In brief: Attackers killed at American base
Kabul, Afghanistan – Militants assaulted the gate of an American base in eastern Afghanistan today, striking before dawn with rocket-propelled grenades and a vehicle packed with explosives.
The attackers failed to breach the gate of the base in Panjshir province’s Rakha district, though they did hit a security tower with a rocket-propelled grenade, said provincial Police Chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.
Three of the men attacked on foot, shooting, while a fourth detonated the explosives-laden vehicle outside the gate, Jangalbagh said. All four of the attackers were killed.
Jangalbagh said there was some damage to the base, but it was unclear how much. The base houses a provincial reconstruction team.
British official quits amid probe
London – Britain’s defense minister, Liam Fox, quit his post Friday after days of allegations about the influence-peddling of a close personal friend who joined key visits overseas and posed as an unofficial aide.
Fox acknowledged he had blurred the lines of his professional and private lives in allowing Adam Werritty, who had previously worked as a defense lobbyist, to organize meetings and join him during 18 trips overseas.
A government inquiry into the case will continue to investigate whether Werritty used his access and friendship with Fox for personal gain. Prime Minister David Cameron named Philip Hammond, who had been transport secretary, as Fox’s replacement.
Though he had no official or paid role with Britain’s government, Werritty – who was Fox’s best man at his 2005 wedding and previously lived at Fox’s apartment – met with the minister at least 40 times since he took office, and had distributed business cards claiming to act as his aide.
Berlusconi survives confidence vote
Rome – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly won a confidence vote in parliament Friday, but few are willing to predict that his government’s political troubles are over.
Support for Berlusconi’s center-right coalition has been waning, and the vote was prompted by parliament’s failure by one vote Tuesday to approve a routine piece of legislation. Among those absent Tuesday was Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, an indication of how political antagonism has spread to the ranks of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party.
The opposition was absent from the debate before Friday’s 316-301 vote, as it was for Berlusconi’s speech on Thursday announcing the confidence vote.
Beset by the country’s economic problems and his own legal troubles, Berlusconi, 75, was nevertheless defiant in his speech Thursday, insisting his government would pull Italy through. However, he offered few specifics.
He warned against early elections that he said would only give an opening to a “party of catastrophe makers, speculators.”