Al-Qaida commander arrested in Pakistan

Pakistani security forces working in cooperation with U.S. intelligence captured senior al-Qaida commander Younis al-Mauritani, the most important al-Qaida figure in several years to be arrested in Pakistan, officials said Monday.

Al-Mauritani, described by some to be the organization’s “foreign minister,” central to the group’s plots against the West, was detained in the western city of Quetta, along with two other al-Qaida operatives. In Washington, a U.S. official called al-Mauritani’s capture “another major blow to al-Qaida.”

Al-Qaida was already reeling from the death in May of its founder, Osama bin Laden, and the elimination, by a U.S. missile strike last month in Pakistan’s tribal area, of its new deputy leader, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, according to U.S. officials.

Al-Mauritani “was tasked personally by Osama bin Laden to focus on hitting targets of economical importance in United States of America, Europe and Australia,” said a statement from the Pakistani military. “He was planning to target United States economic interests, including gas and oil pipelines, power-generating dams, and strike ships and oil tankers through explosive-laden speed boats in international waters.”


Typhoon’s toll climbs; thousands are stranded

Rescuers and search parties scoured central Japan on Monday as the death toll from the worst typhoon to hit the country in seven years climbed to 34, adding more misery to a nation still reeling from its catastrophic tsunami six months ago.

Typhoon Talas, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm, lashed coastal areas with destructive winds and record-setting rains over the weekend before moving offshore into the Sea of Japan. In addition to the 34 dead and 55 missing, thousands were stranded as the typhoon washed out bridges, railways and roads. Tens of thousands of households were still out of electricity and land telephone lines remained disrupted Monday night.

The scenes of destruction from the typhoon were a reminder of Japan’s vulnerability as the country tries to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.


Parents who failed to slim kids down could lose them

Scottish officials say they may take four heavy children away from their parents after warnings to help their kids trim down have apparently failed.

The children are ages 1 to 11. The parents are obese and have three older children who are also heavy. For two years, the family has lived in government housing and had their eating habits scrutinized.

Last week, officials in Dundee told the family their four youngest children could be taken into foster care or adopted. A government spokesman said they would act in the children’s best interests.

In the U.S., there have been several cases where obese children have been taken into care after their parents couldn’t help them lose weight.