Clinton visits Liberia, offers U.S. support
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered strong support Thursday for embattled Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. At a news conference with Johnson-Sirleaf, Clinton reeled off a list of Liberia's accomplishments from infrastructure development to financial policy and said the United States "officially supports what this government is doing." Johnson-Sirleaf, 70, a Harvard-trained economist and former finance minister, has been publicly sanctioned for her past financial support of one of the country's rebel groups. She acknowledged before Liberia's truth and reconciliation commission in February that she gave up to $10,000 to a rebel group headed by Charles Taylor, who is now on trial for war crimes committed in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Sanctions against regime extended
The European Union said it would impose sanctions against members of the judiciary responsible for the verdict against Myanmar's prodemocracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as against state-run media and other enterprises. The 27-nation EU said it would add the prosecutor and the three judges who convicted Suu Kyi to a list of Myanmar officials subject to asset freezes and bans on travel to EU countries, a spokeswoman said. Details of the sanctions will be released today.
Troops accused of firing on civilians
Israeli soldiers battling Hamas militants last winter in Gaza opened fire on at least seven groups of Palestinian civilians who were carrying white flags, killing five women, four children and two men as they tried to escape the battle zone, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Thursday. Human Rights Watch said the incidents appeared to be the result of directives to soldiers that they take few risks, rather than the intentional shooting of civilians.
Pakistan: Pakistanis' views on the Taliban have shifted dramatically in the past year, with 70 percent now opposing the militants, a poll released Thursday said. The United States doesn't fare well either: 64 percent see Washington as an enemy. The poll was conducted by Pew Global Attitudes, a project of a nonpartisan research center based in Washington.
India: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom placed India on its watch list of countries where such freedoms are at risk, citing India's response to attacks on Christians in the state of Orissa in 2008 and on Muslims in Gujarat state in 2002.
Iraq: Two bombers wearing suicide vests blew themselves up in a popular cafe crowded with young people in the city of Sinjar in northwestern Iraq Thursday evening, killing 21 and wounding 30 others, according to local hospital officials.
North Korea: South Korean Yoo Seong Jin, a 44-year-old technician who worked at a joint industrial park in the North, was freed Thursday. Yoo was held for allegedly denouncing the North's government and attempting to persuade a North Korean worker to defect.
Georgia: The United States is resuming a combat training mission in the former Soviet republic of Georgia despite the risks of angering Russia, Defense Department officials said Thursday.