U.S. President Barack Obama will address the United Nations General Assembly today. He will call for greater world cooperation and caution that the United States cannot solve the world’s problems alone, Associated Press. UN webcast.
Also making his appearance at the UN for the first time is Libya’s leader Colonel Qaddafi. Since Libya gave up its nuclear ambitions Libya is experiencing greater acceptance on the world stage and currently has one of the rotating seats on the UN Security Council. Controversy has surrounded the visit however, and approval for Qaddafi to stay in New Jersey was rescinded after the release of the Lockerbie bomber, a Libyan who was allowed to leave prison in Scotland because he is suffering from a terminal illness. Protests are planned, BBC News.
Border agents traded gunfire with human traffickers attempting to bring 70 illegal immigrants across the Mexican border into the United States yesterday. Four people were injured, New York Times.
A standoff continues in Honduras where President Jose Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a coup three months ago after the opposition claimed Zelaya was attempting to change the Honduran constitution so that he could serve another term. Zelaya is currently at the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The water and power to the embassy have been cut, but it is unlikely soldiers will be sent in. Interim President Roberto Micheletti is calling for Zelaya to agree to hold elections as planned and to turn himself in to the military. Zelaya says he will not return unless he is restored to full presidential power, CNN International.
A massive dust storm in eastern Australia has blanketed Sydney in red dust. Heavy winds blew the dust from the Australian outback. Hail storms, bush fires, and earthquakes are also affecting Australia, Telegraph. In pictures, BBC News.
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.
The cash for clunkers program will come to an end in the U.S. on Monday. The program, which allows vehicle owners to trade in fuel inefficient cars and trucks for newer models, has run out of the $3bn allotted for it, but the initiative has been hailed as a success by the Obama administration, Washington Post.
The Lockerbie bomber, who was released today, was greeted as a hero in his native Libya. Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi met thousands of supporters as he stepped off a plane from Britain. He served eight years of a life sentence before being released on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer, Times Online.
Former head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says he was pressured by the Bush administration to raise the terror-alert level before the 2004 presidential election. In his new book Ridge says then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld both asked him both asked, but he and his staffrefused, Wall Street Journal.