HEADLINES -- August 31, 2011 at 8:17 AM ET
N.C., N.Y. Declared Flood Disaster Areas, Libyan Rebels Decline U.N. Observers
Damaged homes from flooding are seen on August 30, 2011 in Bethel, Vermont. Photo by Chip Allen/Getty Images.
Days after Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast, more than 2 million people are still without power and towns in Vermont that have been completely cut off by floodwater are receiving airlifts of food and water. On Tuesday's NewsHour, Gwen Ifill spoke with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., about relief efforts in his state.
President Obama declared New York and North Carolina flood disaster areas, paving the way for federal funds to assist in relief. Other states, including Vermont, already fell under the category. The declaration comes as the Federal Emergency Management Agency struggles to find aid funds; it is suspending aid for past disaster areas such as tornado-hit Joplin, Mo., to help meet immediate needs. Congress must appropriate further funding.
Libyan Rebels: No U.N. Observers Needed
The Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council has taken a pass on United Nations observers in the country during the transition period. The country's envoy to the U.N. told the BBC that it was not a civil war and therefore did not qualify as a traditional conflict. "It is the people who are defending themselves against the dictatorship," NTC leader Ibrahim Dabbashi said.
As rebels continue efforts to secure Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Sirte and Tripoli remains under their control, the New York Times reports that city is far from being under unified leadership:
A week after rebels broke into Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's former stronghold, much of its territory remains divided into fiefs, each controlled by quasi-independent brigades representing different geographic areas of the country. And the spray paint they use to mark their territory tells the story of a looming leadership crisis in the capital, Tripoli.
The NTC, based in Benghazi, has said it plans to move its headquarters to Tripoli.
Photo by Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images.
Suspect Admits to Killing U.S. Troops in Germany
Arid Uka, a 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian, admitted to shooting two U.S. airmen after opening fire at the airport in Frankfurt. He said he had been influenced by extremist Islamic propaganda, but expressed regret, telling the court, "[W]hat I did was wrong, but I cannot undo what I did."
Uka launched the attack after seeing a clip from a movie on Facebook in which a soldier rapes a Muslim teen. Not realizing it was fictional, Uka said he planned the shootings to prevent soldiers from deploying to Afghanistan.
Afghan Police Have Twice the Casualty Rate of Afghan Army
In the past year, 1,555 police in Afghanistan have died, often in gruesome attacks by insurgents and at a rate twice that of the Afghan National Army, even though their ranks are much smaller. Their training, pay and equipment are below those of their counterparts in the army, and they've complained of being poorly armed.
The Washington Post's Joshua Partlow reports:
Forever maligned as corrupt, incompetent and drug-addled, the Afghan national police nevertheless have sacrificed unlike any force in the country, foreign or domestic, taking casualties at a rate far higher than Afghan soldiers or their partners in the U.S.-led coalition.