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The latest news on Emamuel Leaves Chief of Staff, Immigration, Stimulus, Foreclosures Slowing, Health Insurance, Offshore Drilling, Preview, Nuclear Disarmament, Pakistan, Iran Sanctions, Israel-Palestine Talks, Afghanistan, UK-Sudan Trade, Global Unemplo

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Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Quote of the day. "I don't think there's any question that we're going to have a greater number of these cases and that these cases are going to reach (suspects from) more parts of the world. It's something we have to do. We owe it to our citizens and we owe it to the world." U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, of the Justice Department's Human Rights and Special Prosecutions unit on why tracking down war criminals and human rights abusers is important. (USA Today)

RELIGION IN THE NEWS

Pastors defy prohibition on politicking "Nearly 100 pastors across the USA stood up at their pulpits last Sunday and did what federal law says they can't - tell their congregations how to vote."

Scandal forces appraisal of gay issues "Bishop Eddie Long is just one pastor, leading one congregation in one U.S. city. But the allegations against him - that he coerced four young male parishioners into sexual activity with money, trips and gifts - have ramifications that reach far outside the South."

U.S. Christians Urged to 'Not Grow Weary' in Aiding Pakistan Flood Victims "An India-born mission leader is pleading for Christians in America to "not grow weary in well-doing" and continue to stand with those who are bringing relief -- and God's healing love -- to the victims of Pakistan's massive flooding."

Indian Court Divides Disputed Ayodhya Holy Site "In a case that spanned centuries of religious history and languished in the legal system for six decades, an Indian court issued a historic ruling Thursday on the ownership of the country's most disputed religious site by effectively handing down a split decision: granting part of the land to Hindus and another part to Muslims."

NEWS AT HOME

Congress Goes Home. Congress leaves with unfinished business "Congressional Democrats arrived back on Capitol Hill two weeks ago from their summer recess with a full slate of bills they planned to pass, notably one to prevent the elimination of a tax cut for millions of Americans." A Rush to Legislate, and to Maneuver "It was a wild finish on Capitol Hill just after midnight Thursday as lawmakers approved a stopgap spending measure, authorized NASA space programs and, for the first time in several years, managed to adopt the annual intelligence policy bill. Then, they raced home to preserve their own jobs."

Emamuel Leaves Chief of Staff. Emanuel's Departure Set; Replacement Is Longtime Aide "President Obama plans to continue reshaping his inner circle on Friday, replacing his brusque and aggressive chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, with a soft-spoken insider who has worked quietly in Mr. Obama's shadow for years." Emanuel's replacement is known as a fixer "Few people outside Washington, and not many inside, have heard the name Pete Rouse. The man President Obama will name as his interim White House chief of staff on Friday is a quiet political player who avoids the spotlight." Rahm's old-school ways in a new era "During the past 20 months Emanuel insulted allies. Sparred with colleagues. Practiced an arm-twisting, old-school politics that seemed at odds with his boss's inspirational message from the 2008 campaign."

Immigration. Local jurisdictions find they can't opt out of federal immigration enforcement program "The Obama administration is making it virtually impossible for Arlington, the District and other jurisdictions to refuse to participate in a controversial immigration enforcement program that uses fingerprints gathered by local law enforcement agencies to identify illegal immigrants."

Stimulus. Positive review of stimulus package "The massive economic stimulus package President Obama pushed through Congress last year is coming in on time and under budget - and with strikingly few claims of fraud or abuse - according to a White House report to be released Friday. Jobs program's stimulus aid ends "The program thus becomes one of the first financed by the February 2009 stimulus law to be shut down. It will be followed in months to come by others as stimulus funds run dry, causing workers to lose jobs, businesses to lose cheap labor and the jobless rate in some states and counties to rise."

Foreclosures Slowing. Foreclosures Slow as Document Flaws Emerge "The foreclosure machinery that has forced millions of Americans out of their homes is beginning to seize up as some lenders and their lawyers are accused of cutting corners in their pursuit of rapid home repossessions." Lenders told to review foreclosure procedures "A top federal bank regulator said Thursday that he has directed seven of the nation's largest lenders to review their foreclosure processes after learning about the widespread mishandling of homeowner evictions by the industry."

Health Insurance. Grants awarded for state health insurance exchanges "The Obama administration awarded 49 grants Thursday to states and the District of Columbia to plan for new health insurance exchanges designed to help Americans shop for health plans beginning in 2014." California is first to form health insurance exchange "Amid appeals from the White House and consumer health care advocates, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two key health bills Thursday that make California the first state to begin establishing its own health insurance exchange, which could widen medical coverage for small businesses and the millions of uninsured." Recession Drove Many to Medicaid Last Year "Joblessness and the accompanying loss of health benefits drove an additional 3.7 million people into the Medicaid program last year, the largest single-year increase since the early days of the government insurance plan, according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation."

Offshore Drilling. New offshore drilling rules require rigs practice for spills "The Interior Department Thursday issued two new rules to improve safety on offshore oil and gas rigs, bringing the Obama administration a step closer to lifting its ban on drilling in deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico."

Preview. Being Glenn Beck "The Sunday New York Times Magazine profiles Glenn Beck."

NEWS AROUND THE WORLD

Ecuador. Ecuador's army frees president from police after tense day "Ecuador's military staged a spectacular rescue Thursday night to free President Rafael Correa, who'd been holed up in a hospital for more than 12 hours by a police uprising that threatened the nation's stability." Ecuador soldiers rescue president amid revolt by police "Amid volleys of gunfire and concussion grenade blasts, Ecuadorean armed forces Thursday night rescued President Rafael Correa from a hospital where he had been held for several hours against his will by police mutineers." 'No pardon' for Ecuador's rebels "Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has said there will be "no pardon or forgiveness" for those involved in a police rebellion against him."

Nuclear Disarmament. NATO Document Addresses Nuclear Disarmament "Two months before what could be the most important NATO summit meeting in more than a decade, the 28 member states of the alliance have received a draft of its new strategic concept, which for the first time, at the insistence of Germany and other countries, includes calls for nuclear disarmament."

Burma to Free Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi to be 'freed' after polls "Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader, is set to be released just days after Myanmar's upcoming election, government officials have said."

Pakistan. Nato tankers torched in Pakistan "Suspected militants in southern Pakistan have destroyed at least 27 tankers carrying fuel for Nato forces in Afghanistan, officials said." Signaling Tensions, Pakistan Shuts NATO Route "American officials pressed their Pakistani counterparts on Thursday to reopen a vital supply route for American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, as relations deteriorated after the fourth strike by coalition helicopters in a week killed three members of Pakistan's border force." Worries grow over Pakistan stability "Political upheaval in Pakistan and a sudden rupture in relations with the United States have heightened the Obama administration's concern about the stability of a crucial partner in its Afghanistan war strategy."

Iran Sanctions. U.S. sanctions selectively under its Iran policy "The Obama administration rolled out its first penalty Thursday under the new U.S. sanctions on Iran, but carefully avoided any challenge to Russian and Chinese companies that would have risked diplomatic fallout." Major oil companies in Europe pledge to end Iran investments "The United States announced Thursday that four of Europe's five biggest oil companies would end their energy investments in Iran, a significant advance in the Obama administration's efforts to pressure the Iranian government to enter negotiations over its alleged nuclear weapons program." NGOs quietly press for access to Iran "Despite intensified sanctions on Iran, US-based nongovernmental organizations are trying to prove that they should be allowed to work in the country. The process is daunting enough that many groups give up."

Israel-Palestine talks. US and EU diplomats try to salvage Middle East talks "EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, has met Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad in the West Bank, and is heading to Jerusalem to meet Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu. US envoy George Mitchell was scheduled to make the reverse journey." Amid row over settlements, Netanyahu says committed to Mideast peace "The United States is reportedly incensed over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of a draft letter that would have extended the freeze on West Bank settlement construction, formulated by advisers to the U.S. and Israeli leaders." U.S. Presses Israelis on Renewal of Freeze "The Obama administration is trying to cajole the Israeli government into a 60-day renewal of the freeze on Jewish settlement building by offering it security guarantees, ranging from military hardware to support for a long-term Israeli presence in the strategically sensitive Jordan Valley."

Afghanistan. U.S. government funds may have gone to Taliban "Millions of dollars in American taxpayer funds may have been paid to Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan to provide security for a U.S. development project, a government audit has found."

UK-Sudan Trade. Wanted for genocide... and as a trading partner "Khartoum's high-level delegation met British government officials and business leaders on Wednesday to encourage investment in a country still targeted by US sanctions. It was the clearest example yet of how problematic William Hague's new foreign policy, in which commercial interests are to trump ethical concerns, will be for the Coalition to implement."

Global Unemployment. Global unemployment to trigger further social unrest, UN agency forecasts "The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned of growing social unrest because it fears global employment will not now recover until 2015."

OPINION

Afghanistan: A war without end, or rationale (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post) "The more we learn about the war -- both from the battlefield and from the White House -- the more depressing it all becomes. The portrait that emerges is of a failing military campaign whose course is being determined by momentum, not by logic."

Sojourners' Daily Digest is a compilation of the top news related to our commitments of life and peace, economic and racial justice, and care of creation, with a special focus on news of the engagement of faith in public life.

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