God's Politics

The latest news on the Iraq study group, Bush-Blair meeting, Mid-east, New Orleans, congress, global poverty, Somalia, Sudan-Darfur, Biotech food, religion, forgiveness, and select op-eds.

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Full news summary:

Iraq Study Group. Bush admits `it’s bad,’ but vows victory – “In the course of a day, the Iraq Study Group’s assessment of a “grave and deteriorating” situation in Iraq elicited a most blunt characterization of the war from President Bush.” Bush not swayed by findings in Iraq study – “President Bush, responding to a scathing bipartisan assessment of the Iraq war, vigorously rejected the idea that deteriorating conditions there require the United States to scale back its goals and said that he remains committed to “victory in Iraq.” Bush Appears Cool to Key Points Of Report on Iraq – “President Bush vowed to come up with “a new strategy” in Iraq but expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission that advised him to ratchet back the U.S. military commitment in Iraq and launch an aggressive new diplomatic effort in the region.” Dueling Views on Diplomacy Pit Baker Against Rice– “Many of the blistering critiques of the Bush administration contained in the Iraq Study Group’s report boil down to this: the differing worldviews of Baker versus Rice.”

Return fire from the right“Howls of protest echoed across the right side of the political spectrum as conservatives voiced dismay with the findings of the bipartisan Iraq panel,” McCain hits report as ‘recipe’ for defeat – “Sen. John McCain, joining a growing list of critics, yesterday said the Iraq Study Group’s widely touted book of proposals for settling the war in Iraq is a recipe for defeat.”

Bush-Blair meeting. Bush-Blair split on Iraq proposals – “George Bush rejected key recommendations made by the Iraq Study Group, revealing important differences with Tony Blair, who embraced the proposals put forward by the US bipartisan commission.” Cracks appear between Bush and Blair over need for talks with Iran and Syria – “at a joint press conference after a White House meeting yesterday, the President ruled out early talks with Iran and Syria, as the ISG strongly recommended and on which Britain seems much keener.”

Mid-east. Israeli Leader Rejects Link Between Iraq and Mideast Woes– “Israel‘s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said Thursday that he disagreed with a central point in the Iraq Study Group’s report that drew a strong link between the turmoil in Iraq and the need to resolve the conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbors.” Hezbollah’s Leader Vows to Continue Protests – “Ratcheting up pressure on the besieged American-backed government of Lebanon, the Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah insisted Thursday night that his followers would not leave the streets until their demands for more power were met.”

New Orleans. New Orleans mayor pins hopes on incoming Congress – “New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said that he is hopeful the new Democrat-controlled Congress will speed efforts to rebuild his city more than a year after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.” New Orleans to Raze Public Housing – “Public housing officials decided Thursday to proceed with the demolition of more than 4,500 government apartments here, brushing aside an outcry from residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina who said the move was intended to reduce the ability of poor black people to repopulate the city.”

Congress. Legislation pressed as session nears end – “Lawmakers yesterday pieced together legislation extending popular tax breaks and saving doctors from a cut in Medicare payments as Republicans prepared to cede control of Congress to the Democrats.”

Global poverty. The Persistently Poor – “Despite an intensified campaign against poverty, World Bank programs have failed to lift incomes in many poor countries over the past decade, leaving tens of millions of people suffering stagnating or declining living standards, according to a report released Thursday by the bank’s autonomous assessment arm.”

Somalia. Somalis threaten to fight ‘invasion’ of UN peacekeepers – “Somalia’s Islamic Courts have vowed to fight African peacekeepers deployed in the country after the UN Security Council voted to send 8,000 troops to the war-torn state in the Horn of Africa.” Islamic Courts snubs UN resolution – “Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, head of the Union of Islamic Courts, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the decision was “not made by the UN but by the US”.”

Sudan-Darfur. Sudan rejects Annan criticism -“Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese
president, has dismissed criticism by the UN secretary-general, saying the UN was making unreasonable demands.”

Biotech food. U.S. Uneasy About Biotech Food – “Ten years after genetically engineered crops were first planted commercially in the United States, Americans remain ill-informed about and uncomfortable with biotech food, according to the fifth annual survey on the topic,”

Religion. ‘Restoration’ after the fall – “The Rev. Ted Haggard this week formally begins his long journey toward recovery from a drugs-and-gay-sex scandal that forced him to step down as one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the nation.”

Forgiveness. Kember pleads clemency – “Norman Kember, the peace activist who was held in Iraq for four months, said today he and two other men abducted with him “unconditionally” forgave their captors and asked an Iraqi court to show leniency towards them.”

Op-Ed. (Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Times) – Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine – “The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations – but not in the United States. For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts.”

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