The Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that “Sri Lanka on Wednesday freed nearly 600 Hindu and Catholic priests who were held in internment camps with ethnic Tamils displaced by fighting between troops and separatist rebels, officials said. The clergy were allowed to leave the camps in the northern district of Vavuniya, where 300,000 inmates are detained under tight security to be screened for remaining Tamil Tiger rebels.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a four-day European tour in London on August 25, meeting with Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The two leaders reportedly discussed Jewish settlements (including those in East Jerusalem) and Iran's nuclear program.
With about 10 percent of the votes in Afghanistan's presidential election having been counted on August 25, incumbent President Hamid Karzai and his leading challenger Abdullah Abdullah each had approximately 40 percent of the nationwide vote, with 40.6 percent (212,927 votes) for Karzai and 38.7 percent (202,889 votes) for Abdullah.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" program on August 23, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said the situation in Afghanistan "is serious and it is deteriorating." Mullen added: "I've said that over the last couple of years, that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated. Their tactics just in my recent visits out there and talking with our troops certainly indicate that."
Citizens of Afghanistan — and the rest of the world — awaited the results of the nation's presidential election the day after the August 20 voting. Early voting results were initially expected on August 22, but Daoud Ali Najafi, the chief electoral officer, said that results won't be made public until the 25th.
Commentary from Myanmar's military junta appearing in three official newspapers on August 20 proposed that western nations end their economic sanctions of the Southeast Asian nation. The sanctions were levied in response to the many reported human rights violations committed by the regime in the nation also known as Burma.
The Russian-manned Finnish cargo ship Arctic Sea has been intercepted by the Russian navy 300 miles off Cape Verde, Times Online reported on August 17. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has told Russia’s President Medvedev: “The crew are all alive and well.”
In his captivating book The Screwtape Letters, the great philosopher C.S. Lewis noted that change is meant to be a means to an end and that it is only the destroyers of civilization who try to convince us that it is an end unto itself.