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The latest news on the Billy Graham Library, climate change, Iraq, faith and politics. hunger, Blair in Africa, Darfur, immigration, Iran, Turkey, minority students, US military, Europe and select Op-Eds.

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Billy Graham Library. Graham’s spiritual journey finds home “Three former presidents, more than 80 family members and about 1,500 invited guests turned out Thursday to help Billy Graham dedicate the library devoted to his life and ministry.” Accolades, Some Tearful, for a Preacher in His Twilight Years “For a man who has welcomed crowds his whole life, the evangelist Billy Graham appeared humbled and a bit embarrassed to be before this one Thursday in a parking lot near the Charlotte airport.” Ex-Presidents at Graham library opening “Visitors to the new, presidential-style museum honoring evangelist Billy Graham enter and exit the building through crosses as tall as 40 feet high, a design meant to emphasize that the $27-million complex is an extension of the minister’s work.”

Faith & Politics. Faith Playing Larger Role in 2008 Race “Lately it seems all the leading presidential candidates are discussing their religious and moral beliefs – even when they’d rather not. Indeed, seven years after George W. Bush won the presidency in part with a direct appeal to conservative religious voters … the personal faith of candidates has become a very public part of the presidential campaign.”

Hunger. Nation’s unseen scourge: Hunger “As Congress prepares to wrangle with reauthorizing the Farm Bill, which funds the food-stamp program, anti-hunger advocates are on high alert. Eager to generate public discussion during national Hunger Awareness Week, June 2-10, they worry about the more than 25 million Americans who use food stamps.”

Blair in Africa. Blair says G8 must do more for Africa “Tony Blair urged the international community to “step up to the plate” on aid for Africa when the Group of Eight meets in Germany next week.” Blair’s parting drive to aid Africa “Blair says the trip will build momentum ahead of next week’s G-8 summit in Germany, where he will push for leaders to follow through on promises made in 2005.” Mandela welcomes Blair to his ‘retirement club’ “Nelson Mandela welcomed Tony Blair into the ex-presidents’ and prime ministers’ club as he completed his “farewell” tour of Africa. … “Tony, I look forward to welcoming a young man like you to the club of retiring presidents and prime ministers,” Mr Mandela said. “I warn you, however, that some of us only become active after stepping down from office.”

Darfur. Saving Darfur, Multiple Steps at a Time “Lobbying groups regularly get their way in Washington, but few have had as much impact in a short period as the Save Darfur Coalition, an organization that has been pressing for international intervention in war-torn Sudan.” On Darfur, Bush calls a spade a spade “President Bush reiterated this Tuesday that “genocide” is the “rightful name” for the bombing, murder, and rape in western Sudan.”

(Daniel Schorr, Christian Science Monitor)

Climate change. Bush Proposes Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas EmissionsPresident Bush, fending off international accusations that he was ignoring climate change, proposed for the first time to set “a long-term global goal” for cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” Bush offers to take climate lead “On the eve of a major international summit, President Bush proposed that the United States and the other nations that produce most of the gases responsible for global warming initiate a campaign to limit emissions and set long-term goals for reductions.” Bush urges plan to cut emissions “President Bush, who has long refused to commit the United States to specific limits on pollutants contributing to global warming, took a new turn in proposing that the U.S. and other leading nations by the end of next year set “a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases.”

Bush climate plan called all talk, no action Environmental groups dismissed the move as a ploy to avoid tougher actions that other nations favor. US climate plan ‘a delaying tactic’ Environmental groups today condemned George Bush’s proposed global plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, labelling it a stalling tactic lacking concrete details. Baird says he’ll push green targets at G8 OTTAWA – The Harper government plans to pressure the Bush administration to accept targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at next week’s G8 summit, even though neither side expects that a new global pact to fight climate change will be in before the end of 2008.

Immigration. Unions split over immigration bill “The labor divide reflects a deeper rift within the party, which includes a growing constituency of immigrants as well as middle-class workers afraid of layoffs as U.S. jobs move overseas.” Senate bill’s critics fear longer detentions for migrants “The bipartisan Senate immigration bill would drastically expand the ability to deport and detain certain immigrants in little-noticed provisions that could increase racial profiling, Los
Angeles immigrant rights advocates said”

Iran. No Breakthrough as Iranian Nuclear Talks RecessTalks between Iran’s nuclear negotiator and a top envoy for the European Union ended late Thursday with few signs they were closer to breaking their deadlock over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” Iran and the U.S.: New Cold War?“Even as they struggle to find common ground on Iraq, are America and Iran locked in the escalating tensions of a new Cold War?”

Turkey. Turkey deploys extra troops to Iraq border “A Turkish military build-up on the northern Iraq border is fuelling fears of a confrontation between Ankara and Kurdistan’s semi-independent government that could further destabilise the region as US forces begin to pull back.”

Minority students. U.S. Data Show Rapid Minority Growth in School Rolls “Driven mainly by an extraordinary influx of Hispanics, the nation’s population of minority students has surged to 42 percent of public school enrollment, up from 22 percent three decades ago,”

Iraq. General doubtful on assessment deadline “The top U.S. ground commander in Iraq warned that September may be too soon to tell whether the American troop buildup in Baghdad has worked, casting doubt on a crucial milestone set by Congress to reassess Iraq war strategy.” ‘Small progress’ seen in Iraq despite rise in GI deaths “With the past month marking one of the deadliest periods for U.S. troops since the start of the war, the second-ranking U.S. military commander in Iraq said Thursday that some progress has been made in the early going of the troop buildup.” US commanders seek cease-fires with insurgents “The US military is working more aggressively to forge cease-fires with Iraqi militants and quell the violence around Baghdad, judging that 80 percent of enemy combatants are “reconcilable,” a top US commander said.”

US military. Antiwar to the Corps “Going on a mock patrol can get you in real trouble with the United States Marine Corps. In a case that raises questions about free speech, the Marines have launched investigations of three inactive reservists for wearing their uniforms during antiwar protests and allegedly making statements characterized as “disrespectful” or “disloyal.” Fewer high-quality Army recruits“The percentage of high-quality recruits entering the Army is the lowest in 10 years, an indication that the force is struggling to attract top-grade enlistees — and a troubling sign for the Pentagon, which is waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and plans to add 90,000 ground troops to its ranks within the next five years.”

Europe. ‘Old Europe’ tilting toward U.S. “a new set of players emerging on the old Europe bench could tip the balance back toward the Atlantic. Britain, France and Germany are fielding potentially the most pro-U.S. group of leaders to emerge in Western Europe in years.”

Op-Eds.

Bush’s legacy on AIDS (Editorial, Boston Globe) “HISTORIANS ARE not likely to be kind in judging the chaos President Bush has created in Iraq, or the damage he has done to international agreements like the Geneva Conventions and to civil liberties at home. But he will deserve high marks for his leadership in mobilizing US aid to fight AIDS overseas. On Wednesday, he asked Congress to spend an additional $30 billion in assistance over five years.”

Debating In Parallel Universes (E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post) “Our two political parties and their candidates are living in parallel universes. It’s as if the candidates were running for president in two separate countries. Their televised debates next week will be productions as different from each other as “American Idol” is from “P.T.I.”

Don’t Forget the Border(Janet Napolitano, New York Times) “IMMIGRATION is a tough issue and the Senate deserves our thanks for moving a bill forward this year. But as with all things related to immigration, the devil is in the details. As a border state governor with a close-up view of how immigration policy works on the ground, I have seen how easily plans can fall apart, or lose the support they need from Washington.”

What Mexico Wants(Jorge G. Castañeda, New York Times) “NO nation is as involved in United States immigration as Mexico, and no government’s cooperation will be as necessary as Mexico’s if immigration reform is to succeed.’

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