The latest news on GOP debate, Pakistan, Mideast, Iraq, Nuclear weapons, Australia, Climate change, Immigration, Crime, Trafficking, and Opinions.
GOP debate. In Debate, Romney and Giuliani Clash on Immigration Issues  "The Republican candidates for president engaged in a two-hour free-for-all Wednesday night, repeatedly confronting one another directly even as they fielded video questions submitted by Internet users in the most spirited debate of the 2008 presidential campaign." Romney, Giuliani battle in debate  "The eighth Republican debate got off to a blistering start and quickly became the Mitt and Rudy Show, with the two front-running candidates going toe to toe on immigration, interrupting each other until they were booed by the boisterous crowd." GOP candidates slug it out in debate  "In a sharp debate among the Republican candidates for president Wednesday - with rivals sparring over illegal immigration, taxes, abortion, guns and torture" G.O.P. Rivals Exchange Jabs in Testy Debate  "The Republican presidential candidates engaged in a slashing debate last night over immigration and other issues, confronting one another in testy exchanges that reflected the wide-open nature of the race in the final sprint toward the Iowa caucuses. Transcript: The Republican Debate 
Pakistan. Musharraf, the civilian president  "Pervez Musharraf's authoritarian plan to hold power bore fruit this morning when he was sworn in as Pakistan's president for a second five-year term despite continuing political instability." Musharraf sworn in as president  "Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, has been sworn in as a civilian president in the country's capital, Islamabad." For Musharraf, Reduced Power as the President "A day after resigning as army chief, Pervez Musharraf will be sworn in as a civilian president on Thursday, leaving him with vastly reduced powers and Washington with a far more complex Pakistan to deal with in its fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban."
Mideast. Bush Promotes Middle East Peace Dialogue  "A day after Israeli and Palestinian leaders committed themselves to negotiating a peace treaty, the Bush administration sought to give practical and symbolic impetus to their reinvigorated peace process." Bush pledges support for peace push  "The US president has told the Israeli and Palestinian leaders that he is committed to supporting their efforts towards a peace deal." Moscow May Host Middle East Follow-Up  "Russia and the United States are tentatively planning a second Middle East peace conference, in Moscow in early 2008, with major parties hoping to begin a comprehensive peace effort that would include direct talks between Israel and Syria," Rice names advisor on Mideast talks  "Retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, a former NATO commander and a 40-year military veteran, will serve as a special envoy to deal with a broad range of Palestinian and Israeli security issues." Rice's Way: Restraint in Quest for Peace "This week, the Condoleezza Rice way toward reaching a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians got off the ground. It will take a year to find out if Ms. Rice's way will succeed in reaching a goal that has eluded secretaries of state for 60 years."
Iraq. U.S. sponsorship of Sunni groups worries Iraq's government  "The American campaign to turn Sunni Muslims against Islamic extremists is growing so quickly that Iraq's Shiite Muslim leaders fear that it's out of control and threatens to create a potent armed force that will turn against the government one day."
Nuclear weapons. Israel's Nuclear Arsenal Vexed Nixon "A declassified 1969 memorandum shows that the Nixon administration was worried that Israel's acquisition of a nuclear arsenal could touch off an arms race in the Middle East." GAO Wants More Oversight of Nuclear Labs  "The nation's nuclear weapons laboratories need tougher safety oversight to fix a recent track record that includes dozens of lapses, accidents and near misses, according to a government report."
Australia. Australia's Rudd unveils cabinet  "Australia's Prime Minister-elect, Kevin Rudd, has announced the make-up of his new Labor government. He appointed Julia Gillard as deputy PM and education minister, and a former rock star, Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett, as environment minister." Rudd picks new team  Complete list of new Cabinet.
Climate change. Bali climate summit: a test of the world's resolve  "Next week is seen as crunch time in the fight against global warming. Representatives from some 130 nations will gather in Bali, Indonesia, beginning a two-year effort to agree on a new pact to cut greenhouse-gas emissions."
Immigration. Immigration at Record Level, Analysis Finds  " Immigration over the past seven years was the highest for any seven-year period in US history, bringing 10.3 million new immigrants, more than half of them without legal status," Texas employers: Let workers stay  "Larry Durrett knows from his experience as an owner of businesses in Fort Worth that it's not always easy to fill jobs at fast-food restaurants. But if 12 million workers -- the number of illegal immigrants estimated to be in the United States -- suddenly leave the work force, the fallout would be dramatic," Community colleges ordered to let in illegal immigrants  "North Carolina's community college system has ordered the state's 58 campuses to admit illegal immigrants, overturning a policy of letting the heavily enrolled schools set their own rules for handling undocumented applicants."
Crime. Rise in Violent Crime Has Slowed, With Many Cities Reporting Drops  "A new report from a police research group suggests that a two-year surge in violent crime has slowed significantly, with many large cities reporting dramatic drops in murders and other violent offenses for the first six months of 2007."
Trafficking. Anti-Human Trafficking Bill Would Send FBI Agents on Trail of Pimps  "The Justice Department is fighting legislation that would expand federal law to cover prostitution cases, saying that the move would divert agents from human trafficking crimes."
18-month probe cracks human-smuggling rings  "Two major human-smuggling rings accused of taking hundreds of illegal immigrants across the border into the United States have been dismantled in Ontario and Quebec after an 18-month cross-border investigation." 11 indicted in human smuggling syndicates based in Canada  "Law enforcement officials in Vermont yesterday revealed 11 people had been indicted or arrested for their alleged involvement in two human smuggling rings that illegally transported hundreds of people into the United States from Canada."
Republicans are asked: 'What would Jesus do?'  (Mark Silvan, The Swamp/Chicago Tribune) "For a presidential contest in which religion - and indeed the religious faith of at least one candidate - will play a certain role in the choices which many voters make, two questions loom large here: Is every word in the Bible true, and "what would Jesus do" about capital punishment."
Penny Foolish (ERIC SCHLOSSER, New York Times) "In 2005, Florida tomato pickers gained their first significant pay raise since the late 1970s when Taco Bell ended a consumer boycott by agreeing to pay an extra penny per pound for its tomatoes, with the extra cent going directly to the farm workers. Last April, McDonald's agreed to a similar arrangement, increasing the wages of its tomato pickers to about 77 cents per bucket. But Burger King, whose headquarters are in Florida, has adamantly refused to pay the extra penny - and its refusal has encouraged tomato growers to cancel the deals already struck with Taco Bell and McDonald's."
Mr. Nasty Vs. Mr. Nice  (David S. Broder, Washington Post) "Call them Mr. Rough and Mr. Smooth. Or maybe Mr. Nasty and Mr. Nice. The intense battle between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney for supremacy in the Jan. 8 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary is more a contrast in personalities than a difference on issues."
Bush's Next Preemptive Strike  (Harold Meyerson, Washington Post) "What Bush will almost surely be pushing for is permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, enshrined in a pact he can sign a few months before he leaves office. And here, as they used to say, is the beauty part: As far as Bush is concerned, he doesn't have to seek congressional ratification for such an enduring commitment of American force, treasure and lives."
A different venue, but the pious claims and promises are the same  (Robert Fisk, The Independent) "Haven't we been here before? Isn't Annapolis just a repeat of the White House lawn and the Oslo agreement, a series of pious claims and promises in which two weak men, Messrs Abbas and Olmert, even use the same words of Oslo."