Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 1-18-2008

the lastest news on Evangelicals and Republicans, Economy, Human cloning, Supreme Court, Children in poverty, Immigration, Iraq, Iran, South America, Israel-Palestine, Editorial, and selected Op-Eds.

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Evangelicals and Republicans. Christians at core in S.C. primary "Their presidential aspirations at stake, Republican contenders Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson are locked in battle for a segment of voters that could determine the outcome of tomorrow's primary: conservative Christians." Evangelicals not on same page "Evangelicals have an opportunity Saturday to remind party leaders about their record as kingmakers. But conservative leaders have turned against each other in a split that may further undermine the political power of evangelicals who, with the decline of the once-formidable Christian Coalition of America and other groups, have lost influence within the GOP."

Economy. Stimulus package "President George W. Bush will offer ideas for shoring up the fragile U.S. economy, as he and the Democratic-led Congress move forward with talks on a plan to avert a recession." Fed Chairman Backs Stimulus "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke endorsed government efforts to stimulate the economy, as congressional leaders and the Bush administration moved closer to agreement on a plan." Momentum builds for economic stimulus package "After 12 months of partisan firefights in Washington, peace is breaking out on at least one front: the quest for a quick fix for the nation's economy." Bush to offer ideas for the economy " President Bush and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke pledged help for the economy, but their words gave no comfort to Wall Street, which suffered one of its biggest declines of the last year."

Human cloning. Mature Human Embryos Created From Adult Skin Cells "Scientists at a California company reported that they had created the first mature cloned human embryos from single skin cells taken from adults, a significant advance toward the goal of growing personalized stem cells for patients suffering from various diseases." US scientist clones himself from skin cells "Samuel Wood, a researcher at Stemagen Corporation in La Jolla, California, plucked cells from his skin and injected them into donated eggs that had been treated to remove their own genetic material. The eggs developed into very early stage embryos that were genetically identical to the scientist's own DNA." Company claims cloned humans and made stem cells "A California company said it used cloning technology to make five human embryos, with the eventual hope of making matched stem cells for patients."

Supreme Court. Supreme Court divide threatens to deepen "The justices, who are likely to finish accepting appeals for the 2007-08 session today, have the potential for another riveting term. From gun rights to voter-identification laws to the death penalty, the cases are destined to play into election year politics and test this ideologically divided bench."

Children in poverty. One-Third of Children in Poverty, Report Says "One in three children in the District continues to live in poverty, and there has been a slight increase in the city's overall poverty rate, according to the D.C. Kids Count Collaborative, whose leaders warned of tragic consequences unless parents get help in coping with stress."

Immigration. Group outlines abuses in immigration sweeps "A national immigrant advocacy organization on Thursday released a report that accused U.S. officials of stepping up workplace raids and immigration sweeps to "instill fear in communities." Citizenship bids swamp US officials "After an unprecedented 3 million new citizenship applications last year, federal immigration officials said they are scrambling to meet the demand, though critics noted several hundred thousand potential voters would not see their applications processed in time for the November election." Legal Immigrants Facing a Longer Wait "An unprecedented surge in immigration applications last summer means legal immigrants will have to wait much longer during the next two years to receive visas or naturalization papers."

Iraq. U.S. moves to shift troops' role in Iraq "U.S. commanders have begun shifting the mission of military forces in Iraq by moving more American troops out of front-line combat and into assignments that allow soldiers to monitor and support Iraqi units," Iraq May Need Military Help for Years, Officials Say "Senior U.S. military officials projected that the Iraqi army and police will grow to an estimated 580,000 members by the end of the year but that shortages of key personnel, equipment, weaponry and logistical capabilities mean that Iraq's security forces will probably require U.S. military support for as long as a decade." General charts Iraq capability "Iraqi officials have indicated that they cannot take full responsibility for internal security in their country until as late as 2012 and that it could be 10 more years before Iraqi security forces are able to properly defend their own borders," Gates Seeks Troop Estimates "When they decided last September to begin a slow withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the White House, Pentagon and senior military officers put off a harder decision about how long those withdrawals should continue. Now, that battle is beginning again."

Iran. Iran Receives Nuke Fuel "Iranreceived a third shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia for a power plant being constructed in the southern port of Bushehr, state radio reported." Ahmadinejad scorns US and Israel "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused US President George W Bush of "sowing the seeds of division" during his recent Middle East visit. Missile test / Launched from Palmachim, heard in Tehran "foreign experts will surely issue lengthy analyses explaining how Israel is maintaining its deterrence, especially vis-a-vis Iran, by openly testing a missile without officially saying a word about the missile's significance."

South America. Colombia's military toughens up "Seven years and $4.35 billion since the advent of a massive U.S. aid program, the Colombian military has been transformed from an outmatched "garrison force" that had yielded huge swaths of terrain to leftist guerrillas, to an aggressive force that has won back territory. The transformation, however, has had a dark side." South America's Constitutional Battles "Movements to rewrite national constitutions are dramatically changing the political paths of several South American countries, triggering bitter debates over whether new charters will benefit future generations or simply serve the political ambitions of current presidents."

Israel-Palestine. Israel orders Gaza lockdown "Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, has ordered the closure of all crossings into the Gaza Strip." Hamas: We'll bomb Israel into cease-fire "Palestinians fired some 40 Qassam rockets and two mortar shells at the western Negev yesterday, lightly wounding two Israelis and causing several others to be treated for shock. Palestinians said they believe this escalation is part of a new Hamas policy aimed at forcing Israel into a cease-fire."


One Argument, 12 Million Holes (New York Times) "Unmoored from a comprehensive federal bill, the debate was pushed into the states and is now floating in the La-La Land of the presidential campaign."


How Voters Think (DAVID BROOKS, New York Times) "In reality, we voters - all of us - make emotional, intuitive decisions about who we prefer, and then come up with post-hoc rationalizations to explain the choices that were already made beneath conscious awareness.

The Hard Choice Is Now (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post) "If it's any consolation, this is the hard part. When it comes time for the general election campaign, voters will be faced with a clear choice on the major issues. The primaries, meanwhile, are forcing us to figure out not just who the candidates are but who we are as well."

Bringing bankruptcy home (Jack Kemp, Los Angeles Times) "In the absence of modification, many of today's loans will result in foreclosure. When servicers are unwilling or unable to voluntarily modify exploding, unsustainable home mortgage loans, Congress has a duty to consider involuntary modification in bankruptcy court, where the same relief is granted on all other secured loans."

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