November 2007

Here are the key news events of the month organized into three categories: World News, U.S. News, and Business, Society, and Science News.

World

  • Pakistani President Declares State of Emergency (Nov. 3): Pervez Musharraf suspends the country's constitution and fires Chief Justice Iflikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the other judges on the Supreme Court. In addition, police arrest at least 500 opposition figures. Analysts suggest that Musharraf was trying to preempt an upcoming ruling by the Supreme Court, which is expected to declare he could not constitutionally run for president while head of military. Musharraf, however, says he acted to stem a rising Islamist insurgency and to "preserve the democratic transition.” (Nov. 5): Thousands of lawyers take to the streets to protest the emergency rule. Many clash with baton-wielding police. As many as 700 lawyers are arrested, including Chaudhry, who is placed under house arrest. (Nov. 8): Musharraf says elections will be held by Feb. 15, 2008. (Nov. 9): Thousands of police officers barricade the city of Rawalpindi, the site of a protest planned by opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. (Nov. 13): Bhutto is placed under house arrest so she cannot organize another rally. (Nov. 16): On the day that Parliament ends its five-year term, Musharraf swears in a caretaker government, with Mian Muhammad Soomro, the chairman of Pakistan's senate, as prime minister. He also lifts Bhutto's house arrest. (Nov. 22): The Supreme Court, filled with judges loyal to Musharraf, dismisses the case challenging the constitutionality of Musharraf being elected president while head of the military. (Nov. 25): Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after eight years in exile and demands that Musharraf lift the emergency rule and reinstate the Supreme Court justices that were dismissed on Nov. 3. Musharraf overthrew Sharif in a coup in 1999. (Nov. 28): Musharraf steps down as military chief. He is replaced by Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the former head of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. (Nov. 29): Musharraf is sworn in as a civilian president. Since he no longer controls the military, his power over Pakistan is significantly diminished.
  • U.S. Suffers More Casualties in 2007 Than Any Other Year (Nov. 6:) Six American soldiers are killed in Iraq, bringing the total deaths in 2007 to 852, the highest annual total since the war began in 2003.
  • Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens in Afghanistan (Nov. 7): More than 50 people, including 18 children, four teachers, and six members of Parliament, die in the attack in Baghlan. Members of Parliament were visiting the city in northern Afghanistan. It is the worst single suicide attack since 2001.
  • Georgian President Declares State of Emergency (Nov. 7): After days of protests by opposition parties, President Mikheil Saakashvili imposes a state of emergency. The opposition calls for early elections and the resignation of Saakashvili, who demonstrators accuse of abusing power and stifling the opposition. Earlier in the day, riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the demonstrations. (Nov. 8): Saakashvili announces that presidential elections will be held in January 2008. (Nov. 10): Parliament votes, 149 to 0, to approve the state of emergency. The opposition in the 235-seat Parliament boycotts the vote, however.
  • Hamas Police Kill Civilians at Gaza Rally (Nov. 12): Fighting breaks out between members of Hamas and Fatah at a Fatah-led rally commemorating the third anniversary of Yasir Arafat's death. Hamas police shoot and kill at least seven civilians.
  • FBI Investigation Finds Killings by Blackwater Guards Were Unjustified (Nov. 13): Report says 14 of the 17 shootings of Iraqis on Sept. 16 were unjustified and the guards were reckless in their use of deadly force.
  • Number of Weekly Attacks Falls in Iraq (Nov. 18): U.S. military reports that for three consecutive weeks, the number of car bombs, roadside bombs, mines, rocket attacks, and other violence have fallen to the lowest level since January 2006.
  • Khmer Rouge Leader Appears in Court (Nov. 20): Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison and is the first Khmer Rouge defendant to appear in court, seeks bail on charges of crimes against humanity.
  • Troop Withdrawal Begins in Iraq (Nov. 24): A brigade of 5,000 U.S. troops starts to leave Diyala Province, the first significant pullback of troops. Once the withdrawal is complete, there will be 157,000 soldiers in Iraq, from a high of 162,000.
  • Australian Prime Minister Is Defeated (Nov. 24): John Howard, the leader of the Liberal Party and a close ally of President Bush, loses to the Labor Party's Kevin Rudd. Howard had been in power for 11 years.
  • Presidential Vote Is Delayed in Lebanon (Nov. 24): A caretaker government, led by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, takes over after President Émile Lahoud's term expires and Parliament for the fourth time postpones a vote on his successor.
  • Bush Hosts Middle East Peace Conference (Nov. 27): At a meeting in Annapolis, Md., Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas agree to work together to broker a peace treaty by the end of 2008. Officials from 49 countries attend the conference.

Nation

  • Senate Passes Children's Health Insurance Bill (Nov. 1): Votes, 64 to 30, to approve a modified version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that would exclude adults and illegal immigrants from the program and make it available only to those with incomes below 300% of the federal poverty level. The House passed the same bill in October, and President Bush has vowed to veto it.
  • Bush Vetoes Water Resource Bill (Nov. 2): President vetoes the Water Resources Development Act, a $23 billion bill which would fund 900 programs, including $3.5 billion for areas destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and almost $2 billion for the Everglades. (Nov. 6): The House of Representatives easily overrides Bush's veto, 361 to 54. (Nov. 8): Senate votes, 79 to 14, to enact the bill, thereby overriding Bush's veto. It is the first time Congress has overridden a Bush veto.
  • Judiciary Committee Approves Attorney General Nominee (Nov. 6): Senate committee votes, 11 to 8, in favor of Michael Mukasey's nomination as attorney general. Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer break with other Democrats and approve Mukasey. The full Senate must vote on the nomination. (Nov. 8): The Senate votes, 53-to-40, to confirm Mukasey as attorney general.
  • House Passes Bill Protecting Gays (Nov. 7): Votes, 235 to 184, in favor of legislation that would make it illegal for employers to "refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.”
  • House Endorses Free Trade Deal (Nov. 8): Votes, 285 to 132, in favor of trade pact with Peru that would allow Peru to import goods into the U.S. duty free and the U.S. to export to Peru many farm and industrial products duty free.
  • House Passes Bill That Limits War Funding (Nov. 14): Votes, 218 to 203, in favor of military funding bill but authorizes only $50 billion of the $200 billion that President Bush requested for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also requires that troop withdrawal begin within 30 days and all U.S. troops be withdrawn from Iraq by mid-December 2008 and that all U.S. personnel comply with the rules set out on torture in the Army Field Manual.
  • Appeals Court Rejects Bush's New Fuel Standards (Nov. 15): Federal appeals court in San Francisco rules that the Bush administration's fuel economy standards for light trucks are not stringent enough and fail to consider how tailpipe emissions affect climate change. Court also questions why light trucks, which include sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans, have looser requirements than passenger cars. The rule that the court voided called on automakers to increase fuel economy of light trucks to 23.5 mpg from 22.5 mpg by 2010.
  • Lott Announces His Retirement (Nov. 26): Mississippi senator Trent Lott, the former Republican majority leader, says he will step down before the end of 2007.
  • Hostages Taken at Clinton Campaign Office (Nov. 30): Leeland Eisenberg, 47, tells workers at Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire, that he is carrying a bomb and takes three hostages. He is arrested after a six-hour ordeal. No one is injured in the incident.

Business/Science/Society

  • Mexican City Paralyzed by Floods (Nov. 4): Villahermosa, the capital of the southeastern state of Tabasco, has no clean drinking water and electricity after severe flooding caused by five days of torrential rain. At least 300,000 people evacuate their homes, 70,000 people are in shelters, and one person dies. Most of the state's crops are destroyed and 4,000 schools are damaged.
  • Space Shuttle Lands Safely After Challenging Mission (Nov. 7): During its 15-day mission to the International Space Station, astronauts aboard Discovery add a "room" to the station and move a 17.5-ton solar array and truss. They unexpectedly had to repair a rotary joint and a solar array on the left side of the space station.
  • Cyclone Ravages Bangladesh (Nov. 15): Cyclone Sidr, with winds over 100 miles per hour, kills nearly 3,500 people in southern Bangladesh. The United Nations reports that a million people are left homeless.
  • UN Report on Climate Change Details Imminent Perils (Nov. 16): In its last of four reports on climate change, th UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, says global warming of one to three degrees will lead to a rise in sea levels that will swallow up island nations, the decimation of one-quarter or more of the world’s species, famine in Africa, and increasingly violent hurricanes.
  • Scientists Devise New Method to Create Embryonic Stem Cells (Nov. 20): Two teams of scientists, one in Wisconsin the other in Japan, announce they have discovered a way to make embryonic stem cells without using embryonic stem cells. By adding four genes to skin cells, they were able to reprogram skin cells into any of the body's 220 types of cells.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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