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Child poverty record low. Child Mortality at Record LowFor the first time since record keeping began in 1960, the number of deaths of young children around the world has fallen below 10 million a year, according to figures from the United Nations Children’s Fund being released today.” Under-5 Mortality Drops to Record Low “The new figure, based on surveys in more than 50 countries, represents a substantial decrease from the 20 million deaths in 1960, especially considering that the world’s population has more than doubled to 6.6 billion people since then.” Child mortality at record low, UN says “The drop has been attributed to increased vaccinations, greater use of mosquito nets and vitamin supplements and more women breastfeeding rather than mixing formula with dirty water.”

Iraq-President’s speech.
Bush gets another chance to make his case for the war “Seeking to build on this week’s testimony by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Bush is planning to deliver another prime-time address to the nation tonight, on the eve of his delivery to Congress of a major report assessing the progress of the war.” Bush eyes troop cuts “President Bush is expected to endorse plans for limited cuts in U.S. troop levels in Iraq but will offer little else to skeptical Americans looking for a change of course in the unpopular war.” Bush to Sell Limited Iraq Pullout as Middle WayWith lawmakers openly skeptical of his troop buildup, Mr. Bush will cast his plan for a gradual, limited withdrawal as a way to bring a divided America together – even as he resists demands from those who want him to move much faster.” Troop levels in Iraq likely to remain above 130,000 “More than 130,000 U.S. troops are likely to remain in Iraq next summer after the withdrawal of five combat brigades,”

Iraq-Congress. Democrats’ new Iraq effort gains ground “For the first time, congressional Democrats are moving close to winning significant Republican support for legislation to challenge the way President Bush is managing the war in Iraq.” Democrats Push Toward Middle On Iraq Policy “Democratic leaders in Congress have decided to shift course and pursue modest bipartisan measures to alter U.S. military strategy in Iraq, hoping to use incremental changes instead of aggressive legislation to break the grip Republicans have held over the direction of war policy.” Is a bipartisan war policy possible? “More lawmakers urge Congress to forcefully steer US actions in Iraq. But a united front is hard to achieve in a campaign season.”

Iraq-antiwar GIs die. Iraq truck crash kills 2 coauthors of op-ed that criticized war “Two sergeants who helped write a New York Times op-ed article sharply critical of the Pentagon’s assessment of the Iraq war were killed in a Baghdad crash this week, and one grieving mother wants the Army to explain their deaths.” US troops who criticised Iraq war strategy killed “Staff Sergeant Yance Gray, 26, and Sergeant Omar Mora, 28, were among a group of seven soldiers serving in Iraq who wrote a piece excoriating America’s conduct of the war.”

Iraq-oil law. Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be CollapsingA carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed.”

Iran . US accuses Iran over Iraq attacks “Senior US officials have singled out Iran for criticism, a day after giving a progress report on security in Iraq.” Iran accused over attack on US Iraq base “A US general today accused Shia militants backed by Iran of executing a deadly rocket attack on a US military headquarters in Iraq as George Bush prepared to ask Americans to give his war strategy more time.” White House seeks tougher Iran sanctions “Leading European nations stopped short of endorsing a United Nations plan to ease tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, and the United States called a six-nation meeting next week to discuss imposing tougher U.N. sanctions on Iran’s government.” U.S. Starts a Push for Tighter Sanctions on Iran “The Bush administration has begun mobilizing support for a third U.N. resolution that would impose tougher sanctions against Iran, as the top U.S. military and diplomatic officials in Baghdad said that one of the biggest and still unfolding surprises in Iraq has been the depth of Iran’s intervention.” Iran leader denies interference in Iraq “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected the congressional testimony of the top U.S. officials in Iraq accusing Iran of interfering in its war-torn neighbor.”

Taliban. Taliban readies Ramadan offensive “The Taliban says it is launching a major Ramadan offensive amid claims by US and Pakistani forces that they have killed about 75 suspected fighters of the anti-government group.”

Al Qaida. Al-Qaida has revived and spread “Al-Qaida has revived, extended its influence, and has the capacity to carry out a spectacular strike similar to the September 11 attacks on America, one of the world’s leading security thinktanks warned.”

India . India’s left issues blunt threat over nuclear deal “Indian communists said they would stop supporting the government if it pursued a nuclear deal with the United States, their most blunt threat in a month-old political crisis that has shaken the coalition.”

North Korea-Syria. N. Korea, Syria May Be at Work on Nuclear Facility “North Korea may be cooperating with Syria on some sort of nuclear facility in Syria, according to new intelligence the United States has gathered over the past six months, sources said. The evidence, said to come primarily from Israel, includes dramatic satellite imagery that led some U.S. officials to believe that the facility could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons.” ANALYSIS: N. Korea’s past threats to spread nuclear know-how “At the height of the crisis with the U.S., Pyongyang said it would share its atom bomb-making knowhow.”

Immigration. Illegal immigration — truly a partisan concern “The new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll of voters in three states crucial to picking the next president underscores what has been evident by listening to the candidates — the importance of the illegal immigration issue depends very much on one’s partisan inclinations.” Immigrant activism taking a bold turn “In what was billed as a national day of protest, immigrants in Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities took part in a range of activities, including a one-day work stoppage and boycott of local businesses in Milwaukee.”

Civil rights-Jena LA. Civil rights activists join fight of ‘Jena Six’ charges “Civil rights groups will march in Jena, La., next week to protest what is being called “excessive” prosecution of six black high school students and call for an investigation of the prosecutor in the case.”

Canada families. Canada’s changing family “The redefinition of family continues apace in Canada, with the latest household figures from the 2006 census showing a significant increase in the number of same-sex couples and a first-ever count of same-sex marriages.”

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