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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has overtaken President Obama in a new national poll in the aftermath of their first debate last week. The Pew Research Center has Romney leading Obama by four points among likely voters after trailing him by 8 percent last month. The two are tied among registered voters at 46 percent, Obama’s lowest mark in the Pew poll in over a year. On Monday, Romney delivered a speech attacking President Obama’s foreign policy at the Virginia Military Institute.
Mitt Romney: “I know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous Middle East allied with us. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy. We can’t support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds, when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership but of passivity.”
On the campaign trail in San Francisco, President Obama said Mitt Romney is wrong to have opposed the winding down of the Iraq War.
President Obama: “Governor Romney, he has a different view. He said it was tragic to end the war in Iraq. In a speech today, he doubled-down on that belief, said ending the war was a mistake. I disagree. Bringing our troops home was the right thing to do. And every brave American who wears the uniform of this country should know that as long as I’m commander-in-chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world’s ever known, and when our troops take off their uniforms, we will serve them as well as they’ve served us.”
During his remarks, Obama also addressed his debate performance in Denver last week, saying supporters had criticized him for being “too nice.”
President Obama: “After the debate, I had a bunch of folks come to me: ’Don’t be so polite. Don’t be so nice.’ But I want everybody to understand something: What was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”
Nigerian soldiers angered by the death of an officer have shot and killed more than 30 civilians. The militant Islamic group Boko Haram is active in the area, but a journalist at the scene said there were no signs the dead were militants. Soldiers also set fire to dozens of homes and businesses. One Nigerian soldier said the attack came in response to a bombing earlier in the day that killed a lieutenant. Meanwhile, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is pledging aid to tens of thousands of Nigerians displaced by the country’s worst flooding in 50 years. The Red Cross said last week the floods have killed at least 148 people.
Violence has broken out between Israel and Palestinian militants after an Israeli military strike on the Gaza Strip. On Monday, Palestinians fired rockets at southern Israel after an Israeli attack killed one person and wounded nine others, including four children, and also damaged a mosque and a water tower. The Palestinian rocket fire caused light damage and no injuries.
A civilian tribunal formed to examine Israeli violations of international law in the Occupied Territories presented its findings to a U.N. panel on Monday after a weekend of testimony in New York City. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was created in 2009 to bring attention to the responsibility other states bear for Israel’s violations of international law. Presenting their summary, two of the tribunal’s jurists — human rights attorney Michael Mansfield and scholar, activist Angela Davis — said Israeli violations are impossible without U.S. government backing.
Michael Mansfield: “The tribunal finds that Israel’s ongoing colonial settlement expansion, its racial separatist policies, as well as its violent militarism, would not be possible without the United States’ economic, military and diplomatic support.”
Angela Davis: “The Russell Tribunal’s session here in New York will give us the opportunity to further persuade people who believe in justice and equality and peace in this country that they should join the campaign for solidarity with Palestinian people and Palestinian freedom.”
Police in the Maldives have arrested the ousted president, Mohamed Nasheed, after he ignored a summons to appear in court. Nasheed is facing charges of illegally ordering the arrest of a judge appointed by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives for 30 years before Nasheed became its first democratically elected president in 2008. Nasheed was ousted earlier this year in what he has described as a coup at gunpoint by Gayoom’s supporters. Nasheed is well known internationally for his activism around the issue of global warming, which he says threatens the survival of his small island country. On Monday, supporters of Nasheed said he was pepper-sprayed and dragged away by police to jail.
In Pakistan, a 14-year-old who campaigned for the education rights of girls is undergoing medical treatment after being shot. According to Al Jazeera, Malala Yousafzai was on her way home from school in an area of northwest Pakistan when unidentified men stopped the vehicle she was traveling in. One man reportedly asked for Malalai by name and then shot her in the head and neck. Another girl was shot in the hand. Malalai had gained international prominence after blogging for the BBC about life under the Taliban. The Pakistani Taliban has since claimed responsibility for the attack.