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Iran . France warns of Iran war danger “The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said yesterday his country had to prepare for the possibility of war against Iran over its nuclear programme, but added that he did not believe any such action was imminent.” Iran scorns French warning of war “A warning by France’s foreign minister that the world should prepare for war over Iran’s nuclear programme has drawn a furious response in Iranian media.” Proxy war could soon turn to direct conflict, analysts warn “The growing US focus on confronting Iran in a proxy war inside Iraq risks triggering a direct conflict in the next few months, regional analysts are warning.” In Bush Speech, Signs of Split on Iran PolicyWhile scrutiny focused on the debate over troop strength, President Bush also used the occasion to turn up the pressure on Iran, using his speech on Thursday to stress the need to contain Iran as a major reason for the continued American presence in Iraq.” Nuclear Official in Middle as West Confronts IranAlmost five years after he stood up to the Bush administration on Iraq and then won the Nobel Peace Prize for his trouble, Dr. ElBaradei now finds himself at the center of the West’s turbulent confrontation with Iran, derided yet relied upon by all sides.”

Iraq . Democrats Push a Tactic to Shift Iraq PlanNow that President Bush and Gen. David H. Petraeus have charted their course for the Iraq war, Democrats in the Senate say one of their proposals aimed at shifting the president’s strategy is finally close to winning enough Republican support for a real chance at being approved. It would require that troops spend as much time at home as on their most recent tours overseas before being redeployed.”

Iraq-war for oil. Greenspan: ‘The Iraq war is largely about oil’ “The Iraq war is largely about oil,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says in his new book — an assertion disputed by lawmakers and the U.S. Defense secretary.” Invasion of Iraq was driven by oil, says Greenspan “Alan Greenspan, the consummate Washington insider and long-time head of the US central bank, has backed the position taken by many anti-war critics – that the invasion of Iraq was motivated by oil.”

Iraq-antiwar rally. Behind an Antiwar Ad, a Powerful Liberal GroupThere is no mistaking the influence of, with its 3.2 million members and powerful fund-raising apparatus, within the Democratic Party.” Dozens Arrested in Antiwar Protest Near CapitolA rally on Saturday to protest the war in Iraq, which began with a peaceful march of several thousand people to the Capitol, ended with dozens of arrests in a raucous demonstration that evoked the angry spirit of the Vietnam era protests of more than three decades ago.” Thousands March to Capitol to Protest Iraq War “A march by thousands of protesters demanding an end to the Iraq war turned chaotic near the Capitol, where hundreds sprawled on the ground in a symbolic “die-in.” Police arrested 189 people, including 10 who organizers said were veterans of the war.”

Greenspan on Bush economics. Fed’s Ex-Chief Attacks Bush on Fiscal Role“Alan Greenspan, who was chairman of the Federal Reserve for nearly two decades, in a long-awaited memoir, is harshly critical of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the Republican-controlled Congress, as abandoning their party’s principles on spending and deficits.”

SCHIP. Veto Risk Seen in Compromise on Child Health “Senate and House negotiators said Sunday that they had agreed on a framework for a ompromise bill that would provide health insurance to four million uninsured children while relaxing some of the limits on eligibility imposed by the Bush administration. The compromise, which resembles a bill passed by the Senate with bipartisan support, sets the stage for a battle with President Bush,”

Immigration. Congress quietly returns to immigration “Three months after Congress failed to pass a broad immigration overhaul, lawmakers are quietly returning to the hot-button issue, discussing narrower measures that address illegal immigrants and low-skilled laborers. Already, critics are promising fireworks.” Senate immigration battle returns “Immigration politics could return to the Senate this week with a fight over granting illegal alien students a path to citizenship – the first in what is expected to be a series of skirmishes on the subject before Congress adjourns for the year.” Farm needs revive immigration debate “Less than three months after the Senate nixed an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy, senators are poised to jump back onto the roller coaster and confront uncomfortable and politically treacherous questions about illegal immigration and U.S. labor needs.” At the Border, Desert Takes a Rising TollThe Border Patrol has reported a large drop in the number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border with Mexico this year, the consequence, the agency says, of additional agents and the presence of National Guard troops. Yet the number of migrants dying while trying to cross here in Pima County is on pace to set a record, according to the county medical examiner.”

Darfur. ‘Long odds’ for UN Darfur force “The former commander of the failed UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda yesterday warned the newly appointed head of a similar force in Darfur that he faced “long odds” against success and predicted he would be betrayed by the very officials and governments meant to be backing the mission.” Worldwide rallies held for Darfur “Protests have been taking place in 30 countries to bring attention to the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region. … On the Global Day for Darfur, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the conflict “one of the great tragedies of our time”. Karate chops and cranes at the ready as troops train for China’s next UN mission “In a rare move this weekend, the PLA invited foreign journalists to its camp in Qinyang, where 315 engineers, medics and other personnel have been training since June for what one officer called the most dangerous peacekeeping UN mission ever for Chinese troops.”

Russia . Russia’s aggressive moves spark fears of a new Cold War “With his country awash in oil-generated prosperity, President Vladimir Putin is flexing Russia’s muscles in a series of unsettling reminders of the Cold War that raise the question: Just what is the former KGB spy and – by extension, Russia – up to?”

Election chaos? Local election officials fear paper-trail bill could bring chaos “Local governments that spent millions of dollars on new voting machines two years ago might have to do it again if a bill pending in Congress becomes law.”

Episcopal church. Episcopal Church Faces Deadline on Gay Issuesas the bishops of the Episcopal Church approach their semiannual meeting this week in New Orleans, the predictions are being taken very seriously. At the top of the agenda for the Sept. 20-25 gathering will be a directive issued by the leaders of the Anglican Communion to stop consecrating openly gay and lesbian bishops and to ban blessings of same-sex unions or risk a diminished status in the communion,”

Argentine church. Argentine Church Faces ‘Dirty War’ PastA simple wooden cross hanging from his neck, the Rev. Rubén Capitanio sat before a microphone on Monday and did what few Argentine priests before him had dared to do: condemn the Roman Catholic Church for its complicity in the atrocities committed during Argentina’s “dirty war.”

Jena 6. Louisiana Appeals Court Throws Out Conviction in Racially Charged ‘Jena 6’ Case “A Louisiana appeals court yesterday overturned the aggravated-battery conviction of a black high school student who was found guilty of attacking a white classmate after a racial incident that raised tensions in their small town.”

Climate change extinctions. Climate Change Brings Risk of More Extinctions “Around the world, scientists have found that climate change is altering natural ecosystems, making profound changes in the ways that animals live, migrate, eat and grow. … If warming continues as predicted, scientists say, 20 percent or more of the planet’s plant and animal species could be at increased risk of extinction.”

Abortion. For Kansas abortion doctor, pressure mounts “Antiabortion activists in Kansas are stepping up a campaign to drive one of the nation’s last late-term abortion providers out of business.”

Feature investigation. It is the death of history (Special investigation by Robert Fisk, The Independent) “2,000-year-old Sumerian cities torn apart and plundered by robbers. The very walls of the mighty Ur of the Chaldees cracking under the strain of massive troop movements, the privatisation of looting as landlords buy up the remaining sites of ancient Mesopotamia to strip them of their artefacts and wealth. The near total destruction of Iraq’s historic past – the very cradle of human civilisation – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our disastrous occupation.”


Accommodating the faithful (T. Jeremy Gunn, USA Today) “Public schools go dark on Saturdays and Sundays, the traditional days of worship for Christians and Jews. And on Christmas, class will not be in session. But when schools provide foot baths for Muslims, critics cry foul. So what is acceptable in a country that has a wall between church and state?”

Will Iraq sink the GOP? (Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times)”But the Petraeus testimony clearly creates the greatest political risks, and most difficult choices, for Republicans. GOP presidential and congressional candidates face the dangerous choice of either defending the president or distancing themselves from him as he pursues a largely “stay the course” strategy almost two full years after impatience with the war helped Democrats seize control of the House and Senate.”

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