Pakistan: Benazir Bhutto Assassinated.

Today’s big story–and no doubt one of the biggest stories in a long, long time–is that Benazir Bhutto, opposition leader and former prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated this morning in a bombing that killed at least 20 other people. International leaders, including President Bush, are condemning the attack.

 

No one claimed responsibility for the killing. But suspicion was likely to fall on resurgent Islamic militants linked to al Qaida and the Taliban who hated Bhutto for her close ties to the Americans and support for the war on terrorism. A local Taliban leader reportedly threatened to greet Bhutto’s return to the country from exile in October with suicide bombings.

Bhutto had been campaigning for the parliamentary elections that are scheduled for January 8, but some are suggesting that those elections be postponed.

We’re still trying to track down any local gatherings, vigils, rallies, etc, so if you know of any events, let us know, please.

Bangladesh adviser quits over artefact theft.

The adviser to Bangladesh’s army-backed interim government for education and cultural affairs, Ayub Quadri, resigned on Wednesday amid an inquiry into the theft of two rare archaeological artefacts, his family and friends said.

They said Quadri tendered his resignation citing unexplained personal grounds but government officials said it was linked to the theft of two statues of Hindu Lord Vishnu on Saturday.

The antiques were lost while being boarded in a Paris-bound plane at the Dhaka airport, which was waiting to fly a consignment of antiques from Bangladesh for an exhibition at the Guimet museum in Paris.

Officials at the Dhaka National Museum said the Vishnu antiques were sculptured about 1,500 years ago and were among the rarest archaeological objects in Bnagladesh.

Quadri later told reporters he would share responsibility for the loss of the artefacts and might consider quitting his government post.

The first consignment of artefacts was already flown to Paris by a French aircraft before authorities stopped the second shipment following detection of the theft.

“The government has decided to regret to the Guimet Museum in Paris that it would not be possible to go ahead … as planned,” said a statement from the office of the head of the interim government on Tuesday.

The decision was made as opposition from art lovers and conservers against the shipment of the rare artefacts to France had intensified following theft of two Vishnu statues.

Police detained 15 suspects and were interrogating them.The art lovers had earlier protested against the shipment as they were worried artefacts might be stolen during shipment.