At least 10 people have been killed after a bomb rocked a railroad station in south-western Pakistan, Press TV reports. Several people have been reported injured after the incident, which occurred on Wednesday in the city of Sibi in Baluchistan province. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Peter Madoff, the brother of Ponzi scheme king Bernard Madoff and the former chief compliance officer at the private investment arm of his business, will plead guilty on Friday to conspiracy and falsifying records, AP reports. He admits his role in the multibillion-dollar fraud that destroyed the savings of thousands of investors. Madoff agrees to serve a 10-year prison term and has also agreed to the forfeiture of US$143 billion, including all of his real estate and personal property.
The US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, has met with Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, to urge Islamabad to crack down on militants operating across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Wednesday’s meeting they also reportedly focused on re-opening key military supply lines which were closed to NATO convoys in November after an air strike by the military alliance killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. No progress has been made on the issue since then. Ahead of the meeting, another US drone attack killed four suspected militants in the country.
New Jersey authorities have stormed a cargo ship suspected of carrying Pakistani stowaways, said the US Coast Guard. Agents said they heard what sounded like people in a container buried beneath others in the ship's hold, Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe told journalists. Ambulances are on the scene as Customs agents investigate. The ship had previously made stops in India and Egypt to pick up freight.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug to treat obesity in 13 years. It is called lorcaserin and is produced by Arena Pharmaceuticals and is being marketed as Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride). The drug acts on a receptor in the brain to help people eat less and feel fuller, according to the FDA statement. "It's about time that they approved a new drug," Dr. Judith Stern, a professor of nutrition at the University of California at Davis told ABC News. "Obesity drugs should be on the fast track."
Forest fires continue to ravage the area surrounding Colorado Springs, destroying homes and forcing authorities to evacuate 32,000 residents. The Waldo Canyon fire has spread quickly since it began on Saturday, helped by turbulent winds. So far, there have been no reports of casualties or injuries in the fire which has consumed 6,200 acres and is just five per cent contained. Record high temperatures, extremely low humidity and wind gusts of up to 60 miles an hour have fueled blazes across the American West.
Bolivia's police ended a violent mutiny and went back to work on Wednesday after reaching a deal on pay and disciplinary rules. The agreement raises the minimum wage for roughly 32,000 police officers to about $300 a month and scraps tough new disciplinary rules until an alternative scheme can be approved, Reuters said. Dozens of police officers were hurt and several police stations were destroyed in the five-day rebellion.
At least 20 people were reportedly killed in a gun battle between local Tuareg separatists and Al-Qaeda linked islamists in the northern Mali town of Gao on Wednesday. The clashes happened in different locations around the town, Reuters said, citing witnesses. Islamist groups helped the separatist Tuareg-led group MNLA seize two-thirds of the north of Mali in April.
Indian authorities have said that a man arrested on suspicion of helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks had “confirmed” that Pakistan was involved. “That confirms our suspicion that it was an organized effort which had some kind of state support,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said, as cited by Reuters. Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari was arrested on June 21 and accused of helping coordinate the attack by 10 gunmen of Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group. He was reportedly at a “control room” in Karachi, Pakistan, during the attacks. Islamabad denies backing militant groups.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday his country has no intention of attacking Syria over its downing of a Turkish fighter jet. “As Turkey, the Turkish nation, we have no intention of attacking Syria”, he was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. He said Ankara has no hostility attitude toward any country. Erdogan added Turkey was taking measures to be able to stop any threats, but stressed these were only defensive measures.
A Saudi court has sentenced 11 men to up to 15 years in prison for membership of a cell linked to Al-Qaeda. The group reportedly planned to attack US forces in Kuwait and the state-owned Saudi oil company Aramco. The sentences handed down by the Specialized Criminal Court in the Saudi capital on Tuesday, ranged from two to 15 years in jail, Alriyadh newspaper said. The Interior Ministry said last year that 5,696 people had been detained by the authorities in “militant” cases.
Iran acknowledged on Wednesday that its oil exports have fallen sharply from normal volumes of 2.2 million barrels daily. “It was 20 to 30 per cent down,” Mohammad Ali Emadi, an official of the National Iranian Oil Company, said in Moscow. “Some part of the reduction is due to changes at the refinery,” Reuters quoted him as saying. Emadi insisted the reduction was caused by “overhaul maintenance of the wells” rather than international sanctions.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called for early elections to be held in Iraq. A statement published on the on the Premier's website on Wednesday said he “found himself forced” to call for early polls. It accused unnamed political rivals of “refusing to sit at the table of dialogue” and provoking successive crises, AFP said. A series of recent political scandals has led to calls for the PM’s removal.
Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz is to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas early next week in a bid to restart peace talks, officials say. Negotiations have been frozen for nearly four years. Palestinian officials say they are ready to listen to Mofaz's ideas for resuming dialogue. Officials from both sides confirmed on Wednesday that the meeting is expected in the coming days, AP said. The Palestinians want Israel to halt settlement construction on occupied lands before talks can resume.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a quick move to eurobonds or other forms of joint liability would be constitutionally impossible for Germany. She told lawmakers on Wednesday that “supervision and liability must go hand in hand.” They could only be considered if and when “sufficient supervision is ensured,” the Chancellor said, as cited by AP. Introducing eurobonds now would be “economically wrong,” the Chancellor insisted.
Two explosions in the Baghdad suburbs on Wednesday have killed 11 people, Iraqi officials say. Two bombs exploded within minutes of each other outside a Shiite cleric's home in the al-Wahda area. At least eight people were killed and seven others wounded. In a separate incident in western Baghdad three women were killed, when a bomb exploded inside a house. Two people were wounded, officials said.
The Syrian delegation has stormed out of a UN debate on a critical report on the rights abuses in the country, AFP reports. “We will not participate in this flagrantly political meeting,” said Syrian Ambassador Faisal Khabbaz Hamoui before leaving the hall. The UN investigators said forces loyal to the government “may have been responsible for many of the deaths” in the massacre in the town of Houla in May. They noted, however, that they were unable to determine the identity of the perpetrators at this time.
Bahrain released from jail on Wednesday leading Shiite rights activist Nabil Rajab, his lawyer said. He was freed three weeks after his arrest for tweeting statements deemed insulting to Sunnis, AFP said. The next hearing in the case is set for July 9. The government has announced $2.6 million in compensation for 17 people killed in last year’s crackdown against those protesting the regime of the ruling Sunni Al-Khalifa family.
Syrian government forces have committed human rights violations, “on an alarming scale” during military operations over the last three months, UN investigators said on Wednesday. The team led by Paulo Pinheiro said in a report that it was unable to determine who carried out a massacre of more than 100 people in Houla in May. But forces loyal to the government “may have been responsible for many of the deaths,” Reuters quoted the investigators as saying. The document also had multiple reports of killings by armed opposition groups.
Insurgent attacks in several parts of Afghanistan have killed 10 police officers over 24 hours, officials said on Wednesday. Four officers were killed in the southern Musa Qala district, AP said. Two police officers were killed when their truck hit a roadside bomb early Wednesday in Kunduz province in the north. In Herat province in the west, an ambush killed four policemen on patrol in Ghoryan district late Tuesday.
It is no longer a crime in Rhode Island to go online and lie about something innocuous. State lawmakers have voted to repeal an obscure 1989 law that made fibbing on the internet a misdemeanour. It was punishable by fines of up to $500 and as much as a year in prison, AP reports. A handful of people were prosecuted for lying online, but the law was violated by many people. Rep. Chris Blazejewski proposed eliminating the law, saying it was likely unconstitutional.
Two bombs have exploded in a Baghdad suburb on Wednesday morning, killing at least eight people, Iraqi police say. The first blast went off outside the house of a Shiite family in Wahda, a neighborhood southeast of Baghdad. As neighbors gathered at the scene, a second bomb exploded near the crowd, AP said. Nineteen people were wounded, according to police.
South Korea is preparing to sign a military agreement with Japan, officials said on Wednesday. This would be the first such pact since Tokyo’s colonial rule of Korea ended in 1945. The pact calls for sharing intelligence about North Korea and its nuclear and missile programs, and other topics. A Seoul foreign ministry spokesman told AFP the agreement covers the “protection of classified information.” Last month, Seoul suspended the signing of the agreement, and another military accord, citing anti-Japan hostility in the country.
Gunmen reportedly stormed the headquarters of a pro-government Syrian TV news channel on Wednesday morning. “The terrorists planted explosive devices in the headquarters of al-Ikhbariya following their ransacking of the satellite channel studios,” the state media said. The newsroom was entirely destroyed. “Three colleagues were killed as a result of the brutal terrorist attack,” Reuters quoted the report as saying. Ikhbariya resumed broadcasting shortly after the attack.
Stockton’s officials said on Tuesday they were unable to reach a deal to restructure hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, meaning the city is set to become the largest American city to ever declare bankruptcy. "We think Chapter 9 protection is the only choice left. If we get any agreements, those will be honored in Chapter 9," said City Manager Bob Deis. City lawyers could file for Chapter 9 protection in court as soon as Wednesday. The benefit of filing for bankruptcy, Stockton officials say, would be to buy time for Stockton to renegotiate its debts on terms more advantageous to the city. It would remove, at least temporarily, the need for Stockton to make budget cuts even more drastic than those already made.
Thousands of people have been moved to safety as a severe storm moves inland in the southern US, leaving devastation in its wake. Tidal surges and almost 70 centimeters of rain have hit Florida, threatening to worsen flooding along the Gulf coast. Tropical storm Debby has, however, been downgraded to a tropical depression after hitting the coast.
At least 11 people have been killed, eight of them policemen, when a grain truck and two buses collided near Puerto Madryn in southern Argentina. Authorities say 49 people are now in hospital, most of them in a critical condition.
A copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln has been sold at a New York auction for more than $2 million, AP reports. The copy of the 1863 document that ordered the freeing of slaves was sold to David Rubinstein, managing director of the Carlyle Group investment firm. This is the second-highest price ever paid for a Lincoln-signed proclamation after one owned by the late Robert Kennedy went for $3.8 million two years ago.