HARI SREENIVASAN: Congress returned to work today from the summer recess, but with muted expectations.
Major decisions are expected to be delayed until after the election. Republicans running the House and Democrats leading the Senate did hope to agree on a six-month spending bill. That would fund the government operations and buy time to deal with major decisions on taxes and spending.
The mayor of Trenton, N.J., will face federal corruption charges. The FBI arrested Mayor Tony Mack early today. He allegedly plotted to take bribes of more than $100,000. U.S. attorney Paul Fishman said the mayor’s so-called bagman, Joseph Giorgianni, was recorded comparing them to a notorious 19th century boss in New York.
PAUL FISHMAN, U.S. attorney: You will see that the complaint describes a conversation in which Giorgianni talks glowingly of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall, one of the high or I guess the low watermarks of political corruption in our country’s history.
He also told this cooperating witness that Mayor Mack uses him as an intermediary or as he described it — quote — “a buffer.” “As long as you have got buffers, you’re safe,” said Giorgianni.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Mack faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Wall Street started the week on a down note after last week’s rally. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 52 points to close at 13,254. The Nasdaq fell 32 points to close at 3,104.
There’s word that a U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaida’s number two leader in Yemen last week. Senior defense officials in both countries today reported the death of Said al-Shihri. He spent six years at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before being released. Al-Shihri’s death could be a serious blow to al-Qaida’s most active branch.
The main American-run prison in Afghanistan was handed over to Afghan control today. The formal transfer at Bagram prison was attended by high- ranking Afghan ministers, but not their American counterparts. The U.S. is holding onto hundreds of Taliban suspects out of fear that Afghan officials will simply let them go. Meanwhile, hours after the handover, a suicide bomber struck in the northern city of Kunduz. The attack killed 15 people and wounded 25 others.
In Syria, the death toll from a car bomb in Aleppo grew to 30. More than 60 people were wounded in the blast that went off near two hospitals, late last night. State media blamed rebels for the attack, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.