Beliefnet
God's Politics

The lates news on shootings at Virginia Tech, Darfur, EITC, gun control, Iraq, climate change, Urban League- State of Black America, immigration, DC voting rights, A woman of courage, war on terror, and select op-eds.
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Full news summary:

Shootings at Virginia Tech. Virginia Gunman Identified as a Student – “The gunman who killed 32 people and himself on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute Monday was identified today as a student who lived in a dormitory on campus. Law enforcement authorities said the name of the gunman was Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a South Korean who was a resident alien in the United States.” 33 Dead, 30 Injured at Virginia Tech In Deadliest Shooting in U.S. History – “An outburst of gunfire at a Virginia Tech dormitory, followed two hours later by a ruthless string of attacks at a classroom building, killed 32 students, faculty and staff and wounded about 30 others yesterday in the deadliest shooting rampage in the nation’s history.” Drumbeat of Shots, Broken by Pauses to Reload– “The gunshots were so slow and steady that some students thought they came from a nearby construction site, until they saw the police officers with rifles pointed at Norris Hall,” Bloodied campus asks: Where were the warnings? – “With dizzying speed and deadly accuracy, a man armed with at least two guns murdered 30 people in a Virginia Tech engineering building Monday morning and then killed himself.” 2-Hour Gap Leaves Room For Questions – “A single question stood out yesterday at Virginia Tech: Would more students be alive if the university had stopped them from going to class after a shooting occurred in a campus dorm?” Slow reaction spurs anger – “Hours after two victims were fatally wounded by gunfire on the Virginia Tech campus, students and faculty were still going to classes without any warning, even as a second violent spree claimed 30 other victims and a gunman’s life.”


Gun control. Gun control debate resumes, on one side – “Monday’s deadly rampage at Virginia Tech sparked a largely one-sided response in the long-running debate over guns. Gun control advocates said the shootings pointed to the need for tougher laws, while supporters of gun rights generally kept their heads down.” Shock, Sympathy And Denunciation Of U.S. Gun Laws – “The Virginia Tech shootings received extensive news coverage around the world, leading many to question how such violence could keep happening in the United States.”


Darfur. Sudan agrees to UN deployment – “Sudan agreed Monday to let 3,000 UN peacekeepers deploy in Darfur with attack helicopters, opening the door to the first significant UN force to help beleaguered African Union soldiers who have been unable to halt the region’s four-year war.” Sudan To Allow U.N. Force In Darfur – “Sudan agreed to allow more than 3,000 heavily armed U.N. and African peacekeepers in Darfur to reinforce a beleaguered African Union force of 7,000 that has struggled to prevent the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians during the past four years.” Sudan Drops Objections to U.N. Aid in Darfur “Sudan said that it had dropped its objections to large-scale United Nations assistance to the overwhelmed African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, setting the stage for the possible assignment there of United Nations peacekeepers.” Deal allows U.N. forces to enter Darfur – “Sudan agreed yesterday to allow the deployment of U.N. attack helicopters and 3,000 peacekeepers to its Darfur region, but the United States criticized the decision for allowing limits on the number of non-African troops in the U.N. force.”


Iraq. Al-Sadr followers quit cabinet – “Six cabinet ministers loyal to the anti-American Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pulled out of Iraq’s national unity government, citing the refusal of the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to commit to a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.” Shiite Cleric Has Six Quit Cabinet in Iraq Shake-Up– “It was the first time Mr. Sadr had followed through with a threat to cut some of his ties with the government and with Mr. Maliki, a conservative Shiite whose grip on authority largely rests on Mr. Sadr’s political support.” Gates’ trip to focus on Iran, Iraq – “Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates arrived in Jordan, the first stop on a tour of several Middle Eastern countries designed to drum up support for Iraq’s government and continue talks with allies on how to counter Iranian influence.”


Climate change. Climate change called a security threat – “Global warming poses a “serious threat to America’s national security” and the military should act now to minimize the destabilizing consequences of rising temperatures, a panel of retired generals and admirals warned.” Warming May Take a Severe Toll on U.S. – “Climate change will exact a major cost on North America’s timber industry and could drive as much as 40 percent of its plant and animal species to extinction in a matter of decades.”


EITC. Tax Credit Seen as Helping More Parents – “More than one in six taxpayers in 2004 received the Earned Income Tax Credit, highlighting its growing role in bolstering the incomes of struggling low-income parents.”


Urban League – State of Black America Group says worst crisis in US faced by black men – “Citing bleak data on incarceration, joblessness, and AIDS, the National Urban League said yesterday that problems facing black men represent America’s most serious social crisis and proposed an aggressive campaign to provide them with more opportunities.”


Immigration. For Illegal Immigrants, Housing Slump Takes Toll– “Some of the casualties of America’s housing bust are easy to spot up and down California’s Central Valley. … But another set of losers is less visible: the immigrant workers, mostly illegal, who rode the construction boom while it lasted and now find jobs on building sites few and far between.”


DC Voting rights. Getting Out to Get a Vote – “Braving stiff winds and an icy drizzle, thousands of people led by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty marched to the U.S. Capitol yesterday in the biggest demonstration in decades for full representation for the District in Congress.” Marchers call on Congress to pass voting rights bill – “Thousands of D.C. residents and officials marched to the U.S. Capitol and called on Congress to pass a bill that would grant the District voting rights, braving fierce winds and a chilling rain that threatened to ruin the protest.”


A woman of courage. A woman of courage “Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader who has been detained by Burma’s military regime for nearly 20 years, is a true hero for our times, writes the chancellor, Gordon Brown, in this extract from his new book.” (Courage: Eight Portraits)


War on terror. ‘War on terror’ phrase helps terrorists, minister warns – “President George Bush’s “war on terror” rhetoric has strengthened terrorist groups by helping them to create a shared identity, [UK] development secretary, Hilary Benn, warned yesterday.”


Opinion.


Debate about Imus isn’t just about words (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune) – “Imus has ignited a national conversation. Let’s keep it going. We have a lot to teach each other.”


The Ills Behind That Slur (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post) – “Why is it that I am experiencing a terrible bout of cynicism watching all the post-Imus hand-wringing?”


Too terrible for words (Editorial, Chicago Tribune) – “IN THE BIBLICAL Book of Job, the anguished hero is visited by three friends who attempt to comfort him by drawing airy and sententious lessons from his agonies. Of course, they end up adding to his troubles; Job endures not only the real pains of grief and sickness but the indignity of having his suffering milked for rhetorical effect.”


Passing. Mollie Orshansky, Statistician, Dies at 91 – “Mollie Orshansky, a statistician and economist who in the 1960s developed the federal poverty line, a measurement that shaped decades of social policy and welfare programs, died Dec. 18 at her home in Manhattan … Miss Orshansky, whose parents had known poverty in Ukraine, worked for the Social Security Administration from 1958 until she retired in 1982. She was “one of a respected but mostly invisible cadre of women research professionals based at S.S.A. and other government agencies during the postwar years,” the historian Alice O’Connor wrote in “Poverty Knowledge,” a 2001 history of poverty research.”

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