News in Brief: Karzai Acknowledged His Office Took Money From Both Iran and US, and More

Karzai Acknowledged His Office Took Money From Both Iran and US

President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai acknowledged that his office had taken money from both the Iranian and the US government. In a news conference, Karzai said that the money, which comes in payments of $1 million twice a year, is “part of a relationship between good neighbors,” according to The New York Times. The money is distributed among Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders and Taliban members.

DeLay Trial to Begin

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will begin his trial for an alleged illegal campaign finance scheme that prompted his ousting four years ago. DeLay is being sued by Texas for conspiring to break state election laws by illegally funding candidates for Texas legislature, allegedly spending $19,000, The Wall Street Journal reports. DeLay has insisted that Austin, where the proceedings are set to take place and the city considered to be Texas’ liberal bastion, will not give him a fair trial. But he also won the right to be tried before his associates John Colyandro and James Ellis, who allegedly delivered the $19,000 check to the Republican National Committee then-deputy chief of staff Terry Nelson, which gives the defense an edge.

Haiti Cholera Outbreak Poised to Spread

A cholera outbreak in Haiti that has already killed 250 people and sickened 3,000 is poised to spread quickly through the earthquake survivor camps in Port-au-Prince, reports The Associated Press. Although Health Ministry Director Gabriel Timothee said that preventing an outbreak should be easy, a worst case scenario would entail hundreds of thousands of people becoming sick simultaneously. Cholera can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to death from dehydration. “The biggest challenge is logistics, that is, moving massive amounts of medicine, supplies and people into place to treat them and prevent the disease from spreading,” said Catholic Relief Services spokeswoman
Robyn Fieser.

Wal-Mart Pledged to Start Selling Local Organic Food

Though it is most often associated with the dark side of capitalism, Wal-Mart has recently begun to redirect its brand into greener territory, according to AlterNet. In a recent press release, Wal-Mart pledged to start selling local organic food, which it claims would “help small and medium sized farmers expand their businesses, get more income for their products and reduce the environmental impact of farming, while strengthening local economies.” Wal-Mart aims to convert 9 percent of its food into locally grown products, which still enabled it to buy 91 percent from factory farms across the country. However, Wal-Mart isn’t making this move out of the goodness of its corporate heart, according to AlterNet: “Like everything else [Wal-Mart] does, the promotion of sustainable, local agriculture is a calculated move to increase profits – if the corporate brainstem were to determine that reconciling quantum mechanics with Newtonian physics would boost sales of cheap bath towels, it would probably do that as well.”

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