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God's Politics

The latest news on the North Korea nuclear test, political polling, the Foley scandal, Darfur, the new U.N. secretary general, faith-based foreign aid, wage stagnation, and Billy Graham.

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Full news summary:

North Korea nuclear test. World Condemns North Korea – “International condemnation poured down on North Korea for its announced nuclear test, as scientists tried to determine whether the underground blast was a successful nuclear explosion and diplomats conferred on how to contain the rogue regime.” U.S. Urges Sanctions on North Korea – “The White House pushed for aggressive new sanctions on North Korea, including measures to limit trade in military and luxury items,” The Next Step Depends on U.S. and China – “For almost two decades, the United States and China have tried different approaches to dissuade North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons — all of which appear to have failed with Pyongyang’s announcement Monday that it had exploded a nuclear device.” Test puts pressure on Japan’s pacifism – “The last time North Korea tested a powerful new weapon — in 1998, when it fired a ballistic missile over the largest Japanese island — Japan reacted by beefing up its military and swinging politically to the right. Now, the North’s apparent test of an atomic weapon could push Japan even further down the same conservative path.”

Blast May Be Only a Partial Success, Experts Say – “The North Korean test appears to have been a nuclear detonation but was fairly small by traditional standards, and possibly a failure or a partial success.” Even if Device Was Flawed, Test Crossed a Threshold – “Shock waves emanating from North Korea on Monday probably came from the explosion of a nuclear device, but one that did not achieve its full potential because of a failure or a design flaw, U.S. intelligence officials and weapons experts said.”

For U.S., a Strategic Jolt After North Korea’s Test – – “North Korea may be a starving, friendless, authoritarian nation of 23 million people, but its apparently successful explosion of a small nuclear device in the mountains above the town of Kilju on Monday represents a defiant bid for survival and respect. For Washington and its allies, it illuminates a failure of nearly two decades of atomic diplomacy.” Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Comes Back to Haunt United States – “Nearly five years after President Bush introduced the concept of an “axis of evil” comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea, the administration has reached a crisis point with each nation: North Korea has claimed it conducted its first nuclear test, Iran refuses to halt its uranium-enrichment program,”

Politics. Poll Shows Strong Shift Of Support to Democrats – “Democrats have regained a commanding position going into the final weeks of the midterm-election campaigns, with support eroding for Republicans on Iraq, ethics and presidential leadership, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.” Polls grow gloomier for GOP – “Three independent polls released Monday demonstrated the political damage that congressional Republicans and particularly House Speaker Dennis Hastert have suffered since a GOP congressman’s sexually explicit electronic messages to underage pages were disclosed late last month.” GOP Officials Brace for Loss Of Seven to 30 House Seats – “Republican campaign officials said yesterday that they expect to lose at least seven House seats and as many as 30 in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, as a result of sustained violence in Iraq and the page scandal involving former GOP representative Mark Foey.”

Congressional scandal. Foley Probe to Focus on Who Knew, When – “Witnesses will begin testimony behind closed doors this week in the sex scandal that has sent shudders through the Republican-controlled Congress and potentially though the upcoming elections… Also Monday, it became clear that the Foley scandal was sparking political concerns at the highest levels of the White House, with strategist Karl Rove conceding in a private briefing that the matter “complicates things” for some Republican candidates who have been linked to the scandal.” Poll Shows Foley Case Is Hurting Congress’s Image – “Americans say that Republican Congressional leaders put their political interests ahead of protecting the safety of teenage pages, and that House leaders knew of Mark Foley’s sexually charged messages to pages well before he was forced to quit Congress, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.”

Dafur. UN official: Khartoum knew of Darfur militia raid – “The Sudanese government almost certainly had prior knowledge of militia attacks in Buram, south Darfur, in which several hundred people may have died, Louise Arbour, the UN human rights commissioner, said yesterday. The attacks, described in a 15-page report as “massive in scale and carried out over a few days”, started in late August.”

United Nations. Security Co
uncil Approves South Korean as U.N. Chief
– “The Security Council on Monday officially nominated Ban Ki-moon, the foreign minister of South Korea, to become the next secretary general of the United Nations, essentially assuring him the post.”

Exporting faith. Together, but worlds apart – “Christian groups are running health care, education, and disaster relief in many Muslim nations, and USAID has awarded about $53 million from 2001-05 to fund projects by Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Afghanistan alone. But the war in Iraq and the detention of Muslims at Guantanamo Bay have greatly angered Muslims.”

Wages. Workers do more, but wages fall short – “Massachusetts workers are producing more than ever, and doing it more efficiently, but their earnings have barely budged since the end of the Dukakis administration, a Northeastern University study concludes.”

Faith and Politics. Romney’s 2008 Bid Faces Issue of Faith – “Tall and urbane, Mitt Romney has a prime political pedigree, an unblemished personal life and the cool confidence of a CEO. He is a conservative Republican who won easy election in a fiercely liberal state — then streamlined Massachusetts’ government and enacted the country’s most sweeping healthcare overhaul. … But Romney faces a potential obstacle that has not confronted a presidential hopeful for almost 50 years. As a devout Mormon — and a onetime bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Romney adheres to a faith that makes many Americans uncomfortable.”

Black churches always at center of politics – “When a group of Columbus ministers complained to the Internal Revenue Service that two central Ohio evangelical megachurches were engaged in unlawful political activity, the pastors of those churches countered with a simple question: What’s the difference between what we’re doing and what black churches across America have done for decades?”

Religion. Evangelist’s heir to pulpit leads his first U.S. crusade – “The Rev. Will Graham, the 31-year-old grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, took the stage in Gastonia, N.C., last night to lead his first U.S. crusade.”

As Religious Programs Expand, Disputes Rise Over Tax Breaks – “As religious organizations extend their scope beyond traditional worship, government at all levels is increasingly extending their tax exemptions.”

Commentary. A glimpse of grace – “The swift blur of tragedy that struck the Amish community last week should provide a moment of clarity for the rest of us. For a change, what we saw was religion in its best light.”

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