70 years ago today Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Remembrances are being held throughout Poland today. Polish officials have called for Russia to acknowledge its role in the start of World War II which includes signing a non-aggression pact with Germany. Poland has also asked for an apology for the Katyn massacre in which the entire Polish officer corps was killed. After the war, it came to light that Stalin had ordered the massacre, Reuters. Archive of memories of the war, BBC.
The Dalai Lama is in Taiwan for five days of mass prayers for the victims of Typhoon Morakot. He says his visit is not political but China has cancelled planned visits of Chinese officials to Taiwan, CNN. Slideshow of the typhoon’s destruction, CNN.
Fiji has been suspended from the Commonwealth, a group of 53 former British colonies and possessions, for refusing to call elections next year. Fiji is ruled by a military dictatorship who seized power in 2006, BBC News. An investigation of the relationship between the bottlers of Fiji water and Fiji’s ruling dictators, Mother Jones.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought Moammar Gadhafi to power in Libya, Voice of America.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, now says that he does not think foreign agents played any role in fomenting the protests that followed the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, Guardian.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrapped up his 4-day European tour today with a visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel where he asked for help in pressuring Iran to end its nuclear program, Reuters.
Over the objections of China, the Dalai Lama has been issued a visa to go to Taiwan to comfort victims of the recent typhoon. The Buddhist leader had been denied entry to the country last year, BBC News.
Amnesty International is calling for a panel to investigate the violence in East Timor by the Indonesian troops and militia that killed up to 100,000 people a decade ago, Jakarta Post.
U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy at the funeral of Sen. Edward Kennedy in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday, Associated Press.
A 17-year-old, Mike Perham, from England has circumnavigated the globe solo becoming the youngest person to do so. In the Netherlands, a 13-year-old girl, Laura Dekker, is bidding to smash the new record but is engaged in a court battle with welfare services as to whether she is allowed to sail by herself and miss two years of school, CNN.
With Afghanistan’s presidential election coming up on August 20, current President Hamid Karzai is working to build support amongst various Afghan voting blocs. Critics say that is the reasoning behind Karzai’s recent approval of a law that allowsAfghan Shia men to practice sharia law. Some of the provisions of sharia law, which many say is illegal under Afghanistan’s constitution, would allow men to deny their wives food and water if they did not submit sexually and place guardianship of children with fathers and grandfathers. International pressure stopped a similar bill earlier this year, Guardian. Polls show Karzai is leading, but if he does not receive a majority of the vote, he will face a run-off election, Voice of America. Q & A on the Afghan election, BBC News.
President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan says he accepts responsibility to the government’s slow response to the devastation casused by Typhoon Morakot, CNN.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will appoint women to his cabinet, BBC News.
Continuing his push for reasoned debate about health care reform, U.S. President Barack Obama has penned an opinion piece in today’s New York Times.
CNN has a probing article on what drives young men to commit terrorism, CNN.
The man convicted of the 1981 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, has applied to have his second appeal dropped- a sign that he may soon be released on compassionate grounds. al-Gegrahi has terminal prostate cancer and will possibly be released on “compassionate grounds” to his family in Libya or transferred to a Libyan prison. All 259 people on the plane died, as well as 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Voice of America.
The death toll from Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan could reach over 500. The official death toll now stands at 118 but several villages were completely buried in mudslides, CNN.
Virginia senator Jim Webb is in Burma to meet with military leader General Than Shwe. The visit comes after the conviction of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi but it is not known if Webb will address that matter. Webb is traveling through the region Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, New York Times.
In Perth, Australia a quadriplegic man, Christian Rossiter, has won the right to die. A judge ruled that Rossiter’s caretakers will not be held criminally responsible if he refused food and water, BBC News.
1,000 people believed lost following typhoon Morakot in Taiwan have been found. However, hundreds more are still missing. Rescue efforts are underway, Associated Press. Amazing photos of the storm, the destruction and rescue efforts, The Big Picture.
Officials have confirmed that the person killed in last weekend’s raid was not Indonesia’s most wanted terrorist Noordin Mohammed Top. DNA evidence shows instead the man was Ibrohim, who was also wanted in connection with last month’s Marriott and Ritz Carlton bombings in Jakarta. Ibrohim had worked as a florist in the hotels since 2005 and was able to bypass security to bring in explosives, Voice of America.
China has issued a statement on the conviction of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said “international society should fully respect Myanmar’s judicial sovereignty,” Reuters.
Schools have closed on Mumbai, India on fears of spreading swine flu, BBC News.
Khmer Rouge jail chief Comrade Duch, while still denying the extent of his involvement in war crimes in Cambodia in the 1970s, says he will accept the decisions of the UN backed tribunal and “the strictest level of punishment” for his crimes, AFP.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Russia will spend $500 million on military bases in Abkhazia, a disputed area of Georgia that Russia has declared to be an independent state, BBC News.
A meeting of Taliban members to decide on a replacement for Baitullah Mehsud, the top Taliban leader who is believed to have been killed in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan this week, may have ended in a deadly shoot-out. Reports surfaced yesterday that Hakimullah Meshud and Wali ur Rehman were both killed in a meeting in South Waziristan but today Wali ur Rehman told Reuters by phone that both men are alive, Al Jazeera.
A British contractor in Iraq, Danny Fitzsimmons, fatally shot two of his colleagues and wounded an Iraqi man inside of the heavily-secured Green Zone in Baghdad. The incident is being investigated but officials said the contractors got into an argument while drinking, Washington Post.
In the closely watched question of succession in North Korea, it appears that state media is building up the accomplishments of Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who has been given credit for arranging for Bill Clinton to travel to North Korea to retreive two American journalists, Yonhap.
One million people in southeast China have fled the area ahead of Typhoon Morakot. One child has died when a house collapsed, BBC News. Video of the destruction from BBC News.