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God's Politics

Darfur. “The African Union announced yesterday it would extend the stay of its underfinanced force in Sudan’s Darfur region until the end of the year, heading off an immediate worsening of the crisis.”

Immigration. “The House and the Senate moved toward a piecemeal crackdown on illegal immigration, pushing forward separate bills to require photo identification to vote, build vast fences on the U.S.-Mexico border and speed the deportation of undocumented workers.”

Faith and politics. “Determined to break the links binding partisan politics and faith, growing numbers of religious moderates are uniting and organizing in an unprecedented bid to challenge the Christian right and broaden the values agenda.”

CBS NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC: Tune in tonight for a featured segment with Jim Wallis and Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) talking about the moral direction of the country.

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Full news summary:

United Nations. Progress Seen on Iran and Darfur – “A flurry of diplomatic activity produced progress, but no breakthroughs, on two key issues facing the U.N. Security Council: Iran and Sudan.” Analysis: Ideals and Realities Clash In Bush ‘Freedom Agenda’ – “At the United Nations lectern this week, President Bush hailed the spread of democracy. “From Beirut to Baghdad,” he said, “people are making the choice for freedom.” Yet even as he spoke, tanks were rolling through the streets of Bangkok as a military coup toppled the elected leader of Thailand, who at that moment was in New York for the U.N. session.”

Darfur. African Union Peacekeepers’ Stay in Darfur Is Extended as Accord on U.N. Force Is Awaited – “The African Union declared that it would strengthen and extend the life of its peacekeeping force in Darfur and seek to persuade the Sudanese government to accept United Nations participation in the violence-torn area.” African Union stint in Darfur extended – “The African Union announced yesterday it would extend the stay of its underfinanced force in Sudan’s Darfur region until the end of the year, heading off an immediate worsening of the crisis.” A deadline for Darfur – “During a presentation last week to the UN Security Council, Elie Wiesel said that Bashir must cooperate with the international community, or pay a personal price. To this end, targeted sanctions would be most effective. … The Security Council can also show that it is serious about accountability by asking the International Criminal Court to indict Bashir.” (By David L. Phillips, executive director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.)

Iran. Early October New Deadline for Iran – “With Iran still resisting a freeze on its nuclear activities, the United States and five partners have decided to set yet another deadline in hopes that Iran will finally agree to terms paving the way for substantive talks on its nuclear program.” Iranian Leader Defends Controversial Stands – “In a feisty session with leading foreign policy experts, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defiantly stuck to his hard-line positions on issues including Iran’s nuclear program and a need for further study to confirm the Holocaust.” Iran’s Leader Relishes 2nd Chance to Make Waves – “Over the objections of the administration and Jewish groups that boycotted the event, Mr. Ahmadinejad … squared off with the nation’s foreign policy establishment, parrying questions for an hour and three-quarters with two dozen members of the Council on Foreign Relations, then ending the evening by asking whether they were simply shills for the Bush administration.”

Palestine. Bush praises Abbas as `man of courage’ after private talks – “President Bush yesterday called embattled Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas a “man of courage” for trying to revive Mideast peace talks despite a continued political stalemate with Hamas militants.”

Iraq. U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited – “A United Nations report released Wednesday says that 5,106 people in Baghdad died violent deaths during July and August, a number far higher than reports that have relied on figures from the city’s morgue.Across the country, the report found, 3,590 civilians were killed in July — the highest monthly total on record — and 3,009 more were killed in August.” U.N. Issues Grim Report on Iraq – “The report also touches on other human rights issues. It notes that torture in official detention centers remains widespread; 300,000 people are displaced in Iraq; women are increasingly targets of violence in cases of “honor crimes”; and freedom of expression continues to suffer as a result of killings and intimidation of journalists.”

Immigration. Congress Resumes Immigration Efforts – “The House and the Senate moved yesterday toward a piecemeal crackdown on illegal immigration, pushing forward separate bills to require photo identification to vote, build vast fences on the U.S.-Mexico border and speed the deportation of undocumented workers.” GOP Advances Enforcement-First Approach for Border – “Republicans in both chambers said the steps were necessary to protect the United States from illegal immigrants entering the country or trying to corrupt
the voting process.” G.O.P. in Senate Narrows Immigration Focus to 700-Mile Fence – “Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, said the fate of millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States had become a “fundamental sticking point” in trying to reach agreement with the House on a broad bill.”

Faith and politics. Christian middle seeking a turn at bully pulpit – “Determined to break the links binding partisan politics and faith, growing numbers of religious moderates are uniting and organizing in an unprecedented bid to challenge the Christian right and broaden the values agenda beyond the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. … On Monday, [Jim] Wallis, author of “God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It,” launched Red Letter Christians, an effort that takes its name from the red ink some Bibles use to highlight the words of Jesus Christ. A non-partisan faith-based campaign, it will open field offices in key battleground states and provide voter guides, speakers and information on such issues as poverty, social justice, education and the environment, but it will not endorse candidates.”

Pennsylvania. At Mellon Arena, Dobson preaches mixed message – “Conservative evangelical activist James Dobson told thousands of supporters last night he was deeply disappointed in GOP leaders, but that the nation’s future depended on re-electing them.” ‘Values voters’ up for grabs in state’s Senate race – “Bob Casey returned to his law school, Catholic University, last week, to deliver a message on how his faith informs his public life. This Wednesday, Dr. James Dobson, the popular and influential evangelical broadcaster, will appear at the Mellon Arena. The two events highlight the importance of religion in this race and in the broader national struggle between parties eager to appeal to “the values voter,” that many analysts saw as a decisive factor in the 2004 presidential race.”

IRS. Rector Ponders Next Move in IRS Showdown – “The Rev. Ed Bacon is facing one of the biggest dilemmas of his ecclesiastical career: Should he turn over voluminous parish records demanded by the Internal Revenue Service, or resist and risk losing tax-exempt status for his church?”

Op-Ed. Independence Days – “American politics reached a critical turn last week. The revolt of several Republican senators against President Bush’s insistence on a free hand in treating terrorist detainees signaled the emergence of an independent force in elections and government.” (David Broder, Washington Post)

Feature. From dawn to dusk, the struggle of Africa’s women – “Women work two-thirds of Africa’s working hours, and produce 70 per cent of its food, yet earn only 10 per cent of its income, and own less than 1 per cent of its property. … African women’s health is particularly poor. Only 37 per cent survive to the age of 65, … In Africa, one in three children does not go to school. Two thirds of the 40 million non-attenders are girls and the illiteracy among women in places such as Mozambique is double that of men. Yet, as Asia has shown, when girls are educated, they marry later, have fewer children and their incomes rise. Economic productivity grows, infant mortality is halved, deaths in childbirth fall, birth rates slow, child malnutrition is halved, general nutrition and health improve and the spread of HIV is reduced.”

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