Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is testifying on his decision to partner with the United States to take Great Britain into the Iraq War in 2003 today, Voice of America. Key points of Blair’s testimony, the Guardian. Guide to the inquiry, BBC News.
Members of the Uighur ethnic group living in China who fled to Cambodia after riots caused by ethnic unrest last July were forcibly returned to China in December. Their whereabouts now are unknown, Human Rights Watch says. HRW is calling for the Chinese government to say where they are being held and to give those detained fair trials, BBC News.
Aid is still not reaching many of the needy in Haiti, even 2 weeks after the earthquake that reduced the capital city of Port-au-Prince to rubble, Al Jazeera.
Complaining that developed countries aren’t doing enough to cut their own emissions, delegates from poor nations walked out on talks at the climate change summit in Copenhagen today, AFP. At issue is whether the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required wealthy nations to cut their emissions but was not signed by the United States, will be continued or ignored.
More than 100,000 people protested in the streets of Copenhagen over the weekend as the talks entered their second week, New York Times.
The 22nd anniversary of the political/militant group Hamas is being celebrated in Gaza City today with massive rallies, Al Jazeera. Who are Hamas?, BBC News.
Gunmen in the Philippines releases 47 hostages after securing promises from the government that they would not be arrested for the hostage-taking or for previous crimes, Al Jazeera.
Britain’s former director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, issued a scathing condemnation of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his role in convincing the British people to accept joining the United States to invade Iraq in 2003, CNN. Macdonald’s editorial, Times Online.
Democrat Annise Parker, a Houston city controller who is also openly gay, defeated Republican Gene Locke in a run-off election to be mayor of Houston, Houston Chronicle. Analysis of the race, including how Parker’s sexual orientation was not much of an idea, 538.
A New Mexico mom has been charged with the death of her son, 3-year-old Tyruss “Ty” Toribio, who was found buried in the sand in a playground. Officers say the little boy was suffocated while on a climbing gym. Tiffany Toribio, 23, told police she was homeless and suffocated her son because “she did not want him to grow up with no one caring about him the same way that she had grown up with no one caring about her,” AP.
Unfortunately, a similar case has happened this week in Canada. Tori Stafford, 8, is presumed to have been killed by Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, and Michael Thomas C.S. Rafferty, 28, of Woodstock. They are charged with her murder, although her body has not yet been found. Local schools in the area had sent home notes with children telling parents to be on the lookout for a suspicious dark-colored vehicle after two previous attempted abductions, CBC.
Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has been elected to a second term in office in the African country. His term will last five years, but international officials observers say the President had an unfair advantage during elections, partially due to a partisan media. His opponent, John Tembo, says voting fraud occurred in the country, BBC America.
Three U.S. soldiers have been charged in Spain of killing a Spanish TV cameraman in Baghdad. Jose Couso died in 2003 after a U.S. tank bombarded a hotel in the city. The soldiers had been charged with the crime last year, but a judge threw out the case, citing lack of evidence. Now there appears to be enough to prosecute, Sky News.
Despite calling for a ceasefire, the Tamil Tigers are still under fire in Sri Lanka. The government said the fighting today would be some of the last. A EU commission will be investigating civilian deaths, which each side is blaming on the other. The ceasefire will hopefully end the long 26-year civil war finally, BBC News.
Pakistan says over 1,000 Taliban militants have been killed in the operation centered around the Swat Valley. While the country is celebrating the deaths, they are also frustrated with the civilian deaths incurred by U.S. air strikes. New reports say over 90 children died in the strike last week that killed 140 people, NPR.
A New York assistant principal has died from the H1N1 swine flu virus. Mitchell Wiener, 55, is the fifth American to die from the strain and five schools in Queens, New York have been closed in response to his death. Officials say the number of cases of swine flu are rising in New York City, NY Times.
President Obama delivered Notre Dame’s undergraduate commencement speech today amid protests from anti-abortion activists. Notre Dame, a Catholic university located in Indiana, awarded Obama an honorary degree of law. A few protesters heckled Obama during his speech, but it was mostly well received and garnered a standing ovation. 39 protesters were arrested before the speech, CNN.
Crowds in Guatemala are gathering to call for their president to step down after the death of a lawyer was tied to the head of state. Rodrigo Rosenberg was killed Sunday while riding his bike, one day after he sent a video and letter to Guatemala media outlets accusing President Colom in case of his death. Rosenberg was the lawyer of a businessman who was killed last year, Sky News.
The Coral Triangle in southeast Asian waters is likely to vanish by the end of the century if humans don’t change their patterns, a new report is suggesting. The coral reefs and diverse wildlife are endangered because of global warming, as are humans as the area supports over 100 million people. The report says combating against climate change, overpopulation, and over-fishing can help save the area, CNN.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today that the CIA and Bush administration misled her about the use of waterboarding on detainees. Speaker Pelosi told reporters that she was explicitly told at a 2002 briefing that waterboarding was not being used. Pelosi, and other leading Democrats, are calling for a “truth commission” to investigate the Bush administration’s actions regarding the War on Terror, USA Today.
Roxana Saberi was released from prison on Monday and has finally left Tehran. The Iranian-American journalist was jailed in Iran and senentenced to eight years for “spying.” Fortunately, international response caused an appeals court to reconsider her case and found her not guilty, NPR.
At least 50 civilians have been killed at a hospital in the conflict zone of Sri Lanka. Intense fighting between the Sri Lankan military and the rebel group Tamil Tigers has caught civilians in the crosshairs, with reports suggesting over 1,000 civilians were killed this past weekend. Foreign journalists are not allowed in the area, but a doctor told news organizations earlier this week that the deaths were the fault of the government. Human Rights Watch, however, says satellite images and eyewitness reports show both sides are responsible, AP.
Protesters in support of the Tamil Tigers marched in Toronto today. The 12,000 peaceful participants were praised and thanked by onlookers for not obstructing the flow of the city, which occurred on Sunday night during a protest, Globe and Mail.
A boat capsized off the coast of Florida today and at least 10 are reported dead. Authorities believe the boat was being used to smuggle illegal immigrants into the U.S. The boat was believed to be carrying people from the Bahamas and Haiti, and women and children were indeed on the boat, CNN.
President Obama announced today that he is blocking the release of photos that show American soldiers abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama is afraid the photos will add to even more anti-American sentiment and would endanger troops, NY Times.
The space shuttle Atlantis has successfully reached the Hubble Telescope. The shuttle will work on repairing and adding upgrades, such as much needed gyroscopes, BBC News.
The man accused of being a former Nazi guard has been deported from the U.S. back to Germany. John Demjanjuk, 89, has a Munich arrest warrant out and is charged with 29,000 counts of accessory to murder. Demjankuk is accused of being a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland during the Holocaust, MSNBC.
Little more is known at this hour about the U.S. soldier who killed five of his fellow service members at Camp Liberty in Baghdad today. The shooting occurred at a counseling center, and it is still unclear whether all five killed were soldiers or of some of the deceased worked at the center. Attacks on fellow soldiers has happened in the past, but not with such a high number of deceased since the Iraq War began, NY Times.
Dozens have been arrested at a Tamil Tigers demonstration in London. Around 500 Tamil supporters pushed past police and sat in the streets. The protest comes after reports that over 400 civilians have died in the last few days in Sri Lanka, Sky News.