- - Wednesday, November 10, 2010

EUROPEAN UNION

Report: Afghanistan war effort failing

BRUSSELS | Military intervention in Afghanistan by members of the international community has failed, and it’s time to start looking at an exit strategy, a European Union report said.

Members of the European Parliament in a report on the conflict in Afghanistan blame coalition forces for “miscalculating their options.” The report said it’s time to recognize that military intervention in Afghanistan has failed and contributed to the overall decline in security there.

“The EU strategy for Afghanistan needs a radical rethink,” parliamentarians said in a statement.

EU members and their allies must recognize military means aren’t helping. Coalition forces, the report said, are increasingly viewed as an occupying power while the current military strategy woefully misreads the situation in the country.

UNITED NATIONS

Iran loses bid for women’s agency

Iran suffered a humiliating defeat Wednesday in its bid to secure a seat on the board of a new U.N. women’s agency after the United States and its allies campaigned against the Islamic republic.

Other states that have been criticized by rights groups for their treatment of women, such as Saudi Arabia, where women are forbidden from driving, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where rape is commonplace in the country’s violent east, faced no U.S. opposition and won seats on the agency’s board.

Iran was one of 10 candidates for the 10 slots on the 41-nation board allotted to Asian countries. The candidate list had been agreed and endorsed beforehand by the caucus of nations known as the Asia Group.

IRELAND

Irish bonds sink as debt fears grow

DUBLIN | Anxiety over heavy government debts in Europe flared up again Wednesday as investors questioned whether Ireland, Greece and Portugal can cut their budget deficits without choking off desperately needed economic growth.

Markets were increasingly betting that Ireland might be next in line for a massive financial bailout from its partners in the euro currency, after Greece’s $153 billion rescue from the brink of bankruptcy in May.

The interest rate, or yield, on Ireland’s 10-year bonds jumped above 8 percent for the first time since the euro was introduced in 1999, reaching 8.64 percent in afternoon trading. Portugal managed to raise $1.74 billion in a bond auction, but at significantly higher interest costs than two months ago.

The fall in Irish bonds was accompanied by an announcement from London-based LCH.Clearnet Group, the world’s second-largest bond clearinghouse, that it is significantly increasing the cash deposits it requires from traders dealing in those bonds.

EL SALVADOR

16 dead, 22 injured in youth detention fire

SAN SALVADOR | A fire on Wednesday tore through a detention center housing young gang members in El Salvador, killing at least 16 people and fueling complaints of deplorable conditions in the nation’s prisons.

“We arrived in the middle of the emergency, and we have seen 16 dead. The 22 injured suffered burns and are receiving treatment,” rescue official Carlos Fuentes told Agence France-Presse.

A police spokeswoman, Violeta Polanco, had earlier said the death toll could reach 22.

She said the fire broke out at about 6 a.m. in the rehabilitation center that houses several members of Salvadoran gangs and is located on the outskirts of Ilobasco, 46 miles northeast of the capital, San Salvador.

Officials said the building that burned housed 42 inmates, only four of whom emerged unharmed.

Security concerns apparently slowed the rescue effort.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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