Daily News Digest | Sojourners

Daily News Digest

The latest news on Environment, China, Barack Obama, John McCain, Immigration, Iran, Israel, Zimbabwe, Africa, Food crisis, Anglican/Episcopal Churches, Supreme Court, and Iraq.

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Environment. McCain and Obama share energy goals, not methods "The candidates would take very different steps to greater energy independence for Americans." Pentagon Fights EPA On Pollution Cleanup "The Defense Department, the nation's biggest polluter, is resisting orders from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Fort Meade and two other military bases where the EPA says dumped chemicals pose "imminent and substantial" dangers to public health and the environment." Solution, or Mess? A Milk Jug for a Green Earth "A simple change to the design of the gallon milk jug, adopted by Wal-Mart and Costco, keeps the milk fresher when it arrives in stores and keeps costs down."

China. Beijing Officials Announce a New Round of Talks With Dalai Lama's Envoys "Chinese officials will hold a second round of meetings early next month with envoys of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, state media reported Sunday." Pioneering Chinese City Offers a Peek at Political Ferment "When China decided to liberalize its economy back in the late 1970s, Shenzhen was chosen as the vanguard, the first "special economic zone" allowed to do business free of Communist-era restrictions."

Barack Obama. In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying "On the television in his living room, Peterman has watched enough news and campaign advertisements to hear the truth: Sen. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, is a Christian family man with a track record of public service. But on the Internet, in his grocery store, at his neighbor's house, at his son's auto shop, Peterman has also absorbed another version of the Democratic candidate's background, one that is entirely false: Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance." Obama Camp Thinks Democrats Can Rise in South "Barack Obama's strategy relies on black turnout in a region that has bedeviled Democrats for 40 years."

John McCain. McCain Gets Praise, Not Backing, From Grahams "Senator John McCain, who has had trouble courting faith-based voters, went to the mountaintop on Sunday - Billy Graham's Blue Ridge mountaintop retreat in western North Carolina, that is - and met with the evangelist and his son the Rev. Franklin Graham for a private, 45-minute conversation." McCain visits evangelist Billy Graham and his son "McCain, who is courting religious voters and trying to reassure skeptical conservatives, said he had 'a very excellent conversation' with the two 'great leaders.'" McCain's unorthodox campaign "Such seemingly contrary tactics as focusing on national security and foreign affairs when voters are most concerned about the domestic economy have provoked consternation among fellow Republicans."

Immigration. Immigration policy reform has Obama, McCain in agreement Speaking before an important Latino organization, both candidates identify the issue as a top priority -- and then emphasize the distinctions between their views." US rivals clash over immigration "US presidential rivals Barack Obama and John McCain have clashed over their commitment to immigration reform." US candidates court Latino votes "Addressing a conference of Latino officials in Washington on Saturday, John McCain said that immigration reform was his 'top priority.' But Barack Obama told the 700 delegates that the Repulican had "caved in" to conservatives and 'walked away' after failing to get a reform bill through Congress in 2007."

Iran. U.S. Is Said to Expand Covert Operations in Iran "The Bush administration told Congress last year of a secret plan to dramatically expand covert operations inside Iran as part of a long-running effort to destabilize the country's ruling regime, according to a report published yesterday."

Israel. Israel to Free Prisoners "Israel's cabinet on Sunday approved a rare prisoner swap with the Shiite militia Hezbollah, agreeing to free a convicted murderer and others in exchange for two Israeli soldiers who are believed to be dead." Israel Swaps Prisoners for Soldiers' Bodies "After a wrenching national debate that drove hesitant officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, to accept the deal, the cabinet voted 22 to 3 to trade the prisoner, Samir Kuntar, along with four other Lebanese, for Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two Israeli soldiers." Israel's prisoner swap with Hezbollah: too risky? "Israel's cabinet approved a controversial prisoner swap of 'terrorists' to recover two soldiers abducted in 2006." Israel okays Lebanon prisoner swap "The deal will also see Israel repatriate the remains of around 10 people slain after infiltrating the Israeli border."

Zimbabwe. Africa urged to act on Zimbabwe "The UN urges leaders at the African Union summit to work towards a negotiated solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe." UN urges African leaders to negotiate Zimbabwe deal "'This is a moment of truth,' deputy secretary general tells African Union summit in Sharm el-Sheikh." Mugabe Is Sworn In After Discredited Vote "Robert Mugabe, the runaway winner in a one-horse race, was quickly inaugurated Sunday as president of Zimbabwe after a runoff election on Friday. His opponent had already dropped out because state-sponsored enforcers were beating and killing his followers." Will Africa take action against Zimbabwe's Mugabe? "The African Union is expected to discuss the issue in Egypt Monday, one day after Mugabe declared a 'sweeping victory' in Friday's presidential runoff, which was widely condemned as a sham."

Africa. Counternarcotics Effort In West Africa Widens Pentagon's Purview "The Pentagon is stepping up its counternarcotics programs in West Africa, in what can be considered the Defense Department's continuing expansion into the traditional territory of a civilian agency."

Compassionate conservatism. Compassionate Conservatism 2.0 "'Compassionate conservatism' is back. President Bush focused attention on that signature phrase last week at a national conference for federal faith-based programs -- among his first, and still most controversial, policy initiatives." Bush praises religious charities in radio address "The president says he wants religious and secular groups to compete for government money on an equal footing."

Food crisis. Hoarding Nations Drive Food Costs Ever Higher "After at least 29 countries sharply curbed their food exports, impoverished importing countries are finding it more difficult to afford the food they need."

Anglican/Episcopal Churches. Traditionalists lay out bold challenge to Anglican leadership "1,200 orthodox Anglican bishops, clergy, and lay people from several continents met in Jerusalem over the past week to hammer out a response to what they see as "revisionist" liberal thinking within some churches." Virginia judge lets Episcopal congregations secede "The 11 conservative churches want to leave after disagreements over the role of homosexuals in the church. The diocese argued it was entitled to the property."

Supreme Court. Supreme Court gun ruling leaves questions "How far does the constitutional right to gun ownership extend? Is the right fundamental -- generally not subject to government rules? Or can it be strictly regulated?"

Iraq. U.S. Advised Iraqi Ministry on Oil Deals "The disclosure, on the eve of the contracts' announcement, is the first confirmation of direct American involvement in deals to open Iraq's oil to commercial development." Iraq to award oil contracts "Foreign firms set to return after 36 years to develop Iraqi oil fields." Iraq seeking help to develop oil "Iraq is seeking external help to boost output from six key oil fields and has attracted interest from leading US, Asian and European producers." US army blames 'flawed' Iraq plan "US policymakers blamed for making 'wrong plan' based on 'wrong assumptions.'"

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