JEFFREY BROWN: In other news today, the U.S. military announced the deaths of two soldiers in Iraq who died from wounds sustained in a roadside bomb attack on a patrol in eastern Baghdad.
A new report from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog found, Iran has not suspended its nuclear activities, but it has allowed greater monitoring of nuclear facilities by U.N. inspectors. Still, the report from the International Atomic Energy Agency said there remain a number of outstanding issues which give rise to concerns.
Iran’s top representative to the IAEA called the assessment a fabrication. The U.S. participates in six-party talks next week to consider new sanctions on Iran.
In the latest political developments in Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stepped up pressure on opposition leaders today, for the first time, demanding their prosecution for what he called orchestrating post-election unrest, with the help of foreign enemies. He spoke to a crowd gathered at Tehran University.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, Iranian president (through translator): Serious confrontation has to be against the leaders and key elements of the incidents. These deceived and secondhand elements have to be dealt with Islamic mercy. Don’t give immunity protection to the main elements and punish the deceived and secondhand elements.
JEFFREY BROWN: Ahmadinejad’s remarks went further than those earlier this week by Iran’s supreme leader. In a statement released Wednesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “I do not accuse the leaders of the recent events of being stooges of foreigners, including the United States and Britain, since it was not proved for me.”
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will not be charged in an alleged pay-to-play scheme. The U.S. attorney who led the probe confirmed that today. The inquiry lasted a year, and forced Richardson to withdraw as a nominee for commerce secretary in the Obama administration.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist picked one of his former aides to fill the Senate seat of Mel Martinez. Earlier this month, Martinez, a Republican, announced his resignation with more than a year left in office.
Today, the governor chose his former chief of staff, George LeMieux, to serve out the rest of the term. Crist, also a Republican, has already announced plans to run for the same Senate seat in 2010.
In the West, four wildfires burned thousands of acres in the mountains and coastal areas of Southern California. Teams of firefighters worked around the clock to contain the flames that threaten nearly 900 homes and forced hundreds to evacuate.
Today, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for both Monterey and Los Angeles Counties. An official battling one of the blazes described what the Forest Service is up against.
NATHAN JUDY, U.S. Forest Service: It’s really thick in here, so we can’t see a whole lot. Once this breaks up a little bit and we can get the airship in here, we will start hitting it harder. But it’s just a thick — if — people that live down below, you can smell it, you can taste it. You can see how bad it is.
JEFFREY BROWN: Southern California is also in the midst of a heat wave. Forecasters expect triple-digit temperatures to continue until Sunday.
Pop star Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide today. The Los Angeles County coroner said the cause of death was acute propofol intoxication, but other sedatives contributed. A criminal investigation continues. No charges have yet been filed.
Household incomes across the U.S. stayed flat for the month of July. The Commerce Department attributed that to wage freezes and temporary layoffs facing many Americans. But consumer spending rose slightly in July, thanks in part to the popular cash for clunkers program. It ended on Monday.
On Wall Street today, stocks were split on the income and spending news. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 36 points, to close at 9544. The Nasdaq rose just over one point, to close at 2028. For the week, both the Dow and Nasdaq rose less than 1 percent.