Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 12-06-2007

the latest news on Mortgages, Faith and Politics, Teen birth rate, Darfur, Budget, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Climate change, US Prisions, Chruches and tax code, and Detainees.

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Mortgages. Bush Wins Agreement To Freeze Mortgages "President Bush will announce an agreement with major mortgage firms to freeze interest rates for five years for financially troubled homeowners." Mortgage plan would freeze rates "Seeking to gird the nation's economy against a potential tidal wave of foreclosures, the Bush administration will release a plan that is expected to block many mortgages from adjusting to higher rates for as long as five years." Lenders Agree to Freeze Rates on Some Loans"The agreement, to be formally announced Thursday by President Bush, is expected to contain numerous limitations that would exclude many - if not most - subprime borrowers, according to industry executives who have seen it."

Faith & Politics. Crucial Test for Romney in Speech on His Religion "Mitt Romney's planned speech today at the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas to confront suspicions about his Mormon faith is being viewed as the biggest moment of his presidential campaign." Question of faith in '08 race "The fact that Romney, a Mormon, is coming to Texas to articulate his vision of "faith in America" is a measure of just how much sway evangelical Christians still hold in presidential voting, particularly the Republican Party's naming of a nominee." Pulpit Was the Springboard for Huckabee's Rise "While he says he is running based on his career in the Arkansas governor's mansion, not the pulpit, he has grounded his views on issues like abortion and immigration in Scripture, rallied members of the clergy for support, benefited from the anti-Mormon sentiment dogging a political rival and relied on the down-to-earth style he honed in the pulpit to help catapult him in the polls."

Teen birth rate. Teen Birth Rate Rises in U.S., Reversing a 14-Year Decline "After falling steadily for more than a decade, the birth rate for American teenagers jumped last year, federal health officials reported yesterday, a sharp reversal in what has been one of the nation's most celebrated social and public health successes." First Rise in U.S. Teen Births Since '91 "In a troubling reversal, the nation's teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials and reviving the bitter debate about abstinence-only sex education." Teen births post first rise in 14 years "The teen birthrate increased by 3 percent from 40.5 births per 1,000 teens to 41.9, with increases seen in both the 15-to-17 and 18-to-19 age groups."

Darfur. Prosecutor: Sudan Not Cooperating In Darfur War Crimes Investigation "An international criminal prosecutor accused Sudan of violating a March 2005 U.N. Security Council resolution requiring it to cooperate with his investigation into war crimes in Darfur." Official Urges Arrest of 2 Darfur Suspects "The lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urged the Security Council to put pressure on Sudan to arrest and surrender two men indicted by the tribunal last spring for war crimes in Darfur. World court opens two Darfur probes "The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said that he was opening new investigations in Darfur, one targeting Sudanese government officials for alleged violence against civilians in displacement camps and the other against those who have attacked aid workers and U.N. peacekeepers." Sudan rejects UN Darfur criticism "Sudan has rejected a complaint by the United Nations that it is delaying the deployment of a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force to Darfur."

Budget. Budget Fight Drags On; Veto a Factor "Republicans in Congress are divided over how President Bush should play his strong hand in the rush to leave town before Christmas. Conservatives in the House do not want him to compromise on his demand that Democrats stick to his budget cap and unconditionally supply more money for the Iraq war."

Iran. Bush Tells Iran to Disclose Nuclear Activities "President Bush called on Iran to "come clean" about the scope of its nuclear activities, as the White House made it clear there will be no change in its policy toward Tehran despite new intelligence questioning his claims about the country's nuclear ambitions." Details in Military Notes Led to Shift on Iran, U.S. Says "American intelligence agencies reversed their view about the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program after they obtained notes last summer from the deliberations of Iranian military officials involved in the weapons development program," UK played role in Iran report "The US intelligence U-turn on Iran was partly based on telephone conversations in Iran intercepted by the British intelligence listening station GCHQ," Israeli policy on Tehran unchanged by American assessment "Israel will continue reviewing the implications of the U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran has no nuclear program, and will not stop its diplomatic and public relations efforts against the Iranian bomb,"

Iraq. Top U.S. military brass in Iraq resist quick drawdown "The U.S. military's internal debate over how fast to reduce its force in Iraq has intensified in recent weeks as commanders in Baghdad resist suggestions from Pentagon officials for a quicker drawdown." Pushed Out of Baghdad, Insurgents Move North 'MOSUL, Iraq - Sunni insurgents pushed out of Baghdad and Anbar Provinces have migrated to this northern Iraqi city and have been trying to turn it into a major hub for their operations,' Returning Iraqis pose new challenge 'Iraqi refugees are being warned not to return home by the American military, amid concerns that the country is still too dangerous and that the Iraqi government cannot cope with the numbers.'

Pakistan. Pakistan parties issue demands "Pakistan's opposition parties were close to agreement on a set of conditions for their participation in elections scheduled for January."

Climate change. US Under Mounting Pressure at Bali"American climate negotiators refused to back down in their opposition to mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, even as a U.S. Senate panel endorsed sharp reductions in pollution blamed for global warming." Senate Panel Passes Bill to Limit Greenhouse Gases "A Senate committee approved a broad bill to address climate change, a major step toward passage of a measure that would for the first time slow and then reverse emissions of the gases that scientists blame for the warming of the planet."

US Prisons. Justice Dept. Numbers Show Prison Trends "About one in every 31 adults in the United States was in prison, in jail or on supervised release at the end of last year, the Department of Justice reported yesterday. An estimated 2.38 million people were incarcerated in state and federal facilities, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2005,"

Churches & tax code. Preacher Rebuffs Senate Spending Inquiry "One of six Christian ministries under investigation by a Senate committee is rebuffing inquiries into its spending, challenging the panel's watchdog role over religious groups, The Associated Press has learned." Are big-spending clergy abusing U.S. tax code? "Should Congress care if a minister drives a Bentley, flies private jets, or buys a $23,000 commode? Yes, says Sen. Charles Grassley (R) of Iowa, if the high-spending ways violate the US tax code - especially a tax exemption for religious organizations."

Detainees. Justices to Answer Detainee Rights Question "A majority of the court appeared ready to agree that the detainees were entitled to invoke some measure of constitutional protection. Indeed, these justices seemed to treat that threshold issue as a bridge they had crossed long before they entered the courtroom."

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