11 high ranking security officials and 50 police officers have been arrested in Iraq on suspected involvement in last Sunday’s devastating double bombings in Baghdad. Those arrested include guards at the 15 checkpoints the bombers had to pass to gain entrance to the high security zone where the bombings took place, Reuters.
U.S. President Barack Obama met the returning coffins of 18 service members killed this week in Afghanistan at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware last night, Times Online.
Manfred Nowak, the U.N.’s special envoy for torture investigation, was denied entrance into Zimbabwe yesterday despite an invitation from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Control of the country is currently shared by Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe. Nowak was going to Zimbabwe to investigate reports that President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has begun to use violence against members of Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) party, BBC News.
The yacht belonging to Paul and Rachel Chandler, a British couple on a sailing holiday in the Indian Ocean, has been found. The couple sent out a distress signal before they were picked up by pirates and are now being held on a boat off the coast of Somalia, AFP. Q & A on Somali Piracy, BBC News. The Prime Minister of Somalia met with relatives of the captive couple in Britian, ITN. Transcript of Paul Chandler’s call to ITV news, Telegraph.
Colorado authorities say they expect criminal charges to be filed against the family of the six-year-old boy who was reported to be trapped in a runaway helium balloon on Thursday. The incident dominated media coverage and, after the boy was found safe inside his home, questions have been raised about whether the family made the story up, CNN.
Pakistan unveiled an anticipated new ground strategy today, using more than 30,000 troops to attack al-Qaeda and Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border. Early reports say that the troops are “meeting fierce resistance from Taliban fighters,” Guardian UK.
Israel is furious over the UN Human Rights Commission’s endorsement of the Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of targeting civilians during the December-January conflict. The report also faulted Hamas for firing rockets into Israel, Jerusalem Post.
Violent clashes between drug gangs and police has killed at least 10 people in Rio de Janeiro. Two Brazilian policeman were killed after their helicopter was shot and crashed, bursting into flames, BBC News.
Mehdi Karroubi, who ran in the latest Iranian presidential election, is claiming some protesters have been tortured to death while in police custody. Karroubi and numerous human rights groups have previously claimed that male and females prisoners are being raped. Officials denied this, but did admit that some abuse has taken place, BBC News.
Officials visited a Michigan maximum-security prison today to determine if it could house Guantanamo detainees. If found suitable, the prison in Standish could receive 229 detainees and the move could also help out the town by allowing the prison to stay open and creating 340 jobs, AP.
Electric guitar legend Les Paul died today at the age of 94. Paul is famous for creating solid-body guitars and multitrack recording, USA Today.
Bolivia declared today that indigenous people in the country have the right to rule themselves. They are the first country in South America to give the indigenous people this right and they will be able to vote on referendums that allow for more autonomy in December, BBC News.
Since July 26, more than 600 Nigerians have been killed in violence between an Islamic sect and security forces. Officials say they will have to bury many in mass graves because of the large number of deceased, Sky News.
A plague in China has quarantined an entire town and two people are dead. A 32-year-old and 37-year-old have both died from the lung disease, AP.
Ford Motor Co. reports that their sales increased in the month of July, a promising sign that the U.S. may be recovering from the economic crisis. The company says the “Cash for Clunkers” program, which encourages drivers to trade in vehicles that are not fuel efficent for new vehicles that are, helped aid sales, CNN.
Supporters of human rights around the world are coming out to rallies today to show their support for the protesters in Iran, CNN. Follow United 4 Iran on Twitter for updates.
In the space of 24 hours, two toddlers, one in Las Vegas and one in South Carolina, have accidentally shot their older siblings after playing with improperly secured guns, BBC News. Earlier this week, a five year old boy in Las Vegas died after he shot himself in the head with a gun he found in his father’s car. The child’s father has been charged with endangerment, Las Vegas Sun.
US Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed America’s support of the aims of the Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO, Washington Post.
Suicide bombers attacked a courthouse in Khost, a city in southeastern Afghanistan. The attackers wore burqas to conceal bombs they had placed on their bodies. Four people were injured in the attack and all seven attackers were killed as they attacked the complex. One managed to set off explosives in a car before being shot by police. Two police and two civilians, a woman and a child, were injured, Associated Press.
President Obama’s weekly address discusses the impact of health care reform on small businesses.
After five delays, the space shuttle Endeavour finally lifted off today from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle will link up with the international space station for a 16-day mission, CNN.
A man was killed by police today near the U.S. Capitol building after he fled from a routine traffic stop. The man did have a weapon and two officers were injured, but it is not known whether the man fired his gun or not. Witnesses say about 15 shots were fired, Washington Post.
Natalia Estemirova, a Russian human rights activist, has been found dead after she was abducted in Chechnya this morning. According to reports, “she had been gathering evidence of a campaign of house-burnings by government-backed militias.” Human Rights Watch, a prominent human rights organization, say they believe that Estemirova undoubtedly was targeted because of the case she was working on, BBC News.
The black boxes from the Iranian plane that crashed earlier today have been recovered, but are reported to be damaged. The plane, en route from Tehran to Yerevan, crashed 16 minutes after takeoff and killed all 168 people on board, BBC News.
Seven U.S. banks failed today, setting a new record. This means 52 banks have failed this year – more than double the total of all of 2008. Six banks in Illinois and one in Texas are the ones closed, but California and Georgia have the most failed banks of any states so far this year, CNN.
Syria has finally amended a law that allowed men who killed female relatives suspected of having illicit sex to receive small sentences. The law, Article 548, was used to decriminalize “honor killings,” and drew fire from women’s rights groups. The new law makes the minimum sentence two years instead of one, BBC News.
An investigation into the Air France Flight 447 crash shows the plane hit the ocean vertically and did not break up while still in the air. The discovery proves the speed sensors were not the cause of the crash, although they may have played some part, USA Today.
The U.S. Marines have launched a push into the Helmand River valley in southwestern Afghanistan to fight Taliban militants. 4,000 troops entered the area today in the biggest U.S. military attack since 2001, and many are worried the Taliban will be pushed back into Pakistan, causing more turmoil in the country, New York Times. Update: U.S. Marines have suffered their first casualty in the first full day of the Afghan campaign, AP.
U.S. Army statistics show that the suicide rate among soldiers is rising at a record pace. 17 soldiers were either confirmed or believed to have committed suicide in the month of May. So far this year, there are 82 suspected/confirmed cases, which will most certainly pass last year’s 133 deaths, the most ever, CNN.
Sudan is allowing four aid agencies back into the country after ousting them from Darfur in March. Care International, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, and Padco will be allowed back in to help, as long as they slightly change their names and use different logos. The move is seen as a good sign for improving relations between aid agencies and the Sudanese government, BBC News.
Football club Real Madrid has paid a record-breaking 80M pounds to Manchester United in a transfer fee for star Cristiano Ronaldo. The fee is by far the highest in history. Man U. accepted the bid, allowing Real to begin talks with Ronaldo about a trade, BBC Sport.
American officials are reporting that they now have evidence that some al-Qaeda fighters are moving into Yemen and Somalia. Reports say leaders are among militants who have moved, and that they are in close contact with al-Qaeda members in Pakistan. The precense of the group especially in Somalia is troubling, as an Islamic militant group, the Shabab, are already threatening to topple the government, New York Times.