Pope Benedict XVI is in the West Bank today to visit Bethlehem. The West Bank is an area that borders the Jordan river and has been under Israeli military command since 1967. The Pope had to crossed through an Israeli checkpoint to get to Bethlehem from . He met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and who repeated his call for a separate Palestinian state telling the crowd “I know how much you have suffered.” The Pope will also visit a Palestinian refugee camp, AFP.
Tamil protesters seeking international action on the violence in Sri Lanka announced they will form a human chain through Toronto streets, National Post. On Sunday they blocked an expressway overpass. In April, we covered a peaceful Tamil protest at Canada’s parliament in Ottawa, Citizen’s Daily Brief.
In a coordinated effort, 12 suicide bombers struck government buildings in the town of Khowst in eastern Afghanistan, Los Angeles Times. Taliban militants raided a NATO supply depot and set fire to 10 NATO supply terminals in northwestern Pakistan, United Press International. A BBC News survey found that only 38% of northwestern Pakistan, the area along the Afghanistan border, is controlled by Pakistan’s government. The Taliban either controls completely or has a large presence in the rest of the region.
Today marks the last day of voting in the Indian elections which started five weeks ago. Because the country is so massive, it was divided into five regions with a different region voting each week. The results are expected on Saturday. India has two major national parties, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but because local and regional parties have been gaining strength in India, it is unlikely either national party will receive an outright majority. As an American, it is difficult to grasp the procedure fully, but is likely to happen is the major parties will try to get the local and regional parties over align with them and the party that gets a majority to side with them will then form the government and get to pick the Prime Minister who is formally appointed by India’s president, Associated Press.
Somalia is suffering from the worst drought in a decade, Reuters.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned the Southeast Asia Coral Triangle, which includes 30% of the world’s coral reefs, could disappear by the end of the century, CNN International. The report was presented at the World Ocean Conference currently taking place in Manado, Indonesia.