Dispatches > News

Assault behind bars

"Assault behind bars" Continued...

Issue: "Rocks in their heads?," Sept. 11, 2010

Deadly monsoon

China's worst monsoon season in a decade brought flooding that has killed more than 2,500 people since April, according to Chinese government estimates. The deadliest day came on Aug. 7, as a massive mudslide in northwestern China crushed homes, buried residents, and killed more than 1,400 people. Two weeks later, authorities called off the search for 330 people still missing and prohibited residents from digging through debris, fearing that decaying corpses would spread disease to survivors. Chinese scientists warned over a decade ago that the region was vulnerable to devastating mudslides, saying government-led deforestation would lead to dangerous soil erosion and instability. Officials also ordered the evacuation of more than 250,000 people along China's border with North Korea in late August after the Yalu River overflowed.

Peace plea

Over 1,000 mourners gathered in Harrisonburg, Va., Aug. 22 for services honoring Brian Carderelli, one of 10 members of an aid team killed by Taliban gunmen in Afghanistan last month ("Work and death," Aug. 28, 2010). At the graveside Carderelli family members released seven doves and read this statement: "We as a family want to publicly say today that because God through Christ has forgiven us, we forgive the men who killed Brian; and we will continue to pray that God will bring peace to Afghanistan."

U.S. commanders in Washington warned that Taliban traction means the Afghan Army will not be ready to take over most parts of the country in time for a July 2011 drawdown of combat troops to begin.

Not as planned

The Aug. 24 primaries weren't what political prognosticators predicted. Alaska Republican voters may have ousted incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in favor of political newcomer Joe Miller, even as polls heading into the primary showed Murkowski comfortably in the lead. A winner isn't likely to emerge until absentee ballots are counted. Murkowski supports Roe v. Wade while Miller is pro-life, and the state ballots included a parental notification measure for abortions, which drew pro-life voters to the polls.

Alaskans may have unseated a powerful incumbent, but incumbents elsewhere survived. Arizona Sen. John McCain throttled his Tea Party-backed challenger J.D. Hayworth. In Florida's Democratic primary, Rep. Kendrick Meek edged out real estate billionaire Jeff Greene to be the Senate nominee-giving Republican nominee Marco Rubio a better chance of winning in a three-way November race with independent Charlie Crist.

B-egging for trouble

More than half a billion eggs are only good for throwing following the largest egg recall in U.S. history. A salmonella outbreak at two Iowa companies showed how the egg industry has consolidated in the last 20 years, so that a problem in one company ripples out to the entire food supply. Currently 192 companies produce 95 percent of the nation's egg supply-down from 2,500 companies in 1987, according to the industry group United Egg Producers. The FDA, with a spotty record of late on food safety, had never inspected either of the farms at the center of the recall. The House passed food safety reforms last year that would require more food inspections and allow the FDA to recall bad food, but the Senate hasn't acted on the legislation.

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