U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will meet with troops in Afghanistan today, during a visit that come days after a U.S. soldier allegedly went on a shooting spree in Kandahar that killed 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children and three women. In the trip that has been planned for months, Panetta is not scheduled to go to the district in Kandahar where the killings occurred. The Defense Secretary has stated that Sunday's shootings will not change the administration’s exit strategy from Afghanistan.
As hopes for diplomacy stall once again, the killing goes on in Syria, with a report this morning of dozens dead after an attack by pro-government militia in Homs. This latest violence comes after UN envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad twice over the weekend, but failed to reach a cease-fire agreement.
Vladamir Putin secured six more years as President of Russia after yesterday's presidential election. Putin, who served as president from 2000-2008, received more than 63 percent of the country's vote. Questions remain, however, about the fairness of yesterday's vote. The head of the major international election observer mission in Russia says there were "serious problems" in the vote, reports the AP.
Smokers going to buy a pack of cigarettes will soon be greeted with a warning label containing graphic images of dead bodies, blackened organs and women crying. As of 2011, the Food and Drug Administration will require cigarette packs and ads to show more detailed images of the consequences of smoking, and 36 images (pdf) (some of them fairly graphic) have been approved. But how effective will this approach be in preventing smokers from lighting up?