A US drone strike targeting a Pakistani Taliban compound on Saturday killed eleven insurgents in the country's restive northwestern tribal region near the border with Afghanistan, officials said. The attack came in North Waziristan, where for the past month the Pakistani military has been fighting to wipe out longstanding bases of Taliban and other militants. "The drone fired eight missiles on the compound around 2:00am (2100 GMT) on Saturday killing eleven members of the Punjabi faction of the Pakistani Taliban," a senior security official in the region told AFP. The official said the dead included two "important" commanders of the Pakistani Taliban, but he refused to reveal their identities.
US President Barack Obama will next week host the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to discuss how to stem the flow of tens of thousands of immigrant children across the US border. The tide of unaccompanied minors from the three countries has triggered a border and political crisis, prompting Obama to warn parents in Central America not to send their kids to the United States in search of a better life. The talks on July 25 will focus on "how the United States and Central American governments can promote safe, legal, and orderly migration between the four nations," the White House said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bill Clinton's advisers carefully considered how to explain the president's military action against Iraq in 1998 as the House was debating his impeachment, according to records from the Clinton White House that were released Friday. The documents also touch upon Osama bin Laden, consideration of military action in Haiti in 1994 and preparationsfor Supreme Court nomination hearings.
The United States on Friday called for the release of Cambodian opposition leaders arrested after clashes during a demonstration. "We condemn the violence that occurred in Freedom Park on July 15... which resulted in injuries to numerous security personnel and protesters," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Six Cambodian opposition politicians were charged Wednesday with insurrection a day after the demonstration against the closure of Phnom Penh's main designated protest site. They include prominent MP-elect Mu Sochua of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), who has protested repeatedly in recent months against the closure of the capital's "Freedom Park."
The United States on Friday condemned tough jail terms handed down on five Myanmar journalists for publishing a story about an alleged chemical weapons factory. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington was concerned about the jail terms of 10 years with hard labor given to reporters from the Unity Weekly News under the former junta-run country's official secrets act. "The sentence sends the wrong message about Burma's commitment to freedom of expression, including for the press," Psaki said, using Myanmar's former name. "The Burmese government has made tremendous progress in the last three years, working to develop an environment conducive to free, fair, independent media," she told reporters.
A boat laden with 352 migrants -- mainly from Eritrea, Somalia and Syria -- also arrived on the island of Lampedusa, managing to avoid detection. A second smaller boat came later with 94 migrants on board. The charity Save the Children said there were now 1,278 migrants on tiny Lampedusa alone, which is Italy's southernmost point and is closer to Africa than to the Italian mainland. The asylum centre on Lampedusa "is not suitable to host the migrants.
US lawmakers demanded Friday that President Barack Obama show strong leadership and take swift action against Moscow in response to the downing of a passenger jet over Ukrainian territory. Obama accused the Kremlin of fomenting violence in eastern Ukraine and providing pro-Russian separatists with "sophisticated equipment" such as the surface-to-air missile used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines plane, but he stopped short of accusing Russia of direct involvement in Thursday's attack, which killed all 298 people aboard. As the administration weighs what to do, lawmakers have been urging Obama to get tough -- not just on the plane disaster but in the broader Ukraine crisis, ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran and Israel-Gaza violence. "It's important for the president to step up today and mobilize Western support as far as economic sanctions" on Russia, he added on CNN.
As Israeli forces pressed a ground operation in Gaza on Friday, many Egyptians and foreigners fled to Egypt through the Rafah crossing, escaping what some said was "sure death" in the Palestinian enclave. At least 274 Palestinians have been killed so far in the 11-day conflict between Israel and the Hamas Islamist movement that is the main power in Gaza. The death toll soared on Friday as Israeli troops fanned out across parts of Gaza in search of tunnels they say are being used by Hamas to smuggle in rockets and to infiltrate Israeli lines. Israeli boots on the ground proved the last straw for many Egyptians and foreigners, who had stayed on in Gaza during 10 days of blistering Israeli air strikes.
The European Union on Friday took the next step towards imposing tougher sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis by agreeing the legal basis for widening its list of targets. The 28 EU leaders agreed to additional steps, including punishing Russian firms, at a summit on Wednesday after Moscow failed to halt its alleged support for pro-Kremlin rebels in eastern Ukraine. The Russian foreign ministry accused the EU of submitting to "blackmail from the American administration" and said Brussels should have "its own voice". They target both individuals and firms providing material or financial support to efforts to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty as well as to those responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.
EU and US negotiators ended a sixth round of trade liberalisation talks on Friday by vowing to maintain transparency, as anti-globalisation protesters nearby urged the project be scrapped. "We have had intense discussions" that have been extremely technical so that "political decisions can be taken later," said chief European Union negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero at the end of the five-day talks in Brussels. "A lot has changed since we started the talks a year ago," said chief US negotiator Dan Mullaney, adding that negotiators had spent "a great deal of time on regulatory issues". Resistance in both the United States and the European Union has grown since the talks began a year ago, with activists worried that the deal is being negotiated behind close doors to the benefit of corporate interests.
Baghdad on Friday said it had recalled its ambassador to Jordan, two days after Sunni Iraqi leaders meeting in Amman described a jihadist-led insurgency sweeping parts of Iraq as a "popular revolt". "Iraq decides to withdraw its ambassador from the Jordanian capital Amman for consultations," the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website, without giving a reason for the move. Iraqi Sunni leaders in exile on Wednesday downplayed a Sunni Islamist uprising led by Islamic State (IS) militants, portraying the violence as a fightback against an oppressive Shiite-led government. Around 300 Sunni clerics, tribal leaders, insurgent commanders and businessmen attended the meeting, where the Islamic State's role in the onslaught was downplayed and calls made to endorse "legitimate revolt" against the government.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will fly to the Middle East on Saturday in an effort to end the latest violence in Gaza, a top official told the Security Council on Friday. Under secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman said a two-state solution to the conflict was the only way to break the "seemingly endless cycle" of Israeli-Palestinian violence.