US military death toll in Afghanistan reaches 2,000
The US military has suffered its 2,000th death in the Afghan war – with a suspected “insider” attack at a checkpoint.
30 September 2012 Last updated at 07:33 GMT
A US soldier and a foreign contractor were killed in the east of the country, apparently by a rogue member of the Afghan security forces.
“Insider” attacks sharply increased this year, prompting the coalition to suspend joint operations this month.
However, such operations resumed in recent days, the Pentagon said.
The nationality of the contractor was not given immediately.
The American death toll goes back to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The two new deaths occurred on Saturday in Wardak province, a spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said.
Afghan officials say the incident took place at a checkpoint near an Afghan National Army base in the district of Sayedabad.
Bo Guagua speaks up for disgraced father Bo Xilai
“Princeling” defends former leader accused of responsibility for wife’s murder of Briton, taking bribes and abusing power
Tania Branigan in Beijing and Rory Carroll
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 30 September 2012 06.40 BST
Bo Guagua, the high profile son of toppled politician Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai, has defended his “upright” and dutiful father in his first statement on the scandal.
His comments come shortly after Chinese leaders announced that they had expelled the former Chongqing party secretary from the Communist party and that he would face criminal charges.
Bo Xilai was once tipped for possible promotion in this autumn’s leadership transition. But his spectacular fall culminated in Friday’s announcement that he was accused of offences including abusing power and taking massive bribes.
Berlin’s gas lamps to be snuffed out
Heritage fans and greenies battle over plan to cull historic street lights
Sunday 30 September 2012
The pools of soft yellow light cast on the pavements of night-time Berlin by the city’s thousands of historic gas street lamps can give visitors a thrilling sensation of having either walked back in time or straight on to the set of Cabaret, the award-winning film set in the German capital of the early 1930s.
Berlin has a record 43,900 gas street lights – more than any other city in the world. They range from ornate wrought-iron five-lantern candelabra dating from the 1890s to graceful curved arc lights lining the city’s thoroughfares and installed in the still bomb-damaged capital of the 1950s.
The two faces of Hezbollah
Hezbollah, the dominant party in the Lebanese government, is closely allied with the Syrian regime. With Assad’s future uncertain, Hezbollah has a tricky balance to maintain.
The so-called “Party of God” has undergone a dramatic transformation since it was founded 30 years ago. The stimuli for its creation were the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Hezbollah’s stated aims were resistance against Israel, and establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon.
In the years that followed, Hezbollah slowly began to integrate itself into the Lebanese political system. In 1992 it participated in parliamentary elections for the first time. It abandoned its aim of establishing an Islamic state in the country, and this no longer a plank in the party’s official platform.
Favourites crash out of Mozambique succession race
Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party has given no clear sign of who will be its candidate at the next national presidential vote due in two years after wrapping up its conference.
Sapa-AFP | 29 September, 2012 15:55
Although the choice of a presidential candidate was not on the agenda of the Frelimo congress that ended Friday, the succession race was an unavoidable subtext.
President Armando Guebuza is legally not eligible for another term as he is serving his second and final tenure.
But two leading politicians that had been tipped as the party’s most likely future presidential candidates, failed to secure places on the ruling party’s supreme decision making body — a key step and unwritten requirement to the country’s top job.
Brazil: As prison populations grow is it time to rethink policy on drugs?
A new São Paulo think tank is urging Brazilians to rethink the country’s drug policy. Brazil’s drug law changed in 2006, but many say it has backfired as the drug-related prison population has boomed.
By Julia Michaels, guest blogger
RioRealblog cheated on Rio de Janeiro earlier this [month], running off to São Paulo for two days and a night.
There were the constant comparisons: an art Biennial that didn’t hold a candle to the recent wharfside ArtRio fair, an unbeatable crunchy beirute sandwich, much cleaner streets, and the surreal paulistano penchant for the upscale. How could anyone seriously name a building in the Jardins section of the city “Les Jardins des Jardins?”
And there was also an inspiring, imaginative breath of life: the launch of Pense Livre, a network to urge a rethink of Brazil’s drug policy. Policy debate is such a rarity here; though the launch was one-sided, it did throw down a useful and provocative gauntlet.