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God's Politics

the latest news on Sudan-Chad border violence, Bush’s space policy, detainees and torture, election politics, Iraq, the U.N., North Korea, and Sri Lanka

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Election politics. Elections May Leave Bush An Early Lame Duck “Around Washington, key figures in both parties have been trying to figure out what a Democratic victory would mean. Bush has been meeting privately with Cabinet secretaries in recent weeks to map out an agenda for his final two years in office. The White House says it is not making contingency plans for a Democratic win, but Bush advisers are bracing for what they privately recognize is the increasing likelihood. And Democratic leaders have been conferring about what they would do should voters return them to power.”

Iraq. Iraq Removes Leaders of Special Police “The two generals had led Iraq’s special police commandos and its public order brigade, both widely criticized as being heavily infiltrated by Shiite militias. Their removal comes at a crucial time for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who has come under intense American pressure to purge Iraq’s security forces of the militias and death squads that operate within their ranks.

Star Wars. Bush Sets Defense As Space Priority “President Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone ‘hostile to U.S. interests.'”

Detainees. Bush Signs Tough Rules on Detainees “Bush said the new interrogation provisions would allow the CIA to restart a program of tough questioning of terrorist suspects that ground to a halt more than a year ago as Congress debated legislation banning the use of torture and questions about whether rough treatment of detainees would subject operatives to prosecution for war crimes.” Battles brewing on torture, detainees “The law bans U.S. agents from inflicting severe physical or mental pain and using torture during interrogations. But it gives the White House wide latitude to define what constitutes torture and ‘cruel treatment’ under the Geneva Conventions, and it effectively grants legal amnesty to White House officials who authorized harsh techniques in the past…”

United Nations. In UN political drama, it’s all about the U.S. “In the war of Hugo Chávez versus George W. Bush, Venezuela versus the United States, and anti- Americanism versus American leadership, the latest battle is … a draw.”

North Korea. Rice calls for calm over Korea crisis “The U.S. secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said today the United States had no desire to escalate the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear test, but vowed to protect Washington’s Japanese allies.” U.S. stands firm over N.K. sanctionsMs. Rice’s hastily arranged trip to Japan, South Korea, China and Russia is aimed at rallying support to implement sanctions fully in line with the UN resolution passed last week.”

Sudan/Chad. Sudanese Soldiers Flee War “Interviews with these soldiers provided a rare glimpse into the hidden world of Sudan’s secretive military, showing a corps of men who are poorly armed, unenthusiastic about their mission and more than willing to surrender rather than stand and fight.” In pictures: Janjaweed in Chad ” A fresh wave of cross-border attacks by the Sudanese Arab militia has seen 10 villages attacked and some 3,000 displaced.”

Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan leaders accuse rebels of trying to provoke backlash before peace talks “Most analysts agree that Sri Lanka is now at war in all but name. However, they say that both sides are likely to sit down for face-to-face talks in Switzerland at the end of the month to revive the peace process.”

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