Home > News > News in Brief: 18 August 2008

News in Brief: 18 August 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

Musharraf to Resign as President of Pakistan. Bowing to pressure from Pakistan’s newly-elected civilian government, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, once a top U.S. ally, said Monday that he will resign from office immediately, effectively ending nearly nine years of military rule in the country under his leadership. (Washington Post)

In Kashmir, Fears of Increasing Militancy. Over the past six weeks, tensions between Muslims and Hindus have left 34 people dead, most of them unarmed protesters shot by Indian security forces. After four years of relative calm, the Muslim-led demonstrations in Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, were the biggest since a separatist rebellion against Indian rule nearly 20 years ago, analysts say. (Washington Post)

Taliban to target Canadian civilians. The Taliban issued an open letter to Canada on Sunday, saying more Canadian blood will be spilled if the country’s troops are not pulled out of Afghanistan. The broad threat, which was aimed at civilian rather than military targets, came just days after four aid workers, including two Canadians, were gunned down in Logar near Kabul. (Globe and Mail)

Scant sign of Russian withdrawal. Russia has pledged to start pulling out combat troops from Georgia on Monday at noon, but its troops have continued to dig in at positions less than half an hour’s drive from the capital, Tbilisi. (Al Jazeera)

Iran reports test of craft able to carry a satellite. Iran test-fired a new rocket capable of carrying a satellite into orbit, the Iranian state news media reported Sunday. Western experts said the launching represented a potentially significant if much-delayed step in Iran’s efforts to join the international space club. (IHT)

Israel to release 200 prisoners. The ministerial committee overseeing the release of jailed Palestinian on Monday approved the cabinet’s list of 200 prisoners to the West Bank, as a gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called Sunday for Hamas prisoners to be included among the 200 Palestinian prisoners the Israeli cabinet decided Sunday to release as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority. He said freeing only those from PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction would be “an attempt to strengthen the Palestinians’ internal divisions.” (Haaretz)

Israeli officer ousted for videotaped shooting. The Israeli officer who reportedly ordered one of his soldiers to shoot a bound-and-blindfolded Palestinian demonstrator is being reassigned. (Checkpoint Jerusalem)

Hezbollah and Salafists sign a memorandum of understanding. The Hezbollah and the Salafist groups signed a memorandum of understanding today. The memorandum stipulated briefly the following: 1- Condemning any Islamic group that assaults another. 2- Abandoning incitement, which creates trouble and will allow the enemies to take advantage of the situation. 3- Confronting the American agenda, which creates division. 4- Firmly supporting Hezbollah and the Salafist movement if any internal or external parties act unfairly. 5- Forming a religious committee to discuss any disagreements between the Shia and the Sunnis. 6- Respecting each others’ opinions. (Ya Libnan)

Ankara’s Caucasus initiative to gain impetus this week. The Turkish capital’s initiative to establish a regional stability and cooperation platform to resolve crises in the Caucasus will move forward this week, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being expected to pay a visit to neighboring Azerbaijan for talks aimed at implementing this initiative. (Today’s Zaman)

The ‘Hanification’ of Xinjiang. Despite China’s alleged repression in strategically placed and resource-rich Xinjiang province, what hurts most to local Uyghurs is the ongoing “Hanification” of their homeland. (Asia Times)

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