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Old Thursday, October 09, 2008
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September 2008


Japanese Prime Minister Resigns (Sep. 1): Yasuo Fakuda, who has been in office barely a year, announces that he will step down when his party, the Liberal Democrats, select his successor. In June 2008, the upper house of Parliament, which is controlled by the opposition, censured Fukuda, citing his management of domestic issues. The lower house, however, supported him in a vote of confidence.

U.S. Transfers Control of Once Troubled Province to Iraq (Sep. 1): The Iraqi military and police assume responsibility for maintaining security in Anbar Province, which was until recently the cradle of the Sunni insurgency. More than 1,000 members of the U.S. military have been killed in the province.

Thai Government Declares State of Emergency When Protests Turn Violent (Sep. 1): One person is killed and dozens are wounded in fighting between supporters of an opposition group and pro-government demonstrators. For more than a week, thousands of protesters, called People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), have staged a sit-in outside the government buildings in Bangkok, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Pro-government launched counterdemonstrations. (Sep. 2): Prime Minister Samak declares a state of emergency. (Sep. 3): The military and police do not enforce the state of emergency. In a press conference, army commander Gen. Anupong Paochinda declares neutrality in the conflict. "We are not taking sides," he says. "If the nation is the people, we are the army of the people." (Sep. 9): Samak is forced from office when Thailand's Constitutional Court rules that he violated the constitution by being paid to appear on the cooking show "Tasting and Complaining." Somchai Wongsawat, the first deputy prime minister, becomes acting prime minister. (Sep. 14): Acting prime minister Somchai ends the state of emergency, which has disrupted the tourism industry. (Sep. 17): Parliament elects Somchai prime minister, 298 to 163.

U.S. Report on Civilian Deaths in Attack on Afghans Conflicts With Other Accounts (Sep. 2): A U.S. military report on the number of civilian casualties incurred in an August airstrike by U.S. troops on a village in Azizabad finds that five to seven civilians and 30 to 35 Taliban were killed. The UN and the Afghan government, however, say as many as 90 Afghan civilians, 60 of them children, died.

U.S. Troops Attack Militants in Pakistan (Sep. 3): In its first acknowledged ground attack inside Pakistan, U.S. commandos raid a village that is home to al-Qaeda militants in the tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. The number of casualties is unclear.

Governing Party Wins Parliamentary Elections in Angola (Sep. 5): In the country's first elections in 16 years, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) wins about 82% of the vote in the legislative election. The opposition, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), takes 10%.

Bhutto's Widower Is Elected President of Pakistan (Sep. 6): Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, wins 481 out of 702 votes in the two houses of Parliament to become president. Zardari, who served 11 years in prison on charges of corruption, faces the overwhelming task of rooting out members of al Qaeda and the Taliban, who control much of the country's tribal areas. He also promises to improve the relationship between Parliament and the presidency.

International Regulator Allows India to Buy Nuclear Fuel (Sep. 6): The Nuclear Suppliers Group, comprised of representatives from 45 countries, votes to allow India to buy nuclear fuel for its reactors as long as it uses the fuel for civilian purposes only. The U.S. Congress must approve the agreement. The opposition party in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is against the deal, calling it a "nonproliferation trap." The deal could be scrapped if India uses the fuel for its weapons program.

Canadian Prime Minister Calls for Early Elections (Sep. 7): Stephen Harper requests that Parliament be dissolved and sets national elections for October 14. He hopes to win enough votes to hold a majority in Parliament; he now heads a minority Conservative government.

Three Convicted in Plot to Blow Up Planes (Sep. 8): Three men, out of eight who were on trial, are found guilty in a British court of conspiracy to commit murder. The defendants were arrested in 2006 for trying to use liquid explosives to blow up seven planes that were traveling from the UK to the U.S. and Canada. They are acquitted of the more serious charge of preparing acts of terrorism.

Russia Agrees to Withdraw from Georgia (Sep. 8): Russian president Dmitri A. Medvedev says he will remove troops from Georgia by mid-October and will permit 200 observers from the European Union to keep watch over the conflict in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which began on Aug. 7 when Georgia attacked the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia. Russia stepped in to defend South Ossetia. (Sep. 10): Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov disputes that Russia agreed to allow European Union monitors into South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Instead, he says they will work in Georgia, outside the breakaway enclaves.

Judge Drops Case Against South African Leader (Sep. 12): A High Court judge dismisses corruption charges against African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, saying the government mishandled the prosecution. The ruling clears the way for Zuma to succeed Thabo Mbeki as president of South Africa. The judge also criticizes President Mbeki for attempting to influence the prosecution of Zuma.

Several Bombs Tear Through Indian Capital (Sep. 13): Over the course of 25 minutes, five bombs explode in crowded markets in New Delhi, killing 22 people and injuring dozens. The Indian Mujahideen claims responsibility for the attacks.

Rivals Sign Power-Sharing Deal in Zimbabwe (Sep. 15): President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who defeated Mugabe 48% to 43% in March elections but boycotted the June runoff election because of voter intimidation, will share executive authority over the country. Tsvangirai will serve as prime minister and the opposition will control 16 ministries. The governing party will control 15; Mugabe will continue as president.

Military Command in Iraq Changes Hands (Sep. 16): U.S. Gen. Ray Odierno succeeds Gen. David Petraeus as the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq. Petraeus, who oversaw the surge of troops into Iraq, will become commander of the U.S. Central Command that covers all of the Middle East.

Two Bombs Explode at U.S. Embassy in Yemen (Sep. 17): A car bomb and a rocket hit the U.S. embassy in Yemen as staff arrived to work, killing 16 people, including four civilians. At least 25 suspected al-Qaeda militants are arrested in connection with the attack.

Dozens Are Killed in Blast at Popular Hotel in Pakistan (Sep. 20): A truck bomb explodes outside the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, killing more than 50 people and wounding hundreds. The bomb went off as government leaders, including the president and prime minister, were dining a few hundred yards away, at the prime minister's residence. A previously unknown group, Fedayeen Islam, takes responsibility for the attack.

South Africa's President Announces Resignation (Sep. 21): Under pressure from leaders of his party, the African National Congress (ANC), Thabo Mbeki says he has stepped down. Party leaders accused Mbeki of interfering in the corruption case against ANC leader Jacob Zuma. An interim president will take over until Jacob Zuma, the leader of the ruling ANC, runs for Parliament. Once a member of Parliament, Zuma is expected to become president. Mbeki served as president since 1999. (Sep. 24): Mbeki's deputy and 10 members of his cabinet also resign. Six ministers say they will not serve in a new government. (Sep. 25): Parliament elects Kgalema Motlanthe, a labor leader who was imprisoned during apartheid, as president.
Israeli Prime Minister Steps Down (Sep. 21): Ehud Olmert, who is under investigation for corruption, resigns as prime minister. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who was recently elected the head of Olmert's party, Kadima, is expected to succeed Olmert if she can maintain the fragile governing coalition.

Ruling Party in Japan Selects New Leader (Sep. 22): Taro Aso, a conservative and former foreign minister, is elected president of the governing Liberal Democratic Party. (Sep. 24): The lower house of Parliament elects Aso as prime minister. He promises to restore the flagging economy.
Myanmar Releases Thousands of Prisoners (Sep. 23): Just over 9,000 prisoners are released by the military government, including the longest-serving political prisoner, Win Tin. Most of those released, however, are not political prisoners. By most estimates, as many as 2,000 political prisoners remain in detention.

Iraq Passes Scaled-Down Election Law (Sep. 24): Parliament passes a much-anticipated law that calls for provincial elections to be held in early 2009. Elections had originally been scheduled for October 2008. Elections, however, in the disputed city of Kirkuk are postponed until a separate agreement is reached by a committee made up of representatives from each group involved in the dispute over the future of Kirkuk.

Car Bomb Explodes in Syrian Capital (Sep. 27): A powerful bomb, made of more than 400 pounds of explosives, kills 17 people near a Shiite shrine in Damascus. It's Syria's worst attack in more than 20 years. Terrorism is suspected.

Five Bombs Kill Dozens in Baghdad (Sep. 28): At least 27 people die and more than 80 are wounded in the bombs that occur throughout the day.

to be continued
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