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Israel’s attack on Lebanon intensified Monday as the international community failed again in securing a ceasefire. At least 69 people were reported killed in Lebanon.
Israel is now threatening to bomb all vehicles driven in Southern Lebanon. Israeli planes dropped leaflets ordering residents not to travel by car or truck. Israel has also warned residents of southern Lebanon not to go outdoors after 10 p.m.
For the first time Israel bombed the Shiyyah neighborhood, a southern suburb of Beirut. The strike destroyed a residential building and killed as many as 15 people. Shortly after the bombing, Democracy Now’s Ana Nogueira spoke with an attorney from the Shiyyah neighborhood named Hassan Nizam.
The southern Lebanese city of Tyre is now largely cut off from the rest of the world. All bridges out of the city have been destroyed. On Monday, Israel bombed a makeshift bridge that had been set up to cross the Litani River. Doctors Without Borders created a 200-yard-long human chain across the river in order to get aid into the city of Tyre. Aid workers standing in knee deep water passed more than three tons of medical supplies and gasoline across the river by hand. The Guardian newspaper is reporting Israel has also threatened to attack UN peacekeepers if they attempted to repair bomb-damaged bridges in southern Lebanon.
The Washington Post’s Anthony Shadid reports for many residents of Tyre the current war has been more unsettling than Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, more devastating than the 1982 Israeli invasion, and more destructive than Israeli offensives against Lebanon in 1993 and 1996. This is United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator David Shearer.
On the diplomatic front, the Arab League is pressing the United Nations Security Council to make changes to a draft resolution aimed at ending the fighting. Lebanon and other Arab states opposed the U.S.-written resolution because the resolution does not require Israel to immediately pull out of Lebanon. This is the Arab League’s UN Observer Yahya Mahmassani.
Lebanon has offered to send 15,000 troops to the border region. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described it as interesting offer. On Monday President Bush held a news conference at his vacation home in Crawford Texas.
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz says Israel is preparing to expand military operations unless the United Nations quickly finds a solution. On Monday Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke via the Internet to members of the United Jewish Communities.
In Britain, seven anti-war protesters were arrested Monday after trying to get on a plane at a British airport to search for US weapons being transported to Israel. Three people boarded a military plane. Four others were arrested at the airport. The activists were part of the anti-nuclear group Trident Ploughshares. No weapons were found by the group,
In Baghdad, at least 24 people have died in a series of car bombings and shootings. In northern Baghdad, gunmen stormed a bank and killed five people. A pair of roadside bombs exploded in the Al Arabi market killing at least 10 people.
The Los Angeles Times has revealed that U.S. forces committed far more massacres during the Vietnam War than has ever been publicly acknowledged. A once secret Pentagon task force determined that every army division that operated in Vietnam committed war crimes. The paper uncovered official government documents that detail 320 incidents of Vietnam war atrocities that were confirmed by army investigators.
In Mexico, presidential contender Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is continuing his protests to demand a full recount in last month’s presidential election. On Monday, thousands of his supporters demonstrated in front of Mexico’s electoral court. Lopez Obrador has vowed civil disobedience will intensify if a ballot-by-ballot recount is not conducted.
The French organization Action Against Hunger has suspended its operations in Sri Lanka after 17 of its aid workers were murdered on Friday. The French charity said it wanted to send a team to investigate the killings but that government soldiers prevented them from entering the town. The rebel Tamil Tigers and government forces have blamed each other for the killings. The aid workers were all ethnic Tamils. Over 440 people have died in the past two weeks in the Trincomalee district. A car bombing earlier today killed two people.
The oil company BP has shut down the Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska after discovering an oil spill. The oil field is the largest in the country and provides 8 percent of the nation’s crude-oil production. Industry experts say the oil field might stay closed for several weeks. On Monday, oil prices surged by nearly three percent.
In political news, voters in Connecticut are heading to the polls today for the closely watched Democratic primary between incumbent Senator Joseph Lieberman and Ned Lamont. We’ll have more on the race in a few minutes. In Georgia, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is facing Hank Johnson in a run off.
Meanwhile in New York, a controversy is emerging in the race between Senator Hillary Clinton and Democratic challenger Jonathan Tasini. The local news station New York One has refused to set up a debate between the two candidates because Tasini hasn’t spent enough money on the race. The channel, which is owned by Time Warner, requires that candidates poll at least 5 percent and have spent or raised $500,000. Tasini is polling at 13 percent but his campaign has only raised $150,000.
In political news, the Republican Party has lost a bid to have Tom Delay’s name removed from the ballot in November. Delay withdrew from the race after he won the Republican primary.
In Chile, over 2,000 workers have gone on strike at the world’s largest privately-owned copper mine. The Escondida mine produces about eight percent of the world’s copper. Daily production has dropped by almost two-thirds because of the strike.
New government records show that last month was the second hottest July on record in the United States. Last month’s heat wave broke more than twenty three hundred daily temperature records across the country.
Meanwhile a new video has appeared online mocking Al Gore’s fight against global warming and his film "Inconvenient Truth". In the short video Gore appears as a sinister figure who brainwashes penguins and bores movie audiences by blaming the Mideast crisis and Lindsay Lohan’s shrinking waist size on global warming. The video is purportedly the work of a 29-year-old video-maker in Beverly Hills. But the Wall Street Journal has revealed the video appears to actually be the work of the public relations and lobbying company DCI Group. The company’s clients include Exxon Mobil.
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