Residents from North Carolina up through New England are beginning the long process of recovering from Hurricane Irene, which we followed through the weekend and earlier today.
We'll keep an eye out for more stories about the storm and its aftermath. Meanwhile, other major news of the day includes:
— Finance Minister Set To Be Japan's New Leader: "Japan's main governing party, the Democratic Party, has elected Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda as its new leader," NHK World reports. "He is almost certain to become the next prime minister."
From a related Associated Press report:
"Noda, 54, is known as a fiscal conservative and has lately been battling a sluggish economy, bulging national debt and the yen's record surge, which hurts Japan's exporters by making their products more expensive overseas.
"As prime minister — Japan's sixth in five years — he will have to broaden his scope to deal with the continuing reconstruction from the March 11 quake and tsunami along the northeastern coast and the 100,000 people who remain dislocated because of radiation leaking from a tsunami-damaged nuclear plant."
— Opposition Says Gadhafi Is Still A Threat: "National Transitional Council (NTC) head Mustafa Abdul Jalil said NATO and other allies must continue supporting rebels against the 'tyrant,' " the BBC says. It adds that "the rebels have taken the small town of Nofilia on their way to the Gadhafi stronghold — and hometown — of Sirte. ... Gadhafi's whereabouts remain unknown since rebels swept into Tripoli last week, capturing his compound."
— "Syrian Unrest Raises Fear About Chemical Weapons": "A sudden collapse of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could mean a breakdown in controls over the country's weapons, U.S. officials and weapons experts said in interviews. ... Syria possesses some of the deadliest chemicals ever to be weaponized, dispersed in thousands of artillery shells and warheads that are easy to transport." (The Washington Post)
— "CIA Strikes Strain Ties With Pakistan Further": "The Central Intelligence Agency is racing to deal a death blow to al-Qaida while the network is weakened," The Wall Street Journal writes, "raising concerns for some U.S. officials that the campaign of drone strikes could become so politically damaging for Pakistan's leaders that they may seek to curtail them."
Related story from over the weekend — "Key Al-Qaida Operative Killed, U.S. Officials Say": "U.S. officials say that a CIA drone strike Aug. 22 killed al-Qaida's freshly minted second-in-command. Atiyah al-Rahman was a Libyan who was a key Osama bin Laden associate for decades. Al-Rahman was killed in the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan, officials say, and they seem fairly confident they got their man." (NPR's Dina Temple-Raston on Weekend Edition Sunday.)