US President Barack Obama chose two veteran US diplomats from the embassy in Kabul to be ambassadors to Afghanistan and Pakistan on Tuesday. Former Deputy Ambassador in Kabul James Cunningham will be the new Ambassador to Afghanistan. Richard Olson, an economic development chief in Kabul, will become Ambassador to Pakistan. Before taking his post in Kabul, Cunningham served as Ambassador to Israel from 2008 to 2011. Olson served as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011.
Former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril's National Forces Alliance has won 39 seats, while the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction party came in second with 17 seats among those 80 allocated for parties, the Libyan election commission says. The remaining 120 seats are allocated for independent candidates, making the overall balance of power still unclear. On July 7, about 62 percent of Libya's registered voters took part in the first election after the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi last year.
Billionaire Hans Kristian Rausing has been charged with preventing the 'lawful and decent burial' of his wife, British police say. The husband of Eva Rausing, one of Britain's richest women, was arrested on suspicion of murder in her death last Fraday. The body of 48-year-old Eva was found last Monday at the couple's London home. The Metropolitan Police said detectives were treating the death as "unexplained."
Israel's centrist Kadima party has voted to quit the governing coalition. Party leader Shaul Mofaz said his party disagreed with Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to dissolve the Knesset’s so-called Plessner committee, responsible for passing a law that abolished the exemption from mandatory military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews. Kadima only joined the governing coalition in May.
Syrian rebels said they had shot down an army helicopter over the Damascus district of Qaboun on Tuesday. “Helicopters are flying at low altitude,” a senior rebel officer told Reuters. “It's easy to target them using anti-aircraft weapons.” Tuesday has seen the third day of fierce clashes in the Syrian capital between the government forces and rebels.
Hundreds of London taxi drivers have blocked a major intersection in the center of the city to protest their exclusion from the road lanes dedicated to Olympic traffic. Drivers blared their horns as they jammed Parliament Square on Tuesday, AP reports. The cabbies are not allowed into the “Games Lanes” reserved for Olympic athletes and officials. The first lane already opened near Heathrow Airport, and the others will be used two days before the games kick off.
Global jihadis may turn the area next to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights into an arena for anti-Israel operations, Israel's military intelligence chief has warned. Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said militants have been penetrating the border area as the Syrian army has moved forces out to battle rebels. The intelligence chief also predicted that Syrian President Bashar Assad will eventually be toppled, AP reports.
The Iraqi government on Tuesday urged its citizens in Syria to return home because of increased attacks against them. “Iraqis are guests who live temporarily in Syria and the Iraqi government calls on them to return to the country,” government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said, as cited by AFP. Iraqis living in Syria are mainly refugees from their country's own violence.
Moscow has fully supported Kofi Annan’s efforts in Syria and will continue to do so, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after meeting with the international envoy on Syria in Moscow on Tuesday. “From the very start, from your first steps as the UN-Arab League secretary general's special envoy, we have supported your efforts aimed at restoring civil peace (in Syria),” Interfax quoted Putin as saying. He added that Russia “will do everything” to support Annan’s mission.
A police helicopter crash in the Republic of Congo has killed two Ukrainian pilots, a local official says. The MI-2 helicopter was only carrying the two pilots when it crashed to the ground on Monday in Mbouambe, AP reports. The helicopter caught fire after the crash, police commissioner Patou Mascott said on Tuesday. The bodies of the two pilots were recovered and sent to the country’s capital, Brazzaville.
Fishermen aboard a boat shot at by the US Navy off Dubai's coast say they received no warning before being fired upon, India's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates says. M.K. Lokesh told AP on Tuesday that the boat was returning from fishing when it came under fire. Three men injured in the shooting are all recovering and are “out of danger.” One Indian citizen was killed in Monday's shooting by gunmen aboard the refueling ship USNS Rappahannock, about 15 kilometers off Dubai's Jebel Ali port.
FIFA is reportedly preparing to appoint former United States attorney Michael J. Garcia as lead prosecutor to investigate allegations of corruption in world football. Garcia should have authority to order fresh probes into old cases, AP said, citing its sources. The appointment is seen as a crucial step in FIFA President Sepp Blatter's promised anti-corruption reforms. FIFA is also preparing to appoint German judge Joachim Eckert to chair the judging chamber of its ethics court, sources say.
An explosion rocked central Nigeria's city of Jos on Tuesday. The bomb detonated outside a government building. The attack in the Bukuru area “was intended to blow up the secretariat of Jos South local government,” said the Plateau state governor's spokesman Pam Ayuba. A military spokesman and residents said one young person died in the attack, AFP reports. Residents say an attacker fired a heavy weapon at a building from a main avenue. It appeared a Muslim school across the street from the government building was the target.
The European Union's executive body is to open an investigation into whether Microsoft has kept to the antitrust commitments it made in 2009. The indications are that Microsoft has failed to provide customers with a screen from which they could chose different Internet browsers other than just Microsoft's Internet Explorer, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Tuesday. The screen, promised by Microsoft following an antitrust case in 2009, has not been provided since the introduction of Windows 7 Service Pack 1, AP quoted Almunia as saying. “If the infringement is confirmed, there will be sanctions,” the official warned.
Tuscaloosa police have confirmed that 17 people were shot at the Copper Top bar on Tuesday morning. Of those 17, one is in critical condition and three are in serious condition, media reports say. It was not immediately clear how many people were injured. Investigators say a man outside the bar shot into the building. Police released photos and video of the suspected shooter, who is still on the loose.
Turkey will build a new refugee camp for Syrian refugees that could accommodate 10,000 people. Turkey's government-run crisis management center said that a new camp is being set up near the town of Karkamis, in Gaziantep province which borders Syria. Some 525 people crossed the border into Turkey from Syria late Monday, including a general and four colonels, AP said, citing local media. Turkey currently gives shelter to nearly 40,000 refugees in 10 camps near the 911-kilometer border with Syria.
A court in Pakistan trying suspects accused of masterminding the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai has said the findings of a commission that visited India to gather evidence is inadmissible. The court found that the report by the eight-member commission has no legal value, AP reports. The court said the commission failed to cross-examine four witnesses in India. Seven suspects are on the trial, including an alleged commander from the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. It is blamed for the 2008 attacks that killed 166 people. The Pakistani commission went to India in March. Indian authorities reportedly did not allow it to cross-examine key witnesses.
The upcoming talks between Iran’s No. 2 negotiator Ali Bagheri and an EU official will be key to a possible resumption of the stalled negotiations with world powers, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has said. Bagheri and Helga Schmid, deputy of the EU foreign policy chief, will meet on July 24, AP reports. Talks between Tehran and six states in Moscow last month failed to bridge differences over Iran’s nuclear program. The sides, however, agreed to continue lower-level technical talks.
An Afghan soldier has been sentenced to death for killing four French soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. A military court in Kabul on Monday ordered the solider, Abdul Sabor, to be hanged, Afghan Ministry of Defense Spokesman Zahir Azimi said. It is unclear when the soldier was convicted of the crime, AP reports, and the sentence can be appealed. The four French soldiers were killed on January 20 in the Tagab district of Kapisa province. Another Afghan soldier killed two members of the French Foreign Legion on December 29, 2011.
The Taliban has reportedly destroyed a convoy of fuel tankers carrying supplies for the NATO contingent in Afghanistan. More than ten fuel tankers were destroyed in Sunday’s attack at the junction of the highways between the Afghan capital Kabul and the city of Ghazni, RIA Novosti says. Taliban Press Secretary Zabidullah Modzhadeh said another 25 tankers were destroyed on Sunday night in the Wardak province, killing several private security guards and military personnel. The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan has not commented on the attacks.
One of the busiest bridges between the US and Canada has been reopened to traffic after a bomb threat shut it down for hours. The Ambassador Bridge was reopened at 1 am after security sweeps failed to turn up any incendiary devices, Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said early on Tuesday, as cited by AP. Monday's security scare came just four days after a similar threat closed a nearby commuter tunnel. It also connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.
Two American tourists and their Egyptian guide who were abducted by a Bedouin in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last week were freed unharmed on Monday. The release followed negotiations with security officials and tribal leaders, AP reports. Rev. Michel Louis, 61, and 39-year-old Lissa Alphonse, Boston-area residents, were kidnapped from a bus on Friday along with their guide, Haytham Ragab. The kidnapper, Jirmy Abu-Masuh, was demanding the release of his uncle, who had been detained on suspicion of drug possession. Abu-Masuh handed the three over to security officials near the city of el-Arish on Monday after he was promised that authorities were working on his uncle's release.
Three activists have been sentenced by a court in northern Vietnam to up to five and a half years in jail for conducting anti-government propaganda. Nguyen Kim Nhan was convicted of defaming the Communist Party and government leaders by accusing them of violating human rights, the Vietnam News Agency says. He was also convicted of inciting land petitioners to gather, causing public disorder. Nhan was given five and a half years in prison, while two others received four years on the same charges at the one-day trial on Monday, AP said. Human rights groups have condemned the trial.
Gunfire erupted at a crowded house party in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, killing two and wounding 19 more, local police say. Victims of the multiple shooting, including a 12-year-old girl, have been rushed to hospital for treatment while some are receiving medical attention at the scene of the incident.
Thousands have gathered at a park in north-west Pakistan to protest against the re-opening of the NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. Up to 8,000 Jamaat-e-Islami Party activists spent the night at a Peshawar park near the route used by NATO forces. On Tuesday, the protesters will march on the key town of Jamrud, which is located on the supply route in Khyber tribal district. Islamabad re-opened routes into neighboring Afghanistan to NATO convoys on July 3 after sealing them after a US air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.
Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency report that 693 people in 45 prefectures were hospitalized for heatstroke on Monday. One of them, an 84-year-old man, died in a Niigata hospital on Monday night, Japan Today reports. In Tokyo alone, 21 people were taken to hospital. Many of the heatstroke victims were students taking part in or watching sporting events during a national holiday on Monday, Fuji TV reports. The Japan Meteorological Agency has warned that the heatwave is likely to continue until Wednesday.
Seven Sudanese officers have been killed and two others injured when their helicopter crashed over the western region of Darfur. Military spokesman Colonel Sawarmy Khalid Saad said that the helicopter was on an "administrative mission" and that a technical failure was likely to have caused the crash. The military gave no further details on the crash.
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has returned to prison on Monday after receiving treatment following a stroke. He had spent a month in a military hospital. On June 19, medical sources stated that the former Egyptian leader was in a coma and had been placed on a respirator to aid his breathing. On July 4, the military’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ordered a committee of medical experts to determine if Mubarak was well enough to return to prison. Medical staff say the 84-year-old is “stable with medication and is considered good for someone his age.”
The Free Syrian Army has started to conduct massive “attacks on all security stations and branches in the cities and the countryside, to enter into fierce clashes and to call on them to surrender,” it said in a statement released on Monday night. The FSA has reiterated calls for defection and urged the opposition to help “to cut off and seize the supply lines,” including international ones, in order to paralyze the movement of government troops. In response to the “massacres and barbaric crimes” of the Syrian regime, the rebels have called for the encirclement and elimination of “all security, military and shabiha checkpoints across Syria.” The FSA also declared all foreign troops in Syria who are allied with the regime to be legitimate targets. The operation was dubbed "the Damascus volcano and earthquakes of Syria," AFP reports.