Beliefnet
God's Politics

The latest news on Bush’s foreign policy, Iraq casualties, Darfur, Iran, North Korea, Gaza, the economy, voting rights, treason, immigration, Sen. Barack Obama, and the Manhattan plane crash

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Full news summary:

Foreign policy. Bush Stands Firm on Policies – “Despite setbacks on North Korea and Iraq, President Bush vowed yesterday to stick with his policies on both crises, praising Chinese condemnation of North Korea’s apparent nuclear test and citing progress in helping the fledgling Iraqi government stand on its own.” Bush Open to Change in Tactics – “President Bush opened the door to possible changes in his approach to the Iraq war, declaring that “we’ll change tactics when we need to change tactics,” amid pressure from Republicans about the unrelenting violence and the shortcomings of the government in Baghdad.” Army says troop levels in Iraq may hold through 2010 – “The Army is making provisions to keep at least 140,000 troops in Iraq through 2010, senior Pentagon officials said yesterday, in a stark signal that top commanders see little prospect of reducing American force levels soon and are bracing for more violence.

Iraq. Bush assails report on Iraqi dead – “President Bush and Iraqi officials on Wednesday strove to discredit a new study suggesting that more than 600,000 Iraqis have died from violence during the war in Iraq.” One in 40 ‘killed since invasion’ – “US and UK reject finding that Iraqi death toll has topped 650,000. Within hours of its release, George Bush had dismissed the figures. “I don’t consider it a credible report,” he told reporters at the White House. “Neither does General Casey [the top US officer in Iraq], neither do Iraqi officials.” The Foreign Office also cast doubt on the findings,” Baghdad violence hits new high – “The number of sectarian killings each month in Baghdad has more than tripled since February, and the violence has not slowed despite a major offensive in the capital. Death squads killed 1,450 people in September, up from 450 in February, according to U.S. military statistics. In the first 10 days of October, death squads have killed about 770 Iraqis.”

Darfur. UN humanitarian chief calls on Arab, Asian nations to pressure Sudan to accept peacekeeping force – “The UN humanitarian chief called yesterday for Arab countries as well as China, India, Pakistan, and Malaysia to pressure Sudan to accept a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, saying a global effort was needed to end what he branded the “nightmare” there.” Tough Darfur sanctions urged – “A “weak and divided” international response on sending UN peacekeepers to Darfur is playing into the hands of the Sudanese government, a report says. The International Crisis Group says diplomacy has “failed” and targeted sanctions are now needed to prevent the humanitarian situation from worsening.”

Iran. Nations agree to sanction Iran on nuclear program – “The five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed yesterday to start working on UN sanctions against Iran next week but failed to bridge differences on how harsh the penalties should be,”

North Korea. North Korea Warns of More Nuclear Tests – “North Korea said Wednesday that it would consider sanctions a “declaration of a war” and vowed to carry out further nuclear tests if the United States maintained a “hostile attitude.”

Gaza. Gaza sliding into civil war – “Years of rivalry between the Islamic Hamas movement, which now dominates the government, and the more secular Fatah, which was ousted from power in January elections, is spilling over into a struggle for power.”

Economy. U.S. Deficit Is Smallest in Four Years – “ President Bush got some welcome news as the federal deficit for the last fiscal year shrank to $247.7 billion, the smallest in four years, because of a nearly 12% jump in tax revenue. Bush said the numbers were more evidence that the economy was booming thanks to tax cuts that he wanted to see extended.”

Voting rights. States Are Growing More Lenient in Allowing Felons to Vote – “Legislatures in 16 states have loosened voting restrictions on felons over the last decade, according to a new report, a trend hailed by some rights advocates as a step toward democratic principles and fairness, especially for black Americans.”

Treason. American in Qaeda Tapes Accused of Treason – “The Justice Department on Wednesday charged an American with treason for the first time in more than a half-century, accusing a former Southern California man of giving “aid and comfort” to Al Qaeda by appearing in a series of highly publicized videotapes urging violence against the United States.”

Immigration. America’s Population Set to Top 300 Million – “Clicking upward at a rate of one person every 11 seconds, the U.S. population will officially surpass 300 million in the next week or so. The milestone is a reminder that the United States remains a remarkable demographic specimen, 230 years old (since the Declaration of Independenc
e) and still in a growth spurt.”

New book. Obama’s new book laments `empathy deficit’ in U.S. – “A new memoir by Illinois’ junior senator, Barack Obama, sets out a lofty political vision that is sure to further speculation that he is contemplating a bid for the White House. “The Audacity of Hope” offers readers–and voters across the nation–an upbeat view of the country’s potential and a political biography that concentrates on the senator’s core values while providing a broad sense of how he would handle the great issues of the moment.”

Manhattan plane crash. Manhattan Plane Crash Kills Yankee Pitcher – “A single-engine plane carrying the Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle smashed into a 42-story building on the Upper East Side yesterday, killing Mr. Lidle and his flight instructor,” Lidle Had Passion for Flying, and for Speaking His Mind – “Flying was a recent passion of the Yankees pitcher, who knew the risks of his hobby but seemed not to worry.”

Op-Ed. Will Voters Pull the Trigger? (By David S. Broder, The Washington Post) – “What is driving public opinion is an overall impression that those in office — meaning mainly Republicans — have let things slide out of control and need to be relieved.”

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