World News Brief, Friday August 6

Pakistan floods force hundreds of thousands more from their homes, undermines anti-terrorism efforts; Gay marriage legal again in California; Troops in Afghanistan get new combat rules; South Korea's anti-submarine drills; and more

Top of the Agenda: Pakistan's Flooding Crisis Deepens

Destruction caused by floods in Pakistan's northwest has moved into the heartland (VOA), as heavy rains forced hundreds of thousands of people in Punjab province to evacuate homes with little more than their personal belongings. Al-Jazeera reports from the scene that the Pakistani government "is not able to move itself to a position where it can help people."

The government's response is sparking a new round of public criticism. President Asif Ali Zardari is not in the country due to a previously scheduled trip to Europe. And his government's inability to provide food aid, shelter, and relief services has infuriated average Pakistanis (Reuters).

There is concern the flooding crisis--as well as a series of killings across the country, including the assassination of a top-ranking security official on Wednesday--could jeopardize efforts to target terrorism in Pakistan's tribal areas (WashPost).


Speculation is growing that militant groups will seek to fill the humanitarian void (CSMonitor), a common occurrence in Pakistan following large-scale emergencies. Pakistani commentator Huma Yusuf warns extremist groups and militants have previously exploited (Dawn) the grievances of the Pakistani population and "will no doubt seize upon them again in future recruitment drives."


As this Backgrounder notes, radical Islamic groups have a history of gaining local support in humanitarian emergencies as they move in to fill the vacuum created by government's inadequate response.


PACIFIC RIM: South Korea Holds Massive Military Drill

The South Korean military is engaged in its largest ever anti-submarine drills along its western sea border with North Korea (Yonhap). The five-day exercise, which started Thursday, follows a massive joint US-South Korea naval exercise conducted in late July. Both exercises follow the apparent sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, which has been blamed on the North. A statement attributed to Pyongyang's leaders called the latest military exercise a "direct military invasion" (BBC).

China: Doubts are being raised (NYT) about the size of and response to a massive oil spill in Dalian, on China's northern coast. Some residents and environmental activists believe the amount of oil spilled was far more than the Chinese government has admitted. Questions are also emerging about the long-term environmental impacts of the spill (GlobalTimes).



- New Rules for Troops in Afghanistan
- Ban on Gay Marriage Overturned


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on