Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, August 8, 2009.

Leader of Pakistan Taliban may have been killed in drone attack

Pakistani and United States intelligence services believe that the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan may be dead. The home of Baitullah Mehsud's father-in-law was attacked on Wednesday with missiles fired by CIA operated drones. Taliban sources have confirmed the death of Mehsud's second wife but initially denied that Mehsud himself has been killed.

Mehsud is the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, his group is reckoned to have up to 20,000 fighters and to be responsible for 80% of the militant violence in Pakistan. The TTP has been blamed for the attack which killed Benazir Bhutto, though the group denies this.


Hillary Clinton arrives in South Africa

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in South Africa for the second leg of an eleven day, seven nation tour of Africa. Whilst in South Africa she will meet with current President Jacob Zuma and former President Nelson Mandela. Talks will center around business ties and HIV, although the situation in Zimbabwe will likely also be discussed. Hillary Clinton will hope to rekindle the close co-operation and rapport between the United States and South Africa established by former presidents Bill Clinton, her husband, and Mandela.

Hillary Clinton's first stop was Kenya where she met with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia's unity government, pledging both military aid and support. Somalia will receive money, weapons and ammunition in its fight against al-Shabaab, which controls much of the country. Eritrea was also warned that the US would take "action" if it continued to back the Islamic group. Eritrea denies supporting al-Shabaab and described Clinton's comments as "very disappointing" and said that the United States had "failed to learn mistakes of the previous US administration."


Anniversary of Georgian War marked by mutual accusations

The anniversary of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has been marked with saber-rattling and accusations. The Russians have accused the Georgians of re-arming for a new conflict and the Georgians have accused the Russians of further territorial ambitions, both sides have accused the other of firing rockets into the territory of the other. However, European Union observers report of no evidence of such attacks.

Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been recognised as independent states by Russia and have become increasingly dependent on her.


Police in the United Kingdom ordered to review policing of demonstrations

Police in the United Kingdom have been ordered by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the police watchdog in the UK, to review its policing of demonstrations. This follows an investigation by the IPCC that an environmental protestor might have miscarried after being struck by the police.

The unnamed protester was "manhandled" by the police at the climate camp protest held during the G-20 summit earlier this year might and began to suffer from vaginal bleeding so heavy that she feared for her life. Despite this, for five hours she was not allowed out of the police cordon, and said that she felt "completely dehumanised" by her treatment by the police and their reaction to her injuries.

The woman's physician, examining her the next day, initially feared that she was a victim of domestic abuse and urged her to report her injuries. The IPCC have only been able to publicly comment on this case because the woman did not wish to pursue a prosecution. A senior police officer of the Metropolitan Police Service has offered to meet the woman to apologise.


Son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai found safe

The son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai has been found safe in the care of friends of the actress in Tokyo. Sakai, age 38, and her son have been missing since August 4, after the arrest of her surfer husband Yuichi Takaso on drug charges. Illegal stimulants were subsequently found at their home, and the actress was asked to voluntarily report to the police. Sakai remains missing. Signals were detected from her mobile phone in Yamanashi on Tuesday.

Noriko Sakai was popular throughout East Asia in the 1990s as a singer and actress.


Seven coalition troops killed within 24 hour period in Afghanistan

Three British paratroopers of 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment have been killed and a fourth remains critically wounded in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The paratroopers were operating in support of Special Forces when their Jackal armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb on Thursday afternoon.

Today, four United States servicemen fell victim to improvised explosive devices, bringing the number of International Security Assistance Force troops killed in the first week of August to 18.


Hong Kong government to begin school drug testing trials in December

Following concern that local drug dealers are targeting school children, authorities in Hong Kong have announced plans to introduce tests in the territory's schools for the use of narcotics. Trials will initially begin in the Tai Po District.

The testing is being described as voluntary, with students being allowed to refuse to be tested. However, the plan has been criticised for creating mistrust between students, teachers and parents.


Nine killed in Belgium care home fire

Nine retirees have been killed in a fire at a care home in Melle, Belgium. The care home with some 90 residents caught fire when an electrical fault in a fan or television set fire to a mattress on Thursday night. Although confined to a single room, the victims seven women and two men succumbed to smoke inhalation. Four other residents remain hospitalised, one in critical condition.


India and China resume border talks

India and China have begun the latest round, the 13th in 28 years, of negotiations over their disputed border. The meeting will be co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Indian National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan from August 7 to 8 in India. Mistrust lingers from the 1962 Sino-Indian War with both sides unlikely to offer concessions. The talks seek to form a framework for future negotiations.


President Kennedy's sister Eunice Kennedy in critical condition at hospital

John F. Kennedy's sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is in a critical, yet stable, condition at a Massachusetts hospital according to a family spokeswoman. She was born July 10, 1921 in Brookline, Massachusetts and is currently aged 88.

According to recent reports, she has been in hospital for about one week. Her family has been flown in to be beside her. Shriver is also known for founding the Special Olympics in the 1960s, an organization that helps aspiring athletes with an intellectual disability develop self-confidence, social skills and a sense of personal accomplishment.

Her spokeswoman, Robin Lord, declined to give any further details on her condition. "The family is grateful for the prayers of her many friends," Lord said.

Her advocacy was largely influenced by the challenges faced by her older sister, Rosemary Kennedy, who was mentally impaired.