Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 1-08-2008

the latest news on New Hampshire primary, President to Mideast, Iran-Us, Kenya, Crime declines, Health spending, Capital punishment, Nuclear weapons, and selected editorials.

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New Hampshire primary. Little New Hampshire Could Hold Big Significance for Both Parties "A few months ago, New Hampshire's reputation for delivering spellbinding primary elections was in danger. But if trend lines hold, a pair of contested primaries Tuesday will deliver outcomes with potentially enormous significance." In Final Push for Votes, Pledges From Both Sides to Change Washington "On a day that crackled with historical possibility, the candidates fell over themselves with pledges to change the nation's course as the presidential contest, for the moment at least, coalesced around a dominant theme." Romney, Clinton fight to avoid crushing defeat Tuesday "Republican Mitt Romney stormed across New Hampshire on Monday in a last-ditch effort to eke out a win Tuesday in a state that's considered crucial to his presidential bid, while Democrat Hillary Clinton battled hard, and at times emotionally, to prevent a runaway Barack Obama victory." N.H. independents may hold key to future "Independents, who make up 45% of the electorate here, can vote in either party's primary -- and they tend to decide late, making them susceptible to last-minute campaign pleas."

President to Mideaset. On First Trip to Israel, Bush Hopes to Inject Vigor Into Peace Talks "In the six weeks since Israeli and Palestinian leaders left Annapolis, Md., pledging to end "bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples," violence has escalated over long-standing territorial disputes and security concerns," Violence escalates ahead of Bush's Israel visit "Two rockets fired from Lebanon exploded in northern Israel before dawn today, according to the Israeli military, part of growing violence in the region ahead of a visit by the US president, George Bush." Olmert, Abbas to meet today, seal talks framework "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are scheduled to meet in Jerusalem today to confirm the agreement to create negotiating committees and teams that will tackle the conflict's core issues."

Iran-US. Iranians provoke U.S. ships, military officials say "A group of small Iranian boats charged and threatened three American warships just outside the Persian Gulf, military officials said Monday, elevating tensions and illustrating how easily a military confrontation could develop between U.S. and Iranian forces." U.S. Describes Confrontation With Iranian Boats "Five armed Iranian speedboats approached three United States Navy warships in international waters in the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Sunday, then maneuvered aggressively as radio threats were issued that the American ships would be blown up," US-Iran tensions renewed "Tensions between the US and Iran resurfaced yesterday when Pentagon officials alleged that Iranian warships had threatened three US navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz." Iran plays down naval 'provocation' "Iran has rejected US accusations that its naval forces had threatened to blow up American ships in the Strait of Hormuz, an incident US officials have called "provocative".

Kenya. New twist in Kenya political crisis "Raila Odinga, the leader of Kenya's opposition Orange Democratic Movement, has turned down talks with Mwai Kibaki, the incumbent president. The decision on Tuesday came 24 hours after Odinga had agreed to meet Kibaki," Protesters riot after Kenya cabinet announcement "Opposition supporters rioted in the western city of Kisumu on Tuesday after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki named several members of a new cabinet, dashing hopes of an end to post-election bloodshed." Kenya diplomatic moves intensify "The chairman of the African Union is due to arrive in Kenya as diplomatic moves to try to end the country's political crisis intensify." East Africa: Neighbours Also Suffer As Kenya Burns "The ripple effects of the current political stalemate are being felt in the region, with the country's immediate neighbours that rely on the Kenyan port of Mombasa suffering the most."

Crime declines. Violent Crime Down In First Half of 2007 "The number of violent crimes reported nationwide appears to have fallen modestly in the first half of 2007, signaling the first notable decline in violence in two years, the FBI said yesterday." Violent Crime on the Decline, FBI Shows "Crime dipped slightly for the first half of 2007, the FBI reported Monday, signaling a stop to a 2-year increase in violence nationwide."

Health spending. Health Spending Exceeded Record $2 Trillion in 2006 "National health spending soared above $2 trillion for the first time in 2006 and has nearly doubled in the last decade, amounting to an average of $7,000 a person,"

Capital punishment. Justices Weigh Injection Issue for Death Row"With conservative justices questioning their motives and liberal justices questioning their evidence, opponents of the American manner of capital punishment made little headway Monday in their effort to persuade the Supreme Court that the Constitution requires states to change the way they carry out executions by lethal injection." Lethal-Injection Ruling May Have to Wait "Several Supreme Court justices questioned yesterday whether a challenge to Kentucky's lethal-injection process brought by two death row inmates presents enough evidence to decide whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment." Justices seem unswayed by lethal injection foes "Supreme Court justices reacted skeptically Monday to the claim that the lethal injections used to carry out executions in the United States were flawed in practice and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment."

Nuclear weapons. Pope appeals to stop nukes "Pope Benedict XVI yesterday urged the world to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction and called for continued diplomatic efforts over Iran's nuclear program."


No great miracle will happen here (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) "Contrary to the impression created by the fantasy spinners at the Prime Minister's Office, President George W. Bush is not coming here to save Ehud Olmert."

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