NATO Apologizes for Killing Afghan Children
Gen. David Petraeus, a top NATO commander in the US-led war in Afghanistan, issued a rare apology on Wednesday after nine children who were collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan were accidentally killed in an airstrike, according to The Washington Post. The deaths exacerbated tension between NATO forces and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose government blamed NATO for the deaths of dozens of civilians last month. Officials said the children were accidentally killed after a miscommunication within an air weapons team during an attack on a NATO base in the Konar province.
Global Warming Linked to Record Winter Storms
Climate scientists now say that global warming is increasing the frequency of heavy snowstorms like the ones that slammed the eastern US and Europe this winter, according to the Environment News Service. Representatives from the Union of Concerned Scientists told the press there is new evidence that record low levels of sea ice on the Arctic affect weather circulation patterns and increased the number of extreme storms and floods noted in recent years.
Thousands Protest the Firing of Providence Teachers
About 1,500 people took to the streets outside City Hall in Providence, Rhode Island, yesterday to protest the city’s decision to fire all of its public schoolteachers due to a $100 million deficit, according to NPR. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said he chose to fire the teachers instead of laying them off to ensure that teachers the city cannot afford will not make it back on the payroll, but union activists say the decision was simply a political one designed to silence the teachers.
New Charges Filed Against Manning
The US Army added 22 new charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of stealing classified material and giving it to WikiLeaks, according to The Hill. The most serious charge is “aiding the enemy,” which is a capital offense, but the prosecution said it won’t seek the death penalty. Manning, who is currently being held in solitary confinement, worked as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad, and was charged with 12 counts earlier this year. Manning allegedly stole the thousands of files and diplomatic cables that have kept Wikileaks in the headlines since last summer and helped journalists and the world better understand US foreign policy.
Record Food Prices Linked to Oil, Unrest in Arab World
The United Nations reports that global food prices hit a record high this month and warned that spiking oil prices and could hit volatile cereal markets, according to Reuters. The UN reported that increased food prices are partly responsible for the unrest and protests in the Arab world that toppled and challenged rulers in Egypt, Tunisia, and beyond in recent weeks. Unrest in North Africa and the Middle East could threaten oil supplies and further increase the price of food worldwide.