Home > News > News in Brief: 8 August 2007

News in Brief: 8 August 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Kenya: Over a Hundreds Thousand Displaced By Mt Elgon Ethnic Clashes. An estimated 116,220 people have been displaced by the simmering ethnic clashes on the Kenyan side of Mt Elgon, the Kenya Red Cross has said in a new report that is likely to re-focus national attention on the crisis. (allAfrica.com)

Afghanistan: Precision Strike or Reckless Bombing? International forces say a strike in Helmand targeted Taleban leaders, but locals say the bombs killed hundreds of innocent civilians. It was 3:00 pm on a Thursday afternoon in the small town of Bughni, located in the Baghran district of Helmand province. Hundreds of people has gathered for the traditional weekly market, or “mela”, where locals trade and haggle over everything from cows to carpets. Suddenly the bombs came, causing panic and reportedly killing upwards of 200 civilians and injuring many more. If the reports are confirmed, it would be the highest single casualty figure in Afghanistan this year. That is the residents’ version of events in Bughni on August 2. Eyewitnesses tell gruesome tales of headless bodies piled high waiting for identification. Many say they lost children, brothers, fathers. But Combined Joint Task Force-82, the United States-led Coalition force which carried out the bombing, told a very different story. (IWPR)

Jakarta chooses governor for the first time. Millions of people in the Indonesian capital voted for their governor for the first time on Wednesday, the latest in a wave of direct local elections hailed as key to strengthening democracy in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. (Jakarta Post/AP)

Gusmao sworn in as East Timor PM. Xanana Gusmao, an independence hero and former president, has been sworn in as East Timor’s new prime minister as rival party Fretilin said it could not control its supporters from getting violent. (Al Jazeera)

Iran Shows Off Home-Grown Fighter Jet. Iran on Aug. 5 showed off for the first time a new fighter jet said to be modeled on the American F-5 but built using domestic technology, state media reported. (Defense News)

Iraq’s electricity output meets only half of domestic needs. The Ministry of Electricity has finally acknowledged its inability to meet the country’s needs, blaming the current chronic shortages on lack of fuel. Informed sources at the ministry said current output was less than half what the country needs amid soaring temperatures brushing 50 degrees centigrade. The sources said electrical generation capacity is even worse than in the months before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. (Azzaman)

Turkey and Iraq in spat over terror base. Turkey and Iraq were locked in talks on Tuesday to try to resolve their differences over alleged terrorist bases near their joint border. The talks were the centre point of a visit to Ankara by Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, that was dominated by security and trade issues. (Financial Times)

Iraq’s former intelligence officers urged to meet. ntelligence and security personnel who served under former leader Saddam Hussein have the right to attend a conference to discuss their problems, a senior official said. Rasheed Saleh al-Naseri, the head of the so-called “disbanded entities”, said the government was ready to listen to all those who served the former regime as members of security and intelligence organizations. The move comes as the government has asked all these members, whether inside or outside Iraq, to fill in special forms in order to have them rehabilitated. (Azzaman)

Iraq’s time of reckoning. In the latest blow to Nouri Al Maliki’s government, four secularist ministers withdrew from Cabinet meetings on Tuesday, drastically reducing the chances of the Iraqi government’s survival. (Gulf News)

Korean leaders to hold second-ever summit. North and South Korea announced Wednesday that their leaders plan to hold their second-ever summit this month. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will meet Aug. 28-30 in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital. (Globe & Mail)

India Seeks Israeli Help To Fill Unmanned Combat Helicopter Need. The Indian Navy is exploring collaboration between local and Israeli defense companies to develop unmanned combat helicopters, according to Defence Ministry sources here. (Defense News)

No going back on Nuclear deal, Indian PM tells Left. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear to Left leaders that the Indo-US civil nuclear deal will not be renegotiated, shortly after the [Left] allies rejected the agreement. The Prime Minister noted that the 123 agreement, that will operationalise the nuclear deal, has been approved by the Cabinet and that there was no question of renegotiating it. Singh will make a statement on the issue in Parliament on Monday. (The Hindu)

Giving peace a chance in Afghanistan. More than 700 people from Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly tribal elders and Islamic clerics, begin three days of talks in Kabul on Thursday in an unprecedented attempt to address – and find solutions to – the problems of militancy. This is one prong of US efforts to settle the region, the other being military attacks inside Pakistan against Taliban and al-Qaeda bases. Both initiatives underestimate the nexus between the Taliban and their secular ethnic Pashtun “brothers”. (Asia Times)

US air raids kill 30 in Iraq as PM talks security in Iran. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is in Iran for talks on shoring up security in Iraq. He’s been criticized for not doing enough to reconcile the nation’s ethnic and religious groups. The Shiite-led government is under pressure to reach a power sharing deal ahead of a report in September on Washington’s strategy for Iraq. Meanwhile US airstrikes killed 30 members of a suspected arms smuggling network from Iran. (Deutsche Welle)

Lincoln Group Producing US Department of Defense Funded Iraqi Security Forces Comics. Arabic Comic Book Series Depicts Iraqi Security Forces as Anti-Terror Heroes. The sole-source contract award to the Lincoln Group [is] to produce yet another in a series of US military-funded Arabic-language comic books depicting Iraqi security forces as heroes in the fight against terrorists and insurgents. (IraqSlogger)

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