God's Politics

The latest news on minimum wage, Iraq-VN Vets in Congress, Troops in Iraq, Iran, Darfur, health care, Israel-Palestine, and global warming.

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Minimum wage. Senate to Consider Minimum Wage Bill With Tax Breaks– “The Senate is expected to clear the way on Tuesday for an increase in the minimum wage that Democrats and some Republicans agree is overdue. The Senate bill differs from the one that cleared the House, and includes $8.3 billion in tax breaks for small businesses. Maverick Costco CEO Joins Push to Raise Minimum Wage – “The chief executive of Costco Wholesale, the nation’s largest wholesale club, yesterday became the most prominent member of a new organization of business owners and executives pressing Congress to approve an increase in the federal minimum wage.”

Iran. Bush says he doesn’t intend to invade Iran – “President Bush said yesterday that the United States “will respond firmly” if Iran escalates military action in Iraq and endangers American forces. But Bush emphasized he has no intention of invading Iran.” Bush vows force, diplomacy with Iran – “With a two-track message of stern military warnings and promises of peaceful diplomacy, Bush is confronting an increasingly complicated conflict with the Iranian government.”

Europe Resists U.S. Push to Curb Iran Ties– “European governments are resisting Bush administration demands that they curtail support for exports to Iran and that they block transactions and freeze assets of some Iranian companies … The resistance threatens to open a new rift between Europe and the United States over Iran.” With Iran Ascendant, U.S. Is Seen at Fault – “Kuwait rarely rebuffs its ally, the United States, partly out of gratitude for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But in October it reneged on a pledge to send three military observers to an American-led naval exercise in the Gulf,”

Darfur. Conflict in Darfur dominates African Union summit – “Bloodshed in Sudan’s Darfur region dominated the African Union summit, undermining Sudan’s bid to lead the bloc as the UN chief said scorched-earth military policies are “a terrifying feature of life” in the vast, arid area.” Darfur violence wrecks Sudan’s attempt to lead AU – “Sudan was further isolated over the conflict in Darfur after other African governments blocked it from assuming leadership of the African Union and demanded an end to the bloodshed.”

Iraq. Sadr backs Baghdad deal – “Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr has ordered his militia not to confront U.S. forces and has endorsed negotiations aimed at easing the deployment of American troops in his strongholds,” Doomsday cult said to be at center of Iraqi battle – “the Iraqi and U.S. troops who fought an intense battle against hundreds of disciples of the renegade Muslim leader near the ancient city of Najaf on Sunday met a modern enemy. They were armed not only with an unorthodox religious fervor but also with high-tech weapons.”

Iraq-VN Vets in Congress. Iraq debate strains bond of Congress’ Vietnam vets – “When the Senate begins debating President Bush’s Iraq policy, one focus will be on a group of lawmakers with special expertise: the ones who know what it’s like to fight a war that has lost the support of the American public.” Vietnam vet lawmakers’ positions – “This is a list of known Vietnam War combat veterans in the House and Senate, and their positions on Bush’s plan to increase troop levels in Iraq.”

Troops to Iraq. Equipment For Added Troops Is Lacking – “Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said. The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world and increasing the risk of U.S. casualties,” Soldier’s Death Strengthens Senators’ Antiwar Resolve – “Just before Christmas, an Army captain named Brian Freeman cornered Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) at a Baghdad helicopter landing zone. The war was going badly, he told them. Troops were stretched so thin they were doing tasks they never dreamed of, let alone trained for. Freeman, 31, took a short holiday leave to see his 14-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son, returned to his base in Karbala, Iraq, and less than two weeks ago died in a hail of bullets and grenades.”

Health care. Schwarzenegger’s healthcare reform proposal could conflict with Bush’s aim to balance federal budget – “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants $3.7 billion a year in new federal funding to cover a big chunk of his healthcare plan for Californians, putting him on a collision course with budget hawks in the nation’s capital and leaders in other states seeking assis

Israel-Plestine. Fragile Gaza ceasefire holds = “A new ceasefire between Hamas and Fatah fighters was tentatively holding today. The ceasefire – the latest in a long series of generally short-lived truces over recent months – followed five days of fierce battles between the rival Palestinian groups, in which more than 30 people died.” Palestinian Suicide Bomber Kills 3 in Israeli Resort City – “A 21-year-old Palestinian from the Gaza Strip blew himself up Monday inside a bakery in the Israeli resort city of Eilat, killing himself and all three people inside.” Suicide Attack Is First in Israel in 9 Months– “The attack complicated the latest effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have languished for six years.”

Global warming. World Scientists Near Consensus on Warming – “Scientists from across the world gathered Monday to hammer out the final details of an authoritative report on climate change that is expected to project centuries of rising temperatures and sea levels unless there are curbs in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.”

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