God's Politics

The latest news on Lebanon, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality in Africa, Iraq, the draft, teen birthrate in the U.S. and select op-eds.

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Full news summary:

Lebanon. Assassination leaves Lebanon at brink – “A Christian Cabinet minister who had stood against Syrian interference in Lebanon was fatally shot, stunning and infuriating a war-haunted nation and heightening the threat of unrest in the streets.” Fears of Civil Strife Rise in Lebanon – “The assassination of Pierre Gemayel, a divisive figure in a country riven by sectarian tension, underlined the lack of red lines in the escalating struggle over Lebanon’s political future that has followed this summer’s war between Hezbollah and Israel.” Assassination Increases Tensions With Syria, Iran – “President Bush blasted Syria and Iran after the assassination of Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel for trying to destabilize Lebanon, reflecting tensions between Washington and its two Middle Eastern rivals that are increasingly playing out in Lebanon as well as Iraq.”

Iraq. Pentagon cites alternative to Baker report – “The Pentagon is drafting its own new options for winning in Iraq, in part, to give President Bush counterproposals to fall back on in case the Iraq Study Group comes up with ideas he does not like, defense officials say.” Civilian death toll climbs in Iraq  – “The number of Iraqi civilian deaths reached a new high of 3,709 in October and torture continues to be rampant, a UN report said today.”

Draft?  Behind talk of a new draft: equity – “Thousands of American troops have been killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many thousands more will bring home at least some of that burden. But most Americans experience no direct or even indirect cost of a war soon to last longer than World War II. Would reinstituting the military draft even things out, spreading the responsibility while influencing politicians to think twice before sending men and women into harm’s way? Rep. Charles Rangel (D) of New York thinks so.”

Teen births. Teen births down; unwed moms up – “The U.S. teen birthrate fell again in 2005 to a new historical low, however, almost all of these births were to unwed mothers, which helped push the percent of unwed births to a record high.” Babies Born to Singles Are at Record: Nearly 4 in 10 – “Out-of-wedlock births in the United States, on the rise since the late 1990s, have now climbed to a record high, accounting for nearly 4 in 10 babies born last year, …But while such births have long been associated with teenage mothers, the number among 10- to 17-year-olds actually dropped last year — as did that group’s overall birthrate, to the lowest level on record.”

HIV/AIDS. AIDS Is on the Rise Worldwide, U.N. Finds – “The AIDS pandemic is growing in all areas of the world, with worrisome signs of resurgence in some countries that were trumpeted as successes in combating the disease, the United Nations said yesterday. At the same time, the prevalence of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, among young people has declined in eight countries in Africa, showing that prevention efforts can work,” Programs Help Reduce HIV Rates in Parts of Africa, Report Says – “Seven African countries are experiencing a decline in the prevalence of HIV infection among young, urban adults, finally reaping the benefit of AIDS prevention and treatment, the United Nations said yesterday in its annual report on the global epidemic.”

Infant mortality. Mortality rates tumble for African children – “Many African countries have sharply reduced the deaths of young children in recent years, saving hundreds of thousands of lives, according to new data from 46 nations that contradict the perception that the world’s poorest continent was making little gain against killer diseases. … Across sub-Saharan Africa, the mortality rates for children under age 5 in some countries have decreased by as much as 30 percent in the past five years because of increases in immunization and the use of vitamin A supplements and oral rehydration therapy; a rise in the number of women seeking prenatal care; and the end of regional conflicts,”

Op-Ed. The Democrats’ Economy Wars  (Harold Meyerson, Washington Post) – “When voters went to the polls this month, they registered not only a revulsion with the Republican regime but also a profound — almost un-American — anxiety about the nation’s future. They ousted incumbents who wanted to stay the economic course, choosing instead Democratic challengers who questioned free-trade orthodoxy. In the exit polling, a plurality said they believed that life for the next generation of Americans would be worse than it is today. All wings of the Democratic Party seem to understand the extent of America’s economic problem.”

On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX.  Here is the New York Times front page.

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