Wednesday, August 4, 2010

FP morning brief 8/4

U.N.: Disputed tree was in Israel

Top news: The U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, has concluded that Israeli forces were cutting trees on the Israeli side of the border yesterday when they were engaged by Lebanese troops in a firefight that killed two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist, and a senior Israeli officer. Order has largely returned to the area and officers from both sides plan to meet on the border today.

In the hours following the incident, both sides had accused one another or violating the "Blue Line," the border demarcated by the United Nations when Israeli troops withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. The confusion likely resulted from a security fence, which Israeli troops apparently crossed in order to prune the trees and improve their sight-lines into Lebanon. The fence does not precisely correspond in the Blue Line in all places.

Ready or not: Rapper Wyclef Jean announced that he will run for President of Haiti.

Middle East
  • Iranian media is denying reports that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's motorcade was attacked by a grenade.
  • An obscure al Qaeda linked group has claimed responsibility for last week's attack on a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
  • In a move to ratchet up pressure on Iran, the U.S. government publicy named senior Iranian officials and businesses it believes to be aiding terrorist groups.
  • At least 45 people were killed in rioting in Karachi, Pakistan after the assassination of a prominent lawmaker.
  • Residents chased security forces out of their neighborhood in Kashmir as rioting continued throughout the region.
  • An estimated 200 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, including members of the Tamil Tigers, are on a ship in the Pacific heading toward the North America, where they plan to seek asylum.
  • Amid high security, Kenyans will vote on a new constitution today that would dramatically limit the powers of the president.
  • South Africa's former police chief was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption.
  • Four human rights activists were jailed in Angola for links to the attack on the Togolese national soccer team in January.
  • BP reports that its "static kill" procedure to seal the leaking oil well in the gulf appears to be working.
  • The Mexican government says the death toll from drug violence since 2006 is thousands higher than previously though.
  • In exchange for a $3.6 million grant from wealthy countries, Ecuador has agreed not to drill for oil in a pristine Amazon rainforest reserve.
  • Thick smog from nearby wildfires has engulfed Moscow.
  • Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faces a no-confidence vote in parliament today.
  • Chechen rebel chief Dokku Umarov says that despite an announcement earlier this week, he will not step down.
-By Joshua Keating


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