Iraqi police say they’ve recovered the bodies of at least sixty-five people overnight in Baghdad. Most showed signs of gunshot wounds and torture. At least three US soldiers have been killed since Monday.
The latest violence comes as CNN reports US commanders are privately conceding they need at least triple the current number of troops on the ground. Reporting from Ramadi, CNN’s Michael Ware says he’s heard the call from military officials across the country.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is in Tehran today on his first official visit to neighboring Iran. Maliki met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday for talks on political and security issues. Ahmadinejad offered to provide security assistance to Iraq.
Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraff is warning the Taliban has gotten so strong in Afghanistan it now poses a larger threat than Al Qaeda.
General Musharaff also deflected criticism his government has not done enough to fight the Taliban. He said several countries, including the United States, bear part of the blame for helping to create the Taliban and al-Qaeda to fight the Soviet Union.
Diplomats and leaders from more than one hundred countries are in Cuba this week for a meeting of the Non-Alligned Movement. The group unites Third World countries as an alternative front to bodies such as the Group of Eight. A major focus of the meeting is to call for a global redefinition of the word "terrorism." Some attendees want the term to also include all acts of violence against innocent civilians, including those carried out by states.
The Havana meeting comes as the Knight Ridder news agency is reporting the Bush administration has established five interagency groups to carry out US policy in Cuba. The groups were formed after Cuban President Fidel Castro announced he was temporarily ceding power to his brother Raoul as he recovered from surgery. The groups has been operating out of the same State Department office in what is described as a "war-room like setting." Their tasks include increasing support for Castro’s opponents and monitoring the government’s activities. The news comes on the heels of last month’s appointment of a veteran CIA officer as Acting Mission Manager for Cuba and Venezuela. The CIA has mission managers for only two other countries — Iran and North Korea.
Meanwhile, speculation is growing Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles may soon be set free here in the United States. A federal magistrate has ruled Carriles should be released from immigration custody because he has not been classified as a terrorist. The Bush administration has refused to extradite Carilles to Venezuela, where he is wanted for his role in a 1976 bombing that killed 73 people aboard a Cuban airliner.
The UN’s top humanitarian official is appealing for an international force to stop ongoing violence in Darfur.
Another day, another anti-war heckler for British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Hours after returning home from a hostile reception in Beirut, Blair was interrupted Tuesday as he spoke before a group of British trade unionists.
Dozens of audience members stood up and walked out of the room. Blair’s speech comes one day after a protester interrupted him at a Beirut press conference over his support for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.
In Israel, a military judge has ordered the release of twenty-one Hamas ministers and parliamentarians. The prisoners are among sixty Hamas officials who have spent more than two months in jail following the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
In China, the government is coming under international criticism over a new set of rules that could lead to severe restrictions on foreign news agencies. Under the new regulations, foreign journalists are deemed to be agents of the Chinese state news agency and subject to annual reviews of their reporting. Journalists would face bans if their reporting is found to: "undermine China’s national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity" or "endanger China’s national security, reputation and interests."
Here in the United States, Tuesday was primary day for nine states. In Rhode Island, Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee staved off a challenge from former investment banker Steve Laffey. In Minnesota"s fifth district, Keith Ellison, a state legislator, won the Democratic Congressional nomination defeating three rivals to put him on a path to become the first Muslim member of Congress. In New York, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer won the Democratic nomination for governor. Andrew Cuomo beat out Mark Green for the nomination to run as Spitzer’s replacement. And Senator Hillary Clinton won a renomination over anti-war challenger Jonathan Tasini. In a statement, Tasini said: "People throughout this campaign have come up to me and said that they were so grateful they had a choice — a choice that they could express their opposition to this illegal and immoral war, their frustration that in this county 40 million people don’t have health care, and their anger that corporations are waging a class warfare against their workers. I am proud that we have given them that choice."
In Ohio, a Republican fundraiser behind one of this country’s largest campaign money-laundering scandals has been sentenced to over two years in prison. In June, the fundraiser, Tom Noe, pleaded guilty to illegally funneling tens of thousands of dollars into President Bush’s re-election campaign. Noe was named a "Pioneer" for raising over $100,000 dollars for the President’s re-election.
This news on the Valerie Plame case — lawyers for the former CIA operative say they’ll be adding former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Plame’s civil suit against current and former White House officials. Armitage admitted last week he was the source who revealed Plame’s identity to columnist Robert Novak. Plame’s suit already names Vice President Dick Cheney, presidential aide Karl Rove and Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby for conspiring to end her career and putting her and her family at risk.
In New Jersey, three animal rights activists have been sentenced to terms that will send them to jail for between four to six years. The activists took part in campaign to stop a British scientific firm called Huntingdon Life Sciences from conducting lab tests on animals. They were convicted of targeting Huntingdon workers and shareholders, as well as companies that provide services to Huntingdon, by posting personal information about employees and their families on its Web sites. The activists were also ordered to pay restitution of one million dollars.
In environmental news, another new study has been released linking stronger hurricanes to global warming. According to researchers, human-generated greenhouse gas have been responsible for more than two-thirds of the temperature increases in those parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans where hurricanes usually form. A study published last year in the journal "Nature" showed a strong link between historical increases in sea temperatures and increases in hurricane intensity over the last three decades. The new study is published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A top Air Force official is calling for the testing of high-powered non-lethal weapons on US citizens. His reason: public relations. Speaking here in the nation’s capital Tuesday, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said successful tests on US citizens would reduce global criticism were those weapons used in other countries. Wynne said: "If we’re not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation… I think that [we] would be vilified in the world press."
And finally, an anti-war gathering in Washington, DC is claiming to have achieved a major victory in the case of Suzanne Swift. Swift is the Army Specialist who has been arrested and confined to base for going AWOL after her charges of sexual harassment and assault went un-addressed by the military. On Tuesday, attendees of the gathering Camp Democracy won a pledge from Oregon Congressmember Peter DeFazio to initiate a congressional investigation into Swift’s case. DeFazio made the pledge after a planned action that saw the activists visiting him personally and constituents flooding his office with phone calls, e-mails and faxes in support of Suzanne Swift. In a statement, Iraq Veterans Against the War said: "Congressman DeFazio has taken an important step toward ending military sexual violence despite the military’s unwillingness to follow its own procedures and regulations. This a good first step toward making sure there is never again another Suzanne Swift."
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