Afghan President Hamid Karzai was sworn in for his second term today. Karzai was declared the winner of the August 20 vote despite widespread fraud. A run-off was set to occur between Karzai and his nearest vote-getting opponent, but his opponent dropped out because it would have been too dangerous for voters to go to the polls again, CNN. Corruption in Afghanistan is still a major problem, BBC News.
A U.S. federal court has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for overseeing physical infrastructure in many areas in the U.S., was responsible for the levy breach that occurred during New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The ruling is important because many homeowners found after the storm that their homeowner’s insurance would not cover the damages because the levy breach was a man-made disaster, CNN.
The U.N. says that women in the developing world will be particularly affected by global climate change because they are the primary caregivers of often large families. The Africa director of the U.N. Population Fund called for more availability of family planning resources for African women, Voice of America.
Controversy has erupted over the qualifying match between France and Ireland for a spot at the 2010 World Cup. France won the match after a handball helped the team score a goal in the final seconds. The referee did not call the handball and the score was allowed to stand, sending France to the World Cup, Associated Press. Calls have been made in recent years for football to add an instant replay option on close calls, but the current organizer of the 2010 World Cup opposes the practice, USA Today. The World Cup will be held in South Africa next year, FIFA official website.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 today to approve the Democratic sponsored healthcare plan. The bill, which will cost an estimated $829 billion, seeks to provide insurance to 29 million uninsured Americans. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the lone Republican to vote in favor of the plan, Chicago Tribune.
Israeli President Shimon Peres has warned that Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into a “powder keg.” His accusation comes after an explosion at the home of a member of Hezbollah. One person was wounded in the explosion, but the UN is investigating whether the home was being used to store weapons. In 2006, a 34-day conflict between the two countries left 1,200 Lebanese dead, mostly citizens, as well as 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, BBC News.
The UN says they have only raised a quarter of the donations needed to aid typhoon and landslide victims in the Philippines. The group had appealed for $74 million, but have so far raised only $19 million. At least 650 people were killed last week during the storms. The UN also stated that there is a risk of disease because of the large amounts of standing water still in damaged areas, BBC News.
Hot Topic: In New Orleans, Uneven Recovery Awaits Obama.
Japanese voters rejected the Liberal Democratic Party which has been in power for five decades. Exit polls indicate that the Democratic Party of Japan trounced the ruling party and may take as many as 300 seats of Japan’s 480 seat parliament, Christian Science Monitor.
A suicide bomber killed at least 14 police recruits in the Swat Valley in Pakistan today, Voice of America.
The first mass protest since the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller has remained peaceful. Members of the anti-abortion group “Operation Rescue” gathered outside the office of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, an abortion provider in Bellevue, Nebraska. Women’s rights supporters who showed up to support the clinic were estimated to outnumber the abortion protesters 2-1, CNN.
In his weekly address U.S. President Barack Obama marked the fourth anniversary of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina that struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Obama pledged to rebuild New Orleans and to also better prepare for future natural disasters. Transcript.
Adam Goldstein, aged 36 and known as DJ AM, has been found dead in his New York City apartment. The popular DJ survived a plane crash last year, along with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, in which all others on board perished. There are reports that he died from a drug overdose, but those reports cannot be substantiated at this time, MTV.
The couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991 and hiding her in their backyard for 18 years have entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. Phillip Garrido, 58, and his spouse Nancy, 54, have been charged on 28 counts, including kidnapping and rape, and police are now searching their home for evidence that could connect Phillip Garrido with a string of murders of prostitutes. Police say the bodies were dumped in the ’90s in an area close to Garrido’s work at the time, MSNBC.
August has become the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the war started in 2001. 45 service members have been killed this month, with the latest death coming today when a soldier died in an attack on his vehicle, New York Times.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is calling for the arrest of his political rivals, New York Times.
Hot Topic: Charting New Orleans’ progress since Katrina.