The latest news on regional diplomacy, immigration, church-state, stock market, Iraq, appeal for redress, terrorism, homelessness, Darfur, civil rights. and sexualization in the media.

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Stock market. Wall St. Tumble Adds to Worries About Economies– “Stock markets around the world plummeted yesterday in a wave of selling set off by a plunge in China that was reinforced by worries of weakening economies.” China market plunges, Dow follows. Now what? – “One of Wall Street’s ugliest days in recent years actually started in Shanghai, where a massive sell-off in Chinese equities prompted a global market downturn exacerbated by fears of a slowing U.S. economy.”

Regional diplomacy. U.S. to join Iran, Syria in Iraq talks – “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the United States would join high-level talks on Iraq with the country’s neighbors, including Iran and Syria, in a move that may signal a new U.S. willingness to expand diplomacy with two adversaries.” In a shift, U.S. to join Iran, Syria in Iraq talks – “In a significant diplomatic shift, the Bush administration announced that it will join Iran and Syria at the table during a “neighbors conference” in Iraq to discuss how to stabilize the security situation there.” U.S. Will Join Talks With Iran And Syria – “The United States agreed to join high-level talks with Iran and Syria on the future of Iraq, an abrupt shift in policy that opens the door to diplomatic dealings the White House had shunned in recent months despite mounting criticism.”

Iraq-Congress. War bill divides Democrats – “Democratic lawmakers, who earlier this month nearly unanimously backed resolutions condemning President Bush’s plans to boost troop levels in Iraq, are struggling to agree on what to do next in their drive to bring the war to an end.” Iraq Bill Vexes Democrats – “House Democratic leaders offered a full-throated defense of their plans to link Iraq war spending with rigorous standards for resting, training and equipping combat troops, saying that they would hold President Bush accountable for failing to meet those readiness tests.”

Appeal for Redress. Service Members Sign Appeal Calling for Troop Withdrawal – “In a small but growing sign of dissent, a group of active-duty military personnel and reservists, including many who have served in Iraq, is denouncing the war and asking Congress for the prompt withdrawal of troops. The service members, who number more than 1,600, have sent an Appeal for Redress to their Congressional representatives,” GIs Petition Congress To End Iraq War – CBS Sixty Minutes report on more than 1,000 military personnel sign petition urging withdrawal – Watch the video story.

Terrorism. U.S. Sees New Al-Qaeda Threat – “he new director of national intelligence said that the United States is “very concerned” that Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership are attempting to rebuild their terrorist network and establish training camps in a region of northwest Pakistan “that has never been governed by any power.” Afghan Bombing Sends a Danger Signal to U.S. – “The audacity of a suicide-bomb attack on Tuesday at the gates of the main American base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Chency underscores why President Bush sent him there – a deepening American concern that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are resurgent.”

Immigration. Kennedy, McCain try again on immigration – “Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John McCain are set to introduce a revised version of their sweeping plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, in a bill that’s likely to restart a tense debate in Congress.” White House pushes immigration overhaul – “For weeks, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has waged a clandestine charm offensive on behalf of an immigration overhaul. … Today, Chertoff launches a higher-profile effort to win enough votes to pass a comprehensive overhaul when he testifies at the first Capitol Hill hearing on immigration legislation since Democrats took over.”

Homelessness. HUD gets new view of who’s homeless – “A groundbreaking survey of homelessness being released today found that 704,000 people nationwide sought shelter at least once in a three-month period. Families with children accounted for one-third of those seeking emergency shelter or transitional housing between February and April 2005, the most recent period studied.”

Darfur. 2 Face Trials at The Hague Over Darfur Atrocities– “International prosecutors on Tuesday designated their first suspects in atrocities in the Sudanese region of Darfur, selecting a government minister and a militia commander to bring to trial.” Sudanese Pair Accused of War Crimes – “The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor in The Hague outlined what he call
ed operational, logistical and command links between Sudan’s government in Khartoum and horse-mounted nomadic militias it recruited and bankrolled to carry out mass killings in the Darfur region,” Darfur war crimes suspect defiant – “Sudan’s humanitarian affairs minister, accused of war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court (ICC), has said the move against him is political. Ahmed Haroun said he “did not feel guilty”, his conscience was clear and that he was ready to defend himself.”

Civil rights. Justice Dept. to Revisit Civil-Rights-Era Killings – “The Justice Department announced that it is partnering with civil rights groups to pursue the killers of scores of black men and women slain by white vigilantes in the South decades ago.” No indictment in Emmett Till slaying – “The murder case of Emmett Till – one of the most infamous slayings of the civil rights era – appears to be drawing to a fruitless close 52 years after the black teenager whistled at a white woman, then turned up dead in Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River.”

Sexualization in the media. Sexualization of Girls in the Media Is Harmful – “The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that the proliferation of sexual images of girls and young women in the media is harming their self-image and development.”

Church-state. Test for faith-based programs – “After six years of debate, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case that poses the most blunt challenge yet to the activities of the administration’s faith-based offices.” Church-state question before justices – “The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has sued to get rid of crosses in city parks, to end Good Friday public holidays and, most vigorously, to thwart President Bush’s faith-based initiative. Now, the group that for 30 years has sought a firm divide between church and state will be at the Supreme Court today in a case that could affect taxpayers’ ability to challenge – and government’s ability to defend – a multitude of public programs that involve groups with a religious affiliation.”

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