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Echo Chamber: News from the outside world

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Abbreviated from the New York Times

NEW ORLEANS — A mostly smooth evacuation from Hurricane Gustav turned sour on Tuesday as many New Orleans residents trying to return home were refused entry at roadblocks into the city or stranded in parking lots across the region.
On Tuesday, power remained off at nearly 80,000 homes in New Orleans and tree limbs littered the streets. City officials listed these and other factors as reasons that they were not ready for the return of hundreds of thousands of residents.

SARAH PALIN, WASILLA, Alaska — In 1996, the year Sarah Palin ran for mayor, Wasilla got its first local lesson in wedge politics. Anti-abortion flyers circulated. Palin played up her church work and her membership in the National Rifle Association. The state Republican Party, never involved in the past because city elections are nonpartisan, ran ads on Palin’s behalf.

Shortly after becoming mayor, former officials and Wasilla residents said, Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question. Palin fired the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Palin also asked many of the former mayor’s backers on the city payroll to resign — something virtually unheard of in Wasilla. The public works director, city planner, museum director and others were forced out. The police chief, Irl Stambaugh, was later fired outright.

“HONOR KILLINGS” in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The government has ordered an inquiry into reports of the deaths of five women buried alive in so-called honor killings in Baluchistan Province. The reports have set off countrywide protests.
News of the killings, which occurred six weeks ago, trickled out of the tribal area with sketchy details. As described in an Aug. 21 statement by a French human rights group, the victims were three young women who had planned to marry men of their choice — a blot on family honor — and two older female relatives.
All were kidnapped July 13 by several men from their village, Baba Kot, in the department of Jafferabad, and taken to a deserted area in a vehicle bearing provincial government plates, according to the group, the International Federation for Human Rights. The young women were beaten and shot, and, still breathing, covered with earth and stones. The two older women tried to intervene and were buried alive as well.


CAIRO — A wealthy Egyptian businessman and lawmaker was charged Tuesday with paying
$2 million for the contract killing of Suzanne Tamim, a Lebanese pop star who was found dead in her apartment in Dubai on July 28. The tycoon, Hisham Talaat Moustafa, 49, is one of the country’s
largest real estate developers and a member of President Hosni Mubarak’s governing National
Democratic Party.
Moustafa was charged with hiring a former police officer, Mohsen al-Sukary, to kill Tamim in what authorities described as an act of revenge. The authorities did not elaborate, but it has been widely reported that he was infuriated with Tamim after a failed love affair. When her body was was found, she had been stabbed and her throat had been slit.

The case was front-page news everywhere in the region except Egypt, where the authorities prohibited newspapers from reporting on it.

Lawyers for Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick of Detroit failed in an effort to halt proceedings set for Wednesday that could lead to his removal. A panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm may proceed with the hearing.