– President Obama, speaking from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan last night following the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that sets the terms for relations after the departure of U.S. troops in 2014, told an American audience that he had traveled to Afghanistan to celebrate a new era in the relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan: “a future in which war ends, and a new chapter begins.”
– On a background briefing call with reporters, two Obama administration officials said they “continue to remain in contact with various Taliban leaders and we have several indications of intense interest in the reconciliation process.”
– Less than two hours after Obama left Afghanistan, a suicide bomber struck in the capitol, killing seven.
– Blind Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, after receiving assurances from the Chinese government that he and his family can live a normal life, left the U.S. embassy in Beijing for a local hospital, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries sustained during his escape from house arrest more than a week ago.
– A sit-in outside the Egyptian Defense Ministry in Cairo today resulted in the death of at least 11 people after men armed with guns and handmade explosives attacked demonstrators protesting the way Egypt’s generals have been ruling the country.
– A spokesman for the U.N.’s World Food Programme said the agency was concerned that in Syria “as many as half a million people are finding it difficult to get enough to eat, especially in areas most affected by violence.”
– After agreeing to an African Union brokered cease-fire to a recent escalation, South Sudan’s military said it was preparing for retaliatory strikes and an envoy in London complained that international pressure hadn’t stopped attacks from the north.
– The Israeli military announced today that it has closed an investigation into the shelling deaths of 21 members of a single Palestinian family and will not be filings charges, exonerating Israeli soldiers from any responsibility in the killings in one of the gravest incidents in the 2009 war in the Gaza Strip.