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Wide Angle Blog
October 26th, 2009

The death toll from Sunday’s pair of suicide attacks on government buildings in downtown Baghdad climbs to 155, including as many as 30 children who were at the Justice Ministry’s day care center at the time of the attacks.

At least 14 Americans are killed in two separate helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, the largest number of Americans killed in a single day in Afghanistan in more than four years.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic boycotts the first day of his own war crimes trial in the Hague, forcing the judge to adjourn the case for the day and infuriating survivors who had traveled from Bosnia to see Karadzic face justice.

Juanita Castro, the younger sister of Fidel and Raúl Castro, says she collaborated with the CIA in the 1960s both from inside Cuba and after going into exile in Miami in 1964.

Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency inspect Iran’s newly-revealed nuclear plant near Qom.

October 23rd, 2009

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) launches its first human rights commission, but establishing credibility for the new watchdog group will be a challenge in a region that includes member states such as Burma, ruled by a military junta, and Laos, ruled by a reclusive communist regime.

Fifteen people are killed when a bus carrying passengers to a wedding hits an anti-tank mine in Pakistan’s tribal belt, seven die in a suicide bombing near an air force complex in the country’s northwest, and over a dozen are wounded in a blast outside a popular restaurant in Peshawar, in the latest of a wave of militant attacks that has left nearly 200 dead this month.

Meeting in the Slovakian capital Bratislava, NATO defense ministers agree to the broad counter-insurgency strategy for Afghanistan laid out by U.S. General Stanley McChrystal.

Fear of the swine flu closes 2,500 schools in Iraq.

October 22nd, 2009

At least 20 people are killed in a battle between Islamic militants and African peacekeepers after militants attack the main airport in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Taliban militants assassinate a Pakistani army brigadier and his driver. Brigadier Moin-ud-din Ahmed was deputy force commander of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, and was home in Islamabad on vacation when two assailants on a motorbike shot at his army jeep in rush-hour traffic.

Twenty-five years after a the famine that killed nearly a million people, Ethiopia’s government asks the international community for emergency food aid for 6.2 million people.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadizic announces that he will boycott his trial for genocide scheduled to start in the Hague next Monday, complaining that he has not been given enough time to prepare his defense.

Israeli sources report that Israel and Iran both attended nuclear talks in Cairo last month and that the Israeli and Iranian delegations met several times, the first direct contact between the two nations in 30 years. Iran denies that such talks took place.

October 20th, 2009

Afghan President Hamid Karzai agrees to a runoff election against his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah. The decision is made at the urging of U.S. and European officials, including Senator John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador, Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, who met with Karzai in Kabul on Monday. Voting will take place on November 7.

The Vatican approves an initiative to bring Anglicans, some of whom are dismayed by their church’s acceptance of same-sex marriages and gay and female bishops, into the Catholic Church.

A double suicide bombing at the International Islamic University in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad kills seven people, including the two attackers.

Reporters Without Borders releases its annual Press Freedom Index. Topping the list are northern European countries such as Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Norway; those faring worst include China, Laos, Cuba, Burma, Iran, Turmenistan and North Korea. Eritrea, where no independent journalism is tolerated and 30 journalists are currently in prision, comes in dead last. The U.S. moves up 16 slots to rank 20th.

October 19th, 2009

Seventy-eight Taliban militants and at least 7 Pakistani soldiers are killed in a Pakistani army offensive in the Taliban stronghold of Waziristan. Around 28,000 soldiers are battling an estimated 10,000 militants, including some Uzbek and Arab fighters. Nearly 100,000 people have fled the region.

The U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission finds that thousands of votes for Afghan President Hamid Karzai were fraudulent, leaving Karzai’s share of the vote in the disputed August election at only 48% — not enough to avoid a runoff.

Forty-two people are killed as Iran is hit by the country’s worst suicide bombings in years. Iranian officials claim that the attack was launched from Pakistan with American and British involvement.

Prosecutors accuse Sudanese rebel leader Bahr Idriss Abu Garda of planning an attack that killed 12 African Union peacekeepers in the first Darfur-related case to reach the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

No one will be awarded this year’s $5 million Mo Ibrahim prize for good governance in Africa because the selection committee could not find a suitable candidate.

October 16th, 2009

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change disengage from the unity government formed in February, 2008, calling President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF Party a “dishonest and unreliable partner.” Tsvangirai stopped short of withdrawing completely from the government, but says he will boycott cabinet meetings until “confidence and respect are restored.”

Eleven people are killed in a car bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, the latest is a series of attacks that have killed at least 150 people this month. The Pentagon ramps up delivery of nearly $200 million worth of military equipment and services to aid the Pakistani army in its fight against militants.

Sixteen people are killed when a gunman attacks worshipers during Friday prayers at a mosque in Northern Iraq.

Ali Bongo is sworn in as President of Gabon. Ali’s father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, had ruled the country for 41 years before his death in June.

October 15th, 2009

Pakistan is rocked by six attacks in one day in the leadup to an expected military offensive in the Taliban stronghold of Waziristan. Twenty-seven people are killed when gunmen attack three separate law enforcement agencies in Lahore, 11 are killed in a car bombing near a police station in Kohat, and a child is killed and several others injured in a remote-controlled car bombing in Peshawar.

The U.N.’s human rights chief endorses the Gladstone Report, which accuses both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants of committing war crimes during last winter’s conflict in Gaza.

Turkish police detain 50 suspected members of the Islamic Jihad League, a group linked to Al Qaeda, who were allegedly plotting attacks on NATO installation sin Turkey and Germany.

A 48-year-old France Telecom engineer hangs himself, becoming the 25 employee of the company to commit suicide in the past 20 months. Many of the employees have left notes blaming stress at work as the company undergoes major restructuring.

October 14th, 2009

More than 1 billion people around the world are hungry, according to an annual report released by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization. The situation is the worst it has been since the 1970s.

At least 85,000 Iraqis were violently killed between 2004 and 2008, according to figures released by the Iraqi goverment. Among the dead were 2,334 women, 1,279 children, 263 professors, 21 judges, 95 lawyers and 269 journalists.

Britain agrees to send 500 additional troops to Afghanistan, increasing the size of the British force from 9,000 to 9,500, on the condition that the Afghans and NATO allies also increase their commitment in the area.

Nearly 10,000 couples from more than 100 countries are married in a mass wedding officiated by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Seoul, South Korea. The wedding is likely the last for Moon, 89, who is passing on the leadership of his Unification Church to his son.

October 13th, 2009

President Obama authorizes the deployment of 13,000 troops to Afghanistan, on top of the 21,000 additional troops announced in March.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Russia’s Foreign Minister to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. A senior Russian official says that further sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive,” and Clinton agrees that “we are not at that point yet.”

Russia and China agree to a framework for the export of Russian oil and gas supplies to China. The deal is part of $3.5 billion worth of trade agreements signed at a meeting between leaders of the two countries in Beijing.

Romania’s Democratic Liberal Government falls after loosing a vote of no confidence in parliament; the first such collapse since the end of Communist rule in 1989.

South African police fire tear gas and rubber bullets as thousands protest demanding basic services such as sanitation, electricity and housing in several northeastern townships.

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