At least seven miners have been killed after an explosion in an underground coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Another 19 miners are missing. About 200 miners are employed by the mine owned by the Massey Energy company, AP.
At least five U.S. Consulate security guards were killed in Peshawar, Pakistan today after the Taliban implemented suicide bomb attacks. Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber killed 45 people in the Dir region during a political rally, LA Times.
The site Wikileaks, which is dedicated to posting leaked documents online for public viewing, has posted a video on its site of the 2007 killing of 12 civilians in Baghdad by American soldiers. Reuters, the news agency for which two of the dead worked, had previously tried to obtain the video using the Freedom on Information Act, BBC News.
The likelihood of a clear winner in the Iraqi election for Prime Minister is decreasing. Votes were cast on Sunday and are still being counted. Current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki currently has a slight lead. He is working to build a coalition to stay in power, Associated Press.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the timing of Israel’s announcement that it will continue construction of homes in a disputed area East Jerusalem on the first day of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit was “insulting.” The U.S. supports a two-state solution but Israel and Palestine must be able to engage in talks and negotiations over borders before a Palestinian state can be formed, CNN.
45 people were killed in attacks targeting the military in Lahore, Pakistan, Al Jazeera. More on militants in Pakistan, New York Times.
Gunmen raided a Christian aid agency in the Oghi village in Mansehra district in Pakistan. They reportedly singled out 6 Western workers of the U.S.-based World Vision office to kill before blowing up the building, Reuters.
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, who is currently in Israel working to jumpstart the Mid-East peace process, said Israel is undermining the effort by continuing to build new settlements in disputed areas, Al Jazeera.
Disputes over borders and settlements are a major block to even starting discussions for the peace process. Background and history on settlements and borders, BBC News.
The stories of Palestinian families evicted from their homes, New York Times.
A U.S. family is calling for Israel to answer for the death of a U.S. activist in Israel in 2003. 23 year-old Rachel Corrie stood in front of a bulldozer as it was moving to raze Palestinian-built homes in a disputed area in Gaza. She was killed by the bulldozer. The Israeli military conducted an invesitgation, but did not find anyone to be at blame. The soldier driving the bulldozer has not been identified, CNN.
Direct talks between India and Pakistan concluded successfully today. Little concrete was accomplished but channels of communication were reopened after a year of silence following the 2008 Mumbai hotel terror attack. India believe Pakistan was involved in the bombing, Al Jazeera.
Iraq will rehire 20,000 army officers who served under Saddam Hussein. The officers were removed after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The move was later criticized for helping to fuel the insurgency. With elections coming up soon in Iraq, some have said that Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki reinstated the officers in an effort to gain their votes, New York Times.
A trainer at a Seaworld theme park in the United States died after being attacked by a killer whale, BBC News. The killer whale had previously killed another trainer. Killer whales, who can weigh up to 22,000 pounds and usually live in packs of 50, can respond erratically to being in captivity. Some have called for the release of killer whales but killer whales born in captivity may still be dangerous in open waters, CNN.
Diplomats from India and Pakistan will meet on February 25 for the first time since the Mumbai attacks in 2008. Pakistan has denied involvement, but India broke off relations insisting that groups based in Pakistan were behind the devastating attacks that killed 173 people. One of the major issues to be addressed is the Kashmir region, a mountainous area that is divided by India and Pakistan. Muslims in the Indian part of Kashmir have been fighting to join Pakistan which is a majority Muslim state, Al Jazeera.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 57 million Americans contracted the H1N1 flu virus this flu season. 11,700 Americans died as a result of the flu, Wall Street Journal.
A mumps outbreak has infected 2,000 people, mostly schoolchildren, in New York and New Jersey, CNN.
The 2010 Winter Olympics begin tonight in Vancouver, Canada. The opening ceremony begins at 6pm Pacific Time, Official website. The final torch relay had to be diverted in Vancouver today due to protests, ABC News. Winter Olympics guide, Washington Post.
27 Shiite pilgrims on their way to the holy city of Karabala in Iraq were killed when a suicide car bomber struck. Over 60 were injured. Violent car bombings had increased in Iraq in the lead-up to the March 7 parliamentary elections, Wall St. Journal.
2 bombs in Pakistan also targeted Shiite Muslims, BBC News. Ethnic violence in Karachi, Pakistan, Al Jazeera.
4 British politicians, including 3 members of parliament, have been charged of theft in an expense scandal. Politicians charged personal expenses to their government accounts, Times Online.
A problem with the braking system has prompted a recall the 2010 Toyota Prius. Toyota recently recalled several models for a problem with the brakes, though in that case the floor mat was in danger of getting caught under the brake pedal. The U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating the timeliness of Toyota’s announcement, BBC News. Recall Q & A, BBC News. How to stop a car with a stuck gas pedal, CNN.
3 U.S. special forces servicemembers died after a suicide car bombers struck in Pakistan earlier this week. 35 people have been arrested in connection with the bombing, Voice of America. The U.S. offers military assistance to Pakistan, but is not formally fighting in the country, New York Times.
People in Pakistan protested the conviction of a Pakistani scientist for the attempted murder of U.S. service members. Aafia Siddiqui is said to have grabbed a weapon and fired on her interrogations as she was being questioned in Afghanistan in 2008, Al Jazeera.
In response to this week’s Supreme Court ruling that corporations are entitled to the same freedoms of speech held by individuals, Murray Hill, a Maryland public relations firm, announced that it intends to run for Congress, Baltimore City Paper.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama rebuked the Supreme Court for its controversial 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, prompting a response from Justice Samuel Alito, Christian Science Monitor.
The ruling may have unintended consequences, including opening the door to political campaign contributions from foreign entities, Washington Post.
Full coverage of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission from Bill Moyers Journal.
A new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute concludes that distraction, not cell phones are to blame for most car crashes, CNET.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced this week that it will spend $10 billion on research and distribution of vaccines, Reuters.
Gunmakers in Pakistan, even working with limited resources, can produce 1,000 guns a day. First hand account from CNN.