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Other News: Presidential Campaign Begins in Afghanistan

June 16, 2009 at 6:10 PM EDT
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JIM LEHRER: In other news today, Afghanistan officially kicked off its two-month-long presidential campaign. The election season began at a time thousands more U.S. troops are deploying to battle the Taliban.

In Kabul, supporters of President Karzai and his 40 opponents hung campaign posters on walls and their vehicles. The election is scheduled for August 20th.

In Iraq, there was word another American soldier has been killed. The U.S. military said it was a roadside bombing about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad. At least six U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month.

The Obama White House has issued the U.S. government’s strongest warning yet about global warming. The climate status report today found warming is already causing heavier rain, hotter weather, and rising sea levels. The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the findings are a “game-changer.”

JANE LUBCHENCO, administrator, NOAA: Much of the foot-dragging in addressing climate change is a reflection of the perception that climate change is way down the road, it’s in the future, and that it only affects remote parts of the planet. And this report demonstrates, provides the concrete scientific information that says unequivocally that climate change is happening now, and it’s happening in our own backyards, and it affects the kinds of things people care about.

JIM LEHRER: The report’s authors said they will not dictate any particular solution. A federal bribery trial has begun for former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson. Opening statements took place today in Alexandria, Va. A federal prosecutor said Jefferson was heavily in debt, so he sought out bribes to broker business deals in Africa. The defense argued $90,000 found in Jefferson’s freezer was proof that a bribe was never carried out.

Four major emerging economies called today for greater diversity in the global monetary system; it was a veiled reference to the U.S. dollar’s dominance of that system. The four nations — Brazil, Russia, India and China — did not directly criticize keeping the dollar as the lead currency, but earlier, the Russian president called for creating reserves of other currencies.

In U.S. economic news, the government reported industrial output fell again in May. It’s been down seven months in a row. In response, the stock market extended its losses after Monday’s big drop. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 107 points to close at 8,504.┬á The Nasdaq fell 20 points to close at 1,796.┬á