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Children’s health insurance. Democrats vow new bill on kids’ healthcare ‘House Democratic leaders, almost conceding defeat in their quest to override President Bush’s veto of a popular children’s health bill, promised to pass another version of the bill after an anticipated showdown this week.” The politics of kids’ health ‘It’s a moment of political drama that could tip close congressional races next fall, as well as raise the profile of other bills dealing with children’s health in the US and abroad.’ Vote Nearing in Battle Over Kids’ Health Care ‘All over America, there are families … living on the edge financially and working hard to make ends meet. … Without affordable health coverage for their children, many say, insurance costs and medical bills would threaten to break the family budget.” Republicans feel heat in wake of SCHIP veto “On television and radio, in phone calls and e-mails, proponents of the five-year, $35 billion increase are pressuring about 20 Republicans to switch sides and help override President Bush’s veto.”

Turkey . Genocide vote ‘will damage US-Turkey relations’ “Turkey’s top general has warned that military ties with the US will be irreversibly damaged if the US Congress passes a resolution that labels the first world war killings of Armenians a genocide.” Turkish General Sees U.S. Ties at Risk “Bush administration officials and U.S. military leaders who oppose the resolution say they fear Turkey could limit crucial air and land supply lines into Iraq as punishment if the measure is accepted by the full House of Representatives.” U.S. Urges Turkish Restraint On Kurds “U.S. officials began an intense lobbying effort Saturday to defuse Turkish threats to launch a cross-border military attack against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and to limit access to critical air and land routes that have become a lifeline for U.S. troops in Iraq.” Kurdish dreams find a foothold in Iraq “Unshackled from Arab domination and the yoke of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iraqi Kurdistan has grown into a powerful incubator of Kurdish ambitions and nationalism.”

Iraq . Ex-Commander Says Iraq Effort Is ‘a Nightmare’In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration’s handling of the war “incompetent” and said the result was “a nightmare with no end in sight.” At an Army School for Officers, Blunt Talk About IraqDiscussions between a New York Times reporter and dozens of young majors in five Leavenworth classrooms over two days – all unusual for their frankness in an Army that has traditionally presented a facade of solidarity to the outside world – showed a divide in opinion.”

Mideast . Rice tries to curtail hopes for Mideast peace breakthrough “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived here Sunday for another effort to forge an Israeli-Palestinian document to be presented to a Middle East peace conference next month, but both sides staked out sharply opposing positions, and she sought to lower expectations for speedy progress.” Rice: U.S. has no intention of imposing conditions on Israel “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has no intention of imposing on Israel “anything that will not be acceptable to it,” during the negotiations with the Palestinians in preparation for the summit at Annapolis,” Envoy attacks quartet ‘failures’ “The UN should withdraw from the quartet of Middle East mediators unless the group addresses Palestinian human rights, its envoy said today.” Iran’s Top Cleric Calls for Boycott of Peace Talks “Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called Saturday for all Muslim countries to boycott an American-sponsored meeting for Middle East peace that is planned for late November.”

Israel-Syria. Analysts Find Israel Struck a Nuclear Project Inside Syria“Israel‘s air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel,” Israel Silent on Reports of Bombing Within SyriaSecretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli officials declined Sunday to confirm or deny a report that an Israeli Air Force strike against Syria last month had bombed a partly constructed nuclear reactor of North Korean design.” Israeli air strike was aimed at Syrian reactor “The fact that there were virtually no complaints from the Arab world added credence to suspicions that the target had been a military site causing unease among Syria’s neighbours.”

Putin. Putin to visit Iran despite threats “Russian special services have confirmed they received intelligence about a plot against President Vladimir Putin.” Putin’s visit to Iran to go ahead “Putin has confirmed that he will visit Iran on Monday as planned, despite reports of a possible plot to kill him there.” Bush, aides ‘grossly misjudged Putin’ “The Bush administration’s failure to win Russia’s consent to install U.S. missile defenses in its European backyard and a growing list of other disputes suggest that President Bush and his aides have misread the man whose “soul” Bush thought he’d divined when they first met six years ago.”

Immigration. States’ Immigrant Policies Diverge “As the Bush administration and Congress sit gridlocked on an immigration overhaul, states are jumping into the debate as never before.” Hispanic exodus from Irving hurts businesses “Since late last month, illegal immigrants have retreated into the shadows and Hispanic activists have organized protests over an Irving program that checks the immigration status of everyone arrested by city police.” Taking a Middle Road on Immigration in California “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed in this week on two volatile issues in the immigration debate, splitting the difference in a way that exemplifies his delicate handling of the controversial subject.” No Need for a Warrant, You’re an Immigrant “Last week, immigration officials announced that they had made more than 1,300 arrests across the country over the summer when they went looking for gang members. Since the raids were carried out under immigration law, many protections in place under the American criminal codes did not apply.”

World Bank & Africa. World Bank Neglects African Farming, Study Says “The World Bank, financed by rich nations to reduce poverty in poor ones, has long neglected agriculture in impoverished sub-Saharan Africa, where most people depend on the farm economy for their livelihoods, according to a new internal evaluation.”

Australia election. Howard calls election as Australian voters desert him “Australia’s prime minister, John Howard, called a general election yesterday as polls showed him heading for a landslide defeat after nearly 11 years in office.” PM tells voters: you know where I stand “JOHN HOWARD says the nation cannot risk change. Kevin Rudd reckons not changing government is the bigger risk. The leaders delivered their opening salvos in the campaign yesterday after the Prime Minister finally named the election date: November 24.” Rudd promises new leadership, not me-tooism “KEVIN RUDD has dismissed the criticism that he is guilty of mimicking the Government with an outbreak of “me-tooism”, and has outlined five key areas of difference.”

Sudan . South Sudanese present demands “Officials of south Sudan’s former rebel movement have presented demands to the government, as a crisis threatens to destroy a two-year peace agreement.”

Religious right politics. Bauer urges ‘open mind’ “Social conservative leader Gary L. Bauer has issued an appeal to supporters to consider former Sen. Fred Thompson’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination.”

Churches & gays. Church divide over gays has a global audience “As Episcopalians and Anglicans wait to see if their fractious global fellowship will splinter or hold together in a long-running conflict over homosexuality and the Bible, other denominations are watching nervously.”


Religion and nation (James Carroll. Boston Globe) “The danger in mixing religion and nation lies in the way these two enterprises have exploited one another, each to advance its separate cause. This is as old as the early-4th-century emperor Constantine, who used Christian orthodoxy as a club with which to enforce political control of his vast empire.”

So what does the Constitution say about religion? (Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, USA Today)”Americahas institutionalized this great theological concept through the political mechanism of the First Amendment. The “no establishment” clause separates the institutions of church and state by prohibiting any government action that has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion. Government is to remain neutral. No citizen should be advantaged or disadvantaged because of his religious faith. The separation of church and state does not mean the separation of God and government or of religion and politics.”

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