– By a 61 to 37 vote over objections by the Obama administration, the U.S. Senate voted to keep a provision in the annual defense budget authorization bill that would force many terrorism-linked suspects to be handed over to military custody, thereby closing the door on civilian trials.
– The Senate voted down an amendment that would have removed the provision from the bill that authorizes the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” to detain suspected terrorists and instead allow further hearings on how detainee policy should change.
– The Obama administration dispatched top officials Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton to Iraq and Myanmar, respectively, on missions to shore up post-U.S.-withdrawal relations in the former case and check up on early reforms and push for more in the latter.
– After tensions flared with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan following a raid that killed 24 of its soldiers, Pakistan’s cabinet decided to boycott an international conference starting next week in Bonn, Germany, on the future of its war-torn Central Asian neighbor despite pleas from the Afghan government.
– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is preparing legislation to reverse up to $600 million in automatic defense budget cuts following the failure of a special congressional debt-reduction panel to reach an agreement.
– The Muslim Brotherhood is leading in initial results from Egypt’s parliamentary elections but judges overseeing the counting report that the Islamist party is facing stiff competition from both more hard line groups and a liberal-secular alliance.
– Turkey froze assets of Syrian officials, suspended ties with the country’s central bank and banned all military sales, in a series of moves coming on top of sanctions imposed by the Arab League, the U.S. and the E.U.
– North Korea yesterday reported progress in building a new nuclear reactor and producing enriched uranium but also appeared to invited international inspectors to verity that the facilities are for peaceful purposes.