Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 1-07-2008

the latest news on President to Mideast, New Hampshire primary, Republicans, Democrats, Kenya, Pakistan, Capital punishment, Bankruptcies, Globalization, and selected Op-Eds.

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President to Mideast. Bush heads to Mideast amid low expectations "President Bush, who once had grand ambitions to transform the Middle East through democratic reform, begins his first extended presidential visit to the region Tuesday with his sights lowered and his ability to influence events fading fast." As Bush Heads to Mideast, Renewed Questions on Iran "President Bush intends to use his first extended tour of the Middle East to rally support for international pressure against Iran, even as a recent U.S. intelligence report playing down Tehran's nuclear ambitions has left Israeli and Arab leaders rethinking their own approach toward Iran." Jerusalem readies for 1st visit by US president in a decade "With hundreds of hotel rooms booked and municipal crews unfolding red, white and blue flags, Jerusalem is getting ready for its highest-profile visitor in years: President Bush." Over 10,000 police will guard Bush during Israel visit "Israeli officials in Jerusalem are to deploy more than 10,000 police officers in a vast security operation ahead of the arrival this week of George Bush" Al-Qaeda's American: Bomb Bush "Al Qaeda's American spokesman urged fighters to meet President Bush with bombs when he visits the Middle East, according to a new video posted on the Internet Sunday."

New Hampshireprimary. Clinton, Romney on Offensive As Pivotal Contest Draws Near "With just two days to go until the New Hampshire primary, contenders in both parties blanketed the state with campaign events."

Republicans. As Primary Day Looms, Republican Rivals Go After One Another "After being pounded at the Republican debate on Saturday, Mitt Romney struck back hard on Sunday against Senator John McCain of Arizona and Mike Huckabee on multiple fronts," Romney, foes, tussle over taxes "Mitt Romney sought to seize back the initiative in his presidential campaign yesterday, using a final Republican debate and a meeting with voters here to hammer at rivals John McCain and Mike Huckabee." McCain, Romney clash at Republican debate "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, engaged in a bitter fight to win Tuesday's New Hampshire Republican primary, lashed out at each other in unusually personal terms Saturday over immigration,"

Democrats. Not So Fast, Clinton Says About Obama Momentum "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday sought to slow the momentum of Senator Barack Obama heading into the New Hampshire primary by pointedly challenging his voting record and the assertion that he is the only candidate who would bring about change." Clinton sharpens aim at two rivals "Facing what many analysts believe is a must-win New Hampshire primary tomorrow, Senator Hillary Clinton has stepped up her assaults against her Democratic rivals." Dems talk tougher in realigned race "The top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination came face to face Saturday night for the first time since Barack Obama emerged as the leading candidate, and the result was a public viewing of the conflict raging between him and Sen. Hillary Clinton."

Kenya. Kenya opposition cancels protests "Kenya's opposition leader has called off nationwide rallies planned for Tuesday, following disputed elections. Raila Odinga said he hoped international mediation could solve the crisis." In Kenya, a key role for foreign observers "International observers have been criticized for doing too little - and too much - in the wake of Kenya's flawed Dec. 27 vote, which touched off a wave of ethnic killings." Violence stalks the alleys of Nairobi "In Nairobi's slum district of Kibera, people prayed for peace Sunday under the charred cross and blackened walls of the burned Lutheran church. But in the narrow alleys just 100 yards away, the thugs with machetes still rule." Kenya Kikuyus, Long Dominant, Are Now Routed"Over the past few days, tens of thousands of Kikuyus, the tribe of Kenya's president, have packed into heavily guarded buses to flee the western part of the country because of ethnic violence."

Pakistan. In Musharraf's Shadow, a New Hope for Pakistan Rises"Over the last several months, a little-known, enigmatic Pakistani general has quietly raised hopes among American officials that he could emerge as a new force for stability in Pakistan," U.S. Officials Review Approach in Pakistan "The political upheaval in Pakistan and emergence there of a new military leader has revitalized the Bush administration's long struggle to develop a coherent strategy for uprooting al-Qaeda from Pakistan's western tribal areas," U.S. Considers New Covert Push Within Pakistan President Bush's senior national security advisers are debating whether to expand the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan."

Capital punishment.Supreme Court to weigh whether lethal injection is cruel"Ralph Baze has been convicted of killing two law enforcement officers in cold blood and sentenced to death. The U.S. Supreme Court now must ensure that Kentucky executes him in a constitutionally humane way." Supreme Court takes up lethal injection battle "The legal battle over lethal injection, which comes before the U.S. Supreme Court today, has been conducted in unusual secrecy, with courts permitting states across the country to keep from lawyers and the public precisely how death row inmates are executed." Justices to rule whether lethal injection humane " On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of two Kentucky prisoners who contend that the three-chemical mix used for most executions constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment."

Bankruptcies. As bankruptcies surge, Congress ponders change in law "In 2005, Congress passed a new law aimed at making it harder for people to file for bankruptcy. With the tougher requirements, the number of bankruptcies declined in 2006 but surged in 2007. And experts predict the numbers will go higher this year."

Globalization. Mexico's shoemakers feel squeeze of globalization "The heart of Mexico's shoe industry is closing ranks because a deal expired last month that permitted tariffs to protect it from cheaper Chinese shoes. Mexican officials said they now must open the market or face sanctions by the World Trade Organization."


The gospel of money (Mark I. Pinsky, USA Today) "The love of money," the New Testament teaches in I Timothy 6:10, "is the root of all evil." But what about some televangelists' fondness for major bling - such as multiple, multimillion dollar estates, luxury cars, vacation homes, exotic trips and private jets? Does that make them, in the words of one author, "pimps in the pulpit?"

Confidence in America (Madeleine K. Albright, Washington Post)" I believe the most precious gift the next president could bestow upon America is an end to the politics of fear."

Into Africa Without a Map (David Ignatius, Washington Post) "Last week's tribal violence in Kenya reminds us of the severe social and political problems facing Africa. But is greater involvement by the U.S. military the answer to these African challenges?"

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