Israeli officials announced on September 4 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will approve the construction of hundreds of new Israeli housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank in upcoming days.
Japan's newly elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met with the new U.S. ambassador to Japan John Roos on September 3, just four days after leading the Democrat Party of Japan to victory over the Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed Japan for more than 50 years.
With more than 60 percent of the votes tallied from Afghanistan's August 20 presidential election, incumbent President Hamid Karzai had received 47 percent of the vote as of September 2, still short of the 50 percent required to avoid a runoff. Karzai's leading challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, has received 33 percent.
U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has completed his "60-Day Afghanistan Review" and has delivered his assessment to U.S. and NATO officials. The British Guardian newspaper reported that the document has been sent to the U.S. military's central command (CentCom), responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Speaking in Vienna at an August 28 event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Austrian capital as a UN seat (along with New York, Geneva, and Nairobi), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Palestinians must be able to show a united front to successfully carry on peace negotiations with Israel.
Republic of China (ROC) President Ma Ying-jeou has approved a visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama - the exiled Tibetan Buddhist religious leader — scheduled for August 31 to September 4.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a four-day European tour in London on August 25, meeting with Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The two leaders reportedly discussed Jewish settlements (including those in East Jerusalem) and Iran's nuclear program.
With about 10 percent of the votes in Afghanistan's presidential election having been counted on August 25, incumbent President Hamid Karzai and his leading challenger Abdullah Abdullah each had approximately 40 percent of the nationwide vote, with 40.6 percent (212,927 votes) for Karzai and 38.7 percent (202,889 votes) for Abdullah.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" program on August 23, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said the situation in Afghanistan "is serious and it is deteriorating." Mullen added: "I've said that over the last couple of years, that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated. Their tactics just in my recent visits out there and talking with our troops certainly indicate that."
Citizens of Afghanistan — and the rest of the world — awaited the results of the nation's presidential election the day after the August 20 voting. Early voting results were initially expected on August 22, but Daoud Ali Najafi, the chief electoral officer, said that results won't be made public until the 25th.