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World in brief: Final report issued on war in Lebanon

Thu., Jan. 31, 2008

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emerged relatively unscathed from the final report Wednesday on his handling of Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon, even though the inquiry criticized both the government and the army for “serious failings and flaws.”

The report stopped short of blaming Olmert personally for what many Israelis saw as a stunning debacle that emboldened the Jewish state’s enemies. A harsher indictment could have threatened Olmert’s rule and his stated goal of signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians within a year.

The head of a five-member investigative panel, retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, described a U.N.-brokered cease-fire as an “achievement for Israel.” And he said Olmert, in ordering a last-minute ground offensive, acted “out of a strong and sincere perception” of what the prime minister thought was “Israel’s interest.”

The final report stood in sharp contrast to a strongly worded interim report last April, which criticized Olmert personally for “severe failure” in “hastily” going to war.

The war erupted on July 12, 2006, when Hezbollah guerrillas crossed into Israel, killed three Israeli soldiers and captured two others.

United Nations

Ban says warming could cost trillions

Global warming could cost the world as much as $20 trillion over two decades for cleaner energy sources and do the most harm to people who can least afford to adapt, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns in a new report.

Ban’s report provides an overview of U.N. climate efforts to help the 192-nation General Assembly prepare for a key two-day climate debate in mid-February. That debate is intended to shape overall U.N. policy on climate change, including how nations can adapt to a warmer world and ways of supporting the U.N.-led negotiations toward a new climate treaty by 2009.

In his 52-page report, Ban says that global investments of $15 trillion to $20 trillion over the next 20 to 25 years may be required “to place the world on a markedly different and sustainable energy trajectory.” Today, the global energy industry spends about $300 billion a year in new plants, transmission networks and other new investment.


Canada troops may leave Afghanistan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told President Bush on Wednesday that Canada will end its military mission in Afghanistan if another NATO country does not put more soldiers in the dangerous south, officials said.

Harper’s Conservative government is under pressure to withdraw its 2,500 troops from Kandahar province, the former Taliban stronghold, after the deaths of 78 Canadian soldiers and a diplomat. The mission is set to expire in 2009 without an extension by Canadian lawmakers.

The refusal of some major European allies to send significant number of troops to the southern front lines has opened a rift within NATO.


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