November 2009 Archives

Obama Considers Troop Increase in Afghanistan

The New York Times reported Tuesday that President Obama announced he was going to "finish the job" in Afghanistan, and could send 25,000 to 30,000 additional American troops to the area.

Obama completed consultations with his war council on Monday night and will officially announce his decision next week in a national address, said the White House.

"After eight years -- some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done -- it is my intention to finish the job," he said.

Obama gave no details on how he planned to finish the job or when he predicted beginning extricating the United States from Afghanistan.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, said, "additional troops would be unwise because of the corruption and ineffectiveness of the Afghan government," reported the Chicago Tribune.

Obama's aides told allies that the number of troops would increase slightly fewer than 30,000. Obama has not completely settled on a final number.

There are 68,000 American troops currently stationed in Afghanistan.

Minnesota H1N1 Cases Down for Fourth Week

The Star Tribune reported Tuesday that six H1N1 related deaths have been reported in the last week and the number of reported H1N1 cases has declined for the fourth week in a row in Minnesota, according to health officials.

 

Ten schools reported an outbreak of the virus, meaning that 5 percent or more of their student body were absent because of the illness. That number is down from 9 percent last week.

 

The percentage of people reporting H1N1 symptoms to medical clinics was down from 3.75 percent to 3.2 percent this week. Twenty-nine people were hospitalized with H1N1 this week as compared to 78 the week before.

 

Since November 18, 6 new H1N1 related deaths and one likely related death have occurred, bringing the total H1N1 related deaths to 35 confirmed cases and 3 likely cases.

 

"As of Nov. 21, there have been 1,767 total H1N1 flu hospitalizations in state," according to the Pioneer Press. This is an increase of 70 hospitalizations since last week.

CNN reported Monday that the South Carolina Ethics Commission has charged South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford with breaking 37 state ethics laws.

The charges came after a three-month investigation into Sanford's use of taxpayer money.

The charges state that Sanford used taxpayer money to purchase domestic and international plane tickets. NPR reported that Sanford purchased the tickets to visit his mistress in Argentina and to "political gatherings and events which involved no official business."

Sanford admitted to the affair after he disappeared for five days this summer.

Ethics cases involve civil charges, which are punishable by fines and state legislators have filed an impeachment resolution, which will be considered on Tuesday.

The state attorney general can decide whether to file criminal charges against Sanford.

South Carolina law prohibits the use of state aircraft for private use and mandates that all state officials purchase the lowest fares available.

Sanford's office declined to comment.

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