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August 7th, 2009
World Links: More Attacks on Shi'ite pilgrims in Iraq, China Evacuates Thousands Ahead of Typhoon

American officials attempt to confirm the death of Pakistan’s Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud. A C.I.A. missile strike on Wednesday aimed to kill Mehsud, a top priority in the United States effort to weaken the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. NATO’s new chief in Afghanistan calls for additional troops as violence there worsens.

A suicide car bomber in Mosul, Iraq, kills at least 30 people as they leave a Shi’ite Muslim mosque, while a series of bombs in Baghdad kills six Shi’ite pilgrims in the latest of several attacks this week on Shi’ite religious gatherings. The attacks may reignite sectarian violence after a calm since U.S. forces withdrew from urban areas in June. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki orders the removal of concrete blast walls that line Baghdad’s streets.

China evacuates more than 20,000 people from the southeast coast of Fujian Province where typhoon Morakot is predicted to land on Saturday. The medium-strength tropical storm causes limited damage as it passes over Taiwan after killing 11 people and triggering flash floods in the Philippines.

U.S. Senator Jim Webb says he plans to visit Burma (Myanmar) this month, making him the first member of Congress to travel to the Southeast Asian country in more than a decade. Webb chairs a Senate subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific affairs and leaves on Sunday for a five-nation, two-week trip to explore opportunities to advance U.S. interests in Burma and the region.

Facebook confirms that Thursday’s “massively coordinated” attack on websites including Google, Facebook and Twitter was directed at one individual. The company says the strike was aimed at a pro-Georgian blogger known as Cyxymu. The blogger says he thinks the Russian government wanted to silence his criticism over the country’s conduct in the war over the disputed South Ossetia region, which began a year ago today.

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