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Poll-record opposition to war. Anti-war views on Iraq rise to record “Opposition to the Iraq war has reached a record high, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a development likely to complicate President Bush’s efforts to hold together Republican support as the Senate begins debate this week on Pentagon priorities.”

Iraq-Congress. Democrats Seek GOP Support in Votes on Iraq War “With Republican support for the Iraq war cracking, Democratic leaders in the Senate are seeking to attract GOP support to force President Bush to begin withdrawing combat troops.” Anti-war pressures mount on Senate GOP “Following an especially bloody weekend in Iraq and amid declining public support for the war, the Senate launched a broad debate Monday about the future of the American presence and role there that is likely to consume lawmakers for at least the next two weeks.” GOP Iraq critics get a White House shrug “As the Senate began a new debate on the war in Iraq, the White House brushed off calls from a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers to change course in the conflict.”

Iraq-President. Iraq fails to meet all reform goals, report will say “A progress report on Iraq will conclude that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad has not met any of its targets for political, economic and other reform, speeding up the Bush administration’s reckoning on what to do next, a U.S. official said yesterday.” Bush Plans To Stress Next Phase In Iraq War “President Bush, facing a growing Republican revolt against his Iraq policy, has rejected calls to change course but will launch a campaign emphasizing his intent to draw down U.S. forces next year and move toward a more limited mission if security conditions improve, senior officials said.” Bush stays course, rebuffs demand for change President Bush dug in against demands for change in his Iraq policy, despite eroding support within his party and growing doubts that his troop increase will make a significant difference.”

Iraq-on the ground. U.S. Envoy Offers Grim Prediction on Iraq PulloutRyan C. Crocker and the Iraqi foreign minister are warning that the departure of American troops could lead to a regional conflict that could draw in Iraq’s neighbors.” U.S. has a duty to stay, Iraqi says “Iraq’s foreign minister predicted that his country would splinter into warring fragments and the conflict could spread across its borders if American troops pull out before Iraqi forces are ready to handle security. The United States has a duty to prevent such a scenario, he said.”

Iraq-resources. War cost for U.S. rises to $12 billion monthly “The boost in troop levels in Iraq has increased the cost of war there and in Afghanistan to $12 billion a month, congressional analysts say.” Army’s Recruiting Goal Lags For Second Month in a Row “The U.S. Army fell short of its active-duty recruiting goal for June by about 15 percent, defense officials said yesterday. It is the second consecutive month the service’s enlistment effort has faltered amid the American public’s growing discontent over the war in Iraq.”

Executive privilege claim. Bush limits access to ex-aides “President Bush said he has instructed two former administration officials not to testify this week before Congress, on the grounds that to comply with a committee’s subpoena would weaken the executive privilege powers of the office.” New Privilege Claim by Bush Escalates Clash Over Firings “President Bush’s move yesterday to block congressional testimony by two former aides provoked immediate condemnations from Democratic lawmakers and escalated a confrontation between the White House and Capitol Hill over the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys.”

Canada-northern security. $3B for arctic ships: PM “The Conservative government will spend more than $3-billion on new ships to patrol the Arctic, with the Prime Minister saying it is “urgent” that Canada do more to assert its claims to the North.” Harper plans Arctic patrol fleet “Abandoning an election promise to put powerful armed icebreakers in the Arctic, Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday said his government will spend $3.1-billion for six to eight Canadian-made patrol ships capable of operating in ice up to a metre thick, and that a deep-water port will be built to service them.” Canada ‘to reclaim Arctic waters’ “Since the end of the Cold War, Canada’s modest military and coast guard have only rarely patrolled its northern coast line. Now Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the time has come to re-assert Canada’s claim to the north.”

Palestine-Jordan. Growing Talk of Jordanian Role in Palestinian Affairs “But as the Palestinian territories have been engulfed in turmoil, with Gaza and the West Bank now divided economically and politically, as well as physically, talk of a less ambitious, but no less delicate, federation between Jordan and the West Bank has begun rippling through many Jordanian and Palestinian circles.”

Darfur. A salve amid Darfur woes: better midwives “For Darfuri women – who, along with children, make up 80 percent of the displaced – the proximity of international organizations also offers a status-boosting opportunity to bring relief to others as trained midwives. Sudan suffers the fifth-highest rate of maternal mortality in the world, with 1,700 women out of 100,000 dying while giving birth, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Infant mortality is even more common, with 150 deaths per 1,000 live births.”

Colombia. Colombia Challenges Rebels With a New Weapon “Now, in an ambitious government program here and in 52 other towns nationwide, a multi-agency task force operated out of Bogota has built schools and roads and introduced public institutions such as courts. In essence, President Alvaro Uribe’s administration is trying to create a functioning state, essential if the government is ever to erode the power of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the country’s biggest rebel group.”

Iran. Uranium pullback observed in Iran “Iran has scaled back its uranium enrichment program, the head of the UN atomic agency said Monday, suggesting a new willingness from the government to resolve the international standoff over its nuclear defiance.” US boosts Gulf naval presence “The US today increased its naval presence in the Gulf by sending a third aircraft carrier to the area because of what it said was “coercive” behaviour by some countries. The Fifth fleet battle group will join what is already the US Navy’s biggest show of force in the Gulf since the Iraq war began in 2003.”

NAACP. NAACP buries the hated N-word “In a symbolic move to erase the controversial N-word from the English vocabulary, the NAACP held a mock funeral in Detroit on Monday, complete with a horse-drawn carriage and a pine box coffin that will be buried in a city cemetery and marked with a headstone.”

Prayer and Politics. A Blogger’s Blend of Prayer and Politics Gains Influence “[David] Brody, 42, writes a blog and covers politics for the Christian Broadcasting Network, the television station founded by Par Robertson. With the three leading Republican presidential candidates in the early going each confronting his own serious obstacles in winning over evangelical Christians, Mr. Brody occupies a position of influence in the 2008 presidential campaign as a gatekeeper to a crucial constituency.” Here is The Brody File.

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