Japan will hold elections this weekend. Economic conditions, including unemployment which is at a 60 year high, have damaged the popularity of Japan’s ruling party- the Liberal Democratic Party. Polls favor the Democratic Party of Japan which is more environmentally friendly and less responsive to business needs than the LDP, New York Times.
In what was said to have been a heated discussion just a day after the Afghan election last week, U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke brought up the question of ballot-stuffing and fraud with current president Hamid Karzai. Karzai is leading with 17% of the ballots counted. If Karzai does not receive more than 50% of the vote, a run-off election will be held. Holbrooke said that a run-off would help to legitimize the election. Final results are expected to be in by September 17, Times Online.
North and South Korea will restart family reunions of families who were separated when Korea was split at the 38th parallel in 1953, Yonhap.
A 13-year-old Dutch girl, Laura Dekker, who wants to sail around the world solo has been placed in temporary custody as a ward of the state until the court makes its final decision as to whether she will be allowed to go, Voice of America.
A California woman who was kidnapped in 1991 when she was 11 has been found alive. Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted 18 years ago at a bus stop, and police say she lived with her abductors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, this whole time. Phillip Garrido is a convicted sex offender and was imprisoned for rape. Police say Garrido fathered two children with Jaycee, with the first being born when she was only 14. Garrido also apparently kept Jaycee and her children hidden in tents in his backyard, Reuters.
The UN’s military commander in Darfur says the war in the region is over. Gen. Martin Agwai insists the violence between the government and rebel groups is over and the remaining violence and crime is due to “banditry, localized issues, people trying to resolve issues over water and land at a local level. But real war as such, I think we are over that.” Gen Agwai believes the current problems in the country are political, and many in the country are agreeing with him, BBC News.
Richard Holbrooke, the U.S.’ envoy to Afghanistan, and current President Hamid Karzai reportedly had an “explosive” meeting on August 21 in which Holbrooke questioned the president about election fraud in last Thursday’s elections. Holbrooke raised the possibility of a second round run-off to legitimize the results, after which Karzai become angry and ended the meeting early, BBC News.
Japan’s unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent last month, which is a record for the country, Bloomberg.