NATO has formally extended its military operation in Libya for another 90 days. The move comes as the alliance has resumed air strikes following a three-day lull to allow a peace mission by South African President Jacob Zuma.
At least 41 people have been killed in overnight clashes in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. Witnesses say government forces fired on the headquarters of a brigade linked to the opposition against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Yemeni government has also cut electricity and water supplies in Sana’a’s Hassaba neighborhood, home to an influential anti-Saleh tribal leader. Another 12 people were killed in the southern city of Taiz after Saleh’s forces attacked a protest camp in the city center.
Syrian troops have reportedly shelled a southern town, killing at least eight people, including an 11-year-old girl. The death of another child, a 13-year-old boy held by the government, has reinvigorated Syria’s protest movement. Though his exact cause of death is unclear, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb’s body showed signs of horrific torture: his jaw and back were broken, his kneecaps were smashed, and his penis was cut off. Protests erupted across Syria over the weekend following news of Khateeb’s murder.
Military prosecutors have refiled terrorism and murder charges against five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks before a military commission at the U.S. base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, instead of in civilian court. The White House had moved to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others in a federal court in New York City but abandoned that plan in April under political pressure.
The Supreme Court has ruled former Attorney General John Ashcroft cannot be personally sued for the wrongful detention of an innocent Muslim-American man. Abdullah al-Kidd sued Ashcroft after being jailed for 15 nights under the federal material witness statute before being released without charge. A federal appeals court had ruled Ashcroft circumvented the Constitution after the 9/11 attacks to hold al-Kidd and other innocent men without charge. But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Aschroft is free of liability. Despite rejecting Kidd’s suit, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote it remains “unresolved whether [Aschroft’s] use of the material witness statute was lawful.”
The Republican-controlled House has rejected a measure to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans staged the vote as a symbolic gesture in their push for deep spending cuts in return for increasing the debt limit. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama continues to seek an agreement with Republicans.
Jay Carney: “We remain confident that there will be an agreement that will significantly reduce the deficit and answer the mail, if you will, with regard to those concerns that the President and members of both parties share. We also believe quite strongly that we have to raise the debt ceiling, there is no option to doing that, and that that will happen, because the economic impacts of not voting to raise the debt ceiling would be calamitous.”
The Bosnian Serb military general, Ratko Mladic, has arrived at The Hague to face trial on genocide charges following his arrest after 15 years on the run. Mladic will be tried for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo. A spokesperson for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia welcomed Mladic’s arrival.
Nerma Jelacic: “After almost 16 years of being on the run, he is finally where we have wanted to see him for quite a while. It is certainly a big milestone for the tribunal, and we are very happy to receive him here and to be able to proceed with the trial.”
Mladic will make his first appearance in war crimes court on Friday.
The World Health Organization has designated cell phone use as potentially cancerous for the first time. The announcement follows a peer-reviewed study conducted by 31 scientists from around the world. Cell phones were placed in the same potentially carcinogenic category as exposure to lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. The panel’s chair, Jonathan Samet, said further study is needed.
Jonathan Samet: “Here, fortunately, the evidence says only 'possibly,' and I think it’s an indication that we need to continue to watch and track what is happening with brain tumors and do studies that will inform us as to whether there is a potential cause, causal link.”
The killing of a Pakistani journalist is fueling speculation of involvement by Pakistan’s intelligence service. Asia Times reporter Saleem Shahzad was found dead two days after going missing in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. His body showed signs of torture. Shahzad had complained of being under threat from Pakistani intelligence and had just published an exposé on last month’s militant attack on a Karachi navy base. A colleague of Shahzad’s said journalists face grave danger in Pakistan.
Zafar Mehmud Sheikh: “A person has to think a hundred times before saying anything, before writing anything, before making a report. Before performing our journalistic duties, we think a hundred times about who will be angered by it, who will be so incensed that he will want to kill you. In the past two-plus years, we have seen that in the entire world the greatest number of journalists were killed in Pakistan.”
President Obama has nominated former energy executive, John Bryson, as the next Secretary of Commerce. Bryson’s career includes stints on the boards of companies including Boeing and Disney, while also serving as a founding member of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
President Obama: “By working with companies here at home and representing America’s interests abroad, I’m confident that he’s going to help us meet the goal that I set of doubling our nation’s exports. In this new role, John will be able to draw on decades of business experience across a range of industries, from his role on the boards of major companies like Disney and Boeing to his leadership in the clean energy industry. That’s the expertise that will help us create new jobs and make America more competitive in the global economy.”
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger came under protest Tuesday at a public event in New York City. A coalition of progressive groups organized the rally to call for Kissinger’s arrest for war crimes. Activist Richard Marini was ejected from the event after attempting to carry out a citizen’s arrest on Kissinger.
Richard Marini: “When he got up on stage, I stood up and tried to place him under citizen’s arrest for the murder of innocent civilians in Cambodia, Vietnam, Chile, Iraq, east Pakistan, East Timor. The list just goes on. I said he was convicted of war crimes, and I was placing him under arrest. Security then yanked me by my arm over three other people. People like this need to be confronted, so people need to get out in the streets and demand that war criminals like him and war criminals of the Bush administration are prosecuted. I mean, even today, these war crimes still continue. Obama is still continuing it. People need to demand that these criminals are prosecuted.”
Peace activists are organizing a “flashmob” dance-in to protest the recent arrests of five people as they danced at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The five staged the action to protest a federal court ruling barring dancing at national memorial sites. Video footage shows police officers shoving a dancer to the ground and grabbing another by the neck. The group CodePink says it expects thousands of people to show up at the Jefferson site on Saturday to take part in a massive dance-in in protest of the arrests.
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