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AIDS. Bush wants to boost AIDS spending “President Bush said that he would ask Congress to increase U.S. support for the global fight against HIV/AIDS to $30 billion over five years from the current commitment of $15 billion.” Bush Requests $30 Billion to Fight AIDSThe initiative, if approved, would build on a program that grew out of the president’s 2003 State of the Union address, when he asked for $15 billion over five years for prevention, treatment and care of AIDS patients in developing countries.” US pledges $30bn to fight Aids “This would make the US by far the biggest single donor to the campaign against HIV/Aids and is in addition to the $15bn Washington has been spending since 2003.”

Africa. Blair issues Africa action call “Tony Blair has used a keynote speech in South Africa to say there is a “moral obligation” to use political action “to make the world better”.

Presidential politics. Thompson Bid Would Stir GOP Race “Fred D. Thompson will offer himself as a down-home antidote to Washington politics in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, running a campaign out of Nashville while promising leadership on a conservative agenda that will appeal to his party’s base, advisers said yesterday.” Thompson wants to be 2008’s outsiderIn an interview with USA TODAY, the former Tennessee senator not only makes it clear that he plans to run, he describes how he aims to do it.”

Obama and Romney Lay Out Positions on Iraq and Beyond “Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney outline their respective foreign policy visions in lengthy articles in the next issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, offering sharp contrasts on issues including the war in Iraq and climate change.”

Iraq. Bush sees long-term role for troops “President Bush would like to see the U.S. military provide long-term stability in Iraq as it has in South Korea, where thousands of American troops have been based for more than half a century,”

Justice Department. Political hiring case widens “The Justice Department is expanding its internal inquiry to look into new allegations that senior department officials improperly filled career jobs based on applicants’ Republican or conservative credentials.” Details emerge in Justice’s upset with Heffelfinger “it came as a surprise — and something of a mystery — when he turned up on the list of U.S. attorneys who had been targeted for dismissal. Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect Indians’ voting rights.”

Lebanon. U.N. Council Backs Tribunal For Lebanon “A sharply divided U.N. Security Council voted to create an international criminal tribunal to prosecute the masterminds of the February 2005 suicide bombing that killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri and 22 others.”

World Bank. Bush’s Nominee Has New Agenda for Bank “The World Bank that Robert B. Zoellick stands ready to inherit may be battered, fractious and rudderless. But he said that he saw himself not simply as a healer but as a leader ready to establish a new agenda to help the world’s poor.” Tasks for next World Bank chief: heal rifts, tackle poverty “He’ll have to heal rifts opened by the ouster of current bank president Paul Wolfowitz, while tackling the crucial issue of poverty in the world’s poorest countries. And he’ll be working in a truly international institution – an environment perhaps like none he’s experienced before.”

G-8. Germany prepares for G-8 summit “The tear gas is stocked and the police are helmeted and ready for tens of thousands of anarchists and anti-globalization protesters who are planning rallies and guerrilla-inspired mischief to disrupt the upcoming Group of 8 summit in this Baltic Sea resort.” G-8 to take up climate change “The international squabble over climate change – who’s to blame and how to deal with it – is coming to a boil as many of the major players prepare to meet in Germany next week.”

Russia. Rice, Russian Clash Over Kosovo Plan, Missile Shield “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tangled fiercely over U.S. proposals to grant Kosovo independence and build a missile defense shield.” Rice Clashes With Russian on Kosovo and MissilesThe United States and Russia, with relations between them at their most contentious since the collapse of the Soviet Union, openly sparred here at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 8 industrialized nations.” Bush Reaches to Putin as Relations Continue to Slide “President Bush yesterday launched a high-stakes effort to repair the dramatically deteriorating U.S. relationship with Russia by inviting President Vladimir Putin to visit the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, after weeks of rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War.”

Education. Ohio School Fears Cuts Will Rewrite Its Success StoryThe success of an experimental high school in Dayton may not be enough to save it from a budget cut.” A struggling school finds reason for hope “By forming community partnerships, Hope High School in Rhode Island and other struggling public schools are showing signs of improvement.”

Ape extinction threat. World’s great apes face disaster “One of the world’s most prominent conservation experts yesterday issued a rallying cry to save the great apes, man’s closest biological cousins, which are under serious threat of extinction.”

Mideast. Israel air strike hits Gaza “At least two Palestinians have been injured in an Israeli air strike against rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip,” Qassams hit two Sderot apartment houses; IAF strike kills two Hamas militants “Two of six Qassam rockets to hit the western Negev yesterday struck two residential buildings in Sderot, causing several residents to go into shock. But there were no injuries.” Jihadist Groups Fill a Palestinian Power VacuumA standoff between the Lebanese Army and Islamists at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon has focused attention on a jihadist element taking root there as well as a radicalization in the Palestinian areas themselves.”

Malaysian Christian. Malaysian woman loses bid to be recognized as Christian “Malaysia’s top civil court on Wednesday rejected a woman’s appeal to be recognized as a Christian, in a landmark case that tested the limits of religious freedom in this moderate Islamic country.”

Billy Graham library. New library: Grand, but with Graham at its heart “As his older son tells the story, Billy Graham had to be talked into it. A presidential-style museum with his name all over it?”


CEOs vs. Slaves (Barbara Ehrenreich, AlterNet) “Recent findings shed new light on the increasingly unequal terrain of American society. The new “top” involves pay in the hundreds of millions, a private jet and a few acres of Nantucket. The new bottom is slavery.”

Cindy Sheehan Steps Down as the Face of the Antiwar Movement (Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!) “Peace activist Cindy Sheehan has announced she is stepping back from her role as a leading campaigner against the Iraq war. Amy Goodman talks with her about her decision.”

Seeking Sudan’s pressure point (Boston Globe) “The sanctions on Sudan that President Bush announced Tuesday are justified as expressions of solidarity with the 2.5 million people of Darfur and eastern Chad who are trapped in refugee camps, prey to government-backed janjaweed militiamen, disease, and malnutrition. But there is no reason to believe the new sanctions are enough to compel Sudan’s president, Lieutenant General Omar Bashir, to end the Darfur genocide.”

Time for ‘Plan B-H’ in Iraq? (David Ignatius, Washington Post) “President Bush said publicly last Thursday what his top aides have been discussing privately for weeks. He talked about a transition to “a different configuration” in Iraq after the surge of U.S. troops is completed this summer. When pressed on whether he was talking about a post-surge Plan B, Bush answered: “Actually, I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so that would be a Plan B-H.”

Endgame Ahead (David S. Broder, Washington Post)”the end is coming into view — not soon enough to spare every precious life, but sooner than President Bush and Vice President Cheney may wish. The dynamic in Congress has been set in motion that will bring this war to an end — or at least reduce the scale of American involvement and redefine the mission of U.S. troops.”

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