NATO airstrikes killed at least 80 people, including civilians, this morning. The target was two fuel tankers that had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents on a highway outside the northern city of Kunduz, Afghanistan. The tankers were driven to the small village of Omar Kheil where civilians were said to be siphoning fuel from the tankers at the time of the airstrike, New York Times.
Warning: Graphic video of the airstrike victims from Al Jazeera.
Protesters and police have once again clashed in the western city of Urumqi in Xinjiang province in China. The province is home to a ethnic Uighur population which is predominately Muslim, but ethnic Han Chinese have been encouraged by the Chinese government to move to the region. Tensions have exploded this summer after 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, were killed in riots. The current unrest follows charges by Han Chinese that they are being stabbed with hypodermic needles, BBC News.
A 12-minute report from France 24 with interviews with citizens of Urumqi.
In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, North Korea says it has almost completed uranium enrichment, which means the state may be close to having nuclear capabilities, Yonap News.
Today’s Big Picture features stunning photographs of the California wildfires, Big Picture. The U.S. Forest Service now says that arson was the cause of the fires. Officials are looking for clues in the area where the fire was started. If a suspect is arrested, they will likely also be charged with murder of the two firefighters who have died fighting the blaze, CNN.
Iceland has officially submitted an application for membership in the European Union. Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey also have applications to the EU in consideration. However, the applications have been held up because France and Germany objected that the EU cannot contain more than 27 states without a treaty amending some of the rules is ratified, Reuters.
Two light rail trains crashed yesterday in San Francisco, injuring dozens, Associated Press.
A helicopter carrying civilians crashed while attempting to take off at the Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. 16 people were reportedly killed and at least 5 injured. The helicopter was Russian-made and belongs to a company that is a military contractor, but no details about the identity of the victims has been released. This incident follows a helicopter crash near the Sangin military base in which insurgents are suspected of shooting down the helicopter. 6 Ukrainian crew died as well as 1 Afghan girl who was on the ground, BBC News.
With the Chinese government cracking down hard on Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group predominantly living in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang, Western media is increasingly connecting Uighurs with terrorism. CNN reports today that Chinese police killed 12 Uighurs who were said to be rioting and “using iron rods, stones and bricks to kill innocent residents.” Compare the CNN article with the article by Chinese state media, Xinhua. In a situation like this, similar to the conflict in Sri Lanka earlier this year, it is extremely difficult to discern what is really going on when most of the information is coming from state media.The last six paragraphs of the CNN article attempt to link the Turkistan Islamic Party, a group that claimed credit for bus bombings in China last summer, with the Uighurs. The organization has released videos condemning actions of the Chinese government, but there is no evidence the the group speaks for the Uighur people. There are about 8 million Uighurs in Xinjiang making up 40% of the province’s total population.
Al Jazeera has a video report with an overview of the situation and interviews and images from Xinjiang.