October 29, 2009

Deadliest Car Bomb Attack As Pakistani Troops Capture Taliban Town

Even as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her visit to Islamabad on Wednesday, Pakistan was rocked by the deadliest car bomb attack this year in Peshawar where at least 91 people were reported killed in the blast.

According to BBC News, at least 200 others were injured. The Peshawar market place where the blast occurred was a scene of carnage. Click here to see BBC video.

Similar attacks have killed hundreds of people in recent weeks as the Pakistani army launches an operation against Taliban militants in South Waziristan.

The Taliban have denied being behind this bombing, but the government blames them for a wave of attacks apparently launched in response to the army operation against their strongholds on the Afghan border.

Meanwhile, the BBC also reported that security officials said Pakistani troops have captured the key Taliban town of Kotkai in South Waziristan.

Troops took the town after days of bombardments, officials said.   

October 9, 2009

Surprise! Obama Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to US President Barack Obama on Friday came out of the blue, taking many by surprise.

Was it too early for President Obama, who is just nine months in office, to receive this award? That was the question raised.

Obama, 48, took office on Jan 20 this year.

The Nobel Committee's chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said:

“We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future but for what he has done in the previous year.

"We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.

“Obama has, as president, created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”

According to reports by Reuters, it was a surprised world that greeted the award, with a mixture of praise and scepticism.

Obama and his administration are grappling with global crises - from the Middle East to Iran to southwest Asia, while American military forces are still deployed in large numbers in Iraq. The White House is also considering whether to increase troop levels in Afghanistan.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the Nobel jury said in making the stunning announcement.

Obama is the third US president to win the coveted award while in office. Theodore Roosevelt won it 1906 and Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919. Jimmy Carter won the award in 2002, 20 years after he left office.

Former US Vice President Al Gore won it in 2007 along with the United Nations climate panel.

Last year, the prize was won by the former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari for peace efforts in Africa and the Balkans.

The prestigious Nobel Prize is worth the equivalent of US$1.4 million and is to be awarded to Obama in Oslo on Dec 10.

Related topics:

NYT report

October 3, 2009

Rio de Janeiro Wins 2016 Olympics Bid

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be going to Samba-land for the first time. And it will be a first, too, for South America.

The IOC vote went to Rio de Janeiro and came as a blow to Chicago which was thought to be the front-runner to host the Games.

Despite a personal pitch by President Barack Obama, Chicago was knocked out in an earlier vote.

Members of the Rio delegation were ecstatic on learning the result during the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Friday.

Rio de Janeiro received 66 votes compared to Madrid’s 32 in the final round of voting. The other competing city was Tokyo.

Crowds in Rio de Janeiro started to party as soon as the annoucement was made by IOC president Jacques Rogge in Copenhagen.

The IOC session was shown live on Rio's famed Copacabana beach where  thousands of Brazilians were waiting to hear the result.

It looks like Brazil is on a roll. The national team has qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The most populous and biggest nation in South America, that has won the World Cup soccer tournament more than any other nations, will also host the 2014 World Cup.

And tonight, it's party time again for Brazilians.


October 2, 2009

China Shows Off Its Rising Might


Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan reports from Beijing, China's capital.

It was a grand show reminiscent of the Beijing Olympics. China celebrated its 60 years of rising economic and military power in Beijing with a grand display on Wednesday.

Goose-stepping troops, colourful floats and nuclear-capable missiles showcased the celebration in Tiananmen Square, marking 60 years after Mao Zedong proclaimed the country's embrace of communism.

The People's Republic of China was proclaimed on October 1, 1949.

The Communist Party leadership, led by President Hu Jintao, and guests watched the meticulously disciplined show of national confidence and pride.

"Today a socialist China embracing modernisation, embracing the world and embracing the future stands lofty and firm," President Hu told guests and troops at the ceremony.




October 1, 2009

Deadly Tsunami Sweeps South Pacific Islands, Quake Rocks Sumatra

A series of tsunamis slammed the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa on Wednesday following a major earthquake that struck near the Solomon Islands.

Reuters reported that more than 100 people are believed killed, some washed out to sea. Villages were destroyed with hundreds injured.

Almost the same day, an earthquake struck off the Indonesian city of Padang on the coast of Sumatra island, damaging houses, bringing down bridges and starting fires, according to witnesses.

In Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, thousands of people were evacuated from high-rise buildings after tremors hit, following the Indonesia quake measuring a magnitude of 7.6.

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