NATO Airstrike Is Said to Have Killed 21 Afghan Civilians
By ROD NORDLAND
Published: February 22, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan – A NATO airstrike on Sunday against what the coalition believed to be a group of insurgents ended up killing at least 21 civilians, including women and children, in Uruzgan Province, Afghan officials said on Monday.
“Yesterday a group of suspected insurgents, believed to be en route to attack a joint Afghan-ISAF unit, was engaged by an airborne weapons team resulting in a number of individuals killed and wounded,” the American-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. “After the joint ground force arrived at the scene and found women and children, they transported the wounded to medical treatment facilities.” ISAF did not specify how many people were killed or whether it believed there had been insurgents among them.
Aids: is the end in sight?
Mass prescription of anti-retroviral drugs could eradicate the disease within 40 years, scientist says
By Steve Connor, Science Editor, in San Diego Monday, 22 February 2010
Testing everyone at risk of HIV and treating them with anti-retroviral drugs could eradicate the global epidemic within 40 years, according to the scientist at the centre of a radical new approach to fighting Aids.
An aggressive programme of prescribing anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to every person infected with HIV could stop all new infections in five years and eventually wipe out the epidemic, said Brian Williams of the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis.
Democratic senatorial candidates vie to be seen as outsiders
By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 22, 2010
Chris Coons wants to be a Democratic Senate incumbent. But don’t mistake him for one just yet.
Coons, the New Castle County executive in Delaware, is one of a handful of Democrats vying to win races in open seats that could swing the balance of power in the Senate. These challengers are seizing on the sour national mood to cast themselves as reform-minded outsiders, willing to drive a wedge between themselves and Democratic leaders as they vow to shake up the political establishment that their party controls.
Toyota tried to cut costs on recalls
A company document touts successes in limiting regulators’ safety actions — months before the sudden-acceleration problem was widely known outside of Toyota and the federal highway regulatory agency.
By Ken Bensinger
February 22, 2010
Toyota Motor Corp. officials took credit for saving hundreds of millions of dollars by persuading federal regulators to limit or avoid safety recalls and rules, a company document released Sunday shows.
The document, an internal company presentation, depicts an automaker focused on getting what it termed “favorable recall outcomes” from regulators, with a goal of saving money even as the death toll climbed from accidents in which Toyota vehicles accelerated uncontrollably.
Eurostar train fails again, leaving 700 stranded
Passengers have to transfer to a rescue train as under-fire service breaks down on the way into London
guardian.co.uk, Monday 22 February 2010
Eurostar suffered another setback last night after hundreds of passengers became stranded when a train broke down on its way into London.
British Transport Police said a rescue train was sent out to pick up about 700 passengers after the train stopped running near Ashford in Kent at around 10pm.
One passenger who was returning from France told Sky News from the train that it suddenly came to a stop and the lights on the train went out.
“It’s getting fairly hot but people are very calm, very relaxed,” he said.
He said that the rescue train turned up shortly before midnight to take the passengers onwards to London.
French prison system under scrutiny after suicide
Critics say death of high-profile inmate reveals the failings of a system with one of the highest prison suicide rates in Europe
Lizzy Davies in Paris
The Guardian, Monday 22 February 2010
France’s overburdened and dysfunctional prison system has come under renewed scrutiny after one of the country’s most notorious detainees killed himself in his cell just months after escaping from his first jail in a cardboard box.
Jean-Pierre Treiber, a 46-year-old former forest ranger suspected of murdering a lesbian couple in 2004, was found dead in his cell at Fleury Mérogis prison, south of Paris, on Saturday morning. Doctors said he appeared to have hanged himself.
Dubai hit squad may have used diplomatic passports
From The Times
February 22, 2010
James Hider, Jerusalem, and Hugh Tomlinson, Dubai
The hit squad that killed a senior Hamas official in Dubai may have entered the country using diplomatic passports, officials in the Emirates said yesterday as they called on Britain and other European countries whose documents were forged to launch a full inquiry.
“There is still information that Dubai police will not make public for the moment, especially regarding diplomatic passports,” said Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai’s police chief.
Israel adds West Bank shrines to heritage list
Israel’s prime minister has announced a controversial plan to add two major religious sites in the West Bank to the country’s national heritage list.
Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem would now be included in the $107m restoration plan.
Israeli media said the two sites had been included on the list only after pressure from nationalist ministers.
The Palestinian Authority warned the decision would “wreck” peace efforts.
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen for more than a year, with the PA refusing to participate until Israel halts settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel has scaled back construction in the West Bank, but it does not consider areas within the Jerusalem municipality to be settlements.
Burma plans crackdown on monks as election nears
Military authorities fear repeat of 2007 when monks led ‘Saffron Uprising’
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent Monday, 22 February 2010
The military authorities in Burma are planning a crackdown on the country’s Buddhist monks to “discipline” them ahead of forthcoming elections.
State media reported over the weekend that the senior abbot who heads a government-controlled committee of senior monks is to call a meeting to outline new regulations. While monks are not eligible to vote in the election, analysts believe new restrictions will be imposed to further prevent them becoming involved in anything considered “political”.
Afghanistan: Hamid Karzai’s rival warns him not to cut deals with Taliban
Hamid Karzai’s internationally funded scheme to lure Taliban fighters with land and jobs will undermine democracy in Afghanistan and alienate the peaceful population, his presidential rival Abdullah Abdullah has claimed.
By Ben Farmer in Kabul
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Abdullah Abdullah also warned the allied Helmand offensive would be squandered unless Afghans were persuaded the Taliban would not be replaced by predatory officials.
Pakistan’s help to purge Taliban safe havens within its borders was critical to any success, he said, but warned even that would not deter the “suicide generation”.
His sombre assessment of peace moves came as Operation Moshtarak entered its second week with thousands of Afghan police preparing to deploy in areas of Marjah and Nad-i-Ali.
Allied commanders reported continued sporadic resistance while a purported Taliban spokesman rejected Mr Karzai’s latest overtures.
A death in Egyptian police custody
An Egyptian family is left looking for answers, and accountability, after a young waiter dies in prison, his body bearing the marks of beatings and torture. The odds are against them.
By Jeffrey Fleishman
February 22, 2010
Reporting from Cairo – They come every day, the dead. Some die in accidents, others from natural causes, but the body washer knew something scary had happened when the sheet was lifted off Farouk Sayed.
“I realized he was beaten to death once I saw him. I could see the marks on his wrists, chest and back,” said Moetaz Abdel Aziz, who bathes and purifies the dead at a Cairo morgue as part of the Muslim burial rite. “While I was washing him, I kept saying, ‘I protest to God, who is my best resort, against whoever did this to him.’ ”
Sayed’s wife, Takwa, thought her husband seemed so small in death, shrunken almost.
Ecuador effort to protect nature reserve in peril
A drive to protect Yasuni National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse, collapsed amid doubts about whether President Rafael Correa will leave its oil riches untouched. Next step is uncertain.
By Chris Kraul
February 21, 2010
Reporting from Quito, Ecuador – Ecuador is trying to salvage its campaign to enlist international sponsors to protect a pristine nature reserve in the Amazon, after an initial drive ended in disarray and doubts about whether President Rafael Correa would leave the park’s oil riches untouched.
Correa recently appointed former Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa to head a new panel to seek donations from Arab and Asian countries for the 2.4-million-acre Yasuni National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse nature reserves.
Members of a previous panel of environmentalists, as well as Foreign Minister Fander Falconi, resigned last month after Correa publicly berated the Yasuni proposal they had spent two years developing, calling them “infantile environmentalists.”