The Haitian government has released new figures concerning rebuilding the country after January’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake, estimating the cost to be around $11.5 billion. A major conference will be held in New York on March 31st to discuss the plan, BBC News.
The U.S. has announced a change in policy that previously allowed soldiers to interrogate detainees in Afghanistan for 96 hours before having to release the detainees or turn them over to Afghani law enforcement. The new policy extends the time period to 14 days, and in some cases detainees may be held even longer. A Pentagon spokeman assured, “Most combatants we pick up on the battlefield will still be turned over to Afghani authorities within 96 hours,” CNN.
Fiji has suffered “overwhelming” damage from Cyclone Tomas, which pounded the South Pacific island for three days. Winds reportedly reached up to 130 mph, and one death has been reported, AP.
The Tamil Tigers, a rebel group in Sri Lanka, have declared that they no longer are seeking to establish their own separate homeland from the country. Many analysts believe this move may finally signal the end of civil war in the country, possibly ending the 25-year conflict, Guardian UK.
35 people have died after coordinated explosions struck the city of Kandahar in Afghanistan, Al Jazeera.
Myanmar announced a new law barring anyone convicted of a crime from running for office. The new law will exclude political activists from participating in the upcoming election and may also force political parties to remove activists from their membership. The law is in large part targeted against Aung San Suu Kyi, the last democratically elected leader of Myanmar (previously Burma) who has been under house arrest or in prison for much of the past 20 years. Myanmar is a tightly controlled society that is run by a military junta. Military leaders are going ahead with elections this year but are working to ensure that only hand-picked candidates can participate, Al Jazeera.
Google has added biking directions and biking maps to 150 U.S. cities in its Google Maps feature, Wired News.
The Large Hadron Collider will be shut down for a year to fix design flaws, BBC News.
Irish separatists in Northern Ireland exploded a car bomb today in the town of Newry. The bombers gave police notice of the bomb and no one was hurt, Wall Street Journal.
After 11 days of heavy fighting in the town of Marjah in Afghanistan, residents received food aid today. NATO is attempting to secure the town from the Taliban, Al Jazeera.
40 people associated with the military in Turkey were arrested after an alleged coup attempt, BBC News.
Officials at the Pentagon announced that the U.S. military will lift its ban on women serving on submarines, Reuters.
New information has emerged about the suspects in the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai. Surveillance video from the hotel where the killing occurred shows 11 people working together as the murder took place. New evidence now shows those in the hotel were traveling on stolen European passports, including 6 Britons who say they were not involved in the attack, BBC News. Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, is suspected to the behind the attack. More on how the assassination was planned and carried out, Telegraph. More on Mossad’s tactics, Reuters.
The U.S. is continuing street-to-street fighting in the Afghan town of Marja. The military is battling IEDs and small groups of Taliban fighters in an effort to secure the town, Al Jazeera.
The U.S. has sent one of its top diplomats to Syria in an effort to repair relations there, Associated Press. A discussion of U.S. sanctions on Syria, BBC News.
NATO troops continued their push into Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan, centered on the city of Marja, PBS Newshour. Map of the area, New York Times. Some civilians have been killed in the fighting, Associated Press.
2 trains collided in Belgium today, killing 18 and injuring many more, CNN. Train crash in pictures, BBC News.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the Middle East. Clinton said she is concerned that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have supplanted the government of Iran, leading it in the direction of a military dictatorship, New York Times.
Election officials in Ukraine have rejected complaints by Yulia Tymoshenko, the country’s current prime minister, of election fraud. Tymoshenko lost the election by 3 percentage points but has yet to concede, Associated Press.
NATO has launched a major offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan, BBC News.
World leaders are meeting in London today to discuss the future of Afghanistan, Al Jazeera. A tribe in Afghanistan announced that it will support the Afghan government and fight against the Taliban. The government recently announced a new strategy of funding tribes that renounce the Taliban, New York Times.
U.S. President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union address last night. Obama focused on the economy and pledged to create new jobs, CNN. He also announced that the U.S. and Russia are close to an arm’s deal that will reduce the number of existing warheads, CNN. Full text of the address, New York Times.
The top NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, signaled that he is willing to negotiate with Taliban leaders if it will bring an end to the conflict. McChrystal said a political solution is necessary, BBC News.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as ‘Chemical Ali’ for his use of chemical weapons against Kurds in Iraq, was executed today, Al Jazeera. Chemical Ali profile, BBC News.
A tanker ship in the port at Port Arthur, Texas has spilled 450,000 gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico after it collided with two barges, CNN.