A key suspect is being sought in the Jakarta terror attacks. Noordin Mohamed Top, a Malaysian extremist associated with known terrorist groups, is already wanted for his connection to the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2o05. Security officials believe he is the mastermind behind the attacks, CNN. Profile of Noordin Mohamed Top, BBC News.
The House Intelligence Committee has opened an investigation into whether the Bush administration hid details about CIA programs from Congress. Current CIA Director Leon Panetta recently informed Congress of a canceled CIA Program to assassinate al-Qaeda leaders that was hidden from Congressional review under orders from Vice President Dick Cheney, New York Times.
Members of a sect of Ultra-Orthodox Judiasm in Jerusalem have been protesting and rioting for three days since the arrest of a woman accused of starving her 3-year-old child to death. A Magistrate Court decision, expected to be handed down today, will allow the woman to serve time under house arrest rather than in prison, CNN International.
Voting begins in elections in Mauritania today. General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz led a coup against the civilian government in 2008. General Aziz resigned from his military position in order to run for president in today’s election, Xinhua.
Today is Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday. People around the world are celebrating the anti-apartheid leader by doing good deeds, Associated Press. Watch Will.I.Am, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Josh Groban live at tonight’s (8pm EDT) Mandela Day concert in New York City, MandelaDay.com.
President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass healthcare reform in his Weekly Address.
More information is coming to light about Dick Cheney’s tight control of the CIA during the Bush administration. The New York Times has reported on a secret CIA program initiated after September 11, 2001. No details on what the program was have been made public, but Cheney instructed CIA Director Leon Panetta to hide the program from Congress, CNN.
Police in Greece demolished an illegal migrant camp in the port city of Patras. Bulldozers flattened makeshift housing but a volunteer tent for doctors and a makeshift mosque were allowed to stand. Many of the migrants come from war-torn Afghanistan, BBC News.
500 people rallied in Toyko today in support of the Uighurs of China. About 50 Uighur expatriates and hundreds of Japanese marched to show support for the Uighur cause and to ask Chinese President Hu Jintao to stop his propaganda campaign. It is still unclear who the majority of the 184 who died in last Sunday’s riot were. The Chinese government claims they were Han Chinese, but Uighur leaders say Uighurs were targeted by police, AFP.
Hundreds in Germany pay tribute to Marwa Sherbini, the Egyptian woman who was stabbed 18 times in a German courtroom last week by a man who was on trial for using racial slurs against her and ridiculing her use of the traditional headscarf. Sherbini was three months pregnant at the time of her death. Her husband was also injured as he tried to defend her from the attacker. It is unknown how the man managed to bring a knife into a courtroom, Al Jazeera.
The FBI has arrested 4 men who were allegedly planning to bomb synagogues in the Bronx and to shoot down planes at an air force base in New York State, CNN. James Cromitie, David Williams and Onta Williams are US citizens while Laguerre Payen is of Haitian descent. The men were caught be an FBI informant who met with them as they made their plans. The FBI sold the group fake bombs and a fake surface to air missile through the informant. The group planted the bombs in cars outside two synagogues in the Bronx and intended to set the bombs off via cell phone. Although this is the act that led to their arrest, it is possible that the FBI’s involvement could constitute entrapment and may endanger the case when it reaches court, BBC News.
After letting observers in yesterday, Myanmar has once again restricted access to the trial of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, Al Jazeera.
Swine flu hits Toyko. Schools have been closed at Toyko recorded its first cases of swine flu. Toyko is the most densely populated area on Earth. There are over 10,000 confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide, Bloomberg.
Cheney and Obama go head to head with back to back speeches on national security today, Huffington Post. Obama is scheduled to speak at 10:15 EDT. Cheney is scheduled for 10:45 EDT but says he will delay if President Obama goes long.