KWAME HOLMAN: Republicans today offered their own critical take on the Democratic Convention. In Adel, Iowa, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said tonight's main speaker, former President Bill Clinton, will try to shift attention from Mr. Obama's economic record.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-Wi.), Vice Presidential Candidate: We're going to hear a lot of things in Charlotte, but we're not going to hear a convincing argument that we're better off than we were four years ago.
We're going to hear from President Clinton tonight in Charlotte. My guess is, we will get a great rendition of how good things were in the 1990s, but we're not going to hear much about how things have been in the last four years.
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney continued debate preparations at a private home in Vermont. However, he took a quick trip to an appliance store in nearby Lebanon, New Hampshire, where he spoke with supporters about the needs of small business.
Wall Street hesitated today, after a profit warning from the shipping giant FedEx. The company says it's being hurt by a slowdown in business, the latest sign that the global economy is dialing back. That was enough to keep stocks in check. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 11 points to close at 13047. The Nasdaq fell five points to close at 3069.
The passage of Hurricane Isaac has exposed oil from the 2010 spill along the Louisiana and Alabama coastline. BP acknowledged today that the oily tar came from its record-breaking leak at a Gulf well site. The tar balls and mats had been buried under sand since then, but reappeared after the hurricane caused severe beach erosion. Louisiana has closed one stretch of beach and restricted fishing.
The government of Syria came under new pressure today from two former allies. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Syrian regime of terrorism. He also criticized the
United Nations for not doing enough to stop the killing of Muslims.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish Prime Minister (through translator): The regime has become one of state terrorism. It is now in that situation. Since March 2011, the number of those who have been massacred and martyred in Syria is now almost 30,000. In Syria, the massacres that are empowered by the indifference of the internal community, especially the U.N. Security
Council, are continuing increasingly.
KWAME HOLMAN: In Cairo, Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi also denounced Syria. He called again for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Meanwhile, The New York Times cited reports that Iraq is again allowing Iran to use its airspace to fly weapons to the Syrian regime.
The Iraqis had shut down the air corridor earlier this year, under U.S. pressure.
A former police chief who touched off a major scandal in China has been charged with defection, taking bribes and abusing his power. State media announced the charges against Wang Lijun today. In February, Wang briefly took refuge at a U.S. Consulate after being demoted as police chief in a city in Southwestern China. That led to the ouster of Bo Xilai, his former boss, as Communist Party leader there. Bo is still under investigation.
Last month, Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence for the murder of a British businessman.
In Afghanistan, the military announced today it has arrested or expelled hundreds of soldiers, as part of an effort to stop so-called insider attacks on foreign troops. The attacks come as the U.S. tries to continue its plan to transition out of Afghanistan.
Margaret Warner has the story.
MARGARET WARNER: On a pre-convention swing through Virginia yesterday, President Obama again touted his plans to end the Afghan war.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This November, you get to decide the future of the war in Afghanistan. By the end of this month, I will have brought home 33,000 troops.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have said we will end this war in 2014.
MARGARET WARNER: But a linchpin of that promise, to train Afghan forces to take over the fight, faces a new challenge; 45 NATO troops have been killed this year by Afghan troops, 15 just last month, all this just two years before a planned handover of security to full Afghan control.
U.S. and Afghan officials have vowed to fix the problem. And, in Kabul today, a Defense Ministry spokesman said hundreds of Afghan forces have been fired or detained for showing links with insurgents.
GEN. MOHAMMAD ZAHIR AZIMI, Spokesman, Afghan Defense Ministry (through translator): All the Afghan security forces were ordered to use all of their resources in hand to prevent these kinds of incidents.
MARGARET WARNER: And last weekend, the U.S. military suspended training for 1,000 new recruits in special village-based Afghan local police units being tutored by American special forces.
U.S. Army Lieutenant General James Terry said today about a quarter of the insider attacks can be blamed on insurgent infiltrators or their sympathizers. The rest, he said, stem from personal vendettas and cultural miscommunication.
LT. GEN. JAMES TERRY, Commander, ISAF Joint Command: We also understand that a lot of grievances and dispute resolutions are done, frankly, at the barrel of a gun out there.
MARGARET WARNER: Though the U.S. is re-vetting all 16,000 Afghan local police forces, it's unclear how many of the total 350,000 Afghan troops will be re-screened.