Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 12-18-2007

The latest news on, Budget, Congress, Immigration, Turkey-Iraq, Iran, South Africa, Palestine, Family values, In the states, and selected Op-Eds.

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Budget. House Approves Domestic Spending "The House last night approved a $515.7 billion domestic spending measure that shaves billions from spending levels desired by Democrats and uses emergency spending and other tactics to challenge President Bush on his budget demands." House Passes Sprawling Spending Bill "Despite complaints from conservative Republicans that the measure was bloated and unacceptable, Mr. Bush offered guarded praise for the legislation and Democrats said they expected he would sign a final version," House passes domestic spending bill "The Senate, as early as today, is expected to add $40 billion for Iraq. The bill would then return a final time to the House. House Democrats came up with the political two-step to allow antiwar members to first vote for a budget that increases popular programs, then against one with war money." Nuclear Warhead Cut From Spending Bill "Congress has cut all funding for continuing development next year of a new nuclear warhead from the omnibus domestic spending bill, handing the Bush administration a significant setback."

Congress. In Congress, not just gridlock, but 'paralysis' "Congress is stumbling toward year's end well short of its goals and mired in recriminations, its problems ranging from a fragile majority to a unified, combative Republican minority to a defiant President Bush newly eager to exercise his veto power."

Immigration. Orlando-area religious leaders, others ask candidates to stop anti-immigrant rhetoric "A group of religious leaders, including two prominent Christians from Central Florida, called on the presidential candidates and their campaigns Monday to stop anti-immigrant rhetoric the group says is polarizing the nation. As the candidates campaigned in Iowa and other early-voting states, leaders from the interdenominational Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform challenged them to moderate "the hateful tenor of the debate."

Turkey-Iraq. Turkish soldiers cross into Iraq "Some 300 Turkish troops enter northern Iraq, local officials say, stepping up pressure on Kurdish rebels." U.S. Helps Turkey Hit Rebel Kurds In Iraq "The United States is providing Turkey with real-time intelligence that has helped the Turkish military target a series of attacks this month against Kurdish separatists holed up in northern Iraq, including a large airstrike on Sunday," Iraq Leaders Denounce Bombings by Turkey "Iraqi leaders criticized Turkey on Monday for bombing Kurdish militants in northern Iraq with airstrikes that they said had left at least one woman dead."

Iran. Russia delivers nuclear fuel to Iran "Iranpassed a significant milestone in its quest for nuclear power status yesterday when it received a first delivery of enriched uranium from Russia, allowing for the completion of a long-delayed reactor at Bushehr." Russian nuclear fuel lands in Iran "U.S. officials say the move shows that Tehran does not need to pursue its own atomic program. Analysts say the administration appears to be putting the best spin on a decision it had opposed." Iran Receives Nuclear Fuel in Blow to U.S."In announcing that it had delivered the first shipment of enriched-uranium fuel rods to the power plant, at Bushehr in southern Iran, on Sunday, Russian officials said that while the fuel was in Iran, it would be under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency,"

South Africa. Zuma camp confident in ANC vote "Jacob Zuma and his supporters are today preparing to celebrate an expected victory against the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, in a bitter battle for leadership of the ANC amid reports that Mbeki's colleagues tried to persuade him to withdraw from the contest to avoid humiliation." ANC Members Raucously Defy S. African Movement's Elite "Africa's iconic liberation movement is this week facing urgent new demands from its members to display the same principles of open, accountable rule that it long demanded of apartheid South Africa." ANC vote highlights bitter party feud "South Africa's ruling ANC voted today in a bitter leadership contest, with the controversial former vice president Jacob Zuma tipped to win, given the party's mood of defiance against President Thabo Mbeki and his cabinet."

Palestine. $7.4 Billion Pledged for Palestinians "Eighty-seven countries and international organizations pledged $7.4 billion in aid to the Palestinians on Monday, in the most ambitious fund-raising effort in more than a decade to help Palestinians create a viable, peaceful and secure state of their own." Palestinians Win $7.4Bn Aid Pledge "International donors have pledged $7.4bn in aid at a one-day conference in Paris aimed at helping improve the Palestinian economy and underpin the Middle East peace talks."

Family values. This time, 'family values' are lower on the agenda "Among the 2008 contenders, however, Romney has been nearly alone in stressing family values - a shift that reflects changes in society, the backgrounds of the Republican candidates and the urgency of issues such as war, terrorism and the economy."

In the states. State budgets slide "For the third time in a month, an analysis of state finances is warning that budget deficits and spending cuts are on the way." The pangs of desperation "Hunger is a persistent problem across the nation, and the issue is drawing increased attention as demand soars and supplies dwindle. Nearly 36 million Americans experienced "food insecurity" last year, meaning they didn't have enough money for food and were hungry at some point," State Assembly backs healthcare for everyone "Lawmakers in California's lower house line up with Schwarzenegger in passing the first phase of a plan to extend medical insurance to almost all residents."


Iowa's Undemocratic Caucuses(By GILBERT CRANBERG, HERB STRENTZ and GLENN ROBERTS, New York Times) "The news media need to quit tolerating the practice of denying the public access to factual information about how much support each Democratic candidate actually has on caucus night."

A Vietnam called Gaza (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) "In any major operation, you know how you will enter, but not how or when you will leave, and how much blood will be shed. We already had one Vietnam, in the First Lebanon War. We do not need a second Vietnam in Gaza."

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