By Mark Memmott
As we just reported, President Hamid Karzai has been declared the winner in Afghanistan's presidential election -- without having to go through the runoff that had been scheduled for this coming Saturday.
His challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, dropped out of the runoff yesterday. Abdullah said he did not think the process would be transparent enough. Already, the results of the country's August election had been set aside because of widespread corruption.
This morning's news comes as President Barack Obama continues to review U.S. policy in Afghanistan and considers whether or not to send tens of thousands of more American troops there. Earlier, the Los Angeles Times reported that:
U.S. and other Western officials, who leaned heavily on Karzai to accept a runoff after the tainted election in August, are now pressing him and electoral officials to find a legally acceptable way to cancel the poll and declare Karzai the winner. Neither the U.S. nor the United Nations is prepared to risk more lives for an election with only one candidate, said a Western official familiar with the talks.
There will surely be lots of reaction and analysis about the news from Afghanistan as the day goes on. We'll pass them along as the story develops.
We also just reported the news that Ford Motor earned $997 million in the third quarter -- a huge turnaround for the automaker.
Meanwhile, other stories making headlines include:
-- The Associated Press -- "Bomb Outside Bank Kills 30 Near Pakistani Capital": "A suicide bomber killed 30 people outside a bank near Pakistan's capital Monday, as the U.N. said spreading violence had forced it to pull out some expatriate staff and suspend long-term development work in areas along the Afghan border. Islamist insurgents have carried out numerous attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks, killing some 250 people in retaliation for an army offensive in the Pakistani Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan, also along the frontier shared with neighboring Afghanistan."
Related report from NPR's Julie McCarthy in Islamabad: Today's attack in Rawalpindi appeared to target both military personnel and civlians. Both groups were in line at the bank at the time of the explosion.
Update at 9:30 a.m. ET: Both Reuters and the Associated Press are now reporting that the death toll from the bombing stands at 35. We've also updated this post's headline, which earlier put the death toll at 30.
-- The Wall Street Journal -- "CIT Files Its Bankruptcy Plan": "CIT Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday, in a final attempt to restructure and keep the doors open at the century-old commercial lender."
Related report from the Associated Press: "The bankruptcy of a key lender that helps retailers stock their shelves is adding to the industry's worries ahead of the critical holiday shopping season."
Related report on Morning Edition: " The government lent CIT more than $2 billion a year ago. Taxpayers will probably lose that money as a result of the bankruptcy."
-- Boston Globe -- "Billions In Aid To Banks Not Reaching Many Seeking Loans": "Many small businesses are having a difficult time getting SBA loans from lenders that took government handouts. In addition to frustrating owners who say they need the money to survive, the banks' reluctance to lend undermines a goal of the federal stimulus program: Ease the credit crunch so companies can grow and hire again."
-- San Francisco Chronicle -- "Bay Bridge Stays Closed": "Pushing traffic turmoil into a second week, Caltrans said late Sunday that the workhorse Bay Bridge will probably remain closed through the morning commute after a fix meant to shore up a cracked beam failed a critical stress test. When the region's busiest span will reopen remains unknown. Caltrans officials refused to speculate."
-- Morning Edition -- Yankees Are One Win Away From 27th World Series Title: As NPR's Mike Pesca reports, a key at-bat by Johnny Damon led to the Bronx Bombers' 7-4 win last night in Philadelphia:
The Yankees lead the series three games to one. Game five is tonight, in Philadelphia, at 7:57 p.m. ET.