Top of the Morning: Afghan Hotel Attack; Kofi Annan’s Last Ditch Diplomacy; Rio+20 Updates

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Taliban Attack Popular Hotel Outside Kabul

The Taliban mounted a prolonged siege of Qargha lake and the Spozhmai hotel, a popular local tourist destination. “Twenty people were killed when seven Taliban militants shot their way into a much-visited lakeside resort here and took scores of hostages during an 11-hour siege, Afghan officials said on Friday. The 20 victims included the hotel’s manager, several private security guards and a police officer, officials said, and the seven attackers died as Afghan security forces fought their way into the compound. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that Afghans drank alcohol there and that there was prostitution and dancing. ‘These acts are illegal and strictly prohibited in Islam,’ said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman. He added that: ‘Women dancers were sexually misused there.’” (NYT

Details Emerge of “Last Chance” Diplomatic Plan for Syria

With his Syria peace plan effectively dead, Kofi Annan is preparing a last ditch effort to bring about a peaceful political transition in Syria.  ”Annan wants to get Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s last major ally, and the United States, which has called for the Syrian leader to step down, and other key nations behind an effort to bring Assad into talks, diplomats and officials said. The UN-Arab League envoy hopes to unveil his new plan at a meeting in Geneva on June 30, according to UN diplomats. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke with Annan on Wednesday, said the envoy is working on a ‘political transition roadmap’…’He’s going to be making another proposal to the Russians, the Turks and other interested groups to try to get them to agree on this roadmap,’ Clinton told reporters…Annan wants ‘some kind of action plan that will give teeth to the six point plan, and that will force the parties to stop killing each other and start moving toward a political settlement of this crisis,’ [Annan spokesperson said.]”  (AFP

What’s Next for Egypt: Three Scenarios

As we wait…and wait…and wait…for Egypt’s military rulers to weigh in on the results of Egypt’s hotly contested election between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and Mubarak-era holdover Tariq Shafiq the BBC offers an excellent sketch of what to expect should one of those candidates be selected. Or, something else may happen.  (BBC  Meanwhile, protestors gathered in Tahrir Square over night. (Reuters

Rio+20 Brief

Sustainable Energy for All. My guess is that in the near future, most will have forgotten about the Rio+20 outcome document. Rather, the real legacy of this conference will be Sustainable Energy for All. This is a initiative launched by Ban Ki Moon with three goals:  achieve universal access to modern energy by 2030; double the rate of improvement in energy efficient by 2030; and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. A side event on Thursday amounted to a pledging conference for “SE4ALL” in which governments, multilateral development banks and the private sector made hundreds of commitments to advance these three goals. The USA, for its part, committed $2 billion to these goals, a nice list of which can be here. When we look back at Rio+20, we’ll probably remember it as the conference that gave us SE4ALL — Mark Leon Goldberg, down in Rio.


Every global meeting has to have its protesters. The ones in Rio are naturally unhappy with the negotiated text. (Guardian

Also disappointed by the draft outcome document are Greenpeace, WWF and Oxfam. (Guardian

Women activists are disappointed that ‘reproductive rights’ did not make it into the draft document. (Economic Times

Guardian is again keeping a running diary from Rio’s action on Thursday. Here’s the recap: