Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 11-15-2007

the latest news on Catholics and election, Evangelicals and election, Iraq war funding, Hunger in the US, Iraq politics, Pakistan, Head Start, SCHIP, Australia, Iran, Child labor, US military in Africa, Darfur, and selected Op-Eds.

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Catholics and election. Bishops issue guidelines for Catholic voters " Catholic voters who back candidates because of their support for abortion or other "assaults on human life" would be "guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil," according to a statement adopted Wednesday by U.S. Catholic bishops." Catholic bishops say voters' souls at stake "Bishops emphasized that voters must consider the church's teachings on abortion and other moral issues when they select a candidate for the White House or any other office. If they don't, bishops said, it's not clergy who will judge them but God." Catholic Bishops Offer Voting Guide, Allowing Some Flexibility on Issue of Abortion "The nation's Roman Catholic bishops approved principles intended to guide Catholics in choosing whom to vote for but leaving the door open for them to back candidates who support abortion rights." O'Malley draws line with Democrats on backing abortion "In his sharpest comments about the political landscape since he was installed as archbishop of Boston four years ago, O'Malley made clear that, despite his differences with the Republican Party over immigration policy, capital punishment, economic issues, and the war in Iraq, he views abortion as the most important moral issue facing policymakers."

Evangelicals and election. Evangelical flocks on their own at the polls "A fundamental shift is transforming the religious right, long a force in presidential politics, as aging evangelical leaders split on the 2008 race and a new generation of pastors turns away from politics altogether."

Iraq war funding. House Approves Bill Linking War Funds, Troop Withdrawals "The House yesterday approved a war funding bill that directs President Bush to withdraw most troops from Iraq by the end of next year, escalating a feud between the White House and congressional Democrats over spending priorities in wartime." House Passes $50B Iraq Withdrawal Bill "House Democrats pushed through a $50 billion bill for the Iraq war Wednesday night that would require President Bush to start bringing troops home in coming weeks with a goal of ending combat by December 2008."

Hunger in the US. Study: Over 35.5 Million Hungry in 2006 "More than 35.5 million people in this country went hungry in 2006 as they struggled to find jobs that can support them, a figure that was virtually unchanged from the previous year, the Agriculture Department said Wednesday." Food security static in U.S. About 11 percent of U.S. households worried about missing meals - or actually missed meals - last year, a level that is virtually unchanged from the previous year, the federal government said yesterday. Hunger not just a holiday problem "Hunger may be more noticeable at this time of year, but a new federal report released yesterday shows it's prevalent year-round. The average number of Ohio households that had "food insecurity" increased last year to 12.7 percent, from 10.9 percent the previous year."

Iraq politics. US sees military gains in Iraq, political impasse "With violence sharply down in Iraq and the U.S. military planning to reduce its forces to pre-surge levels by mid-2008, the focus has switched back to the inability of Iraq's Shi'ite- led government to reach an accommodation with former foes." Iraqis Wasting An Opportunity, U.S. Officers Say "Senior military commanders here now portray the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq, rather than al-Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias."

Pakistan. For Musharraf, quitting army may end support "The Pakistani military is the source of his power, and experts say that if and when he gives up his uniform, his influence will inevitably diminish, and his rule will be shaky." U.S. Is Looking Past Musharraf in Case He Falls"Bush administration officials are losing faith that the Pakistani president can survive in office and have begun actively discussing what might come next."

Head Start. Bill to Expand Head Start, Bolster Its Teacher Qualifications Is Approved "With two overwhelming votes, Congress approved a bill yesterday that would boost teacher qualifications in federally funded Head Start preschools, expand access to the program for children from low-income families and scrap a controversial system for testing 4-year-olds.

SCHIP. 8 Democrats Pose Hurdle for Children's Health Bill "Congressional efforts to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program have run into a new roadblock. Eight Democratic senators say they cannot support any compromise that limits their states' ability to cover parents along with children."

Australia. One week left to save PM's political skin "JOHN HOWARD has a week to engineer a dramatic shift in voter sentiment or suffer defeat at the ballot box, the latest Herald/Nielsen poll shows."

Iran. Reports to rate Iran nuclear compliance "The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog is expected to report this week that Iran has mostly cooperated with an investigation of its nuclear program's murky past, but that key questions remain unanswered, diplomats say." Get used to the Iranian bomb "The rhetoric coming out of both Washington and Jerusalem is similar: The leaders speak frequently about "strengthening the moderates" in the Middle East, as opposed to "the axis of evil." They talk about a promise to establish a Palestinian state in the territories and to take a determined stand against the Iranian nuclear bomb."

Child labor. Gap Takes Steps to Stem Child Labor "Gap Inc. is pulling 50 percent of its orders placed with a vendor whose subcontracting led to children sewing some of the retailer's clothes in squalid conditions in India."

US military in Africa. General defends Africa command "The head of U.S. Africa Command assured congressional leaders yesterday that a new military command structure in Africa is necessary to consolidate the Department of Defense's work on the continent,"

Darfur. U.N. Official Chafes at Governments' Inaction, Sudanese Obstruction on Darfur "The United Nations' top peacekeeping official said that a plan to send thousands of peacekeepers to Darfur to protect civilians may end in "failure" unless Sudan allows all non-African troops to participate and other governments provide the U.N. mission with more than 20 transport and attack helicopters." Darfur mission may fail, warns UN The joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission to Darfur may fail unless countries can provide helicopters and lorries, a top UN official says."


Front-Runners Who Can Still Be Tackled (George F. Will, Washington Post) "Americans say they are weary of political polarization and pugnacity. If so, the current situation in presidential politics is unstable: The leading Democratic and Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, are the most polarizing and pugnacious candidates, respectively. Hence Barack Obama and Mitt Romney might be stronger than national polls suggest."

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