September 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

  • North Korea Agrees to Disable Nuclear Fuel Plants (Sept. 2): After a two-day meeting between Christopher Hill, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and North Korean negotiators, North Korea says it will disable its nuclear fuel production facility and disclose to international monitors an accounting of all of its nuclear programs by the end of 2007.
  • Myanmar Completes Constitutional Convention (Sept. 3): Representatives to the convention, which has met on and off since 1993, release a draft constitution that ensures the military will continue to control the ministries and legislature and have the right to declare a state of emergency. The document also limits the rights of political parties.
  • Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq (Sept. 3): President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates travel to Anbar Province, a Sunni stronghold, and meet with Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and other leaders. Bush stresses that progress in security and reconciliation have been made in Anbar and hints that a troop withdrawal may start if such gains continue.
  • Report Says Iraq Lags in Meeting Benchmarks (Sept. 4): Government Accountability Office report finds that while violence in Iraq seems to be abating, the Iraqi government has failed to stem the sectarian violence and has three of the 18 benchmarks outlined by Congress in May.
  • German Officials Arrest Terror Suspects (Sept. 5): Three Islamic militants are arrested and authorities confiscate large amounts of explosive materials and detonators. Officials say the suspects were planning to attack the Ramstein Air Base and the Frankfurt International Airport.
  • Panel Says Iraq's Army and Police Ill Prepared to Take Control (Sept. 5): Independent commission, led by Gen. James Jones, a retired Marine, declares that while Iraq's armed forces are improving, it will be 12 to 18 months before the police and army can assume control over the country.
  • Bin Laden Releases a Video (Sept. 7): In his first video message in nearly three years, bin Laden promises to "continue to escalate the killing and fighting in Iraq."
  • Former Pakistani Prime Minister Is Arrested (Sept. 10): Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in a coup in 1999 by Pervez Musharraf, is arrested and deported after trying to re-enter Pakistan from exile in Saudi Arabia. Pakistan's Supreme Court recently ruled that Sharif could return to the country.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Quits (Sept. 12): Shinzo Abe abruptly announces his resignation. The move follows a string of scandals and July's stunning defeat in parliamentary elections, in which his Liberal Democratic Party lost control of the upper house to the opposition Democratic Party.
  • Russian President Nominates New Prime Minister (Sept. 12): Hours after the resignation of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Vladimir Putin names Viktor Zubkov, a cabinet official, as the next prime minister.
  • Sunni Sheik Allied with the U.S. Is Killed in Iraq (Sept. 13): Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, a leader of Sunni tribes in Anbar Province that have joined forces with the U.S. to fight Sunni militants, such as al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, dies in a bombing. Such cooperation is credited with bringing relative peace and stability to Anbar Province.
  • Influential Cleric Says He Will Withdraw from Governing Coalition (Sept. 15): The political movement led by Moktada al-Sadr announces that it plans to withdraw from the United Iraqi Alliance, the largest bloc in Parliament. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki would lose his majority in Parliament if the Sadrists follow through.
  • Iraqi Civilians Are Killed by U.S. Security Company (Sept. 16): Seventeen Iraqi civilians, including a couple and their infant, are killed when employees of private security company Blackwater USA, which was escorting a diplomatic convoy, reportedly fire on a car that failed to stop at the request of a police officer. Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki threatens to evict Blackwater employees from Iraq.
  • Pakistani President Says He Will Resign as Military Leader if Reelected (Sept. 18): If elected to a second term as president, Pervez Musharraf announces he will step down from his post as army chief before taking the oath of office. Some opposition leaders, however, question whether he would follow through on his promise.
  • Lebanese Politician Is Killed in Attack (Sept. 19): A car bomb kills Parliament member Antoine Ghanem of the Christian Phalange Party, which is part of the governing coalition. He is the eighth anti-Syrian leader to be killed since the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.
  • Khmer Rouge Leader Is Arrested (Sept. 19): Nuon Chea, who was second-in-command to Pol Pot during the four years of Khmer Rouge rule that led to the state-sponsored massacre of between 1 million and 2 million, is charged with war crimes.
  • Japanese Lawmakers Select New Prime Minister (Sept. 23): The governing Liberal Democratic Party elects Yasuo Fukuda as prime minister, replacing Shinzo Abe, who resigned after a disappointing year in office. Fukuda was elected to Parliament in 1990 and held the post as chief cabinet secretary under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
  • Iranian President Stirs Protests at Columbia Speech (Sept. 25): In his controversial speech, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists there are no homosexuals in Iran, says the U.S. supports terrorism, and calls U.S. and European efforts to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program hypocritical. Columbia's president, Lee C. Bollinger, preceded Ahmadinejad's speech with an attack of his own. "Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” he said. “You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."
  • Government Cracks Down on Protesters in Myanmar (Sept 26): After a month of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations, which saw steady increases in participation and recently drew in hundreds of monks, protesting sharp increases in the price of fuel, government forces shoot at crowds, raid pagodas, and arrest monks. Dozens of people are killed. The protests are the largest in the country in 20 years. The brutality of the attacks sparks international outrage.
  • Senate Passes Resolution on Iran's Revolutionary Guard (Sept. 26): The nonbinding resolution calls on the Bush administration to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization and impose economic sanctions on Iran.
  • Court Rules in Favor of Musharraf's Election Bid (Sept. 28): Pakistan's Supreme Court rules that President Pervez Musharraf can run for re-election while maintaining his role as military chief.
  • Rebels in Darfur Kill Peacekeepers (Sept. 30): Hundreds of rebels attack an African Union base in Haskanita, a town in the Darfur region of Sudan, and kill at least 10 peacekeeping troops.

Nation

  • Republican Senator Resigns (Sept. 1): Idaho's Larry Craig, under pressure from fellow Republicans over the scandal stemming from his guilty plea for allegedly making sexual advances to an undercover police officer in a Minneapolis airport, says he will resign on Sept. 30. (Sept. 26): Craig says he will remain in the Senate until a judge rules on his motion to rescind the guilty plea he entered in the airport sting.
  • Commander Reports to Congress on Progress in Iraq (Sept. 10): In highly anticipated testimony, Gen. David Petraeus tells members of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees that the U.S. military needs more time to meet its goals in Iraq. He says the number of troops in Iraq may be reduced from 20 brigades to 15, or from 160,000 troops to 130,000, beginning in July 2008. Petraeus rejects suggestions that the U.S. shift from a counterinsurgency operation to training Iraqi forces and fighting terrorists. Instead, he says the U.S. must continue all three missions. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker also testifies, expressing frustration about the situation in Iraq. He said that while Iraqi leaders and the people are capable of—and desire to—bridge the sectarian divide, "I frankly do not expect that we will see rapid progress," he said. (Sept. 11): Petraeus and Crocker face more intense and critical questioning from members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. They failed to answer definitely repeated questions about how long U.S. troops would be in Iraq. Senator Carl Levin, Democrat from Michigan, said, "Year after year, the president and the administration have touted progress in Iraq and called for patience. It has been a litany of delusion."
  • President Addresses Nation on Iraq (Sept. 13): Outlining a plan for withdrawing troops from Iraq, Bush says by July 2008 troop levels would drop from the current high of 169,000 to 130,000. Calling the move a "return on success," Bush said the progress from the surge of troops would be diminished if more troops returned from Iraq too quickly.
  • President Bush Nominates New Attorney General (Sept. 17): Bush selects retired federal judge Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales, who resigned amid a swirl of controversies. Mukasey, a Washington outsider, may appeal to Democrats because he's not known as a loyal "Bushie." Mukasey was appointed as a federal judge in New York by Ronald Reagan in 1987. He served until 2006, when he entered the private sector.
  • Plan for Troop Withdrawal and Deployment Dies in Senate (Sept. 19): Proposal, drafted by Virginia Democrat Jim Webb, which would have increased the time troops spend at home before being redeployed and hastened the schedule for troop withdrawal, falls four votes short of the 60 required to prevent a filibuster.
  • Agriculture Secretary Steps Down (Sept. 20): President Bush names deputy agriculture secretary, Charles Conner, acting secretary, replacing Mike Johanns, who is expected to run for the U.S. Senate.
  • Court Rules in Favor of Tribunals for Guantanámo Detainees (Sept. 24): The U.S. Court of Military Commission Review decides that foreign detainees deemed "unlawful enemy combatants" should be tried for war crimes in military tribunals. The ruling overturns a June decision, in which judges said that terrorism suspects cannot be charged with war crimes because they were designated by military tribunals to be "enemy combatants" rather than "unlawful enemy combatants."
  • House and Senate Pass Bill to Expand Children's Healthcare Program (Sept. 25): House votes to increase the funding of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to $60 billion from $35 billion to provide health insurance to more than 10 million uninsured children. President Bush had allocated $5 billion for the program and has said he will veto the legislation. (Sept. 27): The Senate approves the bill, 67 to 29.

Business/Science/Society

  • Job Losses Spark Worries about the Economy (Sept. 6): A Labor Department report that shows that 4,000 jobs were lost in August, the first such decline since 2003, leads some economists to say a recession may follow.
  • Federal Judge Endorses States' Rights to Cut Emissions (Sept. 12): Vermont judge William Sessions III rules that standards set by the state to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases by cars and light trucks do not intrude upon federal law. The standards are based on those set by California in 2002.
  • Three Earthquakes Strike Indonesia (Sept. 12 and 13): More than a dozen people die on the island of Sumatra when three quakes, one with a magnitude of 8.4, hit.
  • Fed Cuts Interest Rate (Sept. 18): In an attempt to bring stability to the economy, which has been rocked by turbulence in the housing and financial markets, the Federal Reserve cuts benchmark interest rate to 4.75% from 5.25%.
  • United Auto Workers Strike Against General Motors (Sept. 24): Some 73,000 workers take to the picket lines when contract negotiations over wages and benefits reach a stalemate. (Sept. 26): The UAW and GM reach a deal that has the auto maker creating a $38.5 billion trust, called a voluntary employee benefit association (VEBA), that will administer health benefits for retirees.

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

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