Over 40 people have been killed in multiple suicide attacks across Iraq today. There was a double suicide attack in the town of Tal Afar. One bomb detonated at the house of a security official and as people gathered to survey the damage and help the wounded, another bomb was detonated. Other bombings occurred in Sadr City and Baghdad, CNN.
G8 countries have agreed to targets to reduce greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 in developed countries and by 50% by 2050 in lesser developed countries. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the targets do not go far enough, BBC News.
In Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of the army’s bloody battle with Tamil separatist militants, 5 doctors who had reported on the violence have recanted their story. Because the area was closed off to media, reports from doctors were the only independent information available about the casualties. The doctors had reported that 1000s were killed or injured from government shelling. They are now in government custody and have revised the death toll down and now say that much of the injuries were due to crossfire or Tamil rebels killing civilians who tried to leave the warzone, Associated Press. We reported extensively on the situation in Sri Lanka in April and May.
4 executives from the Rio Tinto mining group have been detained in China on charges of stealing state secrets, Wall Street Journal.
A Guardian investigation has discovered that thousands of celebrities and politicians may have had their cellphone voicemail hacked by the newspaper News of the World. Britian’s House of Commons has launched an investigation, Guardian.
The space shuttle Atlantis safely landed in California this morning after bad weather had previously put off attempts to land in Florida. Los Angeles residents were warned to expect sonic booms as the shuttle re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, CNN.
U.S. President Barack Obama has named former astronaut Retired Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr. to head NASA. Bolden will oversees President Obama’s plan to return man to the moon by 2020, Washington Post.
Tamil Tiger rebels confirm that their leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, is dead. The Sri Lankan government announced that they had killed Prabhakaran last week and showed images of his body. The BBC reports that a spokesman told the news agency the Tamil rebels would use nonviolent forms of protest in the future. Over 70,000 have been killed since the conflict began in 1983, BBC News.
30 people have been wounded in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Vienna, Austria. Five men entered the temple Sunday afternoon and started firing. All five are in police custody, New York Times.
A woman was raped in broad daylight in Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington yesterday afternoon. Witnesses called the police with reports of lewd behavior. Police quickly determined that the sex was not consensual. The perpetrator has been arrested on charges of 2nd degree rape, KREM.
The stock market in India was closed today because it was been going up too fast. Confidence in the Indian economy has soared since the election results came in over the weekend. The Sensex index was up 17% and the rupee is at a two decade high, Bloomberg.
Sri Lanka has announced that Tamil Tiger rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed while “trying to escape” from the war zone. The civil war, which lasted 26 years, appears to be over. Over 200,000 Tamils are living in refugee camps. The world’s hope is that relief workers and media will soon be let into the area, Christian Science Monitor.
The closed trial of Burmese democracy leader Suu Kyi has begun, Gulf News.
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington, DC to meet with President Obama today. Obama is expected to press Netanyahu on the two-state solution for its conflict with Palestine, CNN.
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.
In a country where women have only had the rights to vote and run for public office since 2006, Kuwait has elected 4 women to its national parliament, CNN International.
Tamil Tiger rebels have called a ceasefire, effectively surrendering to the Sri Lankan army and ending the intense conflict of the past month. The Sri Lankan government claims that all civilians were rescued from the war zone before it began its final push. Media are not allowed in the area so it is impossible to verify reports from either side. It is estimated that 70,000 have been killed in the conflict since it began 26 years ago, BBC News.
Pakistan claims that it has killed 1,000 militants since it stepped up attacks on Taliban rebels earlier this year. A massive civilian evacuation is underway in northwestern Pakistan along the Afghanistan border, Xinhua.
Men in Mexico dressed as police freed 53 prisoners from a Mexican prison. Mexico is in the middle of a tough fight against drug gangs, New York Times.
The Congress party of India, the current majority party, received a handy victory over its nearest rival party, the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. The result is a bit of a surprise as it was thought that both the Congress and BJP parties had been losing ground to regional parties, BBC News. For full coverage, follow the results live at NDTV. Twitter tag is #indiavotes09.
Sri Lanka has claimed that its army has taken over the last patch of land that was held by Tamil Tiger rebels. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is out of the country and it is expected that the country will wait to make a formal announcement until he returns, CNN.
Though the media frenzy has died down, WHO officials are warning the the H1N1 virus is still a threat. 66 people have died from the virus worldwide and it is still spreading, Reuters.
Sri Lanka says the military crackdown on the Tamil Tiger rebels should end in 48 hours. The Sri Lankan army has pushed the rebels, along with Tamil civilians, into a 1.5 square mile area in northern Sri Lanka along the coast. Conditions are very poor there and the only semi-legitimate reports come from doctors who have been treating the civilian victims. President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the army is expected to break through and eliminate the rebels in the next two days. The Red Cross has suspended relief efforts in the area because it is so dangerous. A Red Cross worker was killed two days ago, CNN.
The White House is expected to announce today that it will restart military tribunals for some of the detainees held captive in the Guantanamo Bay military prison. The administration says the detainees will have access to their lawyers in order to prepare a defense and that the trials will be more in keeping with U.S. due process laws than they were under the Bush administration but critics fear that secret evidence, which will not be available to either the detainees or their lawyers, will be used in the military tribunals, Christian Science Monitor.
Pakistan lifted a curfew in the Swat Valley to encourage civilians to flee the area. The Pakistani military, which is heavily engaged in conflict with Taliban rebels in the northwestern region of Pakistan, are hoping to minimize civilian casualties as fighting intensifies, Voice of America.
Europe’s recession may be reaching its low point. Growth dropped in many countries in Europe, Reuters.
Google issues apology for yesterday’s slow service, BBC News. Website to bookmark: Is it down for everyone or just me?
In a bizarre story, Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged by the military junta running the government of violating the terms of her house arrest. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for the past six years and is not allowed to have guests other than family visit overnight. Under the terms of her arrest, Suu Kyi’s detention was due to expire at the end of May. It is feared that this charge is simply a way of keeping her out of the public eye until next year’s elections occur. The elections are expected to be a rubber stamp of the current government. The charge stems from an incident in which John William Yeattaw, an American man from Missouri, wearing flippers he handmade, swam one mile across a lake to get to Suu Kyi’s house. According to Suu Kyi’s lawyers, once at the house he claimed he was diabetic and was too ill to leave. In 1990, in the first election Burma had held in 30 years, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a solid majority of votes, but that result was ignored. Burma’s government officially renamed the country Myanmar, Guardian. CNN has a picture of Yeattaw said to have been taken in Suu Kyi’s home and a picture of his handmade flippers.
40,000 attended an outdoor papal mass in Nazareth. After the mass, Pope Benedict XVI met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Al Jazeera.
North Korea has set a trial date of June 4 for two American journalists charged with illegally crossing the border from China to North Korea, New York Times.
The UN Security Council has issued a statement condemning the Sri Lankan government’s use of heavy artillery on civilians trapped in a warzone, Bloomberg. The Sri Lankan government says that thousands of civilians trapped in the warzone, where the government claims they were being used as human shield by Tamil Tiger rebels, have escaped by crossing a lagoon, Reuters.