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Death toll in India, Pakistan floods reaches 400

floods in IndiaThe death toll from floods in Pakistan and India reached 400 on Tuesday as armies in both countries scrambled to help the victims and authorities in Islamabad warned of more flooding in the days ahead.

The flash floods, which began on Sept. 3, have put more than half a million people in peril and rendered thousands homeless in the two neighboring states.

Pakistani and Indian troops have been using boats and helicopters to drop food supplies for stranded families and evacuate victims.


Former US ambassador to the UN in alleged money laundering scheme

khalilzad investigatedZalmay Khalilzad, who served as US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN under President George W Bush, is being investigated by American authorities for suspected money laundering, Austrian officials said Monday.

State prosecutor Thomas Vecsey confirmed a report in the Austrian weekly Profil about the investigation of Khalilzad, who played a key role in the political transition in Afghanistan after the 2001 US-led invasion and the fall of the Taliban.


Gambia passes bill imposing life sentences for some homosexual acts

Gambia gay death penaltyGambia has passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, potentially worsening the climate for sexual minorities in a country with one of Africa's most vocal anti-gay leaders.

The bill amending the criminal code was passed last month and brings life sentences for "aggravated homosexuality", minority leader Samba Jallow said. The charge is levelled at repeat offenders and people living with HIV/Aids.


World leaders urge decriminalization of drug use, regulation of markets

Decriminalize drugsOtto Pérez Molina, the president of Guatemala, floated an audacious idea last December. His government was considering legalizing the production of opium poppy — heroin’s main ingredient — as an alternative to combating drug-fueled bloodshed in Central America, where the number of violent deaths today mirror those of the 1980s, when the region was entangled in civil wars.

That seemingly fanciful proposal gained steam on Monday with the release of a pioneering report titled “Take Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work.” In the report, a group of global luminaries calls for the decriminalization of all drug use and the legal regulation of psychoactive substances. The Global Commission on Drugs — headed by the likes of former U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan, Reagan-era U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and former presidents of Latin America — represents the most distinguished group of leaders to call for drastic drug policy alternatives.


Missing radioactive material reignites debate on dirty bomb threat

radioactive materialLast week authorities in Kazakhstan announced that a container holding cesium-137, a radioactive material, disappeared, possibly after falling off a truck.

Details of the incident are sparse. The Kazakh government says it is searching for the container, which weighs over 100 pounds, but would not or could not say where it came from or where it might be headed.


Islamic State beheads 2nd captive Lebanese soldier

Islamic sdtate beheadsThe mother of a Lebanese soldier held captive by the militant Islamic State group said photographs posted online Saturday purporting to show his beheading appeared to be real.

Zeinab Noun said her 20-year-old son, Abbas Medlej, was "sacrificed" after supporters of the militant Sunni group posted images appearing to show a captured Lebanese soldier before and after he was beheaded.


U.S. confirms al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane killed in drone strike

AlShabaab leader killedThe White House confirmed Friday that al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a drone strike launched in Somalia last weekend.

The confirmation came after a week of uncertainty whether the targeted strike had been successful.

Somali officials recovered three bodies from the drone strike site in the remote Shabelle region in what Somali intelligence officer Ahmed Farah described as a "very tough operation." Two bulletproof ambulances transporting the corpses arrived in Mogadishu on Friday to undergo forensic DNA testing.


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