God's Politics

The latest news on Ruth and Billy Grahan, Africa, Darfur-Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza, the justice department and immigration.
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Today, we begin with a prayer request – for Ruth and Billy Graham and family.

Ruth Graham in a coma, close to death “Ruth Graham, the ailing wife of evangelist Billy Graham, fell into a coma Wednesday morning and appears to be close to death, a family spokesman said.”She appears to be entering the final stages of life,” said Larry Ross, Graham’s personal spokesman.”

Some good news from around the world.

Women lawyers force big rights gains in Uganda “The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U) achieved its most significant legal success to date when the nation’s Constitutional Court overturned key parts of the adultery law – which allowed married men, but not women, to have an affair. It also scrapped parts of the Succession Act, which gave more rights to husbands than wives when a spouse dies.”

‘Thank God, we entered Israel and they welcomed us’ “Five years after he fled his razed Darfur village, and after jail spells in three countries, Ibrahim has found refuge in an unlikely place: a kibbutz in Israel. The 24-year-old Muslim is one of about 440 Sudanese refugees working in Israeli hotels and on farms while the government seeks to place them in a third country.”

Tool exhibit shows that creative capitalism can work in Third World “Some of the unsung heroes in Third World development go by odd names such as MoneyMaker Hip Pump and PermaNet. They’re low-cost tools and devices – the first for crop irrigation, the second for fighting malaria – that are intended to improve the lives of millions of people for whom a $25 investment is a big deal.”

Annan will head African farming body “An African agricultural organization established last year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has recruited former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to be its chief. Annan said that he has agreed to be chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which aims to boost harvests on a continent where many go hungry. Better seed varieties and water management are among its first priorities.”

Indian slum girl ‘makes good’ “Most of the high-paying jobs in India’s $50bn information technology industry go to India’s privileged elite. But, with the help of her husband, one woman has managed to earn her university degree as well as a job at on of India’s top IT companies. Fatima lives with her husband in a slum area in the Indian town of Visakhapatnam. Her husband is illiterate, earning his money as a street food hawker. He makes about two dollars a day.”

And now, back to the violence and other news on the front pages.

Lebanon. Anti-Syrian Lawmaker Killed in Beirut Blast “A powerful car bomb tore through a stretch of Beirut’s popular seafront Wednesday, killing an outspoken anti-Syrian lawmaker, his son and eight other people in the third assassination of a parliament member in less than two years.” Lebanese lawmaker killed “An assassination had been widely anticipated at this troubled time in Lebanon — the only question was who would be targeted next, and when.” Lebanon braces after assassinationFears of Sunni-Shiite violence rise as anti-Syrian lawmaker Walid Eido is killed by a car bomb.”

Iraq. Efforts to Avert Sectarian Reprisals After Shrine AttackAppeals for calm by Shiites and Sunnis, as well as American officials in Iraq, appeared to have headed off the risk of a new sectarian convulsion, at least for now.” Several Sunni Mosques in Iraq Attacked “A handful of Sunni mosques were attacked or burned Thursday, but curfews and increased troop levels kept Iraq in relative calm a day after suspected al-Qaida bombers toppled the towering minarets of a prized Shiite shrine.” Iraq violence up since troop increase “Violence in Iraq rose slightly in the three months ended in May because of increased attacks in cities and provinces that had been relatively peaceful before the Bush administration’s troop buildup,” No Drop in Iraq Violence Seen Since Troop Buildup “Three months into the new U.S. military strategy that has sent tens of thousands of additional troops into Iraq, overall levels of violence in the country have not decreased, as attacks have shifted away from Baghdad and Anbar, where American forces are concentrated, only to rise in most other provinces,”

Gaza. Fatah forces crumble in Gaza “The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is coming under pressure today to end a unity government with Hamas and declare a state of emergency. Mr Abbas’s advisers have recommended a dismantling of the coalition and he is expected to make a decision within hours,” Hamas routs Fatah forces “Hamas fighters tightened their hold on the Gaza Strip as Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas fled to Egypt and appeared near collapse.” Hamas Seizes Broad Control in Gaza StripThe Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, faces the collapse of Fatah power in Gaza and a putative Palestinian state divided between Fatah and Hamas.” Hamas Bolsters Its Hold In Gaza “Hamas gunmen consolidated their hold over large swaths of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after attacking military posts controlled by the rival Fatah movement, whose

Justice Department. FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data “An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years,” Justice Dept. Reshapes Its Civil Rights MissionIn recent years, the Bush administration has recast the federal government’s role in civil rights by aggressively pursuing religion-oriented cases while significantly diminishing its involvement in the traditional area of race.”

Immigration. Immigration bill supporters aim to increase funds for border security “In an attempt to satisfy critics and revive the legislation, backers are trying to guarantee money for security and work-site enforcement.” Groups unite against ‘amnesty’ “The debate over President Bush’s immigration bill and opposition to it as an “amnesty” proposal have invigorated otherwise dispirited conservative interest groups and forged an anti-Bush unity on the right not seen since the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers.” With Immigration Bill Stalled, Advocates Push Forward “As officials in Washington discussed ways to revive an immigration bill stalled in the Senate, immigrant advocates moved forward on Wednesday with a new round of lobbying that they hope will lead illegal immigrants out of the shadows.”

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