An Israeli airstrike has injured 11 people in the Gaza strip. Another strike 24-hours earlier hit two smuggling tunnels and a weapons manufacturing site. The strike occurred amid clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli police in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Fighting erupted after Israel announced plans to build 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem, which has prompted outrage from the U.S., Al Jazeera.
Massive protests continue in Thailand. The opposition “red shirts,” which aim to oust the current government, have planned marches around Bangkok for tomorrow and have succeeded in their attempts to hold non-violent rallies. 150,000 people participated in last Sunday’s march, and analysts believe the movement is winning many sympathizers, Reuters.
A reported mine collapse that is believed to have killed almost 200 people is being denied by the country’s government. Minister of Mineral Resources Alpha Kanu says he visited the site and no collapse occurred, BBC News.
Hot Topic: Economist Paul Krugman on healthcare reform.
Thailand’s Supreme Court found former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra guilty of abusing his power by changing laws to help his family owned communications company. The Court will seize $1.4 billion (U.S.) of Thaksin’s fortune. Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006 and is currently living in exile in Dubai. Investigations of Thaksin and his family began immediately after the coup, CNN. Supporters of Thaksin are known as red shirts and continue to protest his ouster, Al Jazeera. Profile of Thaksin Shinawatra, BBC News.
17 people are dead after a deadly bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan. The targets of the attack were guest houses used by foreign nationals. The Taliban claimed credit and said 5 suicide bombers were used in the attack which was then followed by armed fighting and random gunfire, Voice of America. NATO is currently involved in a major offensive to secure cities currently controlled by the Taliban, Al Jazeera.
A new survey from the Guttmacher Institute estimates that 70,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions and millions more are injured. The study found that official laws or regulations prohibiting abortion does not stop the practice from occurring but rather that it only makes the procedure more dangerous and unsafe. The abortion rate is the lowest in the Netherlands (10 in 1000) where most young people report they use two forms of contraception, BBC News.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced today that he will send an additional 500 troops to Afghanistan, in addition to the 9,000 British troops already fighting there, Guardian.
The government of Iraq has released new figures on the number of deaths in the country since the U.S. invasion in 2004. The human rights ministry of Iraq says that at least 85,000 have been killed by bombs, murders, and fighting. The number is based on death certificates issued by the health ministry through 2008, Al Jazeera.
Human rights groups are calling on Israel to release 335 Palestinians being held without a trial. International law allows for detentions without charge or trial only in extraordinary circumstances in which the security of the state is at risk, CNN.
Residents of coastal Indonesia took part in a tsunami drill earlier today. The UN-backed initiative tested warning systems and helped residents learn what to do in the event of a tsunami warning. On December 26, 2004 the region suffered one of the greatest natural disasters in recent history when a massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed 230,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India, Reuters.
Tensions are rising in south Thailand as ethnic Malay Muslims are attempting to attain autonomy from the Buddhist rulers. Troops have been dispatched to the area for years, but violence is getting worse. 330 people have been killed this year alone and 3,500 have been killed since 2004, New York Times.
Police have arrested the man who made the 911 call to report several family members dead in a Georgia trailer park on Saturday. Guy Heinze, 22, told police he found seven people dead (an eighth died later), but police now say there is enough physical evidence and testimony to link him to the murders, Reuters.
The city of Washington, D.C. is working to set up mass vaccination centers to fight the spread of H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, Washington Post.
A former American soldier has received a life sentence for raping a 14-year-old girl in Iraq and killing her family. Steven Green, 24, will spend his life in prison and will not be eligible for parole, BBC News.
An American tourist’s death at a Thai resort is raising lots of questions. Jill St. Onge, 27, from Seattle was on vacation on Phi Phi island with her fiancee when she began vomiting in her room and eventually passed away less than a day after becoming sick. A 22-year-old Norwegian tourist died last month at the same resort, CNN.
Jacob Zuma has been officially sworn in as South Africa’s new president. President Zuma, who is immensely popular in the country, has vowed reconciliation in the African state and to improve his people’s lives, BBC News.
A UN peacekeeper was shot and killed in southern Darfur during a carjacking. The officer was killed while parking his car in front of his home. The man’s name and nationality have not yet been released, Sky News.
Roxana Saberi, the American journalist jailed in Iran for spying, has had her court date moved up in the Middle Eastern country. An appeals court will hear her case after she was sentenced to eight years of prison. The appeal was supposed to be heard Tuesday, but will now be heard this Sunday, giving her lawyers less time to review the case. Officials said that the original date of the case was a mistake, CNN.
Two earthquakes hit the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan east of Kabul. At least 22 are dead and dozens injured, Hindustan Times.
Thai “Yellow Shirt” leader survives attempted assassination. Opponents shot Sondhi Limthingkul in the head as he was riding in a car, but he has survived, Christian Science Monitor.
Take two: Mumbai terror trial begins again today. The trial of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab that was delayed on Wednesday when his attorney was removed for conflict of interest has resumed. Kasab is accused of being the only living member of the group that conducted the Mumbai terrorist attacks that resulted in the death of more than 160 people last year, CNN International.
4 founders of file-sharing website Pirate Bay have been sentenced to a year in jail in Sweden, the Local. The Local also reports that a Pirate Bay server confiscated by the Swedish police is on display at the National Museum of Science and Technology Stockholm – make your travel plans now!
A Pakistan aid conference hosted by Japan has raised more than $6 billion. Of the $6 billion Japan and the U.S. are both pledging $1 billion each, BBC News.
U.S. envoy George Mitchell meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today and later with the Prime Minister, Salam Fayad, United Press International. Bloggers are reporting that Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, has said Obama expects to see the Two State solution implemented by the end of his first term, Talking Points Memo.
Following the condemnation of North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile earlier this month by the UN Security Council, North Korea has cut off its involvement in international talks concerning its nuclear program. North Korea has restarted a nuclear reactor and has vowed to never engage in nuclear negotiations again, Fox News.
1 Canadian soldier killed and 4 Canadian soldiers injured in roadside bomb in Afghanistan, CNN International.
Redshirt protests end in Bangkok after military and police surround protesters. 2 died in the protests and at least 120 were injured, Bangkok Post.
Music producer Phil Spector is found guilty in the 2003 murder of an actress in Los Angeles, NME.
Children in Peru die in the collapse of a foot bridge in the Andes, Time.
Amazon apologizes for delisting of books by gay authors. A hacker has claimed credit, PC World.
Iranian journalist on trial in Iran accused of spying for the US, Bloomberg.
For the first time in decades, Americans will be able to make unlimited trips to Cuba and the 1.5 million Americans with family in the communist country will be allowed to send money back to their families. The Obama administration announced the new policies today to try to eliminate some of the dependence of Cubans on the Castro regime, MSNBC.
Two people have been killed in Thai protests. Anti-government protests have been occurring for days now and violence between protesters and police is worsening. Today, protesters set cars on fire, a government building was torched, and Molotov cocktails have been used, Sky News. In pictures: Thai crackdown, BBC News.
A fire in a Polish hostel for homeless people has killed at least 21 people and injured dozens more. Despite the fast response from fire trucks, witnesses say the fire took over the three-story building rapidly. The hostel housed people who were waiting for housing by the government, and some victims were there to visit family, BBC News.
In good economic news for a change, Goldman Sachs has posted a $1.8 profit for the first quarter of 2009. The company has received $10 billion from the government and vows to pay them back, with the profit being a good step in fulfilling that promise, Wa Po.