Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 12-05-2007

the latest news on Iran, Iran-IAEA, Iran-Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, Mideast, Race & criminal justice, Immigration, Energy, Non-profits and election, Bangladesh aid, and selected Op-Eds.

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Iran . Iran still dangerous, Bush says "President Bush said Tuesday that despite a new intelligence assessment concluding Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program, the country still posed a danger and must stop enriching uranium." Bush Insists Iran Remains a Threat Despite Arms Data "President Bush warned that Iran remained a threat despite an intelligence assessment that it had halted a covert program to develop nuclear weapons four years ago, as the administration struggled to save a diplomatic process now in disarray." U.S. Renews Efforts to Keep Coalition Against Tehran "President Bush scrambled to hold together a fragile international coalition against Iran, declaring that the Islamic republic remains "dangerous" and that "nothing has changed" Diplomacy more likely under altered scenario "Though the Bush administration insisted that it has not changed its views on Iran, a new intelligence finding that the Islamic republic suspended its nuclear weapons program four years ago is likely to alter the course of American policy in the near term," U.S. will still pursue Iran sanctions "The United States will forge ahead with a third sanctions resolution on Iran, U.S. officials said Tuesday, arguing that the American intelligence report made public this week showed that it was international pressure that caused Tehran to halt its nuclear weapons program four years ago and that such pressure must be maintained." Iran: US nuclear report a 'victory' "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has said the report by US intelligence on Tehran's nuclear programme was a "great victory" for Iran against world powers." Ahmadinejad claims 'victory' "The jubilant Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the US intelligence report confirming his country had abandoned its nuclear weapons programme was a "declaration of victory" for his people."

Iran-IAEA. Monitoring Agency Still Wary "The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly embraced the new American intelligence assessment stating that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons effort, but in truth the agency is taking a more cautious approach in drawing conclusions about Iran's nuclear program." US-Iran 'nuclear game' goes on "The argument the West puts is that Iran is developing a technology - uranium enrichment - that could be used to help produce a nuclear weapon at some date in the future. And that danger remains the case whatever Iran's current intentions."

Iran-Israel. Jerusalem says Iranian nuclear push continuing "Israeli officials said that their assessment of Iran's nuclear program differed greatly from the U.S. intelligence report published on Monday. "Iran has not stopped trying to get a bomb," a senior military source told Haaretz." Israeli officials reject U.S. findings on Iran "Israeli officials, who've been warning that Iran would soon pose a nuclear threat to the world, reacted angrily to a new U.S. intelligence finding that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons development program in 2003 and to date hasn't resumed trying to produce nuclear weapons." Israel challenges report on nukes "Israeli officials yesterday disputed the conclusions of Monday's surprise U.S. assessment of Iran's nuclear program, citing "clear and solid intelligence" that Iran is continuing to develop nuclear weapons to threaten Israel and Europe."

Iraq . A Calmer Iraq: Fragile, and Possibly Fleeting "The reduced violence in Iraq in recent months stems from three significant developments, but the clock is running on all of them, Iraqi officials and analysts warn." Hill Democrats Explore New Strategy on Iraq "Facing increasing evidence of military progress in Iraq, some Democratic congressional leaders are eyeing a shift in legislative strategy that would abandon a link between $50 billion in additional war funding sought by President Bush to a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops."

Afghanistan . More Recruits, U.S. Arms Planned for Afghan Military "The United States and Afghanistan plan to expand the Afghan army by up to 12,000 soldiers and accelerate shipments of tens of thousands of U.S. M-16 rifles, armored Humvees and other weaponry by the spring to counter a growing threat from Taliban insurgents and al-Qaeda fighters,"

Darfur . Group Urges Swift Dispatch of U.N.-African Force to Darfur "Thirteen former world leaders and present-day activists led by Nelson Mandela called yesterday for the swift supplying and dispatch of a 26,000-member U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force to bring security to the western Sudanese region of Darfur and end the killing, rape and pillaging there."

Mideast . Bush to visit Middle East in push for peace "George Bush's belated engagement with the Middle East peace process took a step further yesterday with the announcement that he will visit the region next month." Israel Says Army Ready for Gaza Invasion "Israel's army has completed plans for a large offensive in the Gaza Strip and is only waiting for government approval for the action,"

Race & criminal justice. Report says U.S. jails more blacks than whites for drugs "Black Americans are 10 times more likely to be imprisoned for illegal drug offenses than whites, even though both groups use and sell drugs at the same rate, according to a study released on Tuesday."

Immigration. U.S. gets tougher on illegal hiring "The Bush administration ratcheted up its effort to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, part of a broader attempt to deal with immigration and enforcement despite legal challenges and congressional inaction." Immigration, a Relentless Issue, Confronts Democrats in an Iowa Debate "If there is one issue that has challenged presidential candidates of both parties in Iowa this year, it is immigration, and the Democratic contenders were confronted with it again, in a provocative way. Should American citizens, they were asked, turn in someone they know to be an illegal immigrant?" More immigrant woes for Romney "Standing on stage at a Republican debate in Florida last week, Mitt Romney lashed out at rival Rudy Giuliani for providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants in New York City. Yet, the next morning, on Thursday, at least two illegal immigrants stepped out of a hulking maroon pickup truck in the driveway of Romney's Belmont house."

Energy. Crossing a Threshold on Energy Legislation "A moment that has been a generation in the making arrives here this week, with Congress poised to act on the first bill to increase vehicle fuel efficiency significantly since 1975 and on the first economywide bill to address global warming since scientists raised the alarm in the late 1980s."

Non-profits and election. Nonprofits Become A Force in Primaries "Nonprofit groups created to educate the public and lobby on issues have started inserting themselves into the presidential primaries, adding an unexpected wild card to wide-open elections in both parties."

Bangladesh aid. Bangladesh Cyclone Disaster Response "MCC workers report the scale of the devastation in the southern Bangladeshi districts of Bagerhat and Pirojpur is enormous and people are desperate for assistance." Bangladesh: Cyclone Survivors Begin Receiving Shelter Materials "World Vision is now delivering shelter materials to assist more than 50,000 people with rebuilding their homes;" Recovery Begins After Deadly Cyclone "Catholic Relief Services and its partner Caritas Bangladesh are continuing to aid and assess long-term recovery for thousands of families affected by the November 15 cyclone." CWS responds to Bangladesh cyclone "Church World Service and its partners are providing emergency support for more than 35,500 people in southern Bangladesh with distribution of rice, pulses, salt and oil as well as oral re-hydration salts."


Openings in an Altered World (David S. Broder, Washington Post) "The shape of the world has changed again, signaling the possibility of a new American foreign policy and national security strategy. The portents are hopeful if U.S. leaders have the imagination and courage to seize some of the opportunities."

The Iranian test of probability (Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz) "Israel is moderately confident that in the current circumstances President Bush has lost his ability to act with the necessary determination."

Time to Talk to Iran(Robert Kagan, Washington Post) "Regardless of what one thinks about the National Intelligence Estimate's conclusion that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 -- and there is much to question in the report -- its practical effects are indisputable. The Bush administration cannot take military action against Iran during its remaining time in office, or credibly threaten to do so, unless it is in response to an extremely provocative Iranian action."

Mitt Romney Is No Jack Kennedy(KENNETH L. WOODWARD, New York Times) "Mitt Romney's long-awaited speech on faith and religious freedom tomorrow at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M will be compared to John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech to Protestant ministers in Houston, just 90 miles away. Like Kennedy, Mr. Romney faces questions about his religious beliefs and how they might affect his judgments as president."

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