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More than 14 million people have been affected by intense flooding in northwestern Pakistan, yet international assistance has been sluggish. The U.N., which launched an appeal for $459 million in aid, has warned that militants could exploit the need. Some 1,600 people have died, and countless others have been stranded without food or shelter. The destruction has reached Sindh and Punjab provinces, Pakistan's breadbasket. About 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares) of cropland are submerged.
5 | Greenland
Huge Iceberg Breaks Away
In what forecasters at the Canadian Ice Service called a "surprise," a huge chunk of ice broke off the Petermann Glacier, one of Greenland's largest, located along the northwestern coast. The "ice island," as the iceberg has been dubbed, is more than four times the size of Manhattan and the largest piece of ice to be adrift in the Arctic since 1962. While there are fears for the safety of some North Atlantic shipping lanes, the greater concern is the rate at which the ice is melting below the surface of the glacier, where it is losing 80% of its mass.
6 | China
RAIN SETS OFF MASSIVE MUDSLIDE
In a year that has seen more than 1,800 people die because of flooding across China, a rain-triggered landslide in the northwestern county of Zhouqu on Aug. 8 proved to be the most devastating event yet. More than 1,100 people have been killed since the Bailong River in Gansu province swelled and broke its banks, cascading water and debris down hillsides. At least 7,000 rescuers were employed in search of hundreds of those still missing.
7 | Colombia
Two Leaders Make Nice
Three days after assuming the presidency of Colombia, U.S.-backed Juan Manuel Santos welcomed Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez on Aug. 10 at a summit aimed at restoring relations between the longtime rivals. Border tensions have spiked in recent weeks over claims that Colombian guerrillas were operating from inside Venezuela.
8 | Indonesia
Radical Cleric Charged
Police arrested Islamist cleric Abubakar Ba'asyir on Aug. 9 and charged him two days later under an antiterrorism law. He is accused of organizing and funding al-Qaeda in Aceh, whose terrorist training camp was found by police in February. Ba'asyir is thought to be a founder of Jemaah Islamiah, the militant group behind the 2002 attacks on nightclubs in Bali that killed 202 people.
9 | Washington
Pentagon Tightens Its Belt
Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced his intention to shift Pentagon spending away from "the culture of endless money" to "a culture of savings and restraint." Among Gates' plans is the shuttering of Joint Forces Command, which was set up to improve coordination among the various military branches. Gates also announced plans to eliminate 50 general and flag-officer positions. The cuts are designed to trim the Pentagon's considerable bureaucracy ahead of potential congressional budget cuts.
Military and DOD civilian positions eliminated
Civilian contractor jobs eliminated