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10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2012
New Orleans struggles without power, the U.S. halts the training of Afghan forces, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
An electrical worker repairs a power line damaged by Hurricane Isaac in Arcola, La. Hundreds of thousands of Louisianans remain without power days after the slow-moving Category 1 hurricane passed through the state. 
An electrical worker repairs a power line damaged by Hurricane Isaac in Arcola, La. Hundreds of thousands of Louisianans remain without power days after the slow-moving Category 1 hurricane passed through the state. 
John Moore/Getty Images

1. U.S. HALTS TRAINING OF AFGHAN FORCES OVER ATTACKS
After a recent rise in the number of attacks by Afghan local police against U.S. Special Operations Forces, the U.S. has halted training of Afghan troops. The U.S. will double check the backgrounds of each of the members of the Afghan force. This year, more than 40 NATO troops were killed by either members of the Afghan security forces or by insurgents disguised as an Afghan policeman or soldier. In response to the temporary suspension, Thomas Collins, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, said, "While we have full trust and confidence in our Afghan partners, we believe this is a necessary step to validate our vetting process and ensure the quality indicative of Afghan Local Police." [CNN]
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2. MOST OF NEW ORLEANS STILL WITHOUT POWER
Although Tropical Storm Isaac lost most of its steam by Saturday, much of New Orleans remains without power. Across Louisiana, more than 3,000 evacuees remained in shelters. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said that his "patience is wearing thin." Though hundreds of workers have been dispatched to clean up trees and debris and to restore power, Landrieu worried that the aftermath of Isaac continues to be "dangerous for everybody." [Los Angeles Times]
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3. S. AFRICA DROPS MURDER CHARGES AGAINST MINERS
South African prosecutors provisionally dropped charges against 270 miners accused of killing 34 of their striking colleagues, who were shot dead by police last month at the Marikana mine. The charges, however, could be brought against the miners again, once the investigation is complete. The police killing of the strikers last month was the worst such security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994. Anger had been mounting over the charges, made under an apartheid-era law that deemed the miners as having had a "common purpose" in the murder of their co-workers. [Reuters]
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4. OBAMA: I'M A BIG FAN OF CLINT EASTWOOD
Aboard Air Force One on Saturday, President Obama told USA Today that he's a "huge fan of Clint Eastwood." The interview came after the closing night of the Republican National Convention, during which Eastwood gave a speech and addressed an empty chair that he said was President Obama. Asked if he was offended by Eastwood's speech, Obama said, "One thing about being president or running for president — if you're easily offended, you should probably choose another profession." [USA Today]
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5. BLASTS ROCKS SYRIA, REBELS TARGET AIR BASES
Two explosive devices were used in an attack near a military guard unit in Syria's capital Damascus, state television reported. Syrian forces are struggling to maintain control in the capital as rebels pushed into neighborhoods in July. Meanwhile, rebels have turned their attacks against airbases as they try to reduce the strength of the government's air power being deployed against them. Fighting continued around the perimeter of the Abu Zhuhoor military airport in the northern province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an email. [Bloomberg]
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6. EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK URGED TO TAKE ACTION
Angel Gurria, the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, has called on the European Central Bank to take action on the eurozone crisis, ahead of a meeting of the group this week. The ECB is reportedly expected to resume buying the debt of countries with high borrowing costs, although Germany and others oppose such a move. Gurria said that the ECB should buy the bonds of Italy and Spain. "I think that the ECB is the bazooka, the firepower, the muscle, the one that has the capacity to impress upon the markets," he added. [BBC]
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7. TUTU SAYS BUSH, BLAIR SHOULD FACE TRIAL
Desmond Tutu, the retired Archbishop of South Africa, called for former U.S. President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for their role in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In an op-ed piece for The Observer newspaper, Tutu said that the ex-leaders should be made to "answer for their actions." The Iraq war "has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history," wrote Tutu. [Associated Press]
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8. APPLE TARGETS SAMSUNG'S HOTTEST SELLERS
After winning a massive patent lawsuit against South Korean smartphone maker Samsung, Apple on Friday added several of Samsung's best-selling devices to the complaint it filed against its competitor in February. The devices included are the Galaxy S III and its special Verizon edition; the Galaxy Note; the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet; and the Galaxy S II in both its basic and carrier-independent forms. The February case has already resulted in a ban on the sale of Galaxy Nexus phones in the United States, although that injunction is pending appeal. Apple is seeking a similar ban against the Galaxy S III and other devices in its amended complaint. [PC World]
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9. CLINTON BEGINS 10-DAY TRIP TO ASIA
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a 10-day, six-nation visit to Asia, during which she has pledged "to broaden American diplomatic, economic and security support in the Pacific, but also offering conciliatory remarks toward China at a time when tensions are rising over territorial disputes." At a the Pacific Island Forum on Friday, Clinton told leaders: "We all have important contributions and stakes in this region's success — to advance your security, your opportunity and your prosperity." [New York Times]
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10. PROLIFIC SONGWRITER HAL DAVID DIES
Hal David, the renowned pop music lyricist who wrote hit songs like "Walk On By," "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and the Oscar-winning "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," died Saturday in Los Angles. David was 91. "As a lyric writer, Hal was simple, concise and poetic — conveying volumes of meaning in the fewest possible words and always in service to the music," songwriter Paul Williams, president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, said in a statement.  [Los Angeles Times]

 

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