In other news Tuesday, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ordered a lower court judge to review his decision to uphold a voter ID law that could disenfranchise voters who don’t have government IDs. Also, NATO leaders plan to scale back to joint operations with Afghan forces after an uptick of ‘green on blue’ attacks.
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The battle over a voter I.D. law in Pennsylvania has taken a new turn. The state Supreme Court today ordered a lower court judge to review his decision that upheld the law. If he finds that voters cannot easily obtain a photo I.D. and will be disenfranchised, he must strike down the statute. Otherwise, it stands. Similar legal battles are under way in several other states.
A federal judge in Arizona has cleared the way to enforce a centerpiece of the state's new immigration law. Effective immediately, police who stop people for other reasons will have to ask about their immigration status, if it seems in doubt. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the provision last June, but opponents made a final bid to delay it.
NATO leaders today defended scaling back joint operations with Afghan forces as prudent and temporary. The decision followed attacks by Afghan soldiers and police on coalition troops. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the announcement proves the Afghans are already capable of operating on their own.
And White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. remains on track to withdraw most troops by the end of 2014.
JAY CARNEY, White House:
The president's policy of gradually turning over security lead to Afghan forces continues. And that is part of a broader strategy that has to — that will result in more American troops coming home and Afghans taking more and greater responsibility for the security of their nation. And that process continues.
Some British lawmakers warned that scaling back joint operations with the Afghans could undermine the transition.
There was new violence today over that American-made film that disparages the Prophet Mohammed. A suicide car bomber in Afghanistan struck a minibus carrying South African aviation workers, killing at least a dozen people. Militants said it was revenge for the film.
And, in Peshawar, Pakistan, hundreds of protesters rallied outside the U.S. Consulate there and fought with police.
ABDUL HALEEM, protester (through translator):
We, the Muslims, never insult any religion of the world, including the USA. Our way is jihad, as per the Islamic instructions of our prophet, peace be upon him, and the U.S. is interfering in our country, exploding bombs. Now these Christians are insulting our prophet, who is the messenger for the whole world. And it will lead this country towards hell.
Also today, al-Qaida's branch in North Africa called for its supporters to wage new attacks on U.S. diplomats.
The government of Pakistan has agreed to reopen a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari. The country's supreme court had demanded the move for months. Zardari faces allegations that he and his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, received millions of dollars in kickbacks from Swiss companies in the 1990s.
At the time, Bhutto was prime minister. The Swiss have said they will not pursue the matter while Zardari remains in office.
The opposition leader in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, was welcomed to Washington today. She had been under house arrest for years by a military junta that has since given way to a reformist government.
Today, Suu Kyi met with Secretary of State Clinton. She voiced support for easing U.S. sanctions against the former Burma, but she called again for all political prisoners to be freed.
Wall Street struggled to get ahead today, as stocks were mostly flat. The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day with a gain of just 11 points to close at 13564. The Nasdaq was down about a point to close at 3,177.
An early leader of the Environmental Protection Agency has died. Russell Train passed away Monday at his farm on Maryland's eastern shore. Under President Nixon, he helped create the EPA in 1970 and became its second administrator. He also played a major role in pushing through landmark laws, including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Russell Train was 92 years old.
Those are some of the day's major stories.