Karzai warned about release of detainees
Visiting U.S. senators on Thursday intensified pressure on President Hamid Karzai to sign a long-term security deal with the United States. And responding to a new crisis between the allies this week, they warned the Afghan government away from plans to summarily release dozens of detainees accused of attacking U.S. forces. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona and John Barrasso of Wyoming said they warned Karzai that American will to stay involved with Afghanistan was dwindling, and that actions like the planned prisoner release were adding further strain.
Musharraf court date again delayed
It is Pakistan's biggest trial in years: The country's former strongman, a veteran of the powerful military, faces charges of high treason in a case that could result in the death penalty. But so far authorities can't get former President Pervez Musharraf into the courtroom. Musharraf was on the way to the latest session Thursday when his convoy suddenly turned and took him to a military hospital over an unexplained heart condition, Pakistani officials said. The move derailed a scheduled hearing a third time and brought renewed accusations of deliberately disrupting the case. The first two hearing attempts were delayed after police found explosives hidden along the road from his home to the court.
Fire is set outside Chinese consulate
The FBI is leading an investigation into a fire set at the main entrance of the Chinese Consulate General, authorities said Thursday. No injuries were reported. FBI spokesman Peter Lee said the fire Wednesday night was started by an "incendiary device," but it didn't appear to have been a bomb. He said the blaze caused significant damage to the building's doors. The consulate denounced the attack as "despicable" and demanded the United States move quickly to find those responsible.
Kerry puts focus on environment
Behind the scenes at the State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry has initiated a systemic, top-down push to create an agencywide focus on global warming. His aims to become the lead broker of a global, legally binding climate treaty in 2015 that will commit nations to historic reductions in fossil fuel pollution. In a significant recent accomplishment, as a result of midlevel talks Kerry set up to pave the way for a 2015 deal, the United States and China agreed in September to jointly phase down production of hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners.
Snowden deserves mercy, papers say
The New York Times and Guardian newspapers have called for clemency for Edward Snowden, saying the espionage worker-turned-privacy advocate should be praised rather than punished for his disclosures. The papers, both of which have played a role in publishing Snowden's intelligence trove, suggested late Wednesday the former National Security Agency contractor's revelations about the United States' world-spanning espionage program were of such public importance that they outweighed any possible wrongdoing.