God's Politics

the latest reports on Rupert Murdoch’s big deal, Darfur, surveillance, Iraq, Afghanistan, Obama on Pakistan, the Mideast, and Cambodia
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Media. Dow Jones Deal Gives Murdoch a Coveted Prize “Rupert Murdoch finally won his long-coveted prize yesterday, gaining enough support from the deeply divided Bancroft family to buy Dow Jones & Company, publisher of The Wall Street Journal and one of the world’s most respected news sources, for $5 billion.” Dow Jones Deal Details Emerge “The four-month courtship proved arduous for both sides, as several members of the Bancroft family — Dow Jones’s controlling owners — opposed Murdoch’s bid, fearing the tabloid king would wreck the integrity of the Journal and use it to further his business and political interests.” Journal newsroom bearish on Murdoch “Reporters reacted bitterly to the prospect of Murdoch’s gaining control of the Journal, which has long been regarded as a beacon of financial journalism.”

Darfur. Sudan agrees to 26,000 UN troops in Darfur “The Darfur conflict may be coming closer to an end following the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous decision on Tuesday to deploy a 26,000-strong peacekeeping force to Sudan’s troubled region.” Sudan ‘will support Darfur force’ “The mandate for the 26,000-strong force was watered down to appease critics and it will only be able to protect civilians deemed to be under threat.” U.N. Approves Peacekeepers for Darfur “The resolution will create the world’s largest peacekeeping operation, costing about $2 billion in its first year and drawing on military and police forces from the African Union and the United Nations, a United Nations spokeswoman said.”

Surveillance. NSA Spying Program Part of Broader Effort “The Bush administration’s chief intelligence official said yesterday that President Bush authorized a series of secret surveillance activities under a single executive order in late 2001. The disclosure makes clear that a controversial National Security Agency program was part of a much broader operation than the president previously described.”

Iraq. Sunni Group Exits Iraq Cabinet “Iraq’s largest Sunni political group formally withdrew from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government Wednesday, dealing a major blow to Maliki’s efforts to build a cohesive government.” Violence Rages in Iraq as Sunni Bloc Leaves Cabinet “The immediate impact of the move was blunted by its coming on the first day of the government’s widely criticized summer recess, when political activity slows down considerably. It also followed reports of increasing tensions within Mr. Maliki’s own party.” Iraq’s biggest Sunni bloc quits government “The bloc – which last week suspended the work of its ministers – had demanded a greater say in security matters, accusing Mr Maliki’s Shia-led coalition of failing to consult it on key issues.”

Joint Chiefs Nominee Notes Toll on Military, Need to Plan for Iraq Drawdown Adm. Michael G. Mullin, President Bush’s nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel yesterday that the war in Iraq is taking a heavy toll on the U.S. Military, warning that American forces are “not unbreakable” and stressing the need to “plan for an eventual drawdown” of troops.

Afghanistan. Afghanistan Rejects Kidnappers’ Demands “The South Korean government and relatives of 21 kidnapped South Koreans appealed for U.S. help Tuesday, but Afghanistan said for the first time that it will not release insurgent prisoners — the Taliban’s key demand to free the captives. Afghan police found the body of the second hostage slain since the Christian church group was seized nearly two weeks ago; the group’s pastor was killed last week.” South Korea Urges U.S. to Change Stance on Negotiating With the Taliban “The government appeal – coupled with a growing frustration among South Koreans over what they say is a lack of cooperation from the United States – came hours after the Afghan police found the body of a second South Korean hostage.”

Candidates. Obama Warns Pakistan on Terrorism “Senator Barack Obama said today that the United States should shift its focus from the war in Iraq to a fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Obama warns over Pakistan strike “US presidential candidate Barack Obama has said he would order military action against al-Qaeda in Pakistan without the consent of Pakistan’s government.”

Mideast. US launches broad strategy in Middle East “The United States has embarked on a diplomatic strategy in the Middle East in which it hopes to rally support for Iraq, arm its allies, isolate Iran and launch a new conference for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.” German FM criticizes proposed U.S. arms sale to Middle East “Germany’s foreign minister has criticized U.S. plans to funnel more than $43 billion in military aid to Middle East allies, saying only diplomacy would solve the problems of the troubled region.”

Cambodia. War crimes panel charges Khmer Rouge chief “Judges investigating the Khmer Rouge genocide last night charged the first suspect with crimes against humanity for his alleged part in the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians in the Killing Fields.” Cambodia’s first step toward justice for Khmer Rouge “[Kaing Guek Eav] is the only man facing charges for the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge, a radical communist regime that oversaw the deaths of some 1.7 million people – roughly one quarter of the population – when it ruled Cambodia in the late 1970s. “

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