The world at a glance ... U.S.
Terminate Schwarzenegger?; Des Moines slaughterhouse charged; Detroit mayor resigns; Daytona Beach ocean ordeal; 9/11 truce in New York; Assassination program revealed in Washington, D.C.<br /><span style="font-family: Verdana,Helve
Sacramento, Calif. Terminate Schwarzenegger? California’s influential prison guard union this week launched a petition drive to oust Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, five years after he succeeded Gray Davis, whose own term was cut short by a recall vote. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association aims to collect 1 million signatures to place a recall referendum on the ballot in November. The guards say that Schwarzenegger “has done absolutely nothing” as governor, citing the state’s mounting budget deficit and the tardiness of a new budget. Opponents of the drive say the guards are simply punishing Schwarzenegger for resisting their demands for higher pay. “I’m not going to get intimidated by those guys,” Schwarzenegger said.
Des Moines Slaughterhouse charged: A kosher meatpacking plant routinely violated child-labor laws, forcing children as young as 14 to operate meat grinders, circular saws, and other dangerous equipment, Iowa prosecutors charged this week. The charges were brought against the owners and senior managers of Agriprocessors, the nation’s largest kosher meat processor, whose Iowa plant was raided by immigration officials in May. The indictment says that owner Aaron Rubashkin and his son Sholom, the plant manager, were aware that undocumented aliens worked at the plant and that many were underage. Because each day worked by an underage employee constitutes a separate offense, the executives face 9,311 misdemeanor counts of violating state labor laws. The company denies the allegations.
Detroit Mayor resigns: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick this week pleaded guilty to felony charges and resigned from office, ending an eight-month drama that bitterly divided the city. First elected in 2001, Kilpatrick, 37, spearheaded a revival of Detroit’s depressed downtown. But he was hit with perjury charges after the Detroit Free Press published steamy text messages that contradicted his sworn denials that he was carrying on an extramarital affair with his chief of staff. He was subsequently charged with assaulting two police officers serving a subpoena in the case. In a plea agreement, Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two counts of obstructing justice and “no contest” to one count of assault. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail.
Daytona Beach, Fla. Ocean ordeal: A father and his 12-year-old son this week spent a night floating in the cold, dark Atlantic Ocean, after being dragged for miles by a riptide, before finally being rescued. The boy, who is autistic, had been swimming the evening before when he was caught in the riptide. When his father dove in after the boy, he, too, was caught in the tide, and was unable to reach the child. Twelve hours later, a boater picked up Walter Marino, 46, about eight miles offshore. The boy, Christopher, was hauled from the ocean by the Coast Guard about two hours later. Miraculously, neither suffered serious injuries. “That kid is an amazing kid,” said rescue team member David Birky. “To tread water for almost 14 hours—I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could do that.”
New York City A 9/11 truce: Barack Obama and John McCain suspended hostilities in their presidential campaign this week to visit the site of the World Trade Center, destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “All of us came together on 9/11 not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans,” the candidates said in a highly unusual joint statement. The political rivals said they would therefore “put aside politics and come together” at ground zero on the seventh anniversary of the attack. The purpose of the event, the candidates said, was to honor the memory of those who died in the attacks and to pay tribute to the police and firefighters who responded—“a heroic example of selfless service.” Washington, D.C. Assassination program revealed: A secret U.S. assassination program, not the U.S. troop surge, is largely behind the dramatic drop in violence in Iraq, journalist Bob Woodward concludes in a new book published this week. Woodward reports that the U.S. military is conducting a secret operation to locate and kill leaders of al Qaida in Iraq and other insurgent leaders. His assertion about the impact of the program, based on interviews with unnamed officials, contradicts Bush administration claims that the troop surge and cooperation from Sunni tribal leaders spurred the decline in bombings and other attacks. National Security Advisor Steven Hadley confirmed the existence of the program, which is highly classified, but disputed Woodward’s claim that it led to the falloff in violence.