Daily News Digest | Sojourners

Daily News Digest

The latest news on Detainees, Biofuels, Zimbabwe, North Korea, South Korea, Iraqi oil, Barack Obama, Global evangelicals Intelligence, Peru, Tibet, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Anglicans, and Israel.

+ Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail »

Detainees. Evidence Faulted in Detainee Case "The text of a decision shows some derision for the Bush administration's arguments in the case of a detainee held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for more than six years." Judges Cite Need for Reliable Evidence To Hold Detainees "In reversing a military tribunal's determination that a Chinese detainee was an 'enemy combatant,' a federal appeals court criticized the government's evidence and compared its legal theories to a nonsensical 19th-century poem." Court Dismisses Rendition Suit "A federal appeals court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Syrian-born Canadian man who had accused the United States of violating the law and his civil rights after he was detained at Kennedy Airport and sent to Syria under what he claims was an act of ' extraordinary rendition.'"

Biofuels. Promise of Biofuel Clouded by Weather Risks "Recent storms and floods have highlighted the risks of an economy that has grown more dependent on corn for fuel."

Zimbabwe. Mugabe Joins African Union Summit "Unabashed by critics and challenging his peers to prove their own democratic credentials, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe went to an African Union meeting here on Monday, displaying his victory in a one-candidate election that his neighbors said did not 'represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe.'" African Leaders Plan to Discuss Mugabe's Future "African leaders allowed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to take his seat at a summit here Monday, but controversy over the coercion and violence surrounding his recent reelection prompted some of the leaders to begin discussing how to end his 28-year rule." Why South Africa's Mbeki won't rein in Mugabe "Even in Africa, pressure is mounting for Thabo Mbeki to increase pressure on Zimbabwe's president." Mugabe aide tells West: 'Go hang' "A spokesman for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has rejected Western criticism of the country's disputed presidential run-off election." Zimbabwe rivals reject unity talks "Opposition party says Mugabe's election "extinguished" any chance of negotiations."

North Korea. North Korea to Widen Access for Aid Workers; U.S. Ship Arrives "A United States freighter began unloading tons of American wheat in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Monday, as the government agreed to give international aid workers unprecedented access to its isolated, hunger-stricken territory, the United Nations World Food Program said." U.S. Wheat Begins New Aid to N. Korea "A U.S. ship bearing 37,000 tons of wheat has arrived in North Korea, officials said Monday, the first installment in what is scheduled to be a major expansion of international food aid in the closed totalitarian country."

South Korea. South Korea Cracks Down on Protesters "The South Korean police raided the offices of two protest groups on Monday and arrested 18 activists trying to block the distribution of American beef. On the same day, Roman Catholic priests led thousands of South Koreans holding candles and chanting, 'Out with President Lee Myung-bak!' through downtown Seoul."

Iraqi oil. Iraq to Open Oil Fields for 35 Foreign Companies; Initial No-Bid Contracts Delayed " Iraq announced Monday that it was opening six key oil production fields to more than 30 foreign companies, while delaying an announcement on a series of no-bid consulting contracts with a handful of Western oil companies." Iraq Opens Oil Fields To Global Bidding "Iraq's government invited foreign firms Monday to help boost the production of the country's major oil fields, beginning a global competition for access to the world's third-largest reserves." Iraq opens door to foreign bidding to increase oil output "Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Shell are among the prequalified companies vying for contracts."

Barack Obama. Obama Courting Evangelicals Once Loyal to Bush "Between now and November, the Obama forces are planning as many as 1,000 house parties and dozens of Christian rock concerts, gatherings of religious leaders, campus visits and telephone conference calls to bring together voters of all ages motivated by their faith to engage in politics. It is the most intensive effort yet by a Democratic candidate to reach out to self-identified evangelical or born-again Christians and to try to pry them away from their historical attachment to the Republican Party." Obama's New Faith Adviser "An ethics professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C., Casey will next month become Obama's official "senior adviser for religious affairs." Similar to his informal role in John Kerry's 2004 campaign, much of Casey's time will be spent communicating Obama's personal story and policy positions to leaders of the evangelical world." US elections: Obama to announce grants for faith-based services "The move would continue an initiative started by President George Bush."

Global evangelicals. Early Returns Are Mixed "Have the evangelical movements of the majority world contributed to the strengthening of democratic institutions and practices? Has American influence made evangelicals elsewhere in the world dupes for regimes propped up by American military aid or multinational business interests?"

Intelligence. Ex-Agent Says CIA Ignored Iran Facts "A former CIA operative who says he tried to warn the agency about faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs now contends that CIA officials also ignored evidence that Iran had suspended work on a nuclear bomb."

Peru. In Testimony, Former Spy Chief Says Peru's Fujimori Is Innocent "Fujimori, 69, has been charged as "indirect perpetuator" behind the Colina Group, an army death squad that has been linked to numerous atrocities committed during the 1990s. Several leaders of the group have already been found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison."

Tibet. Dalai Lama's Envoys in Beijing for Tibet Talks "Envoys of the Dalai Lama arrived in Beijing on Monday to open a new round of formal talks with Chinese officials on easing tensions over Tibet."

Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Afghanistan troop deaths outnumber Iraq "US-led international forces suffer more casualties in Afghanistan that in Iraq for second month running." Bush signs emergency war spending measure "It funds military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, expands veterans benefits under the GI Bill and extends unemployment aid."

Anglicans. Archbishop of Canterbury hits out at breakaway Anglicans "Rowan Williams accuses leaders of conservative coalition of lacking legitimacy and authority."

Israel. Olmert: Don't interpret Israel's restraint in Gaza as weakness "Prime Minister tours southern Israel, says if truce fails 'we know how to respond with full force.'" Lebanon: Hezbollah prisoner swap marks 'failure' for Israel " Prisoner exchange to take two phases, says Kuwaiti news agency, contrary to earlier reports of 4-staged deal."