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The latest news on child welfare, Iraq, U.S. prisons, Iran, 2007 budget, Libby trial, Darfur, and global warming.

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Child welfare. U.S., Britain fare poorly in children survey – “The United States and Britain ranked as the worst places to be a child, according to a UNICEF study of more than 20 developed nations released Wednesday.” US, Britain ranked last on child welfare – “One of the study’s researchers, Jonathan Bradshaw, said children fared worse in the United States and Britain, despite high overall levels of national wealth, because of greater economic inequality and poor levels of public support for families. “What they have in common are very high levels of inequality, very high levels of child poverty, which is also associated with inequality, and in rather different ways poorly developed services to families with children.”

Iraq. 11 more Republicans get behind Iraq rebuke – “In a striking display of dissension, a group of Republican lawmakers broke ranks with the White House and embraced a resolution opposing more U.S. troops in Iraq – airing their criticism even as President Bush publicly defended his plan.” Bush to Congress: Give new Iraq strategy a chance to work – “President Bush, facing a congressional vote of protest over his escalation of military force in Iraq, confronted a growing challenge to his presidency with complaints that members of Congress are pressing for a symbolic vote without allowing his new strategy a chance to restore security inside Iraq.” GOP Looks Beyond War Measure to Fight on Funding – “With Republicans speaking out against President Bush’s war policy on the House floor, GOP leaders and the White House conceded defeat on a resolution opposing sending additional U.S. troops to Iraq and began looking toward the coming battle over the war’s funding.” Bush: Redeployments to Iraq don’t hurt troop morale – “Bush said that he did not believe morale of troops in Iraq had declined because of repeated deployments to the war zone, saying his commanders on the ground would have informed him if any problems existed.”

Iran. Bush Declares Iran’s Arms Role in Iraq Is Certain– “President Bush said that he was certain that factions within the Iranian government had supplied Shiite militants in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs that had killed American troops.” Iranians Aid Iraq Militants, Bush Alleges – “President Bush bluntly accused Iranian agents of providing sophisticated explosives to kill U.S. troops in Iraq but said he did not know whether they were acting on orders of the Islamic republic’s leaders and denied using the allegations as a pretext to go to war with Tehran.” Tehran’s Iraq role unclear, U.S. now says – “U.S. officials from President Bush to a top general in Baghdad said that there was no solid evidence that high-ranking officials in Iran had ordered deadly weapons to be sent to Iraq for use against American troops,” Skepticism Over Iraq Haunts U.S. Iran Policy – “The specter of the war in Iraq — a war the Bush administration denied it was planning, supported by evidence that turned out to be false — looms large over administration policy toward Iran.”

2007 budget. Senate Belatedly Passes Spending Bill for 2007 – “Four and a half months after the legal deadline, the Senate gave final approval to a 2007 spending plan that funds almost half the federal government and averts any chance of a government shutdown.”

U.S. prisons. Growth spurt projected for America’s prisons – “Get-tough policies that lock up offenders for longer sentences are propelling a projected increase of nearly 200,000 in the nation’s prison population in the next five years, according a private study.”

Libby trial. Saying He Was Misled by Defense, Judge in Libby Case Puts Some Evidence Off-Limits– “The lawyers defending I. Lewis Libby Jr. against perjury charges rested their case, but not before suffering a series of defeats in rulings by the presiding judge. The judge, Reggie B. Walton, expressed in the strongest terms yet that he had been misled by the defense team about whether Mr. Libby would take the stand in his own defense.” Defense Attorneys Rest Libby’s Case– “Attorneys for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby rested their defense in his perjury trial after giving jurors a stripped-down version of their case that the vice president’s then-chief of staff was too preoccupied with sensitive national security issues in 2003 to remember conversations he had.”

Darfur. Peacekeepers poised for new mission in Chad – “The UN security council is due to decide in the next few days on dispatching troops to eastern Chad to try to prevent the Darfur crisis spilling across the border and triggering a regional conflict and further humanitarian catastrophe.” L.A. city, county move to divest funds from Sudan – “J
oining a growing backlash to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, Los Angeles city and county officials are taking steps this week to cut financial ties with companies that do business with the Sudanese government.”

Global warming. Debate over global warming is shifting – “With Democrats controlling the environmental agenda in Congress, a panel of international scientists saying there’s a greater-than-90 percent chance that humans contribute to global warming, and former vice president Al Gore calling climate change a moral issue, many besieged global warming skeptics are starting to tone down their rhetoric.”

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