Oct 17 2012 By Cheryl Mullin
AMERICA: A fired-up President Barack Obama persistently attacked Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a critical debate, offering a striking contrast from his listless performance two weeks ago that appeared to damage his re-election prospects.
Mr Obama blasted Mr Romney’s economic plans as damaging to the middle class and accused him of flip-flopping on issues like energy and gun control.
LIBYA: Libyan rebels appear to have executed scores of fighters loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, and probably the dictator himself, when they overran his hometown a year ago, a human rights group said.
The report by Human Rights Watch on alleged rebel abuses that followed the October 2011 capture of the city of Sirte in the final major battle of the eight-month civil war is one of the most detailed descriptions of war crimes committed by the militias that toppled Gaddafi, and which still play a major role in Libyan politics today.
RUSSIA: In a new sign of a widening crackdown on Russian opposition, a criminal investigation has begun into leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and several other opposition activists for allegedly plotting mass riots.
Mr Udaltsov, a 35-year-old, shaven-headed Communist who wore a Stalin T-shirt for his wedding, has been one of the most recognisable faces of last winter’s anti-government protests in Moscow, which were peaceful.
JAPAN: Japan and China are trading a new round of criticism after Japanese military aircraft spotted seven Chinese warships in waters off a southern island not far from a chain of isles at the centre of a heated territory dispute.
China said the ships were on a routine training mission.
The Chinese ships were sighted about 30 miles from the island of Yonaguni, in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, according to Japan’s Defence Ministry.
BURMA: Burma has signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast to allow the excavation of dozens of vintage Spitfire fighter planes that have been buried since the Second World War.
The British Embassy said that the agreement was reached after discussions between president Thein Sein and David Cameron during his visit to Burma earlier this year.
EUROPE: European farmers have warned that drought, cold and hail have led to the worst wine harvest in up to half a century.
Farmers union expert Thierry Coste said that France’s grape harvest is expected to slump by almost 20% compared to last year. Italy’s grape crop showed a 7% drop - on top of a decline in 2011.
NETHERLANDS: Police hunting the art thieves who stole paintings worth tens of millions from a Rotterdam museum say they are following up several tips from the public.
A spokeswoman said a nationally televised appeal for witnesses to the theft of seven pictures from the Kunsthal gallery has had a good response.