U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, the head of NATO and U.S. operations in Afghanistan, has issued a new report calling for more troops, Associated Press. Q & A on troops in Afghanistan, BBC News.
Leaders from all over the world are in New York City this week for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. President Obama will chair a special Security Council session on nuclear nonproliferation, Chicago Tribune. President Obama will appear on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ tonight at 11:35pm EDT.
A charity organization in Iran is marking the end of Ramadan by bailing out 21,000 poor prisoners who had been jailed for money problems such as unpaid debts, Voice of America.
‘Mad Men ‘and ’30 Rock’ took the top Emmy’s for best drama and best comedy in last night’s 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards, New York Times. Full list of winners, Associated Press.
Hundreds of thousands enjoyed a free “Peace Without Borders” concert in Havana, Cuba on Sunday, Miami Herald.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a vote today at 10am EDT on whether to confirm potential Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor. Democrats have enough seats on the committee to confirm her. Lindsey Graham is the only Republican on the committee who has publicly said he will vote to confirm Sotomayor. The full Senate will vote on her confirmation later this week, Washington Post.
The United States has turned off an electronic sign with anti-communist messages in Havana, Cuba. The ticker was erected in 2006 by the Bush administration. Messages included quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, as well as anti-Cuba news headlines. The sign was seen by few Cubans after Castro placed dozens of flagpoles and billboards in front of it, CNN.
7 men in North Carolina have been charged with “conspiring to provide material support to foreign terrorists and to commit murder overseas.” The group, led by a Muslim convert, has amassed weapons and talked about the virtue of dying a martyr. Some of the men has traveled to the Middle East in the past few years, Washington Post.
A new study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says that texting while driving increases the chance of getting in an accident by 23 times. Driving while talking on a cell phone only increased the chance of a crash by 1.3 times, the study found, because drivers were able to keep their eyes on the road, New York Times.
The CDC says that over 9% of all medical costs, or $147 billion, in the United States are related to obesity. 1 in 3 Americans is now obese, ABC News.
Strikes by the South African Municipal Workers Union and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union have turned violent in cities across South Africa. The workers want a wage increase and more jobs, Al Jazeera.
A former U.S. State Department employee and his wife were arrested yesterday and charged with spying for Cuba for almost 30 years. Walter Kendall Myers, 72, and Gwendolyn Myers, 71, are alleged to have been Cuban agents, reportedly providing classified information to the Cuban government, CNN.
United Kingdom Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, insists he will not step down amid a global economic crisis, many high-level resignations, and a massive cabinet reshuffling. The reshuffle was said to have been an attempt to give Brown more support in the government, BBC News.
A 23-year-old rancher has won the $232.1M jackpot in the U.S. Neal Wanless of Pierre, S.D., says he will use the money to expand his family’s ranch and to help out the townspeople who helped his family. Wanless decided to choose the one-time cash prize of $118,005,530, and he will take home about $88 after taxes, USA Today.
A fire at a daycare center in northern Mexico has reportedly killed at least 27 children and injured over 50. The center was located in Hermosillo in the state of Sonora. At least 176 children were at the center when the fire broke out, and officials say the death toll will likely rise, AFP.
President Ahmadinejad of Iran and his rival in the upcoming elections, Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, took part in a heated debate on live TV today. The President accused Mousavi of lying and criticized his wife for campaigning for Mousavi, among other insults. Mousavi fired back at the President, claiming his government is repressing student protests and mocking the President for his presence on the international stage, where he is seen unfavorably. Elections take place in 10 days, BBC News.
The Organization of American States has readmitted Cuba into the organization for the first time in 47 years. Cuba, however, maintains they don’t have interest in taking part in the OAS. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a strong proponent for readmitting Cuba, and the decision was reached unanimously, but the U.S. made it clear that Cuba needed to work on their human rights policies and democratic reforms, NPR.
New reports say Air France Flight 447 likely broke apart in the air during a violent storm. New debris was found today, but the chance of finding survivors is extremely unlikely. Officials are worried the black box from the flight will not be recovered due to the rough conditions of the water in the area, AP.
CNN has a report on two Americans who were on board, a couple that were set to announcement their engagement. You can find it here.
Hundreds of thousands of people are about to become Canadian citizens, and most don’t even know it. Canada passed an amendment to the Citizenship Act that will reinstate citizenship to those who were forced to renounce it when they became citizens of foreign countries. Their children will also be granted Canadian citizenship. United States citizens are believed to be the biggest group who will be granted citizenship, WSJ.
President Obama, in his tour of Latin America, has pledged to offer Cuba “a new beginning.” Relations have been more than strained between the two countries since the ’60s when Fidel Castro assumed power. Cuba has partnered with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela in recent years to help one another, with Cuba supplying Venezuela with trained doctors, teachers, and medical personnel and Venezuela giving Cuba oil, among other trades, BBC News.
As we reported on our Twitter yesterday, 1500 farmers in India have committed mass suicide in the face of growing debt. Drought contributed to the farmers’ debt and less crops mean more debt for farmers in the region, Belfast Telegraph.
The EPA has officially concluded that greenhouse gases are a health hazard, leading the way for stricter regulations. The agency has the power to regulate car emissions and where we get out power from, thus big environment-friendly changes could finally be coming in the U.S., NPR.
For the first time in decades, Americans will be able to make unlimited trips to Cuba and the 1.5 million Americans with family in the communist country will be allowed to send money back to their families. The Obama administration announced the new policies today to try to eliminate some of the dependence of Cubans on the Castro regime, MSNBC.
Two people have been killed in Thai protests. Anti-government protests have been occurring for days now and violence between protesters and police is worsening. Today, protesters set cars on fire, a government building was torched, and Molotov cocktails have been used, Sky News. In pictures: Thai crackdown, BBC News.
A fire in a Polish hostel for homeless people has killed at least 21 people and injured dozens more. Despite the fast response from fire trucks, witnesses say the fire took over the three-story building rapidly. The hostel housed people who were waiting for housing by the government, and some victims were there to visit family, BBC News.
In good economic news for a change, Goldman Sachs has posted a $1.8 profit for the first quarter of 2009. The company has received $10 billion from the government and vows to pay them back, with the profit being a good step in fulfilling that promise, Wa Po.
The Guardian UK has obtained footage of Ian Tomlinson being pushed to the ground by police, the man who collapsed and died on the first day of the G20 protests. In the footage, Tomlinson is walking home from work when police come upon him and knock him over. A protester is seen helping Tomlinson up, Guardian.
Fidel Castro has met with 3 U.S. lawmakers, his first meeting with American politicians since he became ill almost three years ago. The 3 are members of the Congressional Black Caucus and will give a report of the meeting to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. There have been reports over the years that Castro is gravely ill, but Congresswoman Laura Richardson claimed he looked healthy and energetic, NY Times.
Protesters in Moldova have rioted against Parliament and stormed numerous building in the capital city of Chisinau. The protests result from accusations that the country’s recent elections were rigged and distrust of the government in one of the poorest European nations, LA Times.
Updates on today’s breaking news stories:
As reported earlier, central Italy has again been rocked by a 5.6 magnitude aftershock. There were reports of fresh buildings collapses and the death toll has risen to 235, Corriere Della Sera.
President Obama, in a suprise visit to Baghdad, was eagerly welcomed by American troops to who he spoke to, saying that it was time for Iraq to stand on its own feet, MSNBC.
14 dead and 4 in critical condition after yesterday’s shooting in Binghamton, New York. The gunman blocked the back exit of the American Civic Association, an immigration services center, with a car before entering through the front door. Carrying a high-powered rifle, he shot 13 and held 40 people hostage before committing suicide. The shooter has been identified as Linh Voong of Johnson City, NY who may have been distraught over losing his job, Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin. Account of a hostage’s experience. A member of the Taliban has claimed responsibility, but experts believe the shooter was acting on his own and did not have a political motivation for the attack, Daily Mail.
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen will be the next Secretary-General of NATO. His selection was opposed by Turkey, the only Muslim majority member of NATO, due to the controversy over cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed published in Denmark in 2005. Canadian defense minister, Peter MacKay, had offered himself as an alternative candidate, Globe and Mail.
North Korean missile launch delayed, probably due to poor weather conditions. Japan is poised to react to the launch and will attempt to shoot the missile down. North Korea maintains that the missile is simply a satellite, National Public Radio.
President Obama will ease restrictions on travel to Cuba for Cuban-Americans, USA Today. Sidenote: One of the stranger things about living in Canada is listening to people talk about their recent vacation in Cuba.
1 in 10 Americans, 32.2 million overall, now on food stamps, Reuters.
President Obama is expected to nominate University of Michigan professor Robert M. Groves to be the next director of the Census Bureau. The U.S. Consitution calls for a census every ten years and the results of the census are used to apportion seats in the U.S. Congress and electoral votes. With high stakes in the 2010 census, Professor Groves may face increased scrutiny in his Senate confirmation hearings, Senatus.