God's Politics

The latest news on immigration, Palestine, Sudan-Darfur, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, refugees in Canada, North Korea, Iran, U.S. Nuclear Strategy, SCHIP, education-teachers, global economics, and Ruth Graham.
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Immigration. McConnell unsure of immigration bill “The Senate’s top Republican yesterday said the fate of the immigration bill is still in doubt as he and the Senate’s top Democrat revive it and force it back on the schedule this week.” Senator: Migrant bill’s fate a tossup “The Senate’s top Republican said he could not predict whether stalled immigration legislation will pass, citing questions among conservatives as to whether it guarantees amnesty to illegal immigrants.” Religious congregations band to help immigrants “Houses of worship are circling the wagons around an estimated 12 million immigrants at risk of deportation nationwide in a sweeping partnership called the New Sanctuary Movement.”

Iraq. U.S. forces launch major Iraq offensive “U.S. commanders announced the start of a major offensive outside Baghdad aimed at flushing out Al Qaeda-linked fighters who use the lawless region to unleash attacks on the capital.” G.I.’s in Iraq Open Major Offensive Against Al QaedaWith the influx of tens of thousands of additional combat troops into Iraq now complete, American forces have begun a wide offensive against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia on the outskirts of Baghdad,” U.S. likely to fight insurgents for years “The fight against insurgents in Iraq is likely to continue several more years, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said yesterday.” Petraeus: Iraq ‘Challenges’ to Last for Years “Conditions in Iraq will not improve sufficiently by September to justify a drawdown of U.S. military forces, the top commander in Iraq said” Iraq on verge of genocidal war, warns ex-US official “Jay Garner believes the country is on the brink of a genocidal civil war and its government will fall apart unless the US changes course.” Arming Sunni militias undercuts Iraqi government, critics say “A U.S. program to combat al Qaida in Iraq by arming Sunni Muslims undercuts the Iraqi government and years of U.S. policy, and is a tacit acknowledgment that the country’s violence is really a civil war,”

Palestine. Abbas swears in emergency cabinet“Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has sworn in an emergency cabinet, to replace the Hamas-Fatah coalition he dismantled after intense factional fighting in the Gaza Strip.” Abbas Swears In Emergency GovernmentThe Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, swore in an emergency government at his headquarters, reasserting his authority over the West Bank days after Fatah’s rival, Hamas, routed his forces in Gaza and seized power there.” EU restores funding to Fatah “The EU said today it would resume financial aid to the new Fatah-led Palestinian government, as part of international efforts to isolate Hamas in its Gaza stronghold.” Gaza Straining At Egypt’s Door “All but sealed off by Egypt and Israel, Gaza presented an intensifying security concern to its neighbors and a fast-approaching humanitarian crisis, three days after its takeover by Hamas.” Rockets strike Israel as region slips closer to war “With violence gripping Lebanon and Gaza, some point fingers at Iran and Syria, while others blame Israel and the U.S.”

Afghanistan.Bomb blast takes biggest toll in Kabul since 2001 “At least 70 people were killed and wounded in a thunderous bomb blast that ripped through a police academy bus Sunday morning, the deadliest attack in the capital since the fall of the Taliban.” Kabul Blast Shows Taliban Capability “Airstrike Targeting Suspected Al-Qaeda Site Kills 7 – Children with summer well underway in Afghanistan, the radical Islamic movement showed that it is still capable of mounting one of the most devastating insurgent strikes the country has seen. … In further violence Sunday, U.S.-led coalition forces killed seven children and several insurgents during an airstrike against a suspected al-Qaeda compound,” Hillier says training Afghan army now first priority “With Canada’s top military brass feeling comfortable with their tactics on the ground in Afghanistan, Chief of Defence staff General Rick Hillier said his first priority now is to bolster the country’s national security forces.”

Refugees in Canada. Canadians split on refugee risks: poll “Canadians are divided on whether the government should err on the side of caution or compassion when screening refugees,”

Sudan-Darfur. Sudan and U.N. Reach New Peacekeeping Deal for Darfur “The United Nations Security Council and the Sudanese government on Sunday hammered out the major details of a proposal to send more than 20,000 peacekeeping troops to Darfur, clearing the way for a joint force with the African Union,” Sudan ‘backs UN-led Darfur force’ “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has agreed unconditionally to a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur, diplomats have said. South Africa’s ambassador at the UN,”

North Korea. Nuclear inspectors to visit N Korea “International nuclear inspectors are to travel to North Korea next week to discuss shutting down its Yongbyon reactor, the UN nuclear watchdog says.” N. Korea invites nuclear inspectors “North Korea invited U.N. nuclear inspectors to visit in the first concrete sign of a breakthrough in a stalemate over its atomic program, as the transfer of frozen North Korean funds at the center of the impasse neared completion.”

Iran. Strategy on Iran Stirs New Debate at White HouseA year after President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a new strategy toward Iran, a behind-the-scenes debate has broken out within the administration over whether the approach has any hope of reining in Iran’s nuclear program,” Iran Curtails Freedom In Throwback to 1979 “Iran is in the midst of a sweeping crackdown that both Iranians and U.S. analysts compare to a cultural revolution in its attempt to steer the oil-rich theocracy back to the rigid strictures of the 1979 revolution.”

U.S. Nuclear Strategy. Congress Seeks New Direction for Nuclear Strategy “Congress is moving to change the direction of the Bush administration’s nuclear weapons program by demanding the development of a comprehensive post-Sept. 11, 2001, nuclear strategy before it approves funding a new generation of warheads.”

SCHIP. Officials Split on Kids’ Health Insurance “As Congress edges closer to renewing a health insurance program for children, state officials have made it clear that they have a much different vision for the program’s future than the Bush administration.”

Education-teachers. Maverick Teachers’ Key D.C. Moment “To many D.C. parents and educators accustomed to failed promises, the incoming schools chancellor is just another, albeit the youngest, in a long line of leaders for the troubled school system. But to thousands of teachers and school leaders in their 20s and 30s on a mission to remake U.S. public schools, 37-year-old Michelle Rheehas become an instant celebrity. She is the first of their generation of educational innovators named to head a major school system and a symbol of their efforts to help inner-city children and challenge the power of education schools, teachers unions and the many layers of central offices that often smother creativity.”

Global economics. EU critical of U.S. farm subsidies “Dutch farmer Nils den Besten wants to double the size of his 70-cow herd and begin using robotic milkers in three years. He says he doesn’t need government handouts to do his job. As the European Union begins cutting its farm subsidies, den Besten is ready to rely on the free market and says farmers in the United States shouldn’t receive a guaranteed income, either.” World Briefings: Microcredit makes its way up Hill “Members of Congress have the political motivation to do many things: win federal money for their home districts, vote on war resolutions and take a stand on the social issues. But it usually takes a little push to get their support for initiatives on microfinance, one of many tools used in combating global poverty.”

Ruth Graham. Graham Says Wife Beautiful in DeathRuth Graham retained her beauty even in death and surely “had a great reception in heaven,” an ailing Billy Graham told mourners who gathered Saturday to remember his beloved wife.” Wife of Rev. Billy Graham Dies at 87 “Ruth Bell Graham, the Rev. Billy Graham’s wife and confidant who for more than 60 years devoted herself to his career as the 20th century’s most enduring evangelist, died yesterday at her home in Montreat, N.C. She was 87.”

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