Home > News > News in Brief: 25 August 2008

News in Brief: 25 August 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

US ‘agrees to end troop presence by 2012’. Iraqi Prime Minister Prime Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday that an agreement had been reached in negotiations on a security pact with the United States to end any foreign military presence in Iraq by the end of 2011. (FT/Reuters)

Ex-PM Sharif quits Pakistan’s ruling coalition. Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif pulled his party out of the ruling coalition on Monday, deepening a political crisis that has diverted government attention from pressing security and economic problems. (The Independent)

Swat valley raid targets politician. Suspected pro-Taliban fighters have attacked the home of a regional senator in Pakistan’s Swat valley, killing at least three members of his family and seven guards, police say. (Al Jazeera)

Russian MPs raise stakes by backing Georgian rebels. Russian lawmakers have voted unanimously to ask the president to recognise the independence of Georgia’s two rebel provinces, a move likely to anger the United States, the European Union and other Georgian allies. (The Independent)

Cheney heading to Georgia war zone. President George W. Bush is dispatching Vice President Cheney to Georgia, setting up a high-ranking diplomatic mission to an ally reeling from a short, intense war. (Today’s Zaman)

Diplomats to lay blueprint for Babacan-Lavrov talks. Russian and Turkish diplomats will meet this week in order to lay the groundwork for a planned meeting between foreign ministers of the two countries that will focus on Ankara’s proposal for establishing a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform which will gather Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and Turkey under the same roof. (Today’s Zaman)

Russia thanks Jordan for relief aid to separatists in Georgia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev thanked Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Sunday for offering humanitarian aid to South Ossetia, a separatist region of Georgia where fighting broke out this month. (Khaleej Times/AFP)

Iran’s economic self-mutilation. Belated acknowledgement in Iranian popular media of the country’s economic failures incorrectly attributes such failings to economic sanctions. Slow growth, high unemployment, pervasive corruption, economic injustice – these are self-inflicted. (Asia Times)

UN envoy in Burma. A United Nations-led effort to push political reform in military-ruled Burma plunged to a humiliating low on the weekend, raising questions about the effectiveness of the world body’s special envoy to the country, Ibrahim Gambari. (IPS)

Israel Frees Palestinian Prisoners. Israel released almost 200 Palestinian prisoners Monday in a good-will gesture aimed at reinvigorating the faltering peace process. Hours later, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in the country to make her own push for a deal between the two sides. The release sought to bolster the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who is engaged in a struggle for authority among Palestinians, with his Fatah party governing only the West Bank, while its opponent, Hamas, rules in the Gaza Strip. (New York Times)

Egyptian Kinship with Fatah Hampers Mediation. Following renewed fighting between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, Egypt has stepped up calls for dialogue and reconciliation. But critics say Cairo’s partiality to Fatah — which is backed, like the Egyptian regime itself, by the U.S. — prevents it from mediating fairly in the crisis. (IPS)

In Nuclear Net’s Undoing, a Web of Shadowy Deals. The president of Switzerland stepped to a podium in Bern last May and read a statement confirming rumors that had swirled through the capital for months. The government, he acknowledged, had indeed destroyed a huge trove of computer files and other material documenting the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran. (New York Times)

Climate change threatens South Asia food supplies. Melting Himalayan glaciers, rising sea levels and depleting fresh water sources as a result of global climate change are posing grave threats to food production and economic development in the populous South Asia region, experts said Monday. (Today’s Zaman)

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