Home > News > News in Brief: 4 February 2009

News in Brief: 4 February 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Tamils Fearful For the Future. As Sri Lanka celebrates 61 years of independence from British colonial rule on Wednesday, the enthusiasm is understandably not shared by minority Tamils living under the military jackboot in the north of the country. (IPS)

UN says cluster bombs being used in Sri Lanka. At least 52 civilians were killed in the past day’s fighting between Tamil rebels and government forces in northern Sri Lanka, and cluster bombs struck the war zone’s last functioning hospital Wednesday, the UN said. (Globe and Mail/AP)

Hamas reiterates end of Gaza siege as price of truce. Hamas officials have said the group is ready to agree to a one-year ceasefire with Israel, but have also not ruled out an 18-month truce proposed by Egyptian mediators. But a senior official based in Damascus said the delegation had told Suleiman Hamas would not agree to an open-ended truce and that all crossings into Gaza must be completely opened. (The Daily Star)

U.S.-allied Arab states back Abbas in Hamas row. Foreign ministers of U.S.-allied Arab states meeting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday said they were seeking to consolidate Arab support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his row with Islamist group Hamas. (Khaleej Times/Reuters)

Kyrgyzstan Threatens To Close U.S. Base. The president of Kyrgyzstan said Tuesday that his government had decided to close the last remaining American air base in Central Asia, a move that could present a significant setback to U.S. plans to send more troops to Afghanistan and to open new supply routes that would allow NATO to reduce shipments through a dangerous corridor in Pakistan. (Washington Post)

Taliban Destroys a Key Bridge in Pakistan. Hundreds of trucks bearing NATO supplies idled at terminals near the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday after Taliban fighters blew up an iron bridge about 15 miles away. The explosion, the latest in a spate of attacks, cut off the main supply route for U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, complicating plans to substantially increase the Western military presence there and roll back recent gains by Taliban forces. (Washington Post)

Taliban kidnap 29 Pakistani police, torch trucks. Pakistani Taliban kidnapped 29 paramilitary soldiers and policemen on Wednesday, police said, as the militants intensified their campaign against government forces. (Gulf News)

Iraq voter turnout lower than expected in provincial vote. Too many voters didn’t find their names on voter rolls, and, with a vehicle ban to prevent suicide bombers, many voters had to walk miles from their homes to get to their polling places, party officials said. The voting problems threaten to unleash violence in Anbar. (McClatchy)

Belarus Signs New Air Defense Deal. Russia and Belarus agreed to form a joint air defense system, the Kremlin said Tuesday, strengthening military cooperation between the two uneasy allies. (Moscow Times)

Clinton Warns Iran to Comply With Mandates. Clinton sought to assure European allies that the administration would closely coordinate with them on its emerging efforts to hold direct talks with Iran. She had pointed words about Iranian behavior on the same day that Tehran announced it had successfully sent its first domestically produced satellite into orbit using an Iranian-made long-distance missile. (Washington Post)

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