The Common Good

Daily News Digest

The latest news on Ban torture, Presidential primaries, Church & politics, Climate Change, Surveillance, Immigration, China-Darfur, Israel threatened, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan-Australia, Hunger & Biofuels, Bush to visit Africa, Commentary, and Editorials.

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Today's prayer request. Graham alert after surgery "Charlotte-born evangelist Billy Graham, 89, underwent a 28-minute operation Wednesday that updated the valve for a shunt regulating pressure in his brain."


Ban torture. Senate Passes Ban On Waterboarding, Other Techniques "The Senate voted to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA, matching a previous House vote and putting Congress on a collision course with the White House over a pivotal national security issue." Senate OKs bill banning waterboarding "Setting up a showdown with the White House, the Senate passed an intelligence bill that would forbid the use of the widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding." Bill Curbing Terror Interrogators Is Sent to Bush, Who Has Vowed to Veto It "The ban would limit all American interrogators to techniques permitted in the Army Field Manual on Interrogation, which prohibits the use of physical force."


Presidential primaries. McCain courts Republican conservatives, but they may be hard to get "John McCain continued his charm offensive toward his party's conservatives, but the presumptive Republican presidential nominee couldn't bring himself to fully shed his maverick image." Obama campaigns as the Democratic front-runner Barack Obama began campaigning as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, rolling out a comprehensive economic plan and challenging Republican John McCain as much as Hillary Clinton."


Church & politics. IRS looks into a California pastor's endorsement of Huckabee "Southern Baptist pastor Wiley Drake said that he is being investigated by the IRS for endorsing GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in a press release on church stationery."


Climate change. Presidential campaigns have climate change on agenda "All three candidates favor a "cap and trade" system that would issue oil companies, power plants, and other major big polluters permits to emit carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas thought to cause global warming."


Surveillance. Eavesdropping Law Is Likely to Lapse"Broad spying powers temporarily approved by Congress in August appear likely to lapse this week after a daylong game of chicken on Wednesday between the White House and House Democrats produced no clear resolution."


Immigration. Feds admit to jailing U.S. citizens as illegal immigrants, but call incidents rare "A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official acknowledged that his agency has mistakenly detained U.S. citizens as illegal immigrants, but he denied that his agency has widespread problems with deporting the wrong people."



China-Darfur. In Olympic year, China urged to use its influence in Darfur "China has been called upon to abandon its support for Sudan by a coalition of Nobel Prize-winners and international athletes, who demanded that this year's Olympic hosts cease to trade with a regime which is held responsible by the world for the carnage in Darfur." A letter from the world's Nobel laureates to China: You must act on Darfur


Israel threatened. Israel threatened "Hezbollah's chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday threatened Israel with "open war" after accusing the Jewish state of killing one of its top commanders." Nasrallah: Hezbollah ready to fight "The secretary-general of Hezbollah has said that his movement is ready for open warfare with Israel, in a speech to supporters mourning the death of a senior commander." Israel embassies on high alert following Mughniyah "Israel's security services have issued orders to its embassies and delegations abroad to be on high alert following the assassination of Hezbollah terror leader Imad Mughniyah, anticipating the possibility that Hezbollah will try to carry out a major attack against Israeli or Jewish targets worldwide in response to the killing."


Iraq. Iraqis Pass 3 Key Bills, Pleasing All Parties "The Iraqi parliament passed three key measures that for months had been the subject of bickering that threatened to undermine the country's political process." Ending Impasse, Iraq Parliament Backs Measures"More than any previous legislation, the new initiatives have the potential to spur reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites and set the country on the road to a more representative government, starting with new provincial elections."


Iran-Iraq. Ahmadinejad to make visit to Iraq "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due in Baghdad next month for the first visit by an Iranian president to its neighbour."


Iran. Iran said to be testing advanced devices for processing nuclear fuel " Iran has introduced small amounts of uranium gas into advanced centrifuges it is testing at its main nuclear complex, diplomats said, in a further step toward gaining the means to develop atom bombs if it chooses."



Syria. Bush Imposes New Sanctions on Syria "President Bush, stepping up pressure on Syria, ordered new sanctions to punish officials in Damascus for alleged efforts to undermine stability in Iraq and meddle in Lebanon's sovereignty and democracy." Bush expands sanctions on Syria "The US assets will be frozen of those responsible for actions that "undermine efforts to stabilise Iraq" or to have benefited from public corruption."


Afghanistan-Australia. Afghan war being botched: minister "THE Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, has denounced the handling of the war in Afghanistan and says the allies are disunited, lack a clear plan and have failed to deal with the drug trade. In a scathing assessment of the progress of the war, Mr Fitzgibbon yesterday laid out a string of failures and warned that a new strategy was required to ensure the Australian contribution was not "for nil".


Hunger & biofuels. Biofuel growth adds to hunger "Many of the world's poorest people are unable to get enough food because of soaring prices partly caused by the use of food crops to produce biofuels, the head of the U.N. food agency said."


Bush to visit Africa. Bush to Visit 5 Countries in Africa "President Bush will find violent conflicts threatening nearly every corner of Africa when he begins a six-day visit on Saturday. But the continent's turmoil and trouble are not expected to be Topic A for the president." Future of Africa aid policy worries Bush ahead of visit "President Bush's trip to Africa is motivated in part by fears inside his administration that the billions of dollars in aid to the continent, and a new approach to how it's disbursed, will not be continued by the next president,"


Commentary. Commentary: It's time to do right by the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan (Joseph L. Galloway, McClatchy Newspapers) "If a society is judged by the way it treats its military veterans, then we who live in the richest nation in the world and those who lead us should be condemned for our shameful neglect and callous disregard for those who defend us."


Editorials.


The Monitor's View: Bush's unfinished Africa legacy (Christian Science Monitor) "President Bush can safely claim a positive legacy in Africa, which he tours starting Feb. 15. He increased funds for health and tied foreign aid to reform. But one legacy hangs in the balance: a new American security arrangement there."

Nativism's Electoral Flop (Washington Post) "Many Republicans concluded hopefully -- and many Democrats reckoned fretfully -- that immigration would be the premier wedge issue of the 2008 campaign. But with the presidential primaries in their homestretch, it now appears that both the hopes and the fears were overstated."

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