Iran not cowed: Iran has shrugged off the latest round of U.N. sanctions with disdain, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describing them as “used napkins that need to be thrown in the garbage can.” The U.N. Security Council voted last week to prohibit the sale of heavy weaponry, such as missiles and helicopters, to Iran, and to freeze the assets of many Iranian individuals and companies. It’s the fourth round of sanctions since Iran’s secret nuclear program was revealed in 2002, and comes after months of lobbying by the U.S. to get Russian and Chinese support. But Ahmadinejad said the five permanent members of the Security Council, including the U.S., Russia, and China, were seeking to “safeguard their nuclear monopoly” and had lost all credibility. Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the country was already planning another uranium enrichment plant.
Uzbeks flee: Kyrgyzstan, home to U.S. and Russian military bases, erupted in ethnic violence this week as Kyrgyz mobs armed with military machine guns and sniper rifles rampaged through ethnic Uzbek villages in the south, killing scores of people and burning their homes. Tens of thousands of Uzbeks, who make up about one-seventh of the population of Kyrgyzstan, fled to neighboring Uzbekistan, where aid groups warned of a humanitarian crisis in the refugee camps. The Kyrgyz government said supporters of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, ousted in a bloody coup in April, had provoked the unrest, although Bakiyev denied that from his exile in Belarus. The government detained more than 100 people on suspicion of fomenting unrest, saying that “third parties” had organized the uprising; it appealed to Russia and other countries for troops to help restore order.
American vigilante: An American construction worker who thinks of himself as a real-life Rambo was arrested in Pakistan this week, carrying a sword and a gun and saying he was “on a mission to decapitate” Osama bin Laden. Gary Brooks Faulkner, 52, has gone to Pakistan to seek bin Laden seven times since 9/11, his brother said, describing him as a Rambo or a Clint Eastwood who is “doing it in real life, not the big screen.” Pakistani police tracked down Faulkner just a few miles from the Afghan border. In addition to the weapons, he was carrying night-vision goggles, a Bible, and Christian books. “God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him,” he told police. The U.S. government has offered a bounty of $50 million to anyone who captures or kills the al Qaida leader.
Helping the Taliban? Pakistan has angrily denied fresh allegations that its spy agency is still funding and training the Afghan Taliban. A report by Harvard fellow Matt Waldman, released this week by the London School of Economics, said that Inter-Services Intelligence not only provides “sanctuary and very substantial financial, military, and logistical support” for the Taliban, but even has its own seat on the Taliban’s leadership council. And it’s not a case of the ISI going rogue: The report said the Pakistani government—including President Asif Ali Zardari—fully supported the agency’s activities. The government called the allegations “malicious and baseless” and “absolutely spurious.”
Priorities straight: The government of Bangladesh has ordered factories to shut down and shopping malls to close every evening during the World Cup so that there will be enough electricity available for people to watch the soccer games on television. The order came after a power outage interrupted the transmission of a game last weekend, prompting hundreds of angry fans to attack power transfer stations. “If the industries are kept closed, one-third of the electricity consumption will be saved, and we can all enjoy the World Cup,” said Alamgir Kabir, head of the Bangladesh Power Development Board. Bangladeshis aren’t watching their own team, though. Ranked 157th in the world, it didn’t qualify for this year’s finals.
U.S. teen rescued: Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old American girl trying to sail solo around the world, was rescued in the Indian Ocean last week after her boat was damaged in a storm. Sunderland set off a distress beacon after 30-foot waves snapped off the Wild Eyes’ mast and killed its satellite connection. Australian rescuers located the boat in just two days, but the effort cost an estimated $300,000, and nearly took the life of a rescuer who fell into the heaving seas. The girl defended her parents against widespread criticism of their decision to let her attempt the journey. “I’ve sailed my whole life and I do know what I’m doing out there,” she said on her blog. Her parents admitted they had shopped the idea of a documentary or reality show on the family, but said no deal had been made.