The Haitian government has released new figures concerning rebuilding the country after January’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake, estimating the cost to be around $11.5 billion. A major conference will be held in New York on March 31st to discuss the plan, BBC News.
The U.S. has announced a change in policy that previously allowed soldiers to interrogate detainees in Afghanistan for 96 hours before having to release the detainees or turn them over to Afghani law enforcement. The new policy extends the time period to 14 days, and in some cases detainees may be held even longer. A Pentagon spokeman assured, “Most combatants we pick up on the battlefield will still be turned over to Afghani authorities within 96 hours,” CNN.
Fiji has suffered “overwhelming” damage from Cyclone Tomas, which pounded the South Pacific island for three days. Winds reportedly reached up to 130 mph, and one death has been reported, AP.
The Tamil Tigers, a rebel group in Sri Lanka, have declared that they no longer are seeking to establish their own separate homeland from the country. Many analysts believe this move may finally signal the end of civil war in the country, possibly ending the 25-year conflict, Guardian UK.
Fresh from his electoral victory, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has dissolved parliament to pave the way for new parliamentary elections. Rajapaksa’s main rival in the recent presidential election, former Sri Lankan Army chief General Fonseka was arrested on what are said to be “military matters,” New York Times.
New video obtained by Al Jazeera apparently shows Nigerian security forces executing members of Boko Haram, an Islamic group, Al Jazeera.
An appeals court in Saudi Arabia has upheld the conviction of a man who was sentenced to 5 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for speaking about his sex life on television, BBC News.
A shop owner in Britain has started using a fingerprint scanner to identify his customers in an effort to stop minors from buying cigarettes and liquor. Customers voluntarily submit their identification to verify their age and then allow their fingerprints to be scanned, BBC News.
Following weeks of sporadic violence, Sri Lankans went to the polls today to vote for president. Results are expected tomorrow. Current president Mahinda Rajapakse (BBC News profile) is running for reelection against Sarath Fonseka (BBC News profile), the former military leader who was successful in crushing a multi-decade running Tamil rebellion, Al Jazeera.
Violent bombs rocked Baghdad for the second day in a row. Violence is expected to continue during the lead-up to parliamentary elections in March, CNN.
A French commission recommended the French Parliament pass a resolution banning face veils worn by Muslim women in some public areas, New York Times.
6 Coptic Christians, as well as 1 security guard, were killed yesterday in Egypt as they were leaving church in a drive-by shooting. Family members of the dead called for action by the Egyptian government. Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population, Al Jazeera. More on Christians in Egypt from 2009, BBC News.
The Tamil National Alliance announced that it will support the general who led the campaign to crush Tamil resistance in Sri Lanka last year over current President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking reelection. The election will be held on January 26, The Independent.
A French government commission has proposed taxing internet advertisers whose ads appear to internet users in France, Reuters.
The suspect in the shootings of 4 police officers in Washington state on Sunday has been fatally shot. A Seattle officer was on a routine patrol when he encountered Maurice Clemmons, who he says charged at him. Clemmons had been arrested on charges of child rape and assaulting a police officer in May but was released on bail. He was said to be mentally unstable, CNN. 3 people accused of helping Clemmons elude police have been arrested, Seattle Post Intelligencer.
A British sailing crew who were on a yacht headed to the Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race in Dubai have been detained by Iran after allegedly straying into Iranian waters, Bloomberg. Reactions, BBC News.
Sri Lanka has opened up its government-run refugee camps that have held hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees. Sri Lanka had been fighting ethnic Tamil militant groups for decades before finally eliminating the groups in a military campaign this spring, BBC News.
U.S. President Barack Obama will announce that he is sending an additional 34,000 troops to Afghanistan in a national address tonight at 8pm EST. Watch the address live on C-SPAN.
Sri Lanka’s government says that tens of thousands of people who have been held in camps since the end of the conflict with Tamil rebels will be released. Sri Lanka had been fighting the rebels since the mid-1970s and made a final push to stop the hostilities earlier this year. Information from Sri Lanka is very limited so it is unknown how many were killed in the most recent fighting, BBC News. Q & A on the conflict, BBC News.
A gas explosion at a Chinese mine has killed 42 people and trapped over 60 underground. China has the most dangerous mining industry in the world, Reuters.
Russia and Ukraine have agreed to a deal that will keep natural gas flowing through this winter. Due to a pricing dispute last winter, Russia cut off gas which flows through Ukrainian pipelines to Europe, Christian Science Monitor.
Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple captured by Somali pirates during a sailing vacation in October, have released a new video saying the pirates are losing patience and will kill them soon if a $7 million ransom is not paid, CNN.
A journalist describes living in Jerusalem’s Old City which is home to Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious sites, BBC News.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing to include a public option in the health care reform bill that is being written in the Senate. If included, it will likely include a provision that allows states to opt out of a government plan, New York Times.
A commercial passenger plane that overshot its destination by 150 miles yesterday should have received multiple warnings that it was nearing the Minneapolis airport. The pilots on the Northwestern Airlines plane were said to be arguing about airline policy when they missed their landing, Associated Press.
Sri Lanka plans to release 40,000 Tamils that are currently being held in government run refugee camps, Voice of America.
Three explosions in northwestern Pakistan have killed dozens, including 17 people traveling to a wedding, Al Jazeera.
In an indirect admission that the device can cause harm, the maker of the Taser stun guns has cautioned law enforcement officials not to stun suspects in the chest. The company said that heart attacks can occur and leave law enforcement open to lawsuits. A number of suspects have been injured after being struck by Taser stun guns by police, CNN. A Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, was killed at the Vancouver Airport after being Tasered two years ago, The Globe and Mail.