At least 127 people are dead and more than 400 wounded after well-coordinated car bomb attacks on 5 targets in Baghdad. The targets include a police station, government ministries, and a market. 4 of explosions went off nearly simultaneously. The attack is assumed to be in response to the announcement that elections are now scheduled for March 2010. Militants in Iraq, many of whom are former supporters of Saddam Hussein and are connected to al Qaeda, aim to show that the government cannot protect the country and to disrupt upcoming elections, BBC News.
Militants attacked Pakistan’s security agency in Multan with grenades and a car bomb, Reuters. Dozens were also killed in blasts at a market in Lahore, Pakistan yesterday, CNN.
New information has come out that Obama administration officials warned Pakistani military officials last month that if Pakistan did not increase its fight against Taliban militants, the U.S. would move more military force into Pakistan, New York Times.
Analysts warn that al Qaeda may try to provoke a conflict between India and Pakistan, two countries that have historically had uneasy relations, Reuters.
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.
Noordin Mohammed Top, one of the most wanted terrorists in Asia, has been killed in a police raid, says Indonesian police. Top is believed to have been the mastermind behind the Bali and Jakarta bombings, which killed over 200 people. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has warned that despite Top’s death, there is a still a threat in the region of terrorism, saying that “we cannot afford to be complacent,” Bloomberg.
The U.S. has pledged to give 10 percent of their H1N1 vaccine stock to the World Health Organization (WHO), which will then be given to poor countries. Australia, Brazil, Britain, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland will also donate, Washington Post.
A government airstrike in Yemen has killed more than 80 people, most of which were civilian refugees. The strike shows that the war is worsening between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, New York Times.
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3 men have been found guilty in Britain of plotting to bomb airplanes headed to North America. Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, Tanvir Hussain, 28, and Assad Sarwar, 29, were found guilty of conspiring to activate liquid bombs while four others also on trial were found not guilty. The arrest of the men in 2006 sparked the liquids ban that still remains in place in many airports. The men had made liquid bombs and planned to carry them aboard planes in drink bottles, BBC News.
More information on fraud in last month’s elections in Afghanistan. Supporters of incumbent president Hamid Karzi made up hundreds of fake polling sites that added fradulent votes for Karzai. Karzai supporters are also said to have taken over about 800 physical sites to influence the vote, New York Times.
957 people were rescued after a ferry capsized in the Philippines yesterday. 9 people were killed, CNN.
A female journalist from Sudan who was on trial for wearing pants in public has been convicted of violating the country’s decency laws. Lubna Hussein will have to pay a fine of $200 but was not sentenced to be lashed. Hussein says she will not pay the fine. A group of women wearing pants gathered in solidarity outside the courthouse in Khartourm. Witnesses said the crowd was dispersed by police using tear gas. Sudanese residents in the north which is mainly Muslim are expected to follow Islamic laws about dressing modestly while in the country’s mainly Christian southern areas the law is not usually enforced, New York Times.
Skywatchers in the U.S. and southern Canada should be able to see the space shuttle as it docks with the space station tomorrow night, Space.com.
Gunmen from a suspected drug gang shot and killed 17 patients, believed to be members of a rival gang, at a drug rehabilitation center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The slayings show similarities to an attack in March at a drug rehab center that left 20 dead. Since President Calderon entered office in late 2006 and created a war on drugs, 11,000 people have died in the country due to drug-related violence, CNN.
The United States has suspended all aid to Honduras because of the Latin American country’s lack of action after the June coup. Honduras is expected to lose $30m in aid, New York Times.
The body of Alec MacLachlan, a British security guard seized by terrorists in 2007 in Baghdad, has been recovered. Five men were taken at the same time and two bodies were returned in June. Authorities believe one man, Peter Moore, is still alive, BBC News.
A Russian journalist who was aboard the Arctic Sea, the ship that disappeared last month, says he was forced to flee to Istanbul after reporting the ship may have illegally transported weapons. The Arctic Sea disappeared in late July, but was found on August 17th, creating speculation on what the ship was doing and where it was during those missing weeks. Russian officials say the ship was hijacked off the coast of Sweden, NPR.
The cash for clunkers program will come to an end in the U.S. on Monday. The program, which allows vehicle owners to trade in fuel inefficient cars and trucks for newer models, has run out of the $3bn allotted for it, but the initiative has been hailed as a success by the Obama administration, Washington Post.
The Lockerbie bomber, who was released today, was greeted as a hero in his native Libya. Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi met thousands of supporters as he stepped off a plane from Britain. He served eight years of a life sentence before being released on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer, Times Online.
Former head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says he was pressured by the Bush administration to raise the terror-alert level before the 2004 presidential election. In his new book Ridge says then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld both asked him both asked, but he and his staffrefused, Wall Street Journal.
President Obama honored 16 people in a lovely ceremony today as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can attain. Those honored were: Nancy Goodman Brinker, Pedro Jose Greer, Jr., Stephen Hawking, Jack Kemp, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Billie Jean King, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Joe Medicine Crow-High Bird, Harvey Milk, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sidney Poitier, Chita Rivera, Mary Robinson, Janet Davison Rowley, Desmond Tutu, and Muhammad Yunas. You can find their bios at the link, CNN.
The man convicted for killing 270 people in 1988 by planting a bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103, known as the Lockerbie bombing, is set to be released. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has terminal prostate cancer and will be allowed to return to his native Libya in time for Ramadan. The flight was leaving London for JFK airport and exploded over the town of Lockerbie, where 11 people on the ground were killed. 180 killed were Americans and many were students who were returning home from studying abroad, BBC News.
A judge has ruled Microsoft “infringed a patent belonging to i4i LP, gave the software giant 60 days to comply with the injunction and awarded the Canadian company about $290-million.” Microsoft will also have to immediately stop selling most versions of the Word program, Globe and Mail.
Brazil reports that 274 people have died in the country from A/H1N1 flu. They plan to import 18 million vaccines in the next two years, China View.
A new report shows the U.S. lost fewer jobs in the month of July than expected, possibly showing that the country’s economy is on the rebound. The Dow Jones rose over 113 points today and the unemployment rate dropped .1 percent, shocking analysts who had predicted a .1 percent increase, USA Today.
Police in Indonesia have killed two people who are believed to have planned last month’s hotel attacks in Jakarta. Five others were arrested and explosives were seized. Reports suggest Malaysia’s Noordin Mohammad Top, considered the mastermind, may have either been arrested or killed, but police have not confirmed this, AP.
As it’s August, the Perseid Meteor Shower will be in the skies this month, with the peak being seen on the 11th and 12th, SPACE.
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