Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Thursday, January 17, 2013, 2:01 PM

The day’s top news story is that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb militants have taken at least seven U.S. citizens hostage, in a takeover of Alergia's In Amenas gas field.  SecDef Leon Panetta has called the incident a “terrorist attack,” and the Algerian military has launched an offensive against the militants. Check out the Washington Post here and here, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal for the latest updates.

Meanwhile, the French offensive in Mali continues. Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt of the Times report that U.S. officials remain conflicted about the country’s role in the operation, and the degree to which Mali's militants even pose a threat to the United States.  Tim Lister of also outlines “six reasons events in Mali matter.”

Salman Masood of the Times informs us that Fasih Bokhari, Pakistan's top anti-corruption official, has refused Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s order to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. Bet that didn’t go over well.

Speaking of the subcontinent, India and Pakistan have agreed to a “de-escalation” of their current spat over Kashmir, says Maybe the kids are growing up! The Times editorial board has this piece on the current situation and the politics behind it.

Ricky S. Sekhon, the actor who played Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, has an op-ed in the Times about preparing for the role. Look out for Ben’s thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty---coming soon, to a computer near you.

Reuters reports: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of the premeditated murder of sixteen Afghan villagers, will be arraigned today.

Rod Nordland and Thom Shanker of the Times write that the U.S. military has stopped sending detainees to several local Afghan prisons over concerns of torture and human rights abuses. The detention saga continues!

Mohamed Mohamud’s trial also continues. This gentleman, accused of attempting to detonate a bomb during Portland’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, argues that he was entrapped by the FBI. The Associated Press has details from the courtroom.

Vicki Divoll, former general counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, argues in an op-ed in the Times that “Mr. Obama should declassify and release, to Congress, the press and the public, documents that set forth the detailed constitutional and statutory analysis he relies on for targeting and killing American citizens.”

And, from the New Yorker, comes this hilarious piece by Bill Barol about what it’s like to own a drone: it’s today’s Moment of Zen.

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