Thursday, May 6, 2010

FP morning brief 5/6

Officials believe Pakistani Taliban behind Times Square attack

After two days of questioning Faisal Shahzad, the suspect behind a plot to set off a car bomb in Times Square on Saturday, U.S. officials are increasingly confident that elements of the Pakistani Taliban provided him with training in the months before the attack. One official cautioned that, while no final determination had been made, "plausible links" existed between Shahzad and the group. The Pakistani Taliban had released a video claiming responsibility for the attack on Sunday.

Shahzad reportedly made a practice run the day before the attack, driving down to Times Square in an attempt to find a location to set off the explosion. He then parked his Isuzu several blocks away from Times Square, and returned the next day with the explosives-laden sports utility vehicle. He intended to use the first car as an escape vehicle -- a plan that was thwarted when he left the keys to the Isuzu in the SUV, which he believed was set to explode.

British election: The hard fought campaign ends today as British voters go to the polls. The race, initially thought to be an easy win for the Conservatives' David Cameron, tightened in recent months due to an expenses scandal involving members of Parliament, and the surprising appeal of Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg.

  • An Indian court sentenced Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, the only gunman captured from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to death.
  • Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the highest ranking Taliban official in custody, is providing useful information on the group's internal politics.
  • On the anniversary of the Thai king's coronation, anti-government protests continue.
Middle East
  • U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell has returned to the region, in an attempt to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
  • A Russian official stated that the the government has not halted U.S. adoptions of Russian children.
  • A Russian warship engaged in a "robust" firefight with pirates off the Somali coast to free a hijacked oil tanker.
  • The Greek Parliament is set to vote on painful austerity measures, which are a condition to the International Monetary Fund's bailout of the country.
  • Despite the fears surrounding the stability of its economy, Spain successfully raised more than 2 billion euros in the country's first sale of debt since its credit rating was cut last week.
  • The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull is rumbling again, but scientists predict that the resulting ash cloud will blow clear of flight paths.
  • BP is planning to lower a giant dome over its sunken oil rig, in an attempt to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The flight recorder of an Air France flight that crashed in the Atlantic last year has been located, according to French officials.
  • Venezuela and Brazil have threatened to boycott a planned EU-Latin America summit if the president of Honduras, who they view as illegitimate, attends.
  • Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua died after a long illness; acting President Goodluck Jonathan has been formally sworn in as his replacement.
  • Mauritius goes to the polls to elect a new prime minister.
  • Judge Richard Goldstone defended his critical account of Israeli actions during the Gaza war to the South Africa Zionist Federation in Johannesburg.
-By David Kenner


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