Home > News > News in Brief: 11 December 2008

News in Brief: 11 December 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

55 Dead in Bombing at Restaurant in Iraq’s North. A suicide bomber struck a crowded restaurant in northern Iraq on Thursday where Kurdish officials were meeting with Arab tribal leaders to discuss long-standing ethnic tensions, killing at least 55 people, police said. (Washington Post)

Fresh clashes erupt across Athens. At least 15 police stations attacked by youths with rocks and bottles, injuring one man. It is the sixth day of demonstrations and riots aimed against the government’s economic policies. (Al Jazeera)

Indian Official Unveils Plan to Strengthen Security. India’s chief law enforcement official announced a massive revamp of the country’s security infrastructure in the wake of last month’s Mumbai attacks, boosting coastal security, setting up a national investigative agency comparable to the FBI in the United States and strengthening anti-terror laws. (Washington Post)

Civilians killed in Somalia clashes. At least six civilians have been killed and dozens wounded in Mogadishu in clashes between Ethiopian-backed government forces and opposition fighters. (Al Jazeera)

Analysts Urge Obama Not to Delay Action on Talks. In light of the Iranian presidential election coming in mid-2009 and the U.S. distaste for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President-elect Barack Obama is being advised to avoid any communication with Tehran until after Iranians vote next June. But Iranian political analysts who are familiar with the thinking of both Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believe it would be a serious mistake for Obama to take no action until after the election. (IPS)

Ireland to hold second referendum on Lisbon. Ireland will hold a second referendum on the European Union’s Lisbon treaty by the end of next October, according to a draft communiqué prepared for an EU summit starting on Thursday. (FT)

Israeli court frees Jewish settler filmed shooting Palestinians. An Occupied Jerusalem court Wednesday freed a Jewish settler who shot at Palestinians from point-blank range in the Occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Two Palestinians were wounded by the gunfire and Braudeh was lightly injured after a Palestinian crowd threw stones at him after the colonist shot at them. The judge ordered the immediate release of Braudeh and criticized Israeli police for failing to arrest any of the Palestinians defending themselves from the gunfire. (The Daily Star)

Japan Off-Key at Six-Party Talks. While the six-party talks currently underway in Beijing to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme seem to be making slow progress, Japan, one of the parties, is not unduly worried. (IPS)

Gates: More brigades to Afghanistan by summer. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Pentagon is moving to get three of the four combat brigades requested by commanders into Afghanistan by next summer. Gates said he will not have to cut troop levels further in Iraq to free up at least two of those three brigades for Afghan duty. (Jerusalem Post)

Bangladesh: Elections and Beyond. Bangladesh’s 29 December 2008 general election is expected to end a two year military-enforced state of emergency and return the country to democratic governance. While an end to emergency rule and elections do not equal democracy, both are necessary preconditions for the country’s stability. (ICG)

Michel Aoun & the Eastern Christians. Everywhere one looks, it seems, people are tripping over themselves to either claim or contest Aoun’s status as… er, how does one translate za’im masi7iyii al-sharq? The region’s head Christian? The Eastern-Christian-in-chief? (Qifa Nabki)

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