It Just Gets Worse
Killings and crackdowns continue, with at least seven people killed during protests on June 21. In response to three months of unrest against the rule of President Bashar Assad, his regime encouraged--paid, allege dissidents--supporters to mass in the streets of the country's major cities. Violent clashes broke out between those loyal to Assad and antigovernment protesters. Human-rights activists claim that more than 1,300 people have died, mostly at the hands of state security forces, since the upheaval began in mid-March. Thousands fleeing an army offensive now wait in refugee camps across the border in Turkey--where tales emerged of mass rapes and other atrocities committed by Syrian soldiers. In a speech, Assad made vague promises for national dialogue, but few in the opposition heeded his calls, not least because the regime has shown little real willingness to engage the dissidents and more interest in killing them.
As NATO Misfires, War Grinds On
NATO's military campaign against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi got trickier after reports surfaced of wayward NATO strikes on Libyan soil. One missile hit a residential area in Tripoli, the capital, leading to civilian casualties. Elsewhere, in another aerial attack, NATO mistakenly targeted a rebel convoy on patrol. The collateral damage and friendly fire flies in the face of the mission's U.N.-sanctioned mandate, which is to protect Libyan civilians. As debate swirls in the U.S. over how to define its role in the conflict--the Obama Administration says it's not fighting a war--the bloodshed in Libya looks all the more real.
World by the Numbers
[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]
Gallons of water flushed out of a Portland, Ore., reservoir after a man urinated in the water supply
Estimated annual value of West African drug trafficking, which the U.N. says is expanding and growing more sophisticated
Age of a prisoner, the country's oldest, who was released from a life sentence on humanitarian grounds
Number of Japanese cars, arriving by ship, tested for radiation by a state agency
Proportion of Pakistanis in a poll who approved of the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden
When It Rains, It Floods
Heavy rains caused flooding over vast stretches of China, killing 175 people and forcing 1.6 million to flee their homes. The floods also destroyed 20% of vegetable crops in the hardest-hit areas, driving food prices up as much as 40%. The damage is likely to increase--annual cycles of drought and rain have been more severe in recent years, with this year's rainy season beginning early and expected to last well into September. Last year, some 230 million people were affected by the rains.
Angry but in Need of Aid