The Common Good

Daily News Digest

The latest news on Budget, Surveillance, Iraq public opinion, Catholics, Lutherans, Education, Immigration, Religious right, Courts, Tibet, Israel-Gaza, Iraq, Kenya, Iran, Feature on global poverty, and Opinion.

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Budget. Congress endorses budget plans to allow tax hikes The Senate rejected the idea of renewing many of President Bush's tax cuts as all three major presidential candidates interrupted their campaigns to cast their votes. With Eye on Campaigns, House Passes a Budget"The House passed a $3 trillion Democratic spending plan as Congress engaged in a day of budget theater that had as much to do with the political bottom line as federal fiscal policy."


Surveillance. House sets private session to debate surveillance bill "House Democratic leaders agreed Thursday to a rare closed-door session - the first in 25 years - to debate surveillance legislation."


Iraq public opinion. Opposition to Iraq war is divided after 5 years "a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds attitudes toward the nation's deadliest conflict since Vietnam threaded with crosscurrents - particularly among those who want to set a firm timetable to pull out U.S. troops."


Catholics. Catholic College Leaders Expect Pope to Deliver Stern Message "After years of Vatican frustration over what it views as the failure of many U.S. Catholic colleges to adhere to church teachings, school leaders are intently watching for a rebuke from Pope Benedict XVI during his Washington visit next month. Vatican says pollution is also a sin "A Vatican keen to show its green side has added pollution to the realm of "new sins" that today's Catholics must confront and avoid. In this age of expanding globalization, the Vatican is telling followers that sin is not just an individual act but can also be a transgression against the larger community." Wuerl eyes humanity for illegals "In a wide-ranging interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Times yesterday, Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl cautioned the United States against deporting immigrants wholesale and called on America to act "responsibly" in Iraq."


Lutherans. Lutheran draft report sidesteps judgment on gay marriage "A task force drafting a long-awaited statement on sexuality for the nation's largest Lutheran denomination has recommended that the church continue to define marriage as a union between a woman and a man." Largest Lutheran group in US affirms traditional marriage "A task force drafting a statement on sexuality for the nation's largest Lutheran group said that the church should continue defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The panel, however, did not condemn same-gender relationships."


Education. Historically black colleges are struggling, educators tell Congress "Cutbacks in federal and state spending and competition from mainstream institutions for the best students, educators and academic programs have taken a toll on schools that were created to educate African-American students after slavery,"


Immigration. Businesses Face Cut in Immigrant Work Force"Seasonal employers are scrambling to find replacements for foreign workers who will not be returning because of a Congressional standoff over immigration overhaul." Besieged immigration agency chief resigns "Emilio T. Gonzalez, a Cuban exile appointed by the Bush administration to modernize the besieged federal agency that approves green cards and citizenship for immigrants, announced he is stepping down after two years as its director to return to Miami."


Religious right. Religious right diversifies to remain relevant "Long identified closely with the anti-abortion movement and the Republican Party, some leaders of the religious right are looking to expand beyond both to remain relevant." Christian Right Not Dead, But Maturing, Say Authors "Two influential and younger leaders of the Christian right on Wednesday rejected the idea that the religious right is dying, and instead argued that it is alive and growing."


Courts. Bush's conservatism to live long in the U.S. courts "Within weeks of George W. Bush's inauguration, he revealed a systematic, aggressive and tightly controlled approach to making lifetime appointments to the federal bench. The new president ejected the American Bar Association from the screening process, ending its half-century role of reviewing candidates' credentials before a nomination."


Tibet. Protests in Tibet erupt into violence"The Tibetan capital of Lhasa was on the brink of chaos today as the fiercest anti-government protests in almost 20 years erupted into violence between Chinese security forces and protestors wielding iron bars." Shops on fire amid Tibet protests "Fires break out in Tibet's main city of Lhasa, China's state media says, as rare protests in the province gather pace."


Israel-Gaza. Islamic Jihad resumes rocket attacks on Israel after brief lull "Ceasefire ends as Palestinian militants launch volley of rockets and Israel responds with air raid on Gaza." New U.S. Middle East envoy will find peace initiative stalled "When President Bush kicked off renewed Middle East peace talks last fall, he made it clear that any lasting deal would depend upon the ability of Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make daily life better."


Iraq. Petraeus: Iraqi Leaders Not Making 'Sufficient Progress' "Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday."


Kenya. Kenya military hits targets at center of land dispute "The military sealed off a region of western Kenya where land disputes have flared into violence, and witnesses said helicopter gunships were strafing the area Thursday to try to drive gunmen from forests and caves."


Iran. Iranians vote in general election "Voting has been taking place in Iran, with conservatives expected to win after opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were barred from running." Iranians vote in parliamentary election "Voting in Iran's parliamentary election got off to a light start this morning, reflecting a general lack of excitement over the choices on offer." Young Iranians, once avid reformers, leave politics behind "Like many here in their late 20s and early 30s who were once foot soldiers in Iran's reform movement, he has given up on politics and has little interest in Friday's vote for the 290-seat parliament."


Feature on global poverty (Mark Lange, Christian Science Monitor)


Conclusion - Practical steps to end poverty "In this series, we've unpacked popular myths about extreme poverty. We've looked at how we've gotten stuck. We've laid out some key levers for change. And we've considered the consequences of success. The developed world, well-motivated governments, and civil society among the last billion poor clearly have the means to eliminate extreme poverty in one lifetime. So, provided we have the will, where would we begin?"


Opinion. Petraeus shouldn't be a solo act (Lawrence J. Korb and Sean E. Duggan, Los Angeles Times) "OnApril 8 and 9, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus will present his assessment of the security situation in Iraq to Congress. But if Petraeus is again allowed to testify without his superior officers, as he did last September, neither Congress nor the American people will be receiving the complete picture."

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