1 | Pakistan
U.S., NATO Increase Air Strikes
A series of NATO air strikes in Pakistan's mountainous northwestern region killed more than 50 suspected militants, officials said on Sept. 27. The rare manned helicopter attacks came as the CIA ramped up its unmanned drone missions against insurgent strongholds in Pakistan's tribal areas. More than 20 such assaults were carried out in September alone--the most ever in a single month--as part of the agency's covert war in the region. Military officials say the drone attacks are essential when targeting the militants' hideouts along the rugged Afghan border with Pakistan, but civilians on both sides of the border have been killed as a result, prompting protests. The recent strikes came as NATO and Afghan forces launched a ground offensive against Taliban positions in southern Afghanistan.
U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
2010 (AS OF SEPT. 27) 76
SOURCE: NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION
2 | Paris
Terrorism Fears Lead to High Alert
France raised its terrorism alert following bomb threats at the Eiffel Tower and two congested train stations, suggesting that there may be an intensifying standoff between France and North African jihadist group al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The alarm came as President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that five French nationals who had been kidnapped in Niger by AQIM on Sept. 16 were reportedly spotted alive in Mali. French officials indicated they would be willing to negotiate with the group for the release of the captives.
3 | Israel
Peace Talks' Future Uncertain
Despite appeals from the international community, Israel allowed its 10-month moratorium on West Bank settlement construction to end Sept. 26, leaving the future of peace talks in doubt--as splits among Israeli officials over the current path of negotiations became clear. While Israeli leaders agreed to meet their Palestinian counterparts in October, more hard-line Israelis have cooled on talks, calling for a renewed focus on Iran and only small gestures toward peace with the Palestinians.
4 | U.K.
Sibling Rivalry in Party Election
During his debut address as Britain's newly elected Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband pledged to overhaul the party that saw itself ousted from power in May. But he also praised his older brother, the better-known--and more centrist--David Miliband, a former Foreign Secretary, whom Ed narrowly defeated for the post. The sibling rivalry triggered a media frenzy, but the two downplayed any question of personal or political differences. In his speech, Ed (left) warned against the war in Afghanistan's becoming "a war without end."
5 | Russia