World News Brief, Wednesday July 24

Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for raids on two Iraqi prisons; Fukushima plant leaking radioactive water into ocean; GlaxoSmithKline to reduce price of products in China; Pope gets rapturous welcome in Brazil; new prince met with worldwide celebrations; and more

Top of the Agenda: Al-Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Iraq Prison Raids

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility on Tuesday for simultaneous raids on two Iraqi prisons that resulted in the freeing of more than five hundred inmates (Reuters). Monday's deadly attacks on the Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons involved suicide bombers who detonated car bombs and gunmen who attacked prison guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, resulting in the deaths of 120 Iraqi guards. Sunni insurgents have been regaining momentum in recent months against Iraq's Shiite-led government, and the intensifying violence has fueled fears that the sectarian conflict roiling Syria is spilling over into Iraq (al-Jazeera).


"Even if the prisoners are recaptured, the scale of the attacks on the heavily guarded facilities reinforced an impression among many Iraqis that their security forces are struggling to cope with a resurgent al-Qaeda since U.S. forces withdrew in 2011, taking with them much of the expertise and technology that had been used to hold extremists at bay," write Jabbar Yaseen and Liz Sly in the Washington Post.

"While it's possible the U.S. will offer help at the margins, Iraqis shouldn't expect an American cavalry. Leaving Iraq is one of Barack Obama's proudest accomplishments, and the President clearly has no desire to undo it — possibly even at the cost of seeing Iraq slip back into chaos," writes Michael Crowley for TIME.

"Iraq remains a long way from the worst of the civil war. The vast majority of Iraqis who lived through it don't want to return to that horror. But the war in Syria has seen Iraq's already limited control of that long border slip, and government failures like that today – which potentially saw hundreds of seasoned operatives re-injected into the Iraqi insurgency – will encourage more Sunni fence-sitters to join the fight," writes Dan Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor.



Tepco: Fukushima Leaking Radioactive Water Into Sea

The operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant admitted for the first time on Monday that radioactive groundwater is likely flowing into the Pacific Ocean (JapanTimes). Tepco's admission comes a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner scored a big victory in upper-house elections. The country's fisheries have voiced concern about the health of its marine life in light of these revelations.

CHINA: GlaxoSmithKline announced on Monday that it would lower the cost for its products in mainland China (SCMP) after an investigation revealed that some senior executives of the British pharmaceutical company were guilty of bribery and corruption charges.


Pope gets rapturous welcome in Brazil

New prince for Britain

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