PAKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN: The Pakistani military has confirmed that top Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is in custody.
A statement from Pakistan's military released Wednesday said a
"detailed identification procedure" showed that Baradar is among
several people recently arrested.
U.S. and Pakistani officials have said Baradar was captured in the
Pakistani city of Karachi in a joint operation involving intelligence
agents from both countries.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, an Afghan national, holds the second most
important position within the Taliban, after only the group's founder,
Mullah Muhammad Omar.
AFGHANISTAN: An Afghan military official says Taliban fighters are increasingly
using civilians as "human shields" as Afghan and NATO forces press on
with a major offensive in Helmand province.
Afghan commander General Mohiudin Ghori said Wednesday that Taliban
fighters have been seen ordering women and children to stand on the
roofs of houses while the militants fire weapons around them.
NATO commanders have ordered that civilians be protected during the
offensive on the town of Marjah, a town of 80,000 and a former Taliban
Human rights group Amnesty International says thousands of Afghan civilians are "caught up in the fighting".
US - CHINA: A group of U.S. naval warships has docked in Hong Kong amid growing
tensions between China and the United States over trade and diplomatic
The five-ship group, led by the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, arrived in
the Chinese territory Wednesday for a scheduled port call. A statement
issued by the Nimitz says more than 5,000 sailors from the fleet will
go ashore for sightseeing and other activities.
Rear Admiral John Miller, the commander of the Nimitz strike group,
says the four-day stop is simply "a routine port visit."
MALAYSIA - ANWAR: Malaysia's appeals court has rejected a request by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to drop the sodomy charge against him.
Anwar is accused of having sexually assaulting a former male aide in
2008. His lawyers say the case is part of a government plot to end his
The decision came hours after a massive demonstration against recent
calls by Australian lawmakers to drop the charges against Anwar.
Hundreds of people rallied outside the Australia embassy in Kuala
Lumpur, holding signs calling on Canberra to stay out of the Malaysia's
US - SYRIA: A senior U.S. official is meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Wednesday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Washington's first ambassador to Syria since 2005. State Department official William Burns is meeting with the Syrian leader in Damascus On Tuesday, the White House named long-time U.S. diplomat Robert Ford to serve as ambassador to Syria. The U.S. Senate must confirm the appointment. Ford, who is fluent in Arabic, now serves as the U.S. deputy ambassador in Iraq. He also served as the U.S. ambassador to Algeria from 2006 to 2008.
RUSSIA - IRAN - MISSILES: A Russian official says the delivery of an air defense missile system to Iran has been delayed due to technical problems.
Alexander Fomin is quoted by Russian state media Wednesday saying the
delivery will be carried out when the problems have been resolved. He
did not provide any details on how long that may take.
Iran has complained about Moscow's failure to provide the S-300 system in accordance with a 2007 agreement.
Iranian officials have suggested that the delay is due to pressure from
the United States and Israel.
TOYOTA RECALL: The president of Japanese automaker Toyota says he will not appear before a U.S. congressional panel investigating the company's recent safety-related lapses. Akio Toyoda told reporters Wednesday the company's North American-based executives will be able to answer lawmaker's questions at the hearings, which are scheduled for next week. He says he wants to focus on improving quality standards. The automaker issued a global recall of more than eight million vehicles because of two separate issues involving unintended acceleration.
OLYPICS - MEDAL COUNT: Germany has come in with three gold
medals, four silver medals and two bronze medals. Germany ties with
South Korea and Switzerland for the gold. The United States follows
with eight medals, two gold, two silver, and four bronze. The United
States, France, Canada, and Sweden each have two gold medals. Following
the United States is France with seven medals, four bronze, one silver,
and two gold. Canada has earned two gold medals, two silver and one
bronze for a total of five. South
Korea and Switzerland each have four medals. Three each in gold, with
South Korea earning a silver and Switzerland earning a bronze. China got three medals, one gold, one silver and one bronze.
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