God's Politics

The latest news on immigration, Brown heads Labor party, Mideast summit, immigration, Iraq, Darfur, African Americans-military and college, European union, Lebanon, North Korea, faith and politics, and select op-eds.

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Immigration. Pressure builds anew on immigration bill “Senators seeking to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws urged fellow lawmakers to move forward this week with a plan that would strengthen enforcement along U.S. borders and then launch provisions for undocumented workers to stay legally in this country.” Immigration bill’s backers predict Senate victory “Heading into this week’s final showdown on the Senate immigration bill, its top backers said they think they will have the votes to pass it – now they just have to convince voters they are right to do so.” Illegal Immigrants Targeted By States “Frustrated with Congress’s inability to pass an immigration overhaul bill, state legislatures are considering or enacting a record number of strongly worded proposals targeting illegal immigrants.”

Iraq. Ten U.S. Deaths in Iraq Bring June Toll to 80 “Ten U.S. soldiers died Saturday in Iraq, including seven killed in roadside bombings, the U.S. military said, bringing to 32 the number of U.S. servicemen whose deaths were announced in the past six days.” Hussein’s Cousin Sentenced to Die for Kurd AttacksAs the judge pronounced five death sentences on the man Iraqis know as Chemical Ali, the defendant seemed to be a shadow of the merciless enforcer who oversaw poison gas attacks that killed thousands of Kurdish villagers in Iraq’s northern uplands nearly 20 years ago.” Bush aides consider Iraq truce at Capitol “The Bush administration has begun exploring ways of offering Congress a compromise deal on Iraq policy to avert bruising battles in coming months. With public support of the war dropping, President Bush has authorized an internal policy review to find a plan that could satisfy opponents without sacrificing his top goals.” Thinktank warns of Iraq’s collapse “Iraq can only survive if a functional and legitimate state is rebuilt from the ruins of war and occupation, drawing on the lessons of the collapse of British-ruled Basra, an influential thinktank warns today.”

Darfur. Rice says nations must do more for Darfur “The world has fallen down on the job of ending the violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday as she welcomed the fresh energy that France’s new conservative-led government has put to the cause.” France seeks ‘firm’ Darfur action “French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called on the world to be “firm” with Sudan if it refuses to co-operate with efforts to end the conflict in Darfur.”

African-Americans – military and college. Sharp fall of blacks in military reported “The number of blacks joining the military has plunged by more than one-third since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began. Other job prospects are improving, and more relatives of potential recruits are discouraging them from joining the armed services.” Black college enrollment in South rising “For the first time ever in the South, blacks are as well represented on college campuses as they are in the region’s population as a whole – something not yet true of the country overall.”

Brown heads Labor party. Labour must have soul, says Brown “Gordon Brown has been crowned Labour leader, promising to give the party not just policies but “a soul”. New Labour, new era “Gordon Brown hailed the start of a new political era as he was crowned leader of the Labour Party at a special conference in Manchester. In his victory speech, Mr Brown declared that Labour would be the party of change, and hinted at sweeping reforms in key policy areas.” Blair Hands Over Leadership of Labor PartyLong heralded and often rancorous, Britain’s transfer of power from Tony Blair entered its final countdown on Sunday when the governing Labor Party anointed Gordon Brown as his successor.”

European union.EU chiefs ‘satisfied’ with treaty “EU leaders have expressed measured approval of a draft treaty to reform EU systems agreed at a summit in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed a good compromise with Poland over planned changes to voting rights, which proved the key to the final agreement.”

Mideast summit. Summit in show of support for Abbas “Israeli and Arab leaders are set to meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to show support for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, in his struggle with Hamas for political control of the Palestinian territories.” Israel halts removal of West Bank roadblocks after army objects “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will announce a series of steps at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit today to bolster Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the emergency government headed by Salam Fayad.” Israel Will Support Abbas With Millions From Taxes “Israel agreed to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars of Palestinian tax revenues to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, in an effort to support his new emergency government after the Muslim militants of Hamas seized control of Gaza 10 days ago.”

Lebanon. Lebanon blast kills Unifil soldiers “Three Spanish and three Colombian peacekeepers have been killed in a blast in south Lebanon, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) says.” Lebanon bombing kills 6 U.N. troops “The attack, which took place on a day when the Lebanese military fought a bloody battle against Sunni Muslim radicals in the north, heightened fears that a second front may have opened in the fight here against militants linked to Al Qaeda.” Car bomb kills six Unifil peacekeepers in Lebanon “Six UN peacekeepers were killed and two seriously injured by an explosion in south Lebanon yesterday, thought to have been caused by a suicide car bomber. The troops were on a routine patrol in the Khiam area when the car exploded near their armoured personnel carrier.”

North Korea. North Korea Ready to Implement Nuclear Deal “North Korea said today that its dispute with the United States over $25 million in funds frozen in a bank in the Chinese territory of Macao had been resolved, and that it would begin implementing its much-delayed promise to shut down its main nuclear facility.”

Faith and politics. Obama Says Some Have ‘Hijacked’ Faith “Sen. Barack Obama told a church convention Saturday that some right-wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division. “Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in a 30-minute speech before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ.”

Op-Ed. Faith’s civil wars (Ralph Peters, USA Today) “Though history’s religious battles often pit one faith against another, today’s struggle is a very different, and universal, one. Virtually every major world religion (not just Islam) faces an internal tug of war. Indeed, religion today is caught between the saint on one side and the suicide bomber on the other.”

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