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God's Politics

The latest news on immigration, Darfur, service, Iraq bombing, Iraq, Gaza, Iran, South Africa, trafficking, religion, service, and select op-eds.
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Iraq bombing. Blasts at Iraq’s Askariya shrine “A series of blasts have destroyed two minarets at an already damaged Shia shrine in the northern Iraqi town of Samarra. The explosions were heard in the vicinity of the Askariya mosque at about 9:00am on Wednesday.” Blast hits key Iraq Shia shrine “Almost immediately after the explosions, a curfew was imposed on Samarra as Iraqi security forces and US troops rushed to the area.”


Iraq. Iraqis Are Failing to Meet U.S. Benchmarks“Iraq ‘s political leaders have failed to reach agreements on nearly every law that the Americans have demanded as benchmarks, despite heavy pressure from Congress, the White House and top military commanders.” Big Boost In Iraqi Forces Is Urged “A senior U.S. military commander said that Iraq’s army must expand its rolls by at least 20,000 more soldiers than Washington had anticipated, to help free U.S. troops from conducting daily patrols, checkpoints and other critical yet dangerous missions.”


Gaza. Fierce attacks put Gaza Strip on verge of civil war “Rival Palestinian fighters armed with battered machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades fought for control Tuesday as the Gaza Strip was consumed by brutality bordering on civil war.” Attacks Escalate as Palestinians Fight for PowerFive days of revenge attacks on individuals – including executions, kneecappings and even tossing handcuffed prisoners off tall apartment towers – on Tuesday turned into something larger and more organized: attacks on symbols of power and the deployment of military units.” Hamas issues Gaza arms ultimatum “The armed wing of Hamas has told the Palestinian security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and head of Fatah, to surrender their arms.” Fatah pulls back from unity gov’t “Fatah ministers are suspending their participation in a unity government with Hamas until the fighting in Gaza – which killed 25 combatants and civilians across the Strip yesterday – comes to a halt, the Fatah Central Committee decided in an emergency meeting yesterday.” US blamed over Middle East crisis “The highest ranking UN official in Israel has warned that American pressure has “pummelled into submission” the UN’s role as an impartial Middle East negotiator in a damning confidential report.”


Immigration. Bush tries to save immigration bill “President Bush joined Republican senators at their weekly policy lunch on Capitol Hill in an attempt to convince members of his party to commit to resuscitating the immigration bill,” Senators Unmoved by Bush Bid to Save Immigration Bill “In a rare visit to Capitol Hill, President Bush pressed Republican senators to resurrect the compromise overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, but many of the senators instead demanded that his administration first show a more determined commitment to border security.” Bush lobbies Senate on immigration “President Bush visited with Senate Republicans behind closed doors pleading with them to give his immigration plans a second look.” Large majority supports path to citizenship “A strong majority of Americans – including nearly two-thirds of Republicans – favor allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens if they pay fines, learn English and meet other requirements, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.”


Iran. Iran uses fronts to avoid U.N. sanctions “Iran is using newly created front companies in a bid to frustrate U.S. and United Nations sanctions on its suspect nuclear programs, according to records and information supplied by a leading Iranian exile dissident group.”


South Africa. South Africa hit by strike as left challenges ANC leaders “South African trade unions have launched one of the biggest national strikes of the post-apartheid era in a move widely seen as spearheading the left’s challenge to win control of the ruling African National Congress ahead of next year’s presidential election.” ‘Massive’ strike in South Africa “Negotiations between the unions and the government are in deadlock, complicated by the sacking of 600 health workers.”


Darfur. Sudan Relents on Peacekeepers in DarfurAfter resisting for months, Sudan has agreed to a joint United Nations and African Union force of nearly 20,000 peacekeepers in Darfur, its western province and the site of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises,” Sudan OKs peacekeepers for Darfur “U.N. diplomats, cautious after months of waffling by the regime, were not ready to celebrate a breakthrough.” Sudan to Allow a Larger Force in Darfur “Sudan agreed on Tuesday to an expanded peacekeeping force in the Darfur region, according to a communique approved by negotiators from Sudan, the United Nations and the African Union.”


Trafficking. U.S. allies rapped for role in human trafficking “Key Muslim allies were among countries lambasted yesterday by the Bush administration for complicity in the global trade in sex slaves and forced labour. Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman and Qatar – all considered valuable allies in the so-called global war on terror – were added to the category deemed the worst offenders in “modern-day slavery,” in the annual U.S. State Department report on human trafficking.”


Religion. Moderates push Southern Baptist measure “Southern Baptists voted on a motion backed by moderates in the church who say they are concerned about what they see as a dangerous rightward shift in their denomination.”


Service. More grads opt to serve the poor “Recent college graduates, including tens of thousands graduating this spring, are seeking community service jobs, where they can learn marketable skills while doing work they find meaningful. For many, it offers a chance to test out a career before settling into one.”


Op-Eds.


Immigration’s lost voices (Jorge G. Castaneda, a former foreign minister of Mexico and a professor of politics and Latin American studies at New York University.) “THE COLLAPSE of the bipartisan immigration deal in the Senate last week sends a terrible message. As flawed as some considered the bill to be, it was certainly an improvement over the status quo for some very interested parties: the roughly 12 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. and the roughly 500,000 a year who will continue to go north for at least the next 10 years.”


Atypical Evangelical(Ruth Marcus, Washington Post) “He’s got, as he put it, “the purity of credentials,” but Huckabee’s menu of social conservatism offers more choices than implacable opposition to abortion and gay rights. “Being a conservative is also about having a much broader agenda than the very narrowly focused one that sometimes conservatives are either accused of or — frankly — can be guilty of,” Huckabee said.”

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