- Deadly Blasts Hit Uganda's Capital
- Russia Warns on Iran's Nuclear Capability
- Tensions Rise in Afghanistan's North
- Darfur Violence Kills 221 in June
At least sixty-four people died and seventy others were injured in two explosions in Uganda's capital (BBC), Kampala, targeting crowds gathered to watch the final World Cup soccer match. The bombs hit a soccer club and an Ethiopian restaurant. Police blamed Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants, who have threatened to hit Kampala in the past. Many of the killed and injured were foreigners living in the capital. This would be the first time al-Shabaab has struck outside Somalia, though Somali militants have been involved in terror attacks across East Africa in the past.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. A senior member of the Somali group said the blasts aimed to punish Uganda (WSJ) for sending peacekeepers to Somalia to support the country's weak government. He blamed Ugandan peacekeeping forces for "killing Somali civilians.” Al-Shabaab threatened attacks on Burundi and Uganda, which both have peacekeepers in Somalia to stabilize the government. The recent influx of foreign fighters to al-Shabaab has alarmed the United States and other Somali allies that fear the country is becoming a new sanctuary for international terrorists.
Al-Shabaab has banned playing soccer in many areas it controls. The group prohibited broadcasts of the World Cup, describing the sport as "a satanic act" (WashPost) that corrupts Muslims.
This Backgrounder examines Somalia as a terrorist haven.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Iran is on the verge of acquiring the capability (RIANovosti) to make nuclear weapons. Separately, Iran's judiciary chief temporarily halted the execution (AFP) by stoning of a woman accused of adultery, under mounting pressure from Western human rights advocates.
The latest round of UN and U.S. sanctions are unlikely to push Iran to negotiations, says sanctions expert Meghan O'Sullivan, which means the U.S. and its allies will need to look at options, including military force.
Yemen: A Yemeni appeals court upheld the death sentences (AP) against four al-Qaeda militants in deadly attacks that included the assault on the U.S. embassy and the killing of two Belgian tourists in 2008.
Military officials from North Korea and the UN meet Tuesday to discuss the sinking of a South Korean warship (WashPost) that has heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Japan: The Democratic Party of Japan suffered a resounding defeat in parliamentary elections (LAT), wining fewer than the fifty seats needed to keep its coalition majority and threatening newly minted Prime Minister Naoto Kan's hold on power.
Insurgents killed eleven Afghan police and assassinated a district chief in once-peaceful northern Afghanistan, where U.S. officials warn casualties are rising because (WSJ) of stepped-up NATO operations.
Pakistan: The death toll from Friday's double suicide bombing in northwest Pakistan has risen to at least 102 people, making it the deadliest attack (al-Jazeera) in the country this year.
Pakistan's latest moves to exert influence in Afghanistan, including possibly brokering talks with militant Taliban allies, could pose difficulties for U.S. stabilization efforts, says CFR's Daniel Markey.
India: Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir called an all-party meeting to discuss ways of ending weeks of deadly street protests that resulted in at least fourteen civilian deaths in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. The violence comes ahead of talks this week between India and Pakistan (BBC), which both claim Kashmir as their territory.
Tribal fighting and other violence spiked in Sudan's Darfur region (Reuters) in June, resulting in the deaths of 221 people. The uptick in violence follows a decision by the Justice and Equality Movement, one of the region's two main rebel groups, to withdraw from negotiations in Qatar in May.
This Backgrounder examines Sudan's fractured internal politics.
BP is in talks to sell billions of dollars in assets to raise cash as it struggles to clean up (WSJ) the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company said it was pleased with its efforts to replace a containment cap (BBC) on the leaking well, which began on Saturday and is expected to be completed within days.
In the wake of the Gulf spill, the United States should craft regional pacts with its neighbors to address pollution and liability issues arising from ever-deeper oil and gas exploration, says expert Caitlyn Antrim.
Venezuela: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is claiming that Curaçao (NYT), a small island in the Netherlands Antilles, is being used as a base for the U.S. military to plan a possible attack on Venezuela.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a primetime television interview (NYT) today over a scandal involving cabinet member Eric Woerth, who was accused by a former accountant of L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt of accepting an illegal cash donation during the country's 2007 presidential campaign.
Spain: More than a million people rallied in Barcelona Saturday to call for greater autonomy for the Catalan region (DeutscheWelle), a day after a constitutional court said there was no legal basis to recognize Catalonia as a nation.
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