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Kremlin Says Modernization Requires Political Competition

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says opposition parties and increased political competition can help modernize Russia.  He issued the call for reform in a live, nationally-televised meeting of the State Council, in which representatives of small Russian parties condemned media censorship and the ruling United Russia Party.  Russian President Dmitri Medvedev told a Kremlin meeting of various political party leaders and governors that Russia's political system must become more flexible to reflect society's growing diversity.  He says that requires cooperation rather than commands. The Kr

Zimbabwe Facing Another Drought

Farmers in Zimbabwe say they face another difficult agricultural season, as the dry spell that has hit the country continues. Weeks into the agricultural season, the rains are nowhere near normal and the crops are showing it.  Zimbabwe Farmers Union Director Paul Zakariya tells VOA even crops that normally thrive under dry conditions are feeling the heat. "We are looking at maize [corn], we are looking at cotton and, in some instances, it's also the tobacco and the other small grains which naturally will be resisting or would be tolerant but they are already succumbing," he said. The

Petraeus Accepts Some Pakistani Deals with Border Tribes

The commander of U.S. forces in Central Asia and the Middle East, General David Petraeus, says Pakistan will likely have to make some deals with tribes along its border with Afghanistan in an effort to consolidate gains its military forces have made, but can not sustain on their own.  Such deals have failed in the past, and U.S.

IJC Operational Update, Jan. 22

An Afghan-international security force searched a compound north of the village of Nakhonay, in the Panjwa'I district of Kandahar and detained insurgents. The joint force also found multiple weapons, including automatic rifles, a hand grenade and Taliban propaganda. Also in Kandahar last night, an Afghan-international security force searched compound north of the village of Khenjakak, in the Panjwa'i district and found a building with extensive IED components, including high explosives.

Children Treated After Gun Battle

ISAF forces operating in the Nawah-ye Barakzai district of Helmand province yesterday engaged a number of insurgents with small arms fire after being fired upon. The insurgents broke contact and fled the area on motorcycles. Three children were seriously injured in the firefight. ISAF forces broke contact with the insurgents, provided immediate medical attention and transported a 5 year old boy and a 6 year old girl to a nearby medical facility.

U.S. forces in Haiti to grow to 20,000

Roughly 20,000 U.S. troops will be supporting relief efforts in Haiti by Jan. 24, military officials said, adding to the 13,000-strong American force currently there. Comprising the force will be the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade and thousands of other troops operating afloat off the Haitian coast and on shore, distributing provisions, assisting in medical operations and helping to maintain security.