November 2009 Archives

The New York Times reported twenty-two more bodies were found in a grave Tuesday, making the total 46 killed in the violence surrounding the elections in the Philippines.  President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took swift action in declaring a state of emergency in two provinces and one city known for its violence.

The turmoil surrounding the country's new election started Monday when around 50 civilians and journalists were abducted--now there are only a few bodies that have not been accounted for.

Along with the emergency declaration also comes expanded powers to government military and police.  "The government has to do what is necessary," said Jesus Dureza, a close adviser to Arroyo.

The Commission Rights and Reporters Without Borders both addressed the recent violence.  Reporters Without Borders said that there has never been a greater loss of life in one day for media.

The Star Tribune reported Tuesday that a man was shot and killed after a night of drinking with two other friends.

Logan Alhers was accidentally shot by friend Michael C. Schwartz, both 25 years of age and from Burnsville.  According to a police statement, Schwartz left the bars separate from Alhers and one other friend.  He then came home to his apartment alone, grabbed his .40-calibur pistol, and sat in his car with the loaded gun.  Then the other friend found Schwartz in the car, and the two of them subsequently found Alhers lying outside a door in the apartment building.  After some foul-play and wrestling with the gun, it fired and hit Alhers in the neck.  Schwartz contacted police after, and Alhers was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Guns and alcohol are a deadly combination as this tragedy clearly demonstrates," Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom said.

Manslaughter charges were filed in the Dakota Country District Court today.  Schwartz is being held on $150,000 bail with no conditions.

The Sun Current also recently posted a story detailing the events.         

The New York Times posted an article Wednesday that discussed President Obama's recent talks and meetings about future involvement in Afghanistan.  The article stated that Obama would make some final decisions over Thanksgiving and address the Afghanistan issue to the American public by early next week. 

One of the biggest questions hanging around is how many more troops Obama plans to send to Afghanistan in the near future. The Times reported that Obama would not give a specific number, but it is likely that he will send anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 more troops.

The most important thing Obama stressed, however, is that this strategy will "finish the job" in Afghanistan.  He wants to make sure that terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, do not attack again.  It is also a plan that he hopes the American people will be supportive of. 
The Times also used White House and other anonymous sources close to the President to make some predictions about the new plan.

For example, after a recent meeting in the Situation Room, the following was revealed:

"The conversation settled around sending about 30,000 more American troops, two officials said, the first of which would deploy early next year to be in place in southern or eastern Afghanistan by the spring."

The President's announcement should come next Tuesday in the form of a national address, but where he'll do it has yet to be decided.  

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