty International remarked that the four were not given a fair trial, BBC News.

The death of a young woman named Neda in Tehran has captured the world. Videos of Neda dying from a gunshot wound to the chest have circulated virally and have been shown on major news networks. The Los Angeles Times has a wonderful story on her here.

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At Least 19 Killed at Tehran Protests

At least 19 people were killed today in clashes in Tehran, and some wounded marchers went to foreign embassies to seek medical attention out of fear of being arrested at hospitals. Unconfirmed reports say as many as 150 may be dead, but hospitals only confirmed 19 deaths. Thousands marched today to protest last week’s elections, CNN.

More than 70 people were killed when a truck bomb exploded today in northern Iraq. It was the deadliest bomb attack this year. The violence is escalating as U.S. troops are leaving cities in the country, but officials say the troops will be withdrawn by the deadline “no matter what happens,” AP.

The controversial atom smasher, known as the Large Hadron Collider, will likely be restarted in October by scientists at CERN. The collider will hopefully shed light on what makes up the universe, but some are concerned the use of the machine could be catastrophic, AP.

Hot Topic: The New York Times has a great piece on Tibetan monks who have escaped from China. Read the article here.

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Live Post: Riots and Protests in Iran in Wake of Ahmadinejad Win

A lot has happened since voting ended in Iran’s presidential election last night. Despite Ahmadinejad being named the winner with 62% of the vote, supporters of his main rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi suspect fraud and claim that he was the rightful winner. Social networks such as Facebook are blocked in Iran and text messaging is down in Iran. Twitter updates are still coming in. Twitter searches: #iranelection, Tehran.

Unconfirmed reports have surfaced that Mousavi has been arrested, DailyKos.

A Flickr user in Tehran is updating live with pictures of the violence: mousavi1388. StopAhmadi is tweeting live from Tehran. You can also check out Mousavi’s official website.

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The 20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

We’re adding news stories, interviews, images, and more commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.


  • Chinese police are cracking down today in order to avoid protests. Foreign journalists are not allowed in the country, and an AFP TV reporter was forced to delete footage from their camera by police, AFP.
  • Tens of thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong to hold a vigil for victims. Organizers estimate as many as 150,000 attended, Al Jazeera. BBC News has a video of the vigil here.
  • Frontline’s timeline of the events in 1989.


  • NYT’s Nicholas D. Kristof, who won a Pulitizer for his coverage of the 1989 massacre in China, reflects on the anniversary here. Nicholas also answers readers’ questions.
  • Jeff Widener, the man who took the famous “Tank Man” photo, blogs for the Huffington Post on the anniversary.
  • Five reporters who took photos of “Tank Man,” the unknown man who stood in front of a line of tanks, share their experiences of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Read it here.


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Live Post Part III: G20

Day 2 of our G20 coverage. Read our live blog for pictures, news updates, video, and more. Continue reading

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