HEADLINES -- July 27, 2011 at 8:21 AM ET
Kandahar Mayor Killed in Suicide Attack, 32 Dead in S. Korean Rains
The mayor of Kandahar was killed after a suicide bomber infiltrated a meeting at city hall and detonated explosives hidden in his turban. The attack comes weeks after another key figure in Kandahar's politics, President Hamid Karzai's half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, was shot by his bodyguards.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, 65. Kandahar, the former de facto capital during Taliban rule, is a focal point in the battle against the Taliban. A spokesman for the group claimed the killing was in retaliation for the mayor's order to raze homes he said were built illegally.
Hameedi, who was known for taking a hardline against both the Taliban and other criminal elements within Kandahar, had been asked by President Karzai to return to Afghanistan from the United States in 2006. BBC correspondent Bilal Sarwary reports:
He has been credited with building asphalted roads, installing solar systems and persuading owners of townships to build mosques, parks and clinics in their townships.
Above all, he was a competent and trustworthy local official.
Two deputy mayors were killed last year, and Hameed himself survived a previous attack on his vehicle.
32 Dead as Heavy Rains Hit South Korea
Record-breaking rain has flooded the South Korean capital of Seoul and a landslide in Chuncheon killed at least 10 people and injured 24 when massive amounts of mud swept away cabins at resort filled with college-age volunteers. Sixteen people also died in Seoul when mud crashed into homes located near a mountain.
Around 400 people have lost their homes and thousands more are without power.
Fifteen inches of rain have fallen since Tuesday, and there is no reprieve in sight with at least several more inches of rain in the forecast. Ten more inches could come by the end of this week.
Britain Recognizes Libyan Rebels
Britain has formally recognized the Libyan rebels and said it will expel remaining diplomatic staff from Tripoli. Foreign Secretary William Hague has also invited the opposition Transitional National Council to send an envoy to London. It would then be granted use of the existing Libyan embassy.
Britain is the latest in a series of nations to switch recognition from longstanding leader Moammar Gadhafi to the opposition. France recognized the TNC in March; the United States and 30 other nations followed suit at a conference in Turkey in early July.
The move will allow Britain to unfreeze assets valued at $150 million, money that could then be used to boost the rebels' battle against Gadhafi's forces.
Photo by Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images.
The Washington Post: al-Qaida Could Collapse
According to sources quoted by the Washington Post, al-Qaida has been severely weakened by drone strikes and the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, and could collapse under further pressure. The report also points out that a blow to the organization's formal structure would not mean fragments of it no longer posed a significant terror threat.
A prominent offshoot based in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has not only grown stronger but could capitalize on the political instability in the country. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was wounded in an attack on his compound, and the central government has been weakened by months of demonstrations, prompting the United States, which has cooperated on counter-terrorism measures with Saleh's government, to step up drone strikes targeting militants in the country.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently told troops in Afghanistan, "[W]e're within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaida."
Photo by AFP/Getty Images.