Update as of 0630 Eastern Time:
Bottom Line Up Front:
1. Hurricane Ike.
2. Russian Separatists.
3. Atom Smasher fires and we're all still here.
4. Attack on Al Qaeda in Pakistan
5. Lipstick comments by Obama.
From Fox News (Ike):
Some Texas residents who have special medical needs in the Corpus Christi area were being told to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Ike as it steams into the Gulf of Mexico.
To help these residents who need to get out of harm's way, Nueces County expected to set up two intake areas on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to take residents by bus to San Antonio. Meanwhile, Lt. Rhonda Lawson with the Texas Department of Public Safety in Corpus Christi said plans were in place to open up the evacuation route on Interstate 37 beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Texas emergency officials were taking no chances with the lives of its medically fragile citizens. Forecasters said Ike could hit on Saturday morning just about anywhere along the Texas coast, with the most likely spot close to the Corpus Christi area.
"For people designated as special medical needs who have a health condition that will require them to be out of harm's way ... we will assist them in boarding state furnished transportation and we'll assist them in getting to San Antonio," said Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal. He said the order is a voluntary evacuation. County officials have not ordered a full evacuation as they await updates on Hurricane Ike.
From NY Times (Russia):
Tatarstan is a long way from South Ossetia. While South Ossetia is a poor border region of Georgia battered by war, Tatarstan is an economic powerhouse in the heart of Russia, boasting both oil reserves and the political stability that is catnip to investors.
But the two places have one thing in common: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, both have given rise to separatist movements. And when President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia formally recognized the breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations two weeks ago, activists in Kazan, the Tatar capital, took notice.
An association of nationalist groups, the All-Tatar Civic Center, swiftly published an appeal that “for the first time in recent history, Russia has recognized the state independence of its own citizens” and expressed the devout wish that Tatarstan would be next. The declaration was far-fetched, its authors knew: One of Vladimir V. Putin’s signal achievements as Mr. Medvedev’s predecessor was to suppress separatism. The Tatar movement was at its lowest ebb in 20 years.
But Moscow’s decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia made Tatarstan’s cause seem, as Rashit Akhmetov put it, “not hopeless.”
Mr. Akhmetov, editor in chief of Zvezda Povolzhya, an opposition newspaper in Kazan, said, “Russia has lost the moral right not to recognize us.”
From CNN (Atom Smasher):
Scientists Wednesday applauded as one of the most ambitious experiments ever conceived got successfully underway, with protons being fired around a 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel deep beneath the border of France and Switzerland in an attempt to unlock the secrets of the universe.
The Large Hadron Collider -- a $9 billion particle accelerator designed to simulate conditions of the Big Bang that created the physical Universe -- was switched on at 0732 GMT to cheers and applause from experts gathered to witness the event.
While observers were left nonplussed by the anticlimactic flashing dots on a TV screen that signalled the machine's successful test run, among teams of scientists involved around the world there were jubilant celebrations and popping champagne corks.
In the coming months, the collider is expected to begin smashing particles into each other by sending two beams of protons around the tunnel in opposite directions.
Skeptics, who claim that the experiment could lead to the creation of a black hole capable of swallowing the planet, failed in a legal bid to halt the project at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
From CNN (Pakistan):
The newly appointed al Qaeda chief in Pakistan, Abu Haris, has died of his wounds after a missile attack in northwestern Pakistan, according to a guard who was also wounded in the attack.
The guard said the missiles hit the compound of a key Taliban commander. Asked about the report, the White House had no comment.
The guard said that the death toll from the attack has climbed to 25 and that at least 20 were injured.
The guard said three other al Qaeda members died Tuesday from injuries sustained in Monday's attack: Abdullah, a Saudi; Abu Hamza, another Saudi; and Zain Ul Abu Qasim, an Egyptian.
The strike apparently targeted Jalaluddin Haqqani, a key Taliban commander who has played a major role in the fight against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, sources said Monday.
Missiles struck Haqqani's residence and madrasa, or religious school, killing two of his three wives and one of his sisters, said his son, Mulawi Jalaluddin Haqqani Badradin.
From Fox News (Lipstick):
John McCain’s campaign mobilized its new “Palin Truth Squad” Tuesday to accuse Barack Obama of comparing McCain’s running mate to a pig, and called on him to apologize.
The “Truth Squad” was announced as way for the McCain campaign to counter attacks on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and consists of dozens of McCain supporters.
The group’s first objection came just a couple hours later when Obama drew a pig analogy when describing his opponents before a Lebanon, Va., crowd.
“John McCain says he’s about change, too, and so I guess his whole angle is, ‘Watch out George Bush.’ Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics … That’s not change. That’s just calling something the same thing, something different,” Obama said.
“But you know … you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You know, you can … wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it’s still going to stink after eight years.”
The colorful cosmetic has become a political buzzword, thanks to Republican vice presidential nominee Palin’s joke in her acceptance speech that lipstick is the only thing that separates a hockey mom like her from a pit bull.
More to follow:
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