The latest news on Iraq, US-Russia nuclear weapons, US drought, Palestine, Darfur, immigration, North Korea, Canada no-fly, Greenpeace, Anti-poverty, climate change, the President and the law, and select Op-Eds.
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Iraq. US forces in major Diyala offensive “The US military has begun a major offensive against Sunni fighter positions in Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, saying it was aimed at ending the fighters campaign of car and suicide bombings.” Military Strikes Insurgents’ Positions East of Baghdad“The assault, by more than 2,000 American troops in Baquba and more than 10,000 in the overall operation, is unusual in its scope and ambition.” Violence resumes, scores die as curfews are lifted in Iraq “U.S.-led forces battled with Shiite Muslim militiamen in southern Iraq on Monday and killed at least 20 suspected fighters, the military said, while car bombs and other violence left at least 40 people dead in the capital following days of calm brought on by a curfew.”
Palestine. U.S. Unfreezes Millions in Aid to Palestinians“The United States ended an economic and political embargo of the Palestinian Authority in a bid to bolster President Mahmoud Abbas and the new Fatah-led emergency government he has established in the West Bank as a counterweight to Hamas-controlled Gaza.” U.S. Lifts Embargo To Help Abbas “The United States lifted its embargo on direct aid to the Palestinian government, joining the European Union and other countries in a swift demonstration of support for embattled President Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle against the anti-Israeli militant group Hamas.” US ends Palestinian boycott “Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said she had offered full US support to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the newly appointed government, whose prime minister, Salam Fayyad, is an economist favoured by the west.”
Darfur. US jeopardises Darfur deal “A breakthrough agreement to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur risks being undermined by a shortfall of up to $1bn (£504m) in US contributions to the costs of global peacekeeping.”
Immigration. Immigration measure gets 1 last chance “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced an updated immigration bill, launching one more attempt to conclude debate on the contentious issue and approve the measure in the Senate before Congress breaks for the 4th of July holiday.” Sen. Reid fast-tracks revived immigration bill “The new version cleans up the legislation, which had been altered so much in the last year that it had become legislatively unwieldy. It includes a provision, agreed to in principle last week by Senate leaders with the support of President Bush,that would boost funding for border security and workplace enforcement by $4.4 billion.” Democrats mull dividing House immigration bill “House Democrats say they may break the immigration issue up into a series of smaller bills that would put off the tougher parts and allow others to pass, such as border security, and high-tech and agriculture worker programs that have clear support.”
US-Russia nuclear weapons. Dispute delays arms-control talks with Moscow “Wrangling between Bush administration aides and U.S. intelligence agencies is holding up talks with Moscow on future monitoring of the thousands of nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia still aim at one another.”
North Korea. North Korea ‘test-fires missile’ “North Korea has test-fired a short range missile towards the Sea of Japan, according to reports from the region. If confirmed, this would be the third time in a month Pyongyang has fired missiles into waters off its coast.”
Canada no-fly. No-fly list grounds up to 2,000 people “As many as 2,000 people have secretly been declared security threats by government officials, including CSIS and the RCMP, and will be denied airplane boarding passes as a result of the Canadian no-fly list that went into effect yesterday.”
Greenpeace. Greenpeace ships to fly Mohawk flag After Canada stripped them of their registration papers and left them without a flag under which to sail, two of the world’s best-known ocean warriors found a friendly port of call in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake yesterday.
Anti-poverty. NYC poor to get cash for good behavior “Poor residents will be rewarded for good behavior – like $300 for doing well on school tests, $150 for holding a job and $200 for visiting the doctor – under an experimental anti-poverty program that city officials detailed Monday.”
Climate change. The Earth today stands in imminent peril “…and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change. Those are not the words of eco-warriors but the considered opinion of a group of eminent scientists writing in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.”
US drought. ‘Farmers are reporting nothing but dust’ “More than a third of the United States is in the grip of a menacing drought that threatens to make its way into Illinois and other Midwestern states before the summer ends.”
The President and the law. ‘Signing Statements’ Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws “President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes.” US agencies disobey 6 laws that president challenged “Federal officials have disobeyed at least six new laws that President Bush challenged in his signing statements, a government study disclosed yesterday. The report provides the first evidence that the government may have acted on claims by Bush that he can set aside laws under his executive powers.”
Op-Ed. Media tips from a departing premier: Keep news and views distinct (Tony Blair, Christian Science Monitor) “My principal reflection … is that the relationship between politics, public life, and the media is changing as a result of the changing context of communication in which we all operate. No one is at fault. This change is a fact, but it is my view that the effect of this change is seriously adverse to the way public life is conducted and that we need at the least a proper and considered debate about how we manage the future in which it is in all our interests that the public is properly and accurately informed….
There’s a market in providing serious, balanced news.”