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Planned Quran-burning could endanger troops, Petraeus warns
(CNN) - The U.S. commander in Afghanistan has criticized a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.
With about 120,000 U.S. and NATO-led troops still battling al Qaeda and its allies in the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement, Petraeus warned that burning Qurans "is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems - not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."
Petraeus said he was concerned by the political repercussions of the church's plan.
"Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul yesterday," he said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."
He said extremists would use images of burning Qurans to inflame public opinion and incite violence. Read more
Obama to introduce another business tax cut
(CNN) - In another move aimed at stabilizing the still-shaky economy, President Barack Obama on Wednesday will introduce a new $200 billion tax cut giving businesses across the country an incentive to buy new equipment in the short term, according to a senior administration official.
The tax cut would allow businesses to write off 100 percent of new investments in plants and equipment made between now and the end of 2011, according to the senior administration official.
The new tax cut will be in addition to a $100 billion permanent extension of the business tax credit for research and development, as well as $50 billion in new infrastructure spending included in a package that the president will officially unveil Wednesday during an economic speech in Cleveland, Ohio.
The $100 billion tax credit proposal was reported by CNN on Sunday while Obama himself disclosed the infrastructure spending Monday in a fiery speech at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in which he tried to draw a sharp contrast with Republican economic plans.
"I don't want to give them the keys back," Obama said. "They don't know how to drive ... They're going to pop it into reverse and have special interesting riding shotgun and we'd be right back in the ditch."
The leaks of a flurry of Obama proposals in just the last 36 hours show just how anxious White House officials are to show the president is on top of trying to rescue the still-faltering economy at a time when Democrats strategists are privately starting to panic that their majorities in both the House and Senate may now be up for grabs. Read more
Tropical Storm Hermine downs trees, power lines in Texas
(CNN) - Tropical Storm Hermine began its journey across Texas Tuesday morning, bringing fierce winds and the possibility of tornadoes.
As of 2 a.m. ET, Hermine was about 10 miles (15 km) south-southwest of Harlington, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said. The storm carried maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) and was headed north-northwest at about 14 mph (22 km/h).
"Isolated tornadoes are possible along the lower and middle Texas coast" through Tuesday morning, the weather agency said.
Joseph Tomaselli, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Brownsville, Texas, said fallen trees, signs, power lines and power poles were reported throughout Brownsville and Cameron County on Tuesday morning. Tomaselli said flooding in Brownsville and Cameron County has also been reported. Read more
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