Conflict & Justice

Chatter: NATO accused of killing Afghan civilians




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Need to know:
NATO has been accused of killing 18 Afghan civilians in an airstrike near Kabul. It denies the claims.

NATO forces say "multiple insurgents" were killed this morning in what they called a "precision airstrike" in Logar province, in the east of Afghanistan. The attack apparently targeted a local Taliban leader. 

Local officials, however, claim that 18 civilians, including women and children, were also killed. It's not yet clear which account is more accurate.

Want to know:
Scott Walker of Wisconsin
has become the first governor in US history to survive a recall election.

Final counts from yesterday's vote gave the Republican governor 53 percent. His Democratic challenger, Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett, won 46 percent.

The recall was prompted by Walker's introduction of controversial measures that limited workers' collective bargaining rights, part of a campaign to reign in government spending made him a beacon for the Tea Party and fiscal Republicans. Sure enough, his party swiftly claimed his victory for a precursor of national triumph.

"Tonight's results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin," said presidential nominee Mitt Romney, claiming that "sound fiscal policies" like Walker's would win November's election for the GOP.

Dull but important:
Russia has passed a controversial bill that increases fines on protesters 150-fold, despite concerns it will restrict the right to free assembly.

Under the new legislation, anyone taking part in an unsanctioned rally can be fined up to 300,000 rubles, or $9,000. The fine used to be 2,000 rubles, or less than $30.

The bill, which passed in both houses of parliament despite the opposition's best efforts to block it, must be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. His United Russia party proposed it, amid fresh rallies against Putin last week and calls for a massive anti-government protests on June 12.

Just because:
"I'm afraid. I'm really afraid," one white-collar Indian tells GlobalPost. "How will I arrange all the things in the coming months, or coming years? I am afraid to see the future."

India's middle class has reason to be scared. They now face ever greater competition for a stagnating number of jobs, hiring freezes, inflation and, possibly, wage cuts – prompting commentators to wonder whether the Indian success story was all just a mirage.

GlobalPost takes a deep breath and looks at how bad it is for India's economy – and how bad it's likely to get. 

Strange but true:
He's the psycho killer (presumed) that keeps on giving. Luka Rocco Magnotta, currently behind bars in Germany pending extradition to Canada, is still making himself felt in his homeland, where two Vancouver schools have received body parts in the mail.

One school got a foot, another a hand, in what one principal described as "a suspicious, smelly package." Similarly suspicious but possibly slightly less smelly packages were sent to Canada's main political parties last week, and have been linked forensically to the 33-year-old Chinese man allegedly murdered by Magnotta. 

Police have not confirmed whether they think the latest body parts were sent by the same person, but let's hope there's no one else at it.