BBC news 2011-07-29

BBC News with Sue Montgomery

Taliban militants have carried out a major attack in southern Afghanistan, using multiple suicide bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. More than 20 people have been killed. During the assault in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province, a reporter for the BBC's Pashto service, Ahmed Omed Khpulwak, was shot dead. From Kabul, Bilal Sarwary.

In the chaos that followed, Afghan security forces fought with heavily armed insurgents. Eyewitnesses say Nato helicopter gunships were firing from the air. The gun battle spread to the local market, where some shopkeepers were forced to barricade themselves into their shops. Doctors in Tarin Kowt say more than 20 people were killed during the fighting, including 10 children. Amongst the dead was a BBC reporter who had been working nearby. Ahmed Omed Khpulwak had been working for the BBC in Uruzgan since 2008.

Egypt's official news agency has announced that the trial of the deposed President Hosni Mubarak on corruption charges and ordering the killing of protesters will start next week in Cairo. Here's Jon Leyne.

This decision will delight protesters and relatives of those killed in the revolution earlier this year, but they will remain sceptical until they see Hosni Mubarak in the dock in a court in Cairo. The health minister has said that the former president is now fit enough to travel from his hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh to Cairo, and this is where the trial is scheduled to start next Wednesday. A large conference centre is already being prepared. Egyptian state television will be allowed access, most probably for live broadcasting, though that has not yet been confirmed.

Hours before a key vote in Congress on the American debt crisis, leaders of the country's biggest banks have called on President Obama and lawmakers to reach a deal. They say the consequences of failure could be grave. The House of Representatives is due to vote on a Republican Party plan to raise the government's borrowing limit and cut spending. The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said most Americans understand what's at stake.

"If Congress does not compromise and does not act, that allowing the United States to default for the first time in its history would have severe economic consequences and would - everyone, every family that owns a home and has a mortgage would be affected. Every American who has a car and a car payment would be affected, a student loan, a credit card. And that's just the beginning, and Congress has a way of waiting until the last minute to do the right thing. We remain confident that it will."

A United States army serviceman has been arrested near Fort Hood military base in Texas after being found with bomb-making materials. Thirteen people were killed by an army psychiatrist at the base two years ago. Officials say the arrested man, Jason Abdo Naser, has admitted planning an attack. He was taken into custody after behaving suspiciously in a gun shop. Police say he'd been absent from another army base since early July.

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The new President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, has been sworn in, promising the poor a greater share of the benefits of economic growth. During the ceremony, he said he would govern as a moderate, promising to keep existing free market policies. He also pledged to tackle inequality and corruption.

"The extraordinary profits of the mining companies must contribute to the national effort to reduce poverty. Contracts will be respected and business will continue, but have no doubt, this significant contribution will benefit the whole country."

The hotel maid who's accused the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, of sexually assaulting her says she's been left traumatised. At a news conference convened by her supporters in New York, Nafissatou Diallo said she'd been called many bad names.

"These past two months, like I say I'm going through a lot. I was crying. My daughter told me people call you bad names. People tell bad things about you because they don't know you. You have to remember this guy, he's a powerful man. Everybody knows that. But for you, only the people that you work with or our neighbours know(s) you for those people say good things about you."

The New York authorities are considering dropping the case against Mr Strauss-Kahn because of concerns over Ms Diallo's credibility. He denies the charges.

Fresh allegations have emerged of phone hacking at the British newspaper, the News of the World. It now appears that the mother of a murdered schoolgirl, Sara Payne, may have had her mobile phone hacked by an investigator who worked for the paper. Following the abduction and murder 11 years ago, the News of the World campaigned vigorously on her behalf for paedophiles' addresses to be made public.

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