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U.S. military report says airstrikes likely killed 26 Afghan civilians


Airstrike may have killed more, U.S. says

An internal military investigation into a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan acknowledged that U.S. forces may have killed as many as 86 civilians and said the military needs to re-examine its rules to reduce future civilian casualties. The airstrike last month in the western Farah province has drawn the ire of local and national leaders, strained relations between the United States and Afghanistan and become an issue in August elections there. Afghan investigations have placed the civilian death toll as high as 140. The report found 26 confirmed civilian casualties but concedes that it is impossible to determine a final number because some were buried before investigators arrived. However, it also cites an investigation by the Afghan Human Rights Commission shortly after the May 4 incident, which found 86 casualties. The report doesn't say how many suspected Taliban fighters were killed in the offensive.

South Africa

1 in 4 men admit committing rape

The government-funded Medical Research Council said one in four male South Africans it surveyed admitted committing rape. According to police statistics, about 36,000 women were raped in 2007. Victim support groups say many more incidents go unreported because of the stigma and trauma involved. South Africa is home to about 50 million people. Chief researcher Rachel Jewkes said Friday that the findings were shocking but not unexpected. Researchers interviewed men from over 1,700 households in the rural provinces of the eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The survey gave no margin of error.

United Nations

Inquiry into Bhutto killing starts July 1

A U.N. commission will begin a six-month investigation on July 1 into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the U.N. announced Friday. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon informed Bhutto's husband, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, that the United Nations "is committed to assisting Pakistan by determining the facts and circumstances of her death." Bhutto was killed Dec. 27, 2007, as she was campaigning to return her Pakistan People's Party to power in parliamentary elections. The three-member commission will be led by Chile's U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz.


Vatican City: The Vatican has condemned as "unjustified and inopportune" a claim by the Rev. Peter Gumpel, a German Jesuit, that pressure from Jewish organizations is delaying the beatification of Pope Pius XII, the wartime pontiff who critics say didn't do enough to stop the Holocaust.

Mexico: The first tropical depression of the Pacific hurricane season headed toward Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday and forecasters said it might grow into a tropical storm before hitting land.

Times wires

U.S. military report says airstrikes likely killed 26 Afghan civilians 06/19/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 19, 2009 10:34pm]
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