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.
After an attack on the team bus in Angola in which 2 people died, Togo is pulling out of the African Cup of Nations football tournament. Civil war ended in Angola in 2002 but violence still plagues the country, CNN.
4 churches have now been attacked in Malaysia in response to Christians using the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God. The dispute began when a court said that a Catholic newspaper can use “Allah” in its Malay language editions, Reuters.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai submitted a second list of ministers for his cabinet to the Afghanistan parliament this week. Karzai’s first list, which included known warlords, was previously rejected, Reuters.
Barack Obama’s weekly address focuses on health care reform, Transcript. The U.S. Congress will make a final push for health care reform over the next few weeks. The Senate and House of Representative bills will need to be merged into one bill before it’s voted on and, if passed, signed by the President. President Obama has said that both bills largely meet the requirements he set when he first called for health care reform. The differences in the two bills, Washington Post.
A suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives near Lakki Marwat city in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 88 people. Villagers had gathered to watch a volleyball tournament. Residents of the town had formed a militia to repel the Taliban, Al Jazeera. Militants have been increasing attacks of large crowds of civilians in areas where civilians have formed militias to fight Taliban violence and control. Possible scenarios for combating this tactic, Reuters.
A Somali man has been charged in the attempted murder of a controversial Danish cartoonist whose drawings of the Prophet Mohammed sparked outrage from some Muslim communities, BBC News.
The government of Iraq plans to sue 5 Blackwater security guards who were cleared of manslaughter charges after a U.S. court dismissed the case on Friday. The guards were charged with killing 17 in a shootout in 2007, CNN. Eyewitness accounts of the event from 2007, New York Times.
Afghanistan’s parliament has rejected 2 of President Hamid Karzai’s proposed ministers, including a powerful warlord Karzai had picked to be Energy Minister, New York Times.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was sworn in for his second term today. Karzai was declared the winner of the August 20 vote despite widespread fraud. A run-off was set to occur between Karzai and his nearest vote-getting opponent, but his opponent dropped out because it would have been too dangerous for voters to go to the polls again, CNN. Corruption in Afghanistan is still a major problem, BBC News.
A U.S. federal court has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for overseeing physical infrastructure in many areas in the U.S., was responsible for the levy breach that occurred during New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The ruling is important because many homeowners found after the storm that their homeowner’s insurance would not cover the damages because the levy breach was a man-made disaster, CNN.
The U.N. says that women in the developing world will be particularly affected by global climate change because they are the primary caregivers of often large families. The Africa director of the U.N. Population Fund called for more availability of family planning resources for African women, Voice of America.
Controversy has erupted over the qualifying match between France and Ireland for a spot at the 2010 World Cup. France won the match after a handball helped the team score a goal in the final seconds. The referee did not call the handball and the score was allowed to stand, sending France to the World Cup, Associated Press. Calls have been made in recent years for football to add an instant replay option on close calls, but the current organizer of the 2010 World Cup opposes the practice, USA Today. The World Cup will be held in South Africa next year, FIFA official website.
Following yesterday’s withdrawal of challenger Abdullah Abdullah from the Afghan run-off presidential election, the election was called off and the Afghan Election Committee declared incumbent President Hamid Karzai the winner, BBC News.
34 people have died in a suicide bombing attack near Pakistan’s Army headquaters in Rawalpindi, Voice of America. Pakistan is offering rewards totaling $5m U.S. for information that leads to the capture or killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, the top Taliban commander in Pakistan, and his 18 lieutenants, AFP. Reports from the field with the Pakistan Army’s mission in South Waziristan, CNN International.
BBC News has the story of a 14-year-old b0y whose family was visiting Peshawar for a wedding last week. He lost nine family members who had gone to the market where suicide bombers detonated a bomb that killed over 100, watch his story.
Voters in Maine will have a say on whether gay marriage will continue in the state. A no vote on Question 1 will allow gay marriage to continue, Bangor Daily News.
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah may boycott next week’s run-off election. The run-off election follows the August 20 presidential election which was beset by fraud and other irregularities. Abdullah is calling for Independent Election Commission chief Azizullah Lodin to be replaced before the run-off election between him and current President Hamid Karzai, Voice of America. Q & A on the Afghan election, BBC News.
Six militants have been arrested in last week’s attack on a United Nations guest house in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed 5, Reuters.
An Iraqi being held on suspicion of involvement in last week’s deadly car bombings in one of the most secure zones in Baghdad has died while in custody. The man grabbed a security officer’s gun and shot the security officer before being fatally shot by another officer, CNN International.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that the U.S. healthcare reform bill will include a public option. The option of a government-run health insurance plan seemed to be dead in the water months ago, but is gaining more momentum, Wall Street Journal.
The death toll from yesterday’s suicide bombing in Baghdad has risen to 160, including 30 children who were on a bus. At least 540 were injured after the two car bombs detonated around 10:30 am local time, CNN.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah are at odds over the country’s election commission chief. Abdullah wants the chief fired, but Karzai has refused. The two will partake in a runoff election on November 7th after the UN issued a report stating they believed Karzai had not legally won the August presidential election, BBC News.
South Korea is offering to ship 10,000 tons of corn to North Korea. It would be the first government aid sent to the communist country in almost two years, but far less than the amount of aid South Korea has exported previously, New York Times.
The CDC reports that over half of those hospitalized with the H1N1 virus in the U.S. are under the age of 25. Only seven percent are over the age of 65, and 12 percent of deaths from the virus are elderly. This is a huge difference from the seasonal flu, which finds that 90 percent killed and 60 percent hospitalized are over the age of 65, Reuters.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has agreed to a runoff election after a UN report found that there was no way for Karzai to have legally won the August presidential election. At the press conference, Karzai was joined by U.S. Senator John Kerry, who is credited with pressuring Karzai to agree to a runoff. The vote will occur on Nov. 7th, Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill today allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to be tried on U.S. soil. The bill states that the government must be provided with an assessment of security risks before an inmate can be brought to the the U.S. The passing is seen as a positive step in helping close the prison, BBC News.
Hot Topic: Leader of China’s Uighur Minority Builds a Stage Across the Globe.