Update as of 0900 Eastern Time:
Bottom Line Up Front:
1. German Chancellor calls Russian recognition of break-away regions of Georgia unacceptable.
2. EU continues to attempt to figure out what to do about Russia.
3. Corruption charges dropped against most likely Pakistani Presidential Candidate.
4. DNC Convention.
5. Senator McCain takes a much more visible road during convention.
From Fox News:
President Dmitry Medvedev announced Tuesday he has signed a decree recognizing the independence of the breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Few other nations are likely to follow Russia's lead but the move is sure to further escalate tensions between Moscow and the West.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Russian recognition of Georgian rebel regions "absolutely unacceptable."
"This is not an easy choice but this is the only chance to save people's lives," Medvedev said in a televised address a day after Russia's Kremlin-controlled parliament voted unanimously to support the diplomatic recognition.
Medvedev's declaration comes as Russian forces remain in Georgia after a war, staking out positions beyond the de-facto borders of the separatist regions. Abkhazia and South Ossetia have effectively ruled themselves following wars with Georgia in the 1990s.
Russia's military presence seems likely to further weaken Georgia, a Western ally in the Caucasus region, a major transit corridor for energy supplies to Europe and a strategic crossroads close to the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia and energy-rich Central Asia
Russia's president said Tuesday he has signed an order recognizing the independence of two Georgian breakaway provinces, a move likely to increase tensions with the West over the conflict in the region.
Dmitry Medvedev blamed Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, for forcing his hand by launching a military assault South Ossetia rebels, triggering a major invasion by Russia's military.
"This is not an easy choice but this is the only opportunity to preserve the lives of the people," Medvedev said, according to a translation from Russia Today.
Medvedev called on other countries to follow Russia's lead. He signed the order a day after it was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Russia's parliament.
A unanimous vote on Monday by both houses of Russia's parliament in favor of recognizing South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia, as independent has already drawn international condemnation. Watch rebel leaders seek statehood
That vote was rejected by Saakashvili, who called it an attempt by Russia to "justify the occupation" by its forces, which remain in parts of Georgia.
U.S. President George W. Bush Monday urged Russia not to recognize the regions' independence, saying he was "deeply concerned" by the move.
From the NY Times:
Even as they urged Russian leaders to reject calls from the Russian Parliament to formally recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, European diplomats on Monday began the delicate task of finding a consensus on the Russia-Georgia crisis before an emergency summit meeting of the European Union on Sept. 1.
Europeans agree that Russia overreacted to Georgia’s assault on South Ossetia and that Russia has not complied with the cease-fire agreement that ended the conflict.
But Europeans disagree on what to do about it, with little obvious leverage on Russia, especially on the ground in the Caucasus.
European officials do think they have a leading diplomatic role to play, however, because Russia does not regard the Bush administration, a primary supporter of President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, as an honest broker.
To support Mr. Saakashvili, President Bush is sending Vice President Dick Cheney to Georgia next week, the White House announced on Monday. Mr. Cheney, considered a strong supporter of Mr. Saakashvili and Georgian independence, will also stop in Azerbaijan and Ukraine, which like Georgia are former Soviet states with close ties to the West.
Mr. Cheney will also stop in Italy, where Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — like leaders in France, Germany, Belgium and other European countries — is eager to maintain good relationships with neighboring Moscow.
By contrast, the countries of Central Europe, like Poland, supported by the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Britain, want a more confrontational stance toward Russia, to show Moscow that aggression has costs. But “old Europe” wants to help ease Russia out of its predicament and not create a long-term animosity with a country that has a strong energy, trade and cultural relationship with Europe.
From Fox News:
The Geneva prosecutor said Monday he has dropped money laundering charges against Asif Ali Zardari, widower of the late Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto and favorite to become the country's next president.
Prosecutor General Daniel Zappelli noted that the Pakistan prosecutor had dropped his corruption case against Zardari partly on grounds the original charges were politically motivated.
Zappelli's move comes eight months after he dropped charges against Bhutto the day following her assassination.
Pakistani judicial officials had ordered Pakistan's case against Zardari closed after then-President Pervez Musharraf issued a controversial order quashing corruption charges against Bhutto and her husband.
Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party chose Zardari last week as its presidential candidate in the Sept. 6 election by lawmakers to fill the post left vacant by Musharraf's resignation.
From Fox News:
Michelle Obama charmed the Democratic National Convention audience with her headlining address in Denver, but all eyes are on Hillary Clinton Tuesday as she prepares to make the case for party unity amid lingering tensions.
Some of her supporters and delegates are still sour over the tight and bruising Democratic primary battle. But negotiations are being held to put her name in for nomination Wednesday as a gesture while still allowing the New York senator to cut the roll call short and call on her delegates to unanimously back Obama.
Clinton addresses the convention Tuesday along with keynote speaker, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.
Her primary campaign has been a constant presence so far at the convention, with several speakers praising her for her efforts.
Michelle Obama drew enthusiastic cheers Monday night by praising Clinton for putting “those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” — a reference to her vote total in the primaries.
The headliners -- Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner -- will deliver full-length addresses. But most of those appearing at the podium will have four minutes or less to get their message across to a sometimes less-than-attentive crowd.
The podium parade will feature 40 officeholders, including two mayors, 13 governors, 14 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 11 senators -- nine of them women.
The only state official on the list who is not a governor is California State Comptroller John Chiang, who is known for his clashes with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The remaining 20 speakers are primarily nonpoliticians, including a flood victim and people who recently have lost jobs or are about to be laid off. Watch highlights from convention's first day »
An Iraq war veteran, Bronze Star recipient Koby Langley, is scheduled to appear. The leader of Veterans for Obama will lead the convention in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The lone educator on the speakers' list is the president of a technical college serving American Indians. David Gipp will talk about the need for higher education opportunities for members of tribal nations.
Presidential candidates usually keep a low-profile during the other guy's convention, but not John McCain. He's trying here in his home state to stay relevant to what's happening in Denver at the Democratic National Convention.
The strategy behind McCain skipping the usual R&R is pretty clear: The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll shows this race is much closer frankly than either side expected it to be in a sour year for Republicans, so Team McCain wants to keep the heat on Barack Obama.
"If you had told me two months ago that we'd be dead even heading into the Democratic National Convention, I would have told you were crazy," one McCain adviser told me.
So McCain advisers say their goal is to keep Obama's convention "bounce" to a minimum, so McCain can head to St. Paul, Minnesota, next week with some real momentum. They think the best way to do that is to drive a deeper wedge between Obama and Sen.Hillary Clinton.
It started last weekend, when Obama picked Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware instead of Clinton as his running mate. McCain's camp quickly released a TV ad titled "Passed Over," trying to stoke the simmering anger among Clintonites who feel she got a raw deal. Now the Republican National Committee has another ad pouring more gasoline on the fire. Watch McCain's attempts to use the "Hillary Clinton card." »
"Who has the experience to govern our nation?" the narrator begins, before cutting to an old clip from Clinton during the tense Democratic primary season. "Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign," Clinton says in the clip. "I will bring a lifetime of experience, and Sen. Obama will bring a speech he gave in 2002."
More to follow:
God Bless America
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