As the diplomatic summit on the Syria crisis got underway in Switzerland on Wednesday, reports of the suspected "systematic killings" of 11,000 prisoners heightened the urgency of the proceedings.
The new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al Muhajer, claimed responsibility for the killings, dealing a setback to U.S. efforts to seize momentum against Al Qaeda in the wake of killing Muhajer's predecessor, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Meanwhile, violence continued unabated in Iraq, with at least 18 people killed in attacks nationwide.
Pioneering war zone journalist Kevin Sites tells the story of a 12-year-old Afghan girl who was savagely beaten and tortured for years by her in-laws. But wonderfully, the story ends on a note of optimism. (You can even e-mail the girl here. Or at this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org)