Home > News > News in Brief: 23 July 2007

News in Brief: 23 July 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Turkey: AK Party wins big despite all odds. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) won a landslide victory in yesterday’s general elections, leaving its nationalist rivals far behind as it secured an unparalleled 46,6 percent of the national vote, comfortably ensuring that it will again form a single-party government. (Todays Zaman)

Canadian Defence Minister sees swift Afghan shift. Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor laid out a speedy timetable Sunday for Canada’s departure from the Afghanistan front lines, saying up to 3,000 Afghan troops are being trained over the next five months to take over the heavier fighting. (Globe & Mail)

Military forces surround Taliban holding South Korean hostages. American and Afghan soldiers surrounded a district in central Afghanistan where 23 South Korean Christian aid workers were being held hostage last night as their Taliban captors extended a deadline for their demands by 24 hours. (Guardian)

Bush’s Middle East peace conference plan peters out after telephone conversation with Saudi King Abdullah. the White House tried to play down the importance of the proposal put forward by President George W. Bush Monday, July 16, after Saudi King Abdullah said he would not attend. (DEBKA)

Afghanistan: British Front Line Casualty Rate Claimed to be Higher than the Second World War. The Telegraph is claiming that the rate at which British soldiers are being seriously injured or killed on the front line in Afghanistan is about to exceed that suffered by UK troops during the Second World War. While there are many reasons to be cautious about their analysis, e.g. they may be unfairly comparing frontline casualties from Afghanistan with total casualties in WWII, the claim is nonetheless striking. The casualty rate in the most dangerous regions of the country is approaching 10 per cent. Senior officers fear it will ultimately pass the 11 per cent experienced by British soldiers at the height of the conflict 60 years ago. (Craig Murray)

Safety of top Iraq cleric questioned. The safety of Iraq’s pre-eminent Shiite cleric is in question after one of his close aides was stabbed to death in the Muslim leader’s compound in the holy city of Najaf, a place beset by unsolved murders and believed to be infiltrated by insurgents. (Mercury News)

Pakistan’s Supreme Court reinstates chief justice. The Supreme Court on Friday reinstated Pakistan’s top judge, ruling that his suspension by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf was illegal and dealing a major blow to the authority of the staunch U.S. ally. (Globe & Mail)

Benazir plans early challenge to Musharraf. Pakistan’s exiled former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, is to make an early return to challenge plans by General Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler, to secure a new term as president without waiting for elections. (Daily Times)

Zimbabwe debates nationalization, Mugabe future. Zimbabwe’s parliament opens a new session this week to debate radical plans to nationalize foreign firms and a law empowering the house to name President Robert Mugabe’s likely successor without a national vote. (Reuters)

Canada to negotiate free-trade deal with Caribbean Community. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce that Canada will begin negotiating a free-trade agreement with the 15 countries of the Caribbean Community. Harper emerged from an early-morning meeting with his Barbados counterpart, saying he would use an address to Caribbean leaders later in the day to make a “significant announcement” aimed at deepening Canada’s partnership with the region. (MacLeans)

Jacques in the box. THE judicial trail is closing in on France’s former president, Jacques Chirac. On Thursday July 19th a judge investigating a fake jobs scheme that allegedly benefited members of the ruling party (during Mr Chirac’s time as mayor of Paris). (Economist)

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