HURRICANE GUSTAV: U.S. weather forecasters say Hurricane Gustav's outer edge is battering
the U.S. Gulf coast as it nears New Orleans, (in the southern state of)
The deadly storm has winds of nearly of 185 kilometers per hour and is
expected to make landfall by midday today (Monday).
Forecasters do not expect Gustav to grow stronger before hitting the
Louisiana coast, and expect it to weaken once the center moves inland.
The National Hurricane Center says Gustav may dump up to half a meter
of rain in some areas. The center also warns tides may be about four
meters higher than normal.
Authorities say 95 percent of the residents in the threatened area - or
about two million people - have fled.
US POLITICS: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator John McCain has
announced major changes to his party's upcoming national convention
because of the possibility of a natural disaster caused by Hurricane
Republican officials announced Sunday the convention will convene today
as scheduled, but with an abbreviated schedule that will conduct only
necessary official business before adjourning. McCain says it would not
be appropriate to appear festive during the weather emergency.
The convention will be held in St. Paul, (in the northern state of)
Minnesota. Republican officials say they will decide each day which
convention activities will be held.
White House officials say President Bush will not attend the convention
so he can oversee the federal response to the hurricane.
IRAQ: The U.S. military today (Monday) handed control of Iraq's Anbar province to Iraqi security forces.
Anbar, once one of Iraq's most dangerous regions, is now one of its
most peaceful. It is the 11th of 18 Iraqi provinces the U.S. has
returned to Iraqi control.
U.S. forces will withdraw to bases and rejoin Iraqi operations in Anbar only at the request of the provincial governor.
Anbar is a Sunni-dominated province whose inhabitants turned against
U.S. forces soon after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Anbar
towns, such as Fallujah and Ramadi became insurgent strongholds, where
militants waged fierce battles against U.S. troops.
AFGHANISTAN: Hundreds of Afghans took to the street today (Monday) to protest the
killing of three family members in an attack the protesters blamed on
an early morning raid by U.S.-led troopsin Kabul.
The U.S.-led coalition denied any involvement in the attack on the
family's house. Witnesses said a man and his two young sons were killed
in the raid.
They also said three people were taken away by the troops. In another
development, Afghanistan's president has appealed to
U.S.-led forces to scale back their air strikes on militant targets
because of civilian casualties. Hamid Karzai wants NATO and the
U.S.-led coalition forces to use alternatives to air power in pursuit
EUROPE-GEORGIA-RUSSIA: A top European Union official says the EU hopes to send a monitoring
mission to Georgia to ensure a cease-fire with Russia is being honored.
The EU's foreign policy chief (Javier Solana) says (Monday) he hopes
the 27-member bloc will approve the plan in the coming weeks.
The comments came before an emergency meeting of EU leaders in Brussels
today (Monday) on how to respond to Russia's military strike against
Members are expected to voice their support for Georgia and condemn
Russia's recognition of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South