Showcase Afghan army mission turns into embarrassment
Operation to flush out Taliban east of Kabul results in high soldier death count
By Rod Nordland
KABUL, Afghanistan – An ambitious military operation that Afghan officials had expected to be a sign of their growing military capacity instead turned into an embarrassment, with Taliban fighters battering an Afghan battalion in a remote eastern area until NATO sent in French and American rescue teams.
The fighting has continued so intensely for the past week that the Red Cross has been unable to reach the battlefield to remove the dead and wounded.
The operation, east of Kabul, was extraordinary in that it was not coordinated in advance with NATO forces and did not at first include coalition forces or air support. The Afghans called for help after 10 of their soldiers were killed and perhaps twice as many captured at the opening of the operation nine days ago.
Linguist on mission to save Inuit ‘fossil language’ disappearing with the ice
Cambridge researcher will live in Arctic and document Inughuit culture and language threatened by climate change
Mark Brown, arts correspondent
The Guardian, Friday 13 August 2010
Stephen Pax Leonard will soon swap the lawns, libraries and high tables of Cambridge University for three months of darkness, temperatures as low as -40C and hunting seals for food with a spear.
But the academic researcher, who leaves Britain this weekend, has a mission: to take the last chance to document the language and traditions of an entire culture.
“I’m extremely excited but, yes, also apprehensive,” Leonard said as he made the final preparations for what is, by anyone’s standards, the trip of a lifetime.
Pentagon push to phase out top brass causing much consternation
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 13, 2010
Of all the spending cuts and budget battles the Pentagon is confronting, none is causing more angst than Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s vow to start getting rid of generals and admirals.
By almost any measure, the military is more top-heavy an institution than it has been for decades. Today, there are 40 four-star generals and admirals — one more than in 1971, during the Vietnam War, even though the number of active-duty troops has shrunk by almost half.
Lawyer’s hospitalization halts Khadr’s Guantanamo trial
By Carol Rosenberg | Miami Herald
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba – Omar Khadr’s lone defense attorney, an Army lieutenant colonel, collapsed in court Thursday and was taken away to a base hospital on a stretcher, halting the first day of the Canadian’s war crimes trial.
Lt. Col. Jon Jackson was on a morphine drip at the Naval Station hospital being tested for complications from gall bladder surgery six weeks ago, said Pentagon deputy chief defense counsel Bryan Broyles.
France cracks down on Roma migrants
Hundreds are evicted from illegal camps as President Sarkozy vows to shut such sites, alleging they are centers of trafficking and prostitution. Some see ethnic bias.
By Devorah Lauter, Special to the Los Angeles Times
August 13, 2010
Reporting from Pantin, France – To survive, her grandparents ate grains of corn they picked out of horse excrement.
“It was real misery, not like now,” said Ellena, who calls herself a Gypsy but prefers Roma because, she adds with a smile showing two gold-capped teeth, the name “demands respect.”
Her grandparents traveled through Germany and Russia, escaping Nazi death camps. And before that, their ancestors suffered persecution in neighboring European countries.
Moroccan protesters blockade Spanish enclave
By Daniel Wools in Madrid Friday, 13 August 2010
Moroccan demonstrators blockaded the border with the Spanish enclave of Melilla for hours yesterday.
The protest came just a day after the kings of the two countries spoke by telephone to try to calm tempers in a conflict which has been simmering for three weeks.
A police official said protesters prevented all trucks from entering Melilla, interrupting shipments to the centuries-old Spanish city at the tip of North Africa between the Mediterranean and northern Morocco. But 11 trucks carrying fruit and vegetables were allowed over the border in the afternoon, according to Gabriel Escobar, the Interior Ministry’s top official in the city.
Ashtiani outrage spurs Iran to commute stoning sentences to hanging
Tehran carries out series of judicial reviews but lawyer fears women who have not attracted media attention will be executed
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
The Iranian woman whose sentence to death by stoning sparked an international outcry was put on state-run TV where she told how her cousin had approached her about killing her husband, which in Iran was taken as a confession of adultery and involvement in murder. Her lawyer says she was tortured before the interview Link to this video
Iran appears to be quietly changing the sentences of Iranians awaiting death by stoning to hanging after international outcry following the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two.
Mariam Ghorbanzadeh, 25, who was six months’ pregnant and miscarried after being beaten up in Tabriz prison this week, was initially sentenced to death by stoning for adultery but her sentence has been commuted to hanging in a rapid judicial review.
Al Qaida in Iraq targets Baghdad’s police force
By Jane Arraf | Christian Science Monitor
BAGHDAD – As U.S. combat forces leave the country, al Qaida in Iraq appears to be creeping back into the Iraqi capital in a bold campaign of shootings, bombings and intimidation focused on undermining Baghdad’s developing police force.
Near-daily attacks on police in Baghdad and Anbar province, west of the capital, have killed almost 30 police officers in the past two weeks.U.S. military officials say those attacks have increased as the police have taken more responsibility from the Iraqi army, a move intended to allow Iraqi soldiers to move out of the cities eventually and defend Iraq’s borders.
Indian Forces Face Broader Revolt in Kashmir
By LYDIA POLGREEN
Published: August 12, 2010
SRINAGAR, Kashmir – Late Sunday night, after six days on life support with a bullet in his brain, Fida Nabi, a 19-year-old high school student, was unhooked from his ventilator at a hospital here.
Mr. Nabi was the 50th person to die in Kashmir’s bloody summer of rage. He had been shot in the head, his family and witnesses said, during a protest against India’s military presence in this disputed province.
For decades, India maintained hundreds of thousands of security forces in Kashmir to fight an insurgency sponsored by Pakistan, which claims this border region, too.
Why is the world unmoved by the plight of Pakistan?
Angry flood survivors are turning to a banned Islamist charity, reports Andrew Buncombe from central Punjab
Friday, 13 August 2010
Surrounded by brown, fast-shifting water on all sides, the 40 or so families in the village-turned-island had received no food, no medicine and no news as to when they might be rescued.
“We’re dying of hunger,” shrieked the woman, Sughra Bibi, as volunteers on the boat handed over plastic bags of lentils and cartons of milk to the villagers who gathered around her. One of them shouted out: “We don’t care if it’s the chief minister or the prime minister, but no one is sending anything to us. We are only waiting for God’s help.”
Mystery of Aurora corpses
ILHAM RAWOOT AND GCINA NTSALUBA – Aug 13 2010 00:00
Uncertainty shrouds the cause of death of four men — allegedly illegal miners — whose bodies were found on Thursday in an underground ventilation shaft at a mine belonging to troubled Ekurhuleni mining company Aurora Empowerment Systems.
The mine, in Benoni, was sealed off by police on Thursday morning amid rumours that police national commissioner General Bheki Cele was due to visit. Cele had not arrived by the time of going to press.
President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, and the grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, Zondwa Mandela, are on Aurora’s board.
Miners who claim to have witnessed the incident told the Mail & Guardian that a total of 13 miners had been killed, allegedly by security personnel guarding the mine, which has ceased operating.
Rwandan opposition urges global community to reject polls result
FRIDAY, 13 AUGUST 2010 00:00 EDITOR NEWS – AFRICA
A RWANDAN opposition leader has called on the international community, which provides half of the country’s budget, to reject President Paul Kagame’s re-election.
Victoire Ingabire, who heads the United Democratic Forces (UDF), had announced her intention to run in the August 9 poll but saw her party’s registration rejected.
“We urge the international community, the bilateral partners and donors to reject the sham electoral process and its outcome and to put pressure on the Rwandan government to organise new free, fair and transparent polls,” she said in a statement.
Kagame, who has ruled the small country since his Rwandan Patriotic Front stopped the 1994 genocide against his Tutsi minority, won a new seven-year term with 93 per cent of the vote, according to the electoral commission.
Uncovering jobs a major challenge since Haiti earthquake
Even before the disaster, unemployment was estimated at 70% or higher. Reconstruction will help many, but projects are years away.
By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
August 12, 2010
Reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti – Pedro Milien used to bend iron into grillwork for doors and windows in Haiti’s capital. The work was sporadic and low-paying, but it felt like a blessing in a land where real jobs can seem like a mirage.
Milien’s rippling arms are now idle. Haiti’s earthquake not only toppled his home but dried up his work. His meager savings are spent.
“We used to have a possibility of finding work from time to time,” Milien said in the hastily fashioned shack he shares with six family members. “A lot of the people who used to give me work, give me hope – a lot of them are dead now.”