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The latest news on Israeli PM accused of war failure, Iraq-casualties, Immigration, Iraq-President V. Congress, US military and oil, missiles in Europe, Fred Thompson, administration investigation, Venezuela, and select commentaries.

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Israeli PM accused of war failure. Winograd to PM: You failed; Olmert insists: I won’t resign “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed last night that he would not resign, despite the publication of the Winograd report on the Second Lebanon War, which accused him of “severe failures” in handling the conflict.” Olmert Rebuked by Israeli Panel on Lebanon War– “Despite a resounding chorus of calls in Israel for the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, to resign following a report that excoriated Mr. Olmert for “severe failures” in last summer’s war against the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, his aides insisted today that he had no intention of leaving office.” Scathing war report shakes Israel – “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s political fate hung in the balance after a government-appointed panel probing Israel’s war last summer against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon issued a scathing report accusing him of hastily leading the country into conflict with neither a detailed plan nor clear goals that could be achieved.” Immediate resignation (Haaretz editorial) – “The hint was almost explicit: If the report’s principal subjects do not take personal responsibility, the committee will make clear recommendations in July. If the prime minister does not quit, he will be thrown out in a month or two.”

Iraq-President v. Congress. Bush’s veto pen poised for war bill – “Four years after President Bush declared the “mission accomplished” for the American military in Iraq, the president is poised to veto a $124 billion war spending bill that demands timelines for troop withdrawals from an unrelenting war.” Democrats conceding on war bill– “Democratic leaders in Congress are slowly backing down from a standoff with the White House over tying war funding to a troop-withdrawal timetable, saying they can use other bills to confront President Bush on Iraq.” Republicans Buck Bush On Iraq Benchmarks – “Brushing aside White House opposition, Republican leaders in Congress said that negotiations on a second war spending bill should begin with benchmarks of success for the Iraqi government, and possible consequences if those benchmarks are not met.”

Iraq-casualties. April Toll Is Highest Of ’07 for U.S. Troops – “The deaths of more than 100 American troops in April made it the deadliest month so far this year for U.S. forces in Iraq, underscoring the growing exposure of Americans as thousands of reinforcements arrive for an 11-week-old offensive to tame sectarian violence.” US reports 40% rise in terror deaths – “Deaths and injuries from terrorist attacks increased sharply last year, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, with government officials, police, and security guards coming under greater attack than ever before, the State Department’s annual survey of global terrorism concluded.”Terrorist Attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan Rose Sharply Last Year, State Department Says – “Terrorist attacks against noncombatants nearly doubled in Iraq from 2005 to 2006 and were up sharply in Afghanistan, with those two countries alone accounting for a 29 percent increase in terrorism worldwide,”

US military and oil. Pentagon study says oil reliance strains military – “A new study ordered by the Pentagon warns that the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil — the lifeblood of fighter jets, warships, and tanks — will make the US military’s ability to respond to hot spots around the world “unsustainable in the long term.”

Immigration. Illegal Families Face Increased Deportations– “Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, facing intense political pressure to toughen enforcement, removed 221,664 illegal immigrants from the country over the last year, an increase of more than 37,000 – about 20 percent – over the year before,” Downtown prepares for May Day gridlock – “As Southern California organizers made final preparations for May Day marches to press for immigrant and labor rights today, officials warned that the protests will snarl traffic, disrupt mass transit and halt some business in downtown Los Angeles and beyond.” Immigration rally plans changed by police – “Chicago police, anticipating Tuesday’s immigration march will be larger than first expected, announced Monday that demonstrators will be rerouted to Grant Park instead of Daley Plaza, where the rally had been scheduled to take place.”

Missiles in Europe. Bush Steps Up Effort to Persuade Putin on Missile Defense Plan – “President Bush, under pressure from allies in Europe to be more forthcoming about his plans for basing missile interceptors in the region, said that he was intensifying his efforts to persuade Russia to cooperate with the United States on the initiative “so that they don’t see us as an antagonistic force, but see us as a friendly force.” Poles demand missile shield against Russia – “Poland and the Czech Republic are raising the ante in negotiati
ons with the Americans, demanding missiles to deploy against Russia and security and legal guarantees in return for hosting elements of the US missile shield.”

Fred Thompson. Ex-Senator Seen as Rehearsing for Prime Time– “Making speeches at carefully chosen appearances, doing an occasional interview and fielding questions from Republican congressmen, Mr. Thompson, 64, is running something of a guerrilla exploratory effort.”

Administration investigation. A Bush appointee goes after the White House – “Prosecutor Scott J. Bloch, a committed conservative, is turning heads with his investigation of the administration’s political operation, which is headed by Karl Rove. His office is investigating whether Bush administration personnel violated civil statutes by inserting GOP electoral politics into Cabinet agency meetings, firing at least one U.S. attorney, and discussing some of the activities in private e-mails that are missing.”

Venezuela. Venezuela quits IMF and World Bank – “The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, today severed ties with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In doing so he distanced Caracas further from what he described as Washington-dominated institutions.”

Commentary. NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: A compromising of independence (By Peter S. Canellos, Boston Globe Columnist) – “The biggest revelation in former CIA director George Tenet’s memoir seems to be showing just how far officials like Tenet, who work for the president but are presumed to have independent expertise, will go to please their bosses.”

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