Afghanistan: Strike probe
HERAT NATO's top commander in Afghanistan on Saturday called for a joint investigation into a U.S.-led airstrike that U.N. and Afghan officials say killed as many as 90 civilians recently.
Gen. David D. McKiernan's appeal for a coordinated inquiry came four days after U.N. officials in Afghanistan said their investigators had found "convincing evidence" that at least 60 children and 30 adults were killed in the Aug. 21 airstrike in the western province of Herat. U.S. military officials maintain that five civilians were killed.
Brazil: Deforestation rises
RIO DE JANEIRO Amazon deforestation jumped 69 percent in the past 12 months the first such increase in three years as rising demand for soy and cattle pushes farmers and ranchers to raze trees, officials said Saturday.
Some 8,147 square kilometers (3,145 square miles) of forest were destroyed between August 2007 and August 2008 a 69 percent increase over the 4,820 square kilometers (1,861 square miles) felled in the previous 12 months, according to the National Institute for Space Research, or INPE, which monitors destruction of the Amazon.
Egypt: Ramadan starts
CAIRO Religious authorities in much of the Middle East declared that Monday will be the start of the holy month of Ramadan, when observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.
Official statements were issued late Saturday in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and the Palestinian territories. Religious authorities in Syria, Qatar and Kuwait agreed.
India: Land mine kills 12
RANCHI A land mine blew up a police van in a communist rebel stronghold in eastern India on Saturday, killing at least 12 officers, police said.
The officers were on a mine-clearing operation in a densely forested part of the Burudih area, about 100 miles south of Ranchi, said Navin Kumar Singh, the superintendent of police. Singh said the rebels have planted mines in the area to avoid being targeted by security forces.
Thailand: Samak will stay
BANGKOK Thailand's prime minister vowed Saturday that he would not resign even as pressure mounted with anti-government protesters occupying his headquarters for a fifth day Saturday and disrupting rail and air service.
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej also called an emergency session of parliament today so that both houses can debate the crisis and try to resolve it through political means, said Surachai Phuprasert, a top aide to Samak.