Honduras has restored civil liberties that were suspended by an emergency decree in September. The decree also shut down two radio stations that supported ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya is currently holed up in the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras. He was threatened with arrest in a military coup in June. Zelaya’s opponents, led by de facto President Roberto Micheletti, claim Zelaya was attempting to illegally change the country’s constitution so that he could serve a longer term as president. The international community has condemned the coup and refused to accept Mr. Micheletti as the Honduran head of state. Talks brokered by the Organization of American States are expected to commence this week in an effort to resolve the crisis, BBC News.
Ohio Governor Ted Stickland issued orders to delay two scheduled executions today. The decision comes after an execution that was aborted in September because executioners could not find a suitable vein for a lethal injection in a prisoner, Reuters.
The U.S. Supreme Court began its 2009-2010 term today with new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Washington Post. The Supreme Court declined to hear 2,000 cases, New York Times.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued new rules about product information and online reviews. The guidelines will include bloggers and will require websites disclose free gifts and payments made for product reviews. The FTC also said that questionable products can no longer be sold with the diclaimer “results not typical,” Associated Press. How will music blogs be affected by the new rules? Idolator.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be sworn in as the 111th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court today. Watch the ceremony on C-SPAN starting at 11am EDT.
An analyst for the British Embassy in Iran is one of the 100 people on trial for involvement in the Tehran protests following the disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, CNN International.
An update on the theory that Thursday’s Denial of Service attacks on Twitter and Facebook were actually directed at a Georgian blogger, an economic professor with the username Cyxymu, New York Times.
President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address calls again for health care reform in the United States and dispels rumors that a government-run health care plan will result in euthanasia of the elderly or rationing of care.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed today by the U.S. Senate to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court bench. 9 Republicans voted for her and she was easily confirmed with a 68-31 vote. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to serve on the court’s bench, CNN.
The Senate also voted today to provide $2bn for the “cash for clunkers” program, which allows drivers to trade in their fuel inefficient vehicles for newer ones. The program has proved to be immensely popular and blew through it’s budget quickly after 250,000 cars were traded in in a single week, USA Today.
Writer-director John Hughes, noted for his hit ’80s and ’90s movies like Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, has died at the age of 59. His spokeswoman said he had a heart attack while walking this morning in Manhattan. Hughes is also known for Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Home Alone, USA Today.
Officials in Pakistan are trying to confirm reports that the Taliban leader in Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud, has been killed in the country. Reports say he was killed in a missile attack on a relative’s home and his family has confirmed that one of his wives has been killed, BBC News.
At least 26 people, 21 members of a wedding party and 5 police, have died in two roadside bombings in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, Los Angeles Times.
Pakistan has issued a global alert for 13 people it believes are associated with the 2008 Mumbai hotel bombings, CNN.
Three people convicted of involvement in the 2003 Mumbai bombings have been sentenced to death by hanging, IBN. There are over 300 people on death row in India, IBN.
Striking workers at an auto factory in South Korea have ended their occupation of the factory. Union leaders and company representatives were able to come to an agreement about the structure of a plan for lay-offs at the factory. About 1,000 workers occupied the painting facility at Ssangyong Motor Co. for 77 days, Yonhap.
A U.S./Columbia plan to allow the U.S. access to Columbia military bases is meeting more resistance from neighbors in South America than was anticipated. Columbia’s president is touring the region to assure other world leaders that the U.S. presence will be minimal. The plan calls for the U.S. to take over 3 airfields, 2 army facilities, and 2 naval bases, BBC News.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed by the Senate today. Nine Republican senators have announced they will vote for her. With the votes of the Democratic majority, Sotomayor is expected to be easily confirmed, Voice of America. Watch the Senate debate starting at 10am EDT. The vote is scheduled at around 3pm EDT, CSPAN.
The first atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, Japan 64 years ago today. 70,000 people died instantly. See the Big Picture for photographs of the before and after.
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has announced he is freezing diplomatic ties with Colombia because of verbal aggressions from the country. On Monday the Colombian government claimed anti-tank weapons belonging to Venezuela were now being used by the FARC guerrilla group, CNN.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor was accepted by the Senate Judiciary Committee 13-6, with Sen. Graham being the only Republican to vote yes. The full Senate will vote whether to confirm her next week, Washington Post.
Gunmen in Baghdad today killed eight security guards and stole almost $7m in a bank heist. Police say the robbery was most likely orchestrated by militants who were impacted by the U.S. occupation, AP.
Iran has released 140 protesters who were detained last month during post-election demonstrations. 200 people, who are accused of more serious crimes, remain in custody. Officials have also revised the number of those killed during protests from 20 to 30, BBC News.
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.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing finished today after four days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate’s vote on Sotomayor may be as soon as next week, but no date has been scheduled as of yet, CQ Politics.
An aide to ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya says he will set up his headquarters in Honduras and will lead his “final battle” against coup leaders. The aide also has said Zelaya will attempt to return to the country today, but will not tell where the headquarters will be located. Zelaya was ousted last month after introducing a vote that would have allowed the government to write a new constitution, AP.
Iceland’s parliament has narrowly voted to seek entrance to the European Union. The country will also attempt to change their currency to the euro. The grueling debate lasted five days and saw supporters citing the bleak economic climate as the primary reason to join. Dissenters fear the move will harm Iceland’s fishing industry, BBC News.
Hot Topic: On the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, NASA has relased a new video showing the historic moon landing.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor survived her first day of questioning by the Senate Judicial Committee. Republicans grilled Sotomayor on her positions on abortion, gun control, and race/gender discrimination, as well as questioning her remarks that “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Sotomayor clarified that she meant only that a person’s life experiences have the ability to give them better understanding of the world, not that Latino women necessarily make better decisions than white men. The hearings continue tomorrow with questions by the Senators who didn’t get a chance to go today, then a closed session to discuss Sotomayor’s FBI background check before a second round of questioning, New York Times.
CSPAN has full video of the hearing. You can watch the whole session or watch questioning by individual Senators. The questioning by Sen. Sessions and Sen. Graham were the most contentious, CSPAN.
The House of Representative, meanwhile, was also busy today, releasing the first draft of the health care overhaul legislation. The plan by House Democrats would create a public health insurance plan option and would require individuals to either sign up with the public plan or find private insurance that they like better. The plan would cost $1.5 trillion and would be paid for by raising taxes on those who make more than $280,000 a year, San Francisco Chronicle. Reuters Factbox.
The Episcopal Church voted to end the ban on gay clergy today. The vote may get the Church kicked out of the Anglican Communion, but members said they felt compelled to vote their conscience, Associated Press.
The UK will begin a massive swine flu vaccination initiative and plans to vaccinate everyone in the UK once enough vaccine is available. 17 people have died of swine flu in the UK and over 300 have been treated in hospital, Wall Street Journal.