In brief: Report: Afghan firm cut corners
Washington – An Afghan-owned company bungled the construction of police stations there so badly that the buildings are at risk of collapse, undermining U.S.-led efforts to beef up the country’s security forces, a government watchdog says.
In a report to be released today, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction found the company, Basirat Construction Firm, cut corners with low-quality concrete, substandard roofing, uninsulated windows, and plastic plumbing.
The six police stations were built in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the country’s violent south, where the international coalition and Afghan security forces are trying to wrest control of the region from the Taliban.
Washington – Less than halfway through his first term, President Barack Obama has appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in history.
Gay activists say the estimate of more than 150 appointments so far – from agency heads and commission members to policy officials and senior staffers – surpasses the previous high of about 140 reached during two full terms under President Bill Clinton.
The pace of appointments has helped to ease broader disappointment among gay rights groups that Obama has not acted more quickly on other fronts, such as ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military.
Sacramento, Calif. – California GOP Senate challenger Carly Fiorina was sidelined Tuesday from the campaign trail in the final week of a close race to be treated for an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery after breast cancer.
The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital, forcing her to cancel campaign appearances in Riverside and Coachella just as polls suggested she was starting to gain momentum in her race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. It wasn’t clear how soon she would return to the campaign trail.
According to Deborah Bowker, the campaign’s chief of staff, Fiorina was being treated with antibiotics.
“While this will impact her campaign schedule today, Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon,” Bowker said.