God's Politics

the latest news on Iraq, Jena 6, Israel/Palestine, Election politics, Spying, Human rights, Drugs, Iran, Lebanon, Domestic violence, Episcopal Church, and Burma
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Where Military Rules Don’t Apply “Blackwater USA, the private security company involved in a Baghdad shootout last weekend, operated under State Department authority that exempted the company from U.S. military regulations governing other security firms, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and industry representatives.” Maliki Denounces Blackwater ‘Crime’ “Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised Wednesday that American security contractors would be held accountable for opening fire on Iraqis in downtown Baghdad last weekend.” Armed Guards in Iraq Occupy a Legal Limbo “There have been numerous cases of killings or injuries of Iraqi civilians by employees of private military contractors, including Blackwater USA, the company involved in the shooting on Sunday.” Private security in Iraq: whose rules? “An Iraqi Ministry of Defense report says that 20 Iraqis were killed in the incident, including a mother and child. US officials say they are conducting their own investigation.”

Longer Leaves for Troops Blocked “Senate Republicans yesterday rejected a bipartisan proposal to lengthen the home leaves of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, derailing a measure that war opponents viewed as one of the best chances to force President Bush to accelerate a redeployment of forces.” Effort to Shift Course in Iraq Fails in Senate “The proposal that failed Wednesday fell 4 votes short of the 60 needed to prevent a filibuster and would have required that troops be given as much time at home as they had spent overseas before being redeployed.”

2m Iraqis forced to flee homes “Nearly two million Iraqis have become refugees in their own land in the past year, redrawing the ethnic and sectarian map of Baghdad and other cities, a report by the Iraqi Red Crescent said yesterday.”

Jena 6. Protesters to Converge on Louisiana Town “Spurred by the Internet and a popular disc jockey’s nationwide urban radio program, tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on a sleepy rural Louisiana town to protest what they say are excessive criminal charges against six black teenagers involved in a schoolyard brawl.” Democrats Weigh In on Jena 6 “While the leading Republican presidential candidates are skipping a debate held by historically black Morgan State University, the top Democrats are racing to show their solidarity with the ‘Jena 6.'” Rally is held for ‘Jena Six’ “Thousands of chanting demonstrators filled the streets of this little Louisiana town today in support of six black teenagers…” Protesters highlight US race row “The march has been organised in support of six black teenagers, who were initially charged with attempted murder after the beating of a white classmate.”

Israel/Palestine. EU calls on Israel to reconsider sanctions against Gaza Strip “The European Union joined on Thursday a United Nations call for Israel to reconsider its move to declare the Gaza Strip “hostile territory” and appealed for it not to cut key services to the Hamas-run territory.” Israeli Panel Declares Gaza a ‘Hostile Entity’ “Israel’s security cabinet on Wednesday declared the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity” and said it would begin cutting electricity and fuel to the Hamas-run territory in an effort to stop near-daily rocket fire into Israel. …If implemented fully, the decision holds potentially grave humanitarian consequences for the strip’s roughly 1.5 million residents, who rely on imported food, medicine and energy.” Israel: Gaza is ‘enemy entity’ “The decision was described by Palestinians and international agencies, including the UN, as collective punishment, which is illegal under international law. Hamas said the policy was a declaration of war.”

Rice: Mideast summit must be ‘substantive’, advance PA state “Abbas and Olmert are working to put together a document before the conference that lays out objectives for further talks. However, this has been made difficult by the fact that Israel and the PA appear to have very different expectations of what they would like the conference to yield.” US to push for Palestinian state “The US secretary of state has said the upcoming Middle East peace summit must address substantive issues and advance the cause of a Palestinian state.” Netanyahu ‘admits Israeli strike’ “Mr Netanyahu was criticised for his remarks, after Israel had maintained an official policy of silence on the reported incident two weeks ago.”

Election politics. Dobson Indicates He’s No Supporter of Thompson’s “James Dobson, one of the nation’s most politically influential evangelical Christians, made it clear in a message to friends this week that he will not support Republican presidential candidate Fred D. Thompson.” John Edwards: working-class values and a closely held faith “While Christian beliefs help gird his antipove
rty campaign, he believes that politicians who identify closely with one religion cannot be inclusive.”

Spying. Bush insists warrantless taps a vital tool “Bush argued that telecommunications companies that provided data to the government under the program should be granted immunity from prosecution in the event that their actions are determined to have been illegal.”

Human rights. GOP Blocks Bid on Rights Of Detainees “A Republican filibuster in the Senate yesterday shot down a bipartisan effort to restore the right of terrorism suspects to contest in federal courts their detention and treatment, underscoring the Democratic-led Congress’s difficulty with terrorism issues.” Senate Blocks Detainees’ Rights Bill “The proposal, part of a broad Pentagon policy bill, was backed by Senators Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the committee. The two senators argued that the decision to strip the right of habeas corpus from detainees, including those at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was a major mistake that merited quick correction.”

In Egypt, a Rising Push Against Genital Cutting “Circumcision, as supporters call it, or female genital mutilation, as opponents refer to it, was suddenly a ferocious focus of debate in Egypt this summer.”

Drugs. Mexican Drug Cartels Move North “Mexican drug cartels now operate in almost every region of the United States and bring in as much as $23 billion a year in revenue, according to a Government Accountability Office report that will be released Thursday.”

Iran. Party turns on Ahmadinejad over inflation “Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has suffered an embarrassing blow to his prestige after his own party attacked him for adopting a jocular tone towards inflation at a time of rampant price rises.”U.S. seeks new sanctions on Iran “It begins lobbying for a third U.N. resolution, with stiffer penalties, to halt Tehran’s nuclear program.” India’s Long-Established Ties With Iran Straining Alliance With U.S. “India’s long-standing ties with Iran appear to be threatening the beleaguered nuclear energy deal between Washington and New Delhi and, more broadly, their growing strategic alliance.” Iran Frees American Citizen Held Since May “Iran released New York-based social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh from Evin Prison in Tehran late last night, according to George Soros’s Open Society Institute, for which Tajbakhsh has served as a consultant.”

Lebanon. Lebanon mourns murdered MP “Banks, schools and offices close as Lebanon mourns an anti-Syrian MP who was killed in a bomb attack.” Car Bomb Near Beirut Kills Christian Lawmaker “A powerful car bomb that killed a Christian lawmaker was the latest in a deadly string of bombings that have rocked Lebanon as the country prepares to select a new president.” Anti-Syrian Lawmaker Killed in Beirut Blast “Antoine Ghanem, 64, a member of the Christian Phalange party, was the eighth anti-Syrian figure killed in Lebanon in the past three years. Fifty-six people were injured in the blast, police said, which shook a Christian neighborhood during the evening rush hour. ” Beirut blast kills anti-Syrian lawmaker “A United Nations investigation into the murders has implicated Syria in the killings. Damascus has denied any involvement.”

Domestic violence. A Minister’s Public Lesson on Domestic Violence “A domestic violence case involving a television evangelist has left some questioning her credibility.”

Episcopal church. Episcopal bishops meet to discuss future “Now, as bishops of the Episcopal Church begin a crucial meeting in New Orleans today, concern about the future of the church and its place within the global Anglican fellowship is at center stage.”

Burma. Burma’s Buddhist monks take to the streets “After facing violence from the ruling junta, Buddhist holy men said they would refuse alms from the military – a move that is likely to embarrass Burma’s dictatorship.” Burma monks in pagoda protest “Hundreds of Buddhist monks have marched around Burma’s most revered temple, in a third consecutive day of protests against the military government.”

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