RSS
10 things you need to know today: July 8, 2012
Officials pledge $16 billion to Afghanistan, Clinton says Assad's days are numbered, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Hillary Clinton speaks to the media on May 24 at the State Department: Clinton had a whirlwind weekend in which she made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, and joined other world leaders at at conference in Tokyo, where $16 billion was pledged to aid Afghan citizens.
Hillary Clinton speaks to the media on May 24 at the State Department: Clinton had a whirlwind weekend in which she made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, and joined other world leaders at at conference in Tokyo, where $16 billion was pledged to aid Afghan citizens.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1. WORLD LEADERS PLEDGE $16 BILLION TO AFGHANISTAN
At an international conference held in Tokyo on Sunday, world leaders pledged $16 billion for civilian needs in Afghanistan, but for the first time, predicating the release of 20 percent of the funds on Afghanistan's ability to root out government corruption and be more accountable about how the money is disbursed. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — fresh off a surprise visit to Kabul on Saturday — said that the lives of ordinary Afghans must improve. On Sunday, three roadside bombs exploded in southern Afghanistan killing 18 people. [New York Times (2), Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. CLINTON: ASSAD REGIME'S DAYS ARE NUMBERED
As Syria's military began holding widescale exercises to simulate defense against outside "aggression," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said from an international conference in Tokyo that the Syrian regime's "days are numbered." Clinton noted that a series of recent defections shows that "the sand is running out of the hourglass." "The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there's a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region," she said. [CNN, Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. LIBERAL PARTY CLAIMS LEAD IN LIBYAN ELECTIONS
The liberal Alliance of National Forces, led by former Libyan rebel Prime Minister Faisal Krekshi, said Sunday that the party's unofficial preliminary results put it in the lead in the country's landmark parliamentary elections, which were held Saturday — the first vote held since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted. The head of the election commission refused to confirm Krekshi's claims. [Associated Press
………………………………………………………………………………

4. DEATH TOLL IN RUSSIA FLOODS REACHES 150
At least 150 people have been killed by severe floods in the Black Sea region of southern Russia. President Vladimir Putin flew to the area and ordered an investigation into whether more could have been done to prevent deaths. Torrential rains dropped more than a foot of rain in less than 24 hours, an amount that's five times the monthly average. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. GOOGLE ANNOUNCES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CAMPAIGN
Google launched a campaign called "Legalize Love" on Saturday, to promote the legalization of same-sex marriage around the world. "Google intends to eventually expand the initiative to every country where the company has an office, and will focus on places with homophobic cultures, where anti-gay laws exist." [Dot429]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. AMAZON SAID TO BE MAKING SMARTPHONE
According to a person associated with Chinese mobile phone manufacturer FoxConn, Amazon is reportedly developing a smartphone that would compete with Apple's iPhone and Android devices. Rumors about Amazon's potential foray into the smartphone market have been swirling for some time. The move would give Amazon "a wider range of low-priced hardware devices that bolster its strategy of making money from digital books, songs, and movies." [Bloomberg
………………………………………………………………………………

7. "INTERNET DOOMSDAY" APPROACHES
Thousands of people could be without internet access on Monday if their computers were infected with the DNSChanger trojan malware over the past two years. Computer owners can check whether their machines are affected by going to this site, which detects the malware and gives instructions on how to get rid of it. [Forbes]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. SWIRLING WATERS CAUSE ATLANTIC PLANKTON BOOM
According to a study published in the journal Science, swirling whirlpools of water, or eddies, are responsible for the booming growth of colorful plankton blooms in the North Atlantic. In the bloom, "which takes place each spring and early summer when the sun is far enough above the horizon to fuel photosynthesis, an immense number of phytoplankton burst into color." The newly discovered mechanism explains the timing of the spring plankton bloom, known to mariners and fishermen for centuries. [OurAmazingPlanet]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. BARNEY FRANK WEDS LONGTIME PARTNER
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) married his longtime partner Jim Ready in Newton, Mass., on Saturday. The ceremony was conducted by Gov. Deval Patrick (D). Frank, 72, has served in Congress since 1981 and was one of the first openly gay politicians in national office. [Boston Globe]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. POLICE CHANGE NATALIE WOOD DEATH CERTIFICATE
The death certificate for American actress Natalie Wood has been changed to list her drowning death more than 30 years ago as "undetermined" instead of "accidental," say members of her family. According to TMZ, the change was made late last month, in part because some of the bruises on Wood's body were inconsistent with accidental drowning. Police reopened the investigation into Wood's death in November. The 43-year-old actress, who was married to actor Robert Wagner, died of drowning after falling off a boat anchored off Catalina Island in 1981. [UPI]

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week