Following yesterday’s withdrawal of challenger Abdullah Abdullah from the Afghan run-off presidential election, the election was called off and the Afghan Election Committee declared incumbent President Hamid Karzai the winner, BBC News.
34 people have died in a suicide bombing attack near Pakistan’s Army headquaters in Rawalpindi, Voice of America. Pakistan is offering rewards totaling $5m U.S. for information that leads to the capture or killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, the top Taliban commander in Pakistan, and his 18 lieutenants, AFP. Reports from the field with the Pakistan Army’s mission in South Waziristan, CNN International.
BBC News has the story of a 14-year-old b0y whose family was visiting Peshawar for a wedding last week. He lost nine family members who had gone to the market where suicide bombers detonated a bomb that killed over 100, watch his story.
Voters in Maine will have a say on whether gay marriage will continue in the state. A no vote on Question 1 will allow gay marriage to continue, Bangor Daily News.
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah may boycott next week’s run-off election. The run-off election follows the August 20 presidential election which was beset by fraud and other irregularities. Abdullah is calling for Independent Election Commission chief Azizullah Lodin to be replaced before the run-off election between him and current President Hamid Karzai, Voice of America. Q & A on the Afghan election, BBC News.
Six militants have been arrested in last week’s attack on a United Nations guest house in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed 5, Reuters.
An Iraqi being held on suspicion of involvement in last week’s deadly car bombings in one of the most secure zones in Baghdad has died while in custody. The man grabbed a security officer’s gun and shot the security officer before being fatally shot by another officer, CNN International.
The independent election commission in charge of last month’s elections in Afghanistan has annulled votes from 447 polling stations because of fraud. Current President Hamid Karzai is leading with about 3/4 of votes counted but he does not yet have the 50% majority he needs to avoid a run-off election, Al Jazeera.
Canada’s Globe and Mail has a series of reports from North Korea by reporter Mark MacKinnon and photographer Susan Gallagher, Day 1, Day 2, and what North Koreans think about the rest of the world.
New scheme from Wall Street: “Wall Street bankers plan to buy life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash and package hundreds or thousands of them together into bonds,” New York Times. “The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.”
White House environmental advisor Van Jones has resigned after controversy stemming from statements he made during the George W. Bush administration, Washington Post.
Today is the start of dolphin hunting season in Japan, but hunters may be staying at home thanks, in part, to The Cove, an undercover documentary about the dolphin industry, NPR.
Today is the 50th anniversary of Hawaii becoming a state, but celebrations will be low-key. Some native Hawaiians regret that Hawaii lost its independence, USA Today.
At least 4 police officers are dead in separate suicide bombing attacks in Grozny, Chechnya. The attacks follow a massive suicide truck bombing in Ingushetia earlier in the week where 25 people were killed and over 250 injured, New York Times.
Controversy continues to surround the release of convicted Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Critics assert that al-Megrahi’s release was influenced by business concerns, in particular the UK’s interest in Libya’s oil reserves. In April, the UK and Libya signed a prisoner transfer deal that would have allowed al-Megrahi to serve out his sentence in a Libya prison. There are 26 Libyans in UK prisons. Al-Megrahi was the only Libyan prisoner in Scotland and the only prisoner convicted of a terrorism-related offense, New York Times.
While still denying that Taliban leader in Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud has died in a drone airstrike, deputy leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad said he has taken over command, Al Jazeera.
Both current President Hamid Karzai and leading challenger Abdullah Abdullah have claimed victory in yesterday’s Afghan election. The votes are being counted and the results should be released next week. Voters will have until September 17 to make complaints before the election results are final. About 26 people died in Afghanistan due to violence by insurgents yesterday. The voter turnout is estimated at between 40% and 50%, Guardian.
A North Korean delegation laid a wreath at the memorial altar for former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung who, in 2000, was the first head of state to meet with his North Korean counterpart since the Korean War. After escalating tensions, the visit could be a sign that North Korea is open to relaxing relations, Yonhap.
In-depth look at the 46 million (about 15% of the total U.S. population) individuals in America who are uninsured, NPR.
15 million people in Afghanistan were eligible to vote at 7,000 polling stations today in presidential and provincial races, but media reports indicate the turnout was low. The vote came amid violence and heavy security. 2 suspected suicide bombers were shot dead in the country’s capital of Kabul shortly after polls opened this morning. Voter turnout was higher in the northern part of the country, which is relatively peaceful, than in the southern part where the Taliban had said it would target anyone who participated in the election. Two people with ink-stamped fingers showing they had voted were said to have been hanged in Kandahar, New York Times. Photo Gallery of the election, BBC News.
11 Iraqi security officers have been detained for questioning after yesterday’s attacks near the heavily fortified Green Zone that killed at least 100 people and injured more than 500 in Baghdad yesterday. The kind of trucks that were used by the bombers are not allowed inside the security zone, Voice of America.
Over 1,300 children in Wenping township in Hunan province in China have lead poisoning due to fumes from a nearby manganese processing plant, Associated Press.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops Forbes magazine’s Most Powerful Women list for the 4th year in a row, Wall Street Journal.
The New York Times reports that the CIA outsourced assassinations to private security firm Blackwater (now Xe Services). It is unclear if any assassinations were actually ever carried out, New York Times.
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people has been released from prison in Scotland on “compassionate grounds.” Al-Megrahi is suffering from prostate cancer and is not expected to have long to live. Reactions to the release, Reuters.