Mayor Ray Nagin halted New Orleans residents’ return to the city Monday, citing the threat from the strengthening Tropical Storm Rita.
The city’s levees and floodwalls were weakened by the August 29 impact of Category 4 Hurricane Katrina. “I am hopeful that people have seen the effect of Katrina and they understand the threat of a Category 3 coming right behind Katrina,” Nagin said. As of 5 p.m. ET, Rita was speeding over the central Bahamas at nearly 14 mph, its sustained winds of 70mph, the National Hurricane Center said in a statement. Forecasters predicted the storm would enter the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday. “There’s nothing else that I think is more important than bringing people back into the city and at least giving them an opportunity to assess and start the rebuild process,” he said, according to cnn.com
Anti-rape condom aims to stop sexual assaults
A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker’s penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world. “Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time,” Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the “rapex,” a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime. Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times greater. The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery, which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said. It also reduces the chances of a woman falling pregnant or contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from the attacker by acting in the same way as a female condom, according to msnbc.com.
Senators: Cut fat to fund Katrina recovery
Since the president prefers not to raise taxes to finance Hurricane Katrina recovery, three senators suggested Sunday that Congress cut spending, delay a Medicare prescription benefit and forego a tax cut for the rich. Last Thursday, President Bush announced an ambitious Gulf Coast rebuilding plan. Analysts expect its cost to be about $200 billion. Bush has said he prefers not to raise taxes and can glean the money from eliminating unnecessary spending. The United States faces a record deficit, and Bush’s 2006 budget includes a budget deficit of more than $300 billion, according to cnn.com
Leaders during Rwandan genocide face trial
Three former Rwandan Cabinet ministers went on trial Monday before a U.N. tribunal for their alleged roles in their country’s 1994 genocide, and a fourth convicted earlier heard his appeal had been rejected. The three who went on trial were leaders of the former ruling party that presided over the 100-day slaughter in 1994 at least half a million members of the Tutsi ethnic minority and political moderates from the Hutu majority. Chief prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow accused the three of using their powers “to mount this nationwide campaign of terror.” The U.N. Security Council set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994. It has convicted 22 people and acquitted three. The tribunal has 63 genocide suspects in its custody and 25 are standing trial, according to msnbc.com.