Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 11-26-2007

the latest news on Australia, Mideast summit, Christians at public colleges, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Farm Bill, black evangelicals, Darfur, and select op-eds

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Australia. Australian Premier, an Ally of Bush, Is Defeated"Australia's prime minister, John Howard, one of President Bush's staunchest allies in Asia, suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the electorate on Saturday, as his Liberal Party-led coalition lost its majority in Parliament." Rudd sets new Australian agenda "Australian Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd outlines his priorities after his decisive poll victory over John Howard." Australia's new PM to sign Kyoto "Australia's prime minister-elect, Kevin Rudd, moved swiftly yesterday on an election promise to make climate change a priority, marking a significant shift in his country's attitude towards fighting global warming." Australia's Path Bends Away From U.S. "The defeat of John Howard, Australia's prime minister, in Saturday's election deprived President Bush of one of his most steadfast allies and will bring changes in Australia's foreign policy that will be felt in Washington."

Mideast Summit. Rice's Turnabout on Mideast Peace Talks "Ms. Rice, as secretary of state, has led the Bush administration to a startling turnaround and is now thrusting the United States as forcefully as Mr. Clinton once did into the role of mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians." Arab states insist normalization with Israel not on the agenda at conference "Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said before leaving for Annapolis that the league's decision to send its foreign ministers to the conference does not mean normalizing relations with Israel." Syria Says It Will Join Conference in Maryland"Syria announced that it would attend the Middle East peace meeting beginning here Monday night, joining Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab League participants in a turnabout that represented a victory for the Bush administration." A guide to 4 main issues that divide Israel and the Palestinians "The clock is winding down on yet another U.S. president who's trying to broker an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has outlasted 10 of his predecessors and will be 60 years old on May 14, Israel's 60th birthday."

Iran . Behind Mideast Summit - The Iran Factor "When the Bush administration holds a meeting this week to formally relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, one uninvited guest will be looming large over everyone's shoulder: Iran." Olmert to tell Bush: We will not allow Iranians to develop nuclear weapons "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. President George W. Bush will discuss ways of stepping up efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program before Bush's term in office ends in the coming year. The meeting will be held the day after the Annapolis summit." UN uncertainty over nuclear Iran "Iran's track record of hiding nuclear activities means the UN cannot be sure about what Iran is doing now, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog has said."

Pakistan . Bitterest Rival of Musharraf Returns Home"Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived home from exile to a tumultuous welcome on Sunday evening, providing a new rallying point for Pakistan's disillusioned opposition and setting the stage for an overnight shift of the political scene in the country." Sharif rules out Musharraf pact "The former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif ruled out a power-sharing deal with General Pervez Musharraf, as it was confirmed that the president would resign from the army on Wednesday."

Iraq . U.S. Scales Back Political Goals for Iraqi Unity"With American military successes outpacing political gains in Iraq, the Bush administration has lowered its expectation of quickly achieving major steps toward unifying the country, including passage of a long-stymied plan to share oil revenues and holding regional elections." Military wants more views on Iraq reports "Top military leaders at the Pentagon want to avoid a repeat of the last public assessment of the Iraq war -- with its relentless focus on the opinion of a single commander -- when the Bush administration makes its next crucial decision about the size of the U.S. force." Archbishop's assault on US foreign policy "The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a stinging attack on the United States, comparing it unfavourably with the British Empire at its peak. Dr Rowan Williams criticised America for intervening overseas with a "quick burst of violent action" and claimed its foreign policy had created the "worst of all worlds".

Farm bill-nutrition. Stirring up nutrition goals for farm bill "Parents, nutrition advocates and physicians want Congress to dramatically overhaul the farm bill -- which sets the nation's agricultural agenda every five years -- to put better food on children's cafeteria trays."

Black evangelicals. Politics of Race and Religion "Pastor Harry R. Jackson Jr. will often exhort his congregation to "stand against" abortion and same-sex marriage. "You are on the battlefield in a culture war," he'll say, urging his listeners to help serve as the "moral compass of America."

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