Conflict & Justice

Chatter: Afghan Taliban besiege 'immoral' lakeside hotel




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Need to know:
Afghan security forces have ended an overnight attack by Taliban on a lakeside resort near Kabul.

The siege began shortly after midnight, when Taliban fighters shot their way into the Spozhmai hotel on Lake Qargha. Around 50 people were held hostage before Afghan soldiers, backed by coalition helicopters, moved in for a pre-dawn raid.

As many as 26 people are reported dead, mainly Afghan civilians. The Taliban claimed they had targeted the resort for its supposed immorality, namely drinking and dancing.

Want to know:
Defense lawyers for Anders Behring Breivik have argued that the man who admits to killing 77 people in one day is sane.

On the final day of his trial in Norway, the defense said Breivik's carefully planned bomb and gun attacks were driven by extreme right-wing politics, not by psychosis. If judges agree, Breivik faces up to 21 years in prison.

Conversely, the prosecution is asking for him to be considered insane and put in psychiatric care – on the grounds that it would be worse to put a psychotic in prison than to put a non-psychotic in a mental ward.

Breivik himself will address the court before the defense concludes its case today. A verdict is expected in the next two months.

Dull but important:
Moody's has cut its ratings
on 15 of the world's biggest banks, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup and UBS.

The downgrade had been looming since February, when the agency placed the firms on review. Their newly slashed credit scores, Moody's says, are meant to reflect their exposure to volatility in the world's financial markets. 

The agency waited until after close of business to announce the downgrade, but even the rumors of it were enough to spook investors: the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed down by around two percent each. Let's see what today's trading brings.

Just because:
For just $1 a day, you too could help a rebel overthrow the Syrian government.

As President Bashar al-Assad's opponents will tell you, revolution doesn't come cheap. One bullet? $4. A Kalashnikov rifle? $1,000. One month in hiding? $125. 

Syrian activists have long been using the internet to publicize their struggle; now, they're using it to collect hard cash. GlobalPost meets the fundraisers who want you to adopt a revolution.

Strange but true:
Those of us who call "soccer" football (*pointed use of quotation marks*) are eagerly looking forward to tonight's Euro 2012 quarterfinal that pits Germany against Greece.

This is one that even people who don't understand the offside rule can enjoy. Underdog Greece – providing someone's lent them a ball – will take on tournament favorites Germany, all under the watchful eye of German chancellor and Greek creditor Angela Merkel. Word to the Greeks: if you know what's good for you, wink wink, you might be well advised not to score.

But mainly, it's an excuse to show the Monty Python video of Plato playing Nietschze. You're welcome.