World News Brief, Tuesday July 14

Rising death toll in Afghanistan; is Kim Jong-Il dying?; Japan to head to the polls; Obama in Africa; and more

Top of the Agenda: Troop Casualties in Afghanistan; Concerns Mount in UK

A series of attacks in Afghanistan (WSJ) in recent days has killed four U.S. Marines and eight British soldiers. A NATO soldier was also killed (Xinhua) on Sunday.

The rising death count has provoked concern in Britain about the new U.S.-led military offensive in Helmand province. Nick Clegg, a leader of Britain’s opposition Liberal Democrat party, said troops' lives are being “thrown away.” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended the war effort on Sunday, saying in an interview that the operation “is showing signs of success” (AFP).

Despite concerns, a new poll says British support for the war in Afghanistan is rising (Telegraph).

U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday said he has ordered an investigation (AP) into reports that U.S. allies executed some 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war around the beginning of the war in Afghanistan.


In Foreign Affairs, CFR’s Steven Simon asks whether the war in Afghanistan can be won.

The New York Times looks at the building pressure on Obama to look into the killings in Afghanistan and other war on terror policies of the Bush administration.


PACIFIC RIM: Japanese PM Sets Date for General Election

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told lawmakers he would dissolve the country’s House of Representatives by July 21 for an August 30 general election. The announcement came after his ruling political coalition suffered a crushing defeat in a Tokyo local election to the opposition Democratic Party on Sunday (Japan Times).

North Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is dying from pancreatic cancer (Times of London), South Korea’s Yonhap Television News reported Sunday. Some experts are skeptical of that report (VOA), however.

A Council Special Report looks at how the United States and other counties in Northeast Asia should prepare for sudden change in North Korea.



Obama visits Africa.

Swat valley residents return home.

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