News in Brief: Lebanese “Unity Government” Collapses Over UN Probe, and More

Lebanese Government Collapses Over UN Probe

The AP reports that Lebanon’s “year-old unity government collapsed Wednesday after Hezbollah ministers and their allies resigned over tensions stemming from a UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.” The tribunal is expected to “name members of Hezbollah in upcoming indictments” despite insistence by Iran and Syria, which back Hezbollah, that “the Western-backed prime minister [Saad Hariri] … reject any findings by the court even before it announced any indictments.”

Activists Across the Nation Call for Close of Guantanamo Bay and End of Torture

Activists across the United States called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay and end of torture yesterday, according to Democracy Now!. Organized by the group Witness Against Torture (WAT), nearly 200 activists in Washington, DC, dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods and marched from The White House to the Department of Justice Robert F. Kennedy building, where they blocked three entrances for an hour and a half. There were no arrests. In Chicago, ten activists were arrested outside of the Federal Building while activists working in solidarity with WAT were also reported to have demonstrated in Miami and Madison, Wisconsin.

Police Visited Loughner’s Home Prior to Rampage; Giffords’ Survivability Said to Be “101%”

According to The New York Times, the police visited Jared Loughner at his home numerous times preceding “the attack here on Saturday that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and six others dead.” While details of the visit have not been released, spokesperson Jason Ogan “said he did not know what the calls were about — they could possibly have been minor, even trivial matters — or whether they involved Jared Loughner or another member of the household.”

Meanwhile doctors are reporting that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ “chances of survival were certain. She is able to breathe on her own, although she remains on a ventilator as a precaution.” While doctors remain cautiously optimistic, as well as private, about her status, G. Michael Lemole Jr., the hospital’s chief of neurosurgery, believes, “as long as we don’t backslide, and as long as she holds her own, that’s good. That keeps us hopeful. But we have to play this really according to her timeline, not ours.” Five other people injured in the shooting remain in the hospital.

Afghan Bomber Kills Two, While Bombs Across Afghanistan Kill More

The Los Angeles Times reports that bombs killed nearly a dozen people across Afghanistan. In Kabul, a suicide bomber on motorbike “blew himself up next to a minibus carrying members of Afghanistan’s main intelligence service on Wednesday,” the second attack in eight days in Afghanistan’s capital. Meanwhile “a remote-controlled bomb killed the deputy intelligence chief in the eastern province of Kunar, along with his driver.” NATO forces report, “three of its troops were killed Wednesday by an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistanin, and a fourth in the south, also in an IED blast.”