11 Killed in Afghan Protests, Strauss-Kahn Arrest Creates Uncertainty in IMF

BY News Desk  May 18, 2011 at 8:22 AM EST

A wounded Afghan is treated at a hospital after a protest against NATO-led forces in an overnight raid in Taloqan, capital of the usually peaceful northeastern province of Takhar. Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

At least 11 people died when a crowd estimated at 1,500 gathered to protest in Taloqan in northern Afghanistan in response to a NATO raid they believed killed civilians.

Holding aloft the body of one of the four killed, protesters chanted “death to America” and “death to [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai” outside a German military facility in the city. The German military said two of its soldiers and four Afghans were injured when demonstrators hurled Molotov cocktails at the base.

Night raids conducted by NATO have been the source of controversy in areas of Afghanistan where the Taliban and their supporters in the general population are closely co-mingled. According to NATO, this raid was directed at a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which is active in the area. Four were killed, two of them women, whom NATO said were armed. Afghan security forces participated in the raid.

IMF in Limbo Amid Strauss-Kahn’s Arrest

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, remained jailed in New York as the Brussels Economic Forum began Wednesday, raising questions about the immediate future of the IMF.

Strauss-Kahn’s arrest has caused turmoil in the financial world, as Europe struggles with an economic and debt crisis. Several European financial leaders have questioned his ability to run the organization. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday that Strauss-Kahn is “obviously not in a position to run the IMF.”

Strauss-Kahn’s arrest and detention have raised French ire. Many are objecting to his being photographed in handcuffs, which is against the law in France. A recent poll also showed a majority believe he is innocent.

Before being arrested on charges of sexual assault by a New York hotel maid, Strauss-Kahn was seen as a likely contender to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy in the next election.

Parts of Mississippi, Louisiana Await River’s Crest

The Mississippi River is expected to crest Thursday in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, as the Army Corps of Engineers works to prevent massive flooding amid record water levels. Residents of Vicksburg, Miss., are bracing for the rising water, which is expected to remain for weeks, creating environmental and agricultural hazards throughout the region.

Cargo ships are moving along the river at slower-than-usual speeds after being halted for a full day. The disruption of ships carrying coal, grain, steel and other products could cause hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damages , compounding the blow to the farming and fishing industries along the river.

The tourism industry is also feeling the impact, as local business owners struggle to save restaurants, hotels, casinos and historic structures along the river.

Reporter Missing in Syria is Freed

Al Jazeera said Wednesday that Dorothy Parvaz, a reporter who had been missing in Syria, was released and has flown back to Qatar. Parzaz had gone missing in Syria in April and was later sent to Iran, according to Syrian officials. No one had heard from her until last week, when it was confirmed she was in Iran. The details of coordination between Iran and Qatar and the circumstances of her release remain unclear.

Parvaz is an American, Canadian and Iranian citizen. Iranian citizens are allowed in Syria without visas; Americans and Canadians are not. Parvaz had previously worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before being hired by al Jazeera in 2010.