The Common Good

Daily News Digest

The latest news on AIDS funding, Presidential primaries, Senate-Iraq, Cost of war, Black America's goals, Slavery apology, Border fence, School prayers, Kenya, Iraq, Darfur, Israel-Gaza, Turkey-Iraq, Iran, India, North Korea, Op-Eds, and Passings.

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AIDS funding. Pact Would Give Global AIDS Fight Triple the Money "House leaders from both parties and the White House reached agreement on a bill that would more than triple funding for the Bush administration's global AIDS program, already the largest foreign aid initiative aimed at fighting a single disease in U.S. history." Panel approves global AIDS spending hike "A House committee on voted to more than triple spending for a global AIDS program that has proven to be one of the Bush administration's most successful and popular foreign policy initiatives."


Presidential primaries. McCain, Obama spar on Iraq "In a sneak preview of the ground that both men would defend if they face each other in the presidential election, John McCain yesterday accused Sen. Barack Obama of misreading the war in Iraq and Mr. Obama accused the Arizona senator of getting it wrong in the first place." McCain and Obama Trade Jabs on Iraq "Senator John McCain opened a new line of attack against Senator Baradck Obama, accusing him of being willing to surrender Iraq to Al Qaeda."Clinton Pins Hopes On Crucial States "Aides to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), coming to terms with the idea that she must win contests in both Texas and Ohio next week or face enormous pressure to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, are pouring all of the campaign's dwindling resources into the March 4 primaries." Civil rights leader John Lewis switches to Obama "Civil rights leader John Lewis dropped his support for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid Wednesday in favor of Barack Obama."


Senate-Iraq. Senate Continues Debate on Iraq Pullout "The Senate continued a heated but largely theatrical debate on a bill to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq within 120 days and began considering another that would require the Bush administration to develop a new strategy against terrorism." U.S. Commander Wants Brief Pause in Troop Cuts "The commander of American forces in the Middle East says he will endorse a brief pause in troop reductions from Iraq this summer, but then will seek a resumption of withdrawals to ease stress on the overall military and allow him to balance deployments across the volatile region." Officials call shooting of soldier a ploy "The soldier staggered, wounded and bloody, into an Apple Valley mini-mart last weekend claiming to be a victim, shot and robbed while on leave from Iraq. Now investigators say it was all a ploy: They believe that Army Pfc. Matthew Myers, 20, of Apple Valley arranged for a friend to shoot him so he could avoid returning to Iraq."


Cost of war. Nobel laureate estimates wars' cost at more than $3 trillion"When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would be self-financing and that rebuilding the nation would cost less than $2 billion. Coming up on the fifth anniversary of the invasion, a Nobel laureate now estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing America more than $3 trillion."


Black America's goals. Goals for black America not met "Forty years after the Kerner Commission warned of a country heading toward "two societies, one black, one white - separate and unequal," the Eisenhower Foundation, a private urban-policy institute, finds the country has failed to meet the goals laid out by the presidential commission."


Slavery apology. Legislators to push for U.S. apology for slavery "Five states did something over the past 12 months that no state had done before: expressed regret or apologized for slavery. This year, Congress, which meets in a Capitol built partly by slaves, will consider issuing its own apology."


Border fence. Virtual Fence' Along Border To Be Delayed "The Bush administration has scaled back plans to quickly build a "virtual fence" along the U.S.-Mexico border, delaying completion of the first phase of the project by at least three years and shifting away from a network of tower-mounted sensors and surveillance gear, U.S. unable to judge 'fence' "The Department of Homeland Security spent $20 million on a "virtual fence" to better secure 28 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona but has no way to measure its effectiveness ."


School prayers. School Board to Pay in Jesus Prayer Suit A Delaware school district has agreed to revise its policies on religion as part of a settlement with two Jewish families who had sued over the pervasiveness of Christian prayer and other religious activities in the schools."


Kenya. Kenya rivals agree to share power "Kenya's rival leaders sign a power-sharing deal mediated by Kofi Annan to end the country's post-election crisis." Kenya: Annan: 'We Have Agreed' "Chief mediator Kofi Annan has emerged from a high-level meeting on the Kenya crisis to say "we have an agreement". Kenya signs power-sharing pact "Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan president, and Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, have signed a power-sharing agreement after weeks of nationwide violence and political unrest which followed a disputed election."


Iraq. Iraqi leaders veto law Bush administration hailed as political breakthrough "Iraq's three-man presidency council announced that it's vetoed legislation that U.S. officials two weeks ago hailed as significant political progress." Heralded New Law Is Vetoed by Iraq's Presidency Council "Political momentum in Iraq hit a sudden roadblock when a feud between the largest Shiite factions led to the veto of a law that had been passed with great fanfare two weeks ago. The law had been heralded by the Bush administration as a breakthrough for national reconciliation." Sunni Forces Losing Patience With U.S. "U.S.-backed Sunni volunteer forces, which have played a vital role in reducing violence in Iraq, are increasingly frustrated with the American military and the Iraqi government over what they see as a lack of recognition of their growing political clout and insufficient U.S. support."


Darfur. UN criticised over 'Darfur silence' "The UN security council's silence over the crisis in Darfur has been labelled as "shameful" by Human Rights Watch (HRW)."


Israel-Gaza. Hamas answers Israeli airstrikes with rockets "An Israeli warplane blew up a minivan carrying senior Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, prompting a rocket blitz from the Palestinian enclave that killed a middle-age student on a college campus in southern Israel." Strikes Destroy Ministry in Gaza, Kill 10 Palestinians "An Israeli airstrike destroyed the Interior Ministry building in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip just hours after fighters from the movement launched a barrage of rockets into southern Israel." Israel vows unprecedented response "A senior defense official said last night that the Israeli response to the rocket fire on Sderot and Ashkelon is expected to be particularly harsh, and that Israel does not intend to let pass Hamas' decision to escalate its offensive measures."


Turkey-Iraq. Turkey continues raids in northern Iraq "A sixth day of fighting continued between Turkish troops and Kurdish rebels in Iraq as U.S., Turkish and Iraqi officials clashed over terms for ending the conflict." Some Turks Question Timing of Iraq Push "Did the Islamic-oriented government, some Turks ask, use the start of the largest offensive into northern Iraq in more than a decade to divert attention from its controversial decision to legalize head scarves in universities?"


Iran. Russia warns Iran on nuclear stance "Russia has threatened to back more United Nations sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme unless it stops uranium enrichment in the next few days." Questions persist on Iran's nuclear plans "The document is 15 pages long, and among other things, it describes procedures for fabricating hemispheres of uranium metal - key components for a nuclear weapon. International inspectors since 2005 have known Iran had this paper in its possession, but they got a copy of it only last November."


India. U.S. and India to Strengthen Security Ties "With a landmark nuclear energy pact between the United States and India stalled, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the nations would nonetheless strengthen their security ties as India looked to embark on a closer - and still contentious - level of military cooperation with the United States." Military focus of India talks"US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday wrapped up a six-day visit to three Asian democracies, working to strengthen ties and upgrade the militaries of all three, which have increasingly complex relationships with China."


North Korea. U.S. suggests secret disclosure of nuclear past "The United States is urging North Korea to end a deadlock in six-nation nuclear talks by completing an overdue account of its nuclear past with a document that might remain secret."


Op-Eds.


A Genocide Foretold (Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times) "The Sudanese government started the first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur, and now it seems to be preparing to start the second here among the thatch-roof huts of southern Sudan."

I'm Not Running for President, but ...(Michael R. Bloomberg, New York Times) "And while I have always said I am not running for president, the race is too important to sit on the sidelines, and so I have changed my mind in one area. If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach - and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy - I'll join others in helping that candidate win the White House."


Passing. The Architect of Modern Conservatism "William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died at 82."

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