Mexico’s top electoral court has declared conservative candidate Felipe Calderon the winner of the country’s disputed presidential election over Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The head of the electoral tribunal, Lionel Castillo Gonzales, made the announcement.
The tribunal acknowledged there were election irregularities and errors but the court ruled that Calderon’s victory stands. Lopez Obrador has said he will never recognize Calderon’s presidency and has vowed to form a parallel government. He is planning to hold a massive rally in Mexico City on September 16, Mexico’s independence day, to set up his shadow government.
President Bush warned Tuesday that pulling troops out of Iraq would help Osama Bin Laden establish a totalitarian Islamic empire stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. In the speech Bush repeatedly quoted Bin Laden’s own words and compared him to Adolph Hitler.
President Bush also vowed to stay the course in Iraq.
On Tuesday the White House released an updated version of its “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism.” Despite President Bush’s claim that Iraq is the central front on the war on terrorism, Iraq is only mentioned nine times in the 29-page document.
Hours after President Bush’s speech, ABC News revealed that Pakistan has reached a peace agreement with pro-Taliban fighters on the Afghan border. As part of the deal, Pakistan agreed to pull out troops from the Taliban-stronghold of North Waziristan. In addition, the Pakistani army plans to return captured Taliban weapons and prisoners. One Pakistani official told ABC that the army would not capture Osama Bin Laden if he agreed to lead a peaceful life. Former White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke said the deal indicates that the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is meeting today with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.
A new book has revealed that former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame was the chief of operations on the CIA’s Joint Task Force on Iraq at the time of her outing three years ago. According to journalists David Corn and Michael Isikoff, Plame was part of a secret CIA team that was mounting espionage operations to gather information on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destructions. The Joint Task Force on Iraq was trying to find evidence that would back up the White House’s assertion that Iraq was a WMD danger. Plame was forced to leave her position after her identity was leaked.
In New York, a major new health study has found that nearly 70 percent of first responders at Ground Zero suffer from chronic lung ailments. The report by Mount Sinai is the largest ever done on 9/11 health effects. For the past five years city, state and federal officials have downplayed the health dangers of the toxic dust that was released when the World Trade Center collapsed. Last week the city issued guidelines for doctors on how to spot and treat illnesses related to Ground Zero. The city was widely criticized for taking nearly five years to release the guidelines. On Tuesday, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced the city will begin providing health treatment to anyone sickened by Ground Zero contaminants.
Spanish National radio is reporting that a lawsuit is being filed today in Spain’s high court against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He is being accused of committing crimes against humanity for ordering military attacks on civilians in Lebanon and Gaza. In recent days, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has expressed concern that senior Israeli military and governmental officials could be prosecuted overseas for committing war crimes in Lebanon. Israeli legal experts say some officers or government officials who traveled to Europe stood the risk of being arrested.
Meanwhile The Lebanese government has filed an official complaint with the UN Security Council to protest Israel’s continued air and sea blockade of the country. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he hopes Israel will soon lift the blockade.
Meanwhile a pair of roadside bombs exploded Tuesday outside the Lebanese city of Sidon. Four people died in the blast. Injured in the attack was a senior Lebanese intelligence officer named Samir Shehade. He has played a leading role in Lebanon’s investigation into last year’s killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
In other news from Lebanon, Turkey has pledged to contribute troops to the international peacekeeping force. In Ankara , over 10,000 Turkish protesters gathered to condemn the move. Protesters carried banners that read: “We won’t be the soldiers of the United States and Israel” Turkey’s announcement has also been criticized by members of the Lebanese-Armenian community.
The Iraqi National Assembly has voted to extend the country’s state of emergency by another month. Iraq has been under a state of emergency since November 2004. The U.S. military announced the deaths of three more U.S. soldiers. Eight American and two British troops have died over the past three days.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is drawing a parallel between the Iraq war and the U.S. Civil War. In an interview with Essence Magazine, Rice said quote “I’m sure that there were people who said, “Why don’t we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?”
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has authorized the construction of nearly 700 new homes in settlements in the Occupied West Bank. It marks Israel’s largest settlement construction project since Olmert took office in May.
Here in this country, federal prosecutors have asked a New York judge to sentence attorney Lynne Stewart to 30 years in prison. Stewart was convicted 18 months ago of providing material support to terrorists by releasing a statement by her client, Sheik Ahmed Abdel-Rahman. She is scheduled to be sentenced next month. Her lawyers have argued that Stewart should receive no prison time, arguing that a harsh sentence would frighten other lawyers from representing notorious clients.
In Detroit Michigan, a city-wide teacher strike has entered its ninth day. Tuesday was supposed to be the first day of classes but the school system was forced to cancel them. Last month the teacher’s union rejected a two-year contract proposal that sought 5.5-percent wage reductions and co-pays for health care benefits of up to 20 percent.
In other labor news, the computer giant Intel has announced plans to slash over 10,000 jobs or about 10 percent of its work force.
In environmental news, a new study has found that the rapid rise in greenhouse gases over the past century is unprecedented in at least 800,000 years. Scientists said air bubbles trapped in ice for hundreds of thousands of years have revealed that humans are changing the composition of the atmosphere in a manner that has no known natural parallel.
And in news from Washington, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into whether former House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s wife illegally received money from a lobbying firm. Christine Delay was on the payroll of the Alexander Strategy Group but it is unclear if she actually did any work there. She earned $115,000 over a three-year period.
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