Beliefnet
God's Politics

the latest news on Iraq, immigration, Turkey, US Army, Darfur, India, Iran, Israeli air strike, GOP debate, Ontario elections, Death penalty and selected op-eds
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Iraq . Guards Kill Two Women In Iraq “Private security guards from an Australian-run firm opened fire on a white sedan in downtown Baghdad on, killing two Iraqi Christian women who were driving home from work.” Aussies in Iraqi firing line “AN AUSTRALIAN security firm has sparked outrage in Iraq after its contractors killed two Iraqi women and injured two others in an attack on a car in a busy Baghdad street.” U.S.-Led Iraq Coalition Withering Fast “Britain’s decision to bring half of its 5,000 soldiers home from Iraq by spring is the latest blow to the U.S.-led coalition. The alliance is crumbling, and fast: excluding Americans, the multinational force was once 50,000 strong — by mid-2008, it will be down to 7,000.”


US Army. Rethinking the U.S. Army “Absorbing the lessons of a troubled war, U.S. military officials have begun an intense debate over proposals for a sweeping reorganization of the Army to address shortcomings that have plagued the force in Iraq and to abandon some war-fighting principles that have prevailed since the Cold War.”


Turkey . Turk PM confirms plan to allow army operation in Iraq “Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan confirmed his government was drawing up plans to authorize a military incursion into northern Iraq to fight Kurdish rebels using the region as a base.” Turkey considers offensive in north Iraq “Turkey’s ruling party decided Tuesday to seek parliamentary approval for an offensive against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, a move that could open a new front in the Iraq war and disrupt one of that nation’s few relatively peaceful areas.”


Darfur . Darfur Mission Lacks Tools, U.N. Says “Even as nearly two dozen countries are signing up to send thousands of peacekeepers to Darfur, a U.N.-backed force deploying there still lacks crucial equipment, a shortfall that could threaten the viability of the mission, according to senior U.N. officials.”


India . Rift in India puts nuke deal at risk “A landmark India-U.S. nuclear power deal, considered the key emblem of deepening strategic ties between the two nations, may be headed for the scrap heap because of opposition objections,” India’s communists threaten to bring down government over nuclear pact with U.S. “In the new capitalist India, old-line communists are playing the spoiler, threatening to bring down the government over a nuclear energy deal with the United States.” India’s nuke isolation must end “As formal negotiations on safeguards agreement with IAEA remained under freeze, UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohammad ElBaradei on Wednesday favoured an end to India’s nuclear isolation but would wait till New Delhi is ready to discuss with it after the domestic political dialogue is over.”


Immigration. U.S. Seeks Rules to Allow Increase in Guest WorkersBush administration officials said that they were developing new rules so the nation’s farmers could bring in more foreign guest workers to prevent a recurrence of problems like growers’ letting their fruit rot because there were not enough laborers for the harvest.” 37 arrested in L.A. in gang crackdown “More than 1,300 alleged violent gang members and their associates, many of them undocumented immigrants, were arrested during a three-month crackdown in 23 cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, federal officials said Tuesday.”LAPD takes blame for park melee “In a scathing self-critique, the LAPD on Tuesday blamed the May 1 MacArthur Park melee involving officers, immigration protesters and journalists on a series of fateful decisions by police commanders that escalated hostilities and resulted in a widespread breakdown in discipline and behavior by officers.”


Iran . Putin plays down Iran bomb fears “Russia’s President Putin says he has no information that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.” Putin: Encourage Iran to be transparent “President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Iran must be encouraged to make its nuclear program fully transparent, but also underscored there is no proof it is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.”


Israeli air strike. An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the U.S.At issue is whether intelligence that Israel presented months ago to the White House – to support claims that Syria had begun early work on what could become a nuclear weapons program with help from North Korea – was conclusive enough to justify military action by Israel and a possible rethinking of American policy toward the two nations.”


GOP debate. Thompson debuts in GOP debate, but no one dominates “Despite a considerable pre-debate buildup about his late entry, former Tennessee senator and actor Fred Thompson was barely a factor in the two-hour exchange on economic issues, showing neither the acting flair that might have elevated him above the pack nor the lackadaisical performance that would have set him back.” Romney and Giuliani Spar as New Guy Looks OnRudolph W. Giuliani of New York and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts tangled over taxes and government spending yesterday as the Republican presidential candidates debated in Michigan, highlighting the way in which their increasingly fierce confrontation is starting to dominate the race for their party’s nomination.”


Ontario election. Ontarians head to the polls“Though they have four principal parties to choose from, most voters will have to decide between the promise-breaker record of incumbent Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty and the controversial plan to fund religious schools proposed by Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory.” Ontario Liberals confident of re-election “The front-running Liberal campaign walked with a swagger yesterday, even as Premier Dalton Mc-Guinty played it safe when talking about his chances in today’s provincial election.”


Death penalty. In a twist, high court case sets Bush against Texas “When Americans are arrested in a foreign country, they have an international right to obtain the help of the US consulate. The same treaty applies to a citizen of Mexico arrested in the US. But what happens when the State of Texas ignores these treaty requirements and later rejects an order by President Bush to implement a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) attempting to enforce the treaty rights?”


Op-Eds.


Stop the terror in Burma. (Laura Bush, Wall St Journal) “Today, people everywhere know about the regime’s atrocities. They are disgusted by the junta’s abuses of human rights. This swelling outrage presents the generals with an urgent choice: Be part of Burma’s peaceful transition to democracy, or get out of the way for a government of the Burmese people’s choosing.”


Between a Veto and the Base (Ruth Marcus, Washington Post) “the leading Republican candidates have embraced the veto, demonstrating in varying degrees a combination of technical ignorance, ideological bluster and — though this is less certain — political miscalculation.”


Generation Q(THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, New York Times) “Generation Q may be too quiet, too online, for its own good, and for the country’s own good. When I think of the huge budget deficit, Social Security deficit and ecological deficit that our generation is leaving this generation, if they are not spitting mad, well, then they’re just not paying attention. And we’ll just keep piling it on them.”


Editorial.


Adults as Red Herrings(New York Times) “President Bush has ramped up his assault on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program with allegations that many states have spent the program’s funds on adults while failing to enroll enough poor children. The charge is a distortion and a diversion. It should not deter Congress from overriding the president’s veto of a bill to cover millions of uninsured children.”

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