US ambassador to Libya and three staff killed at consulate in Benghazi in response to video critical of Islam; experts say it is tragic diplomat who had done so much to free Benghazi from dictator would be killed by residents; US urges "cooler heads to prevail" in dispute over South China Sea islands; Occupy Hong Kong protesters removed after 11 months; 300 killed in Pakistan factory fires; South African mining protests spread to platinum mine; and more
Top of the Agenda: U.S. Ambassador to Libya Killed in Attack
An attack by an armed mob on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi (NYT) last night killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three of his staff, U.S. and Libyan officials said today. The mob was apparently responding to a U.S.-made video that was critical of Islam, prompting a similar attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Stevens, appointed to his post earlier this year, had served as an envoy to the Libyan rebels who overthrew longtime leader Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011. In a statement, President Barack Obama praised Stevens for having "supporting Libya's transition to democracy."
"It is a tragic irony that the U.S. diplomat who had done so much to free Benghazi from the grip of a dictator that it despised would die at the hands of that city's residents only months later, in a spasm of religion-fueled hatred," writes David Kenner for ForeignPolicy.com.
"Some [protesters] seemed to be under the impression that the video was being widely broadcast on multiple American television channels--when in truth most Americans probably never heard of this video until the embassy was attacked. This was essentially a case of an American group of fringe Christian fundamentalists successfully provoking and enraging a similar group of fringe Muslim fundamentalists," writes TIME's Ashraf Khalil.
"The movie, like Terry Jones himself and his earlier Koran-burning stunt, have received attention far beyond their reach, which would be modest if not for obsessively outraged media. And yet, here the movie is, not just offending apparently significant numbers of people, but producing real-world damage," writes the Atlantic's Max Fisher.
U.S. Urges Calm in Japan, China Islands Dispute
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell yesterday called for "cooler heads to prevail" (Reuters) in an escalating spat between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea. The Japanese government bought the islands from a private owner this week, prompting China to deploy two patrol ships to the surrounding waters.
CHINA: Court-appointed bailiffs yesterday evicted the remaining protesters at the Occupy Hong Kong site (WSJ) at HSBC bank's headquarters, which began eleven months ago in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York.
300 killed in Pakistan factory fires
South African mining protests spread to platinum mine