Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 3-18-2008

The latest news on Economy, Race & Politics, New York governor, Religious right, Iraq, Americans in Canada, Tibet, Pakistan, Iran, and Opinion.

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Economy. Fed likely to stay on offensive "The Federal Reserve is poised to aggressively lower interest rates again Tuesday, perhaps by as much as 1 percent, as it continues its efforts to ease a major credit crunch and serve as a virtual safety net for investment bankers." Crises of Confidence in the Markets "Investors dumped stocks of the nation's major investment firms yesterday after a rescue plan for one of the biggest, Bear Stearns, exposed unexpectedly large cracks in the foundation of the financial system." Critics say Bush is out of touch on the economy "Many of Bush's Republican allies were pointedly silent as the president and Paulson tried to avert a larger financial meltdown. Democrats, on the other hand, pressed their advantage, arguing that the administration is more responsive to a crisis that hits Wall Street than one that hits Main Street."

Race & Politics. Obama readies speech on race "Sen. Barack Obama , confronting ongoing questions about inflammatory sermons delivered by his former pastor, announced he will deliver a "major address" on race and politics in Philadelphia in an attempt to move beyond the controversy." Congregation Defends Obama's Ex-Pastor "The Rev. Jeremiah Wright spent 36 years teaching this congregation how to recognize injustice, and his parishioners sense it all around them now. On Sunday, more than 3,000 of them filled Trinity United Church of Christ on the city's South Side to pray for their former pastor."

New Yorkgovernor. New Governor for New York, Pledging Unity"Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson ascended to New York's highest office on Monday, pledging civility and unity in government to an enthusiastic and palpably relieved gathering of state lawmakers and officials."

Religious right. Flocking to the right "Evangelical Protestants don't have a monopoly on the religious right. Conservative Catholics belong there, too, said Deal W. Hudson, author of a new book on the political power of evangelicals and Catholics."

Iraq. Bombing Kills 43 in Shiite Holy City in Iraq"The explosion, the deadliest attack in Karbala in nearly a year, overshadowed a Baghdad visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, who met with Iraqi and American leaders and extolled what he described as "phenomenal" security improvements in the country." Cheney Visits Baghdad and Praises War Effort; Bomb Kills 40 in Karbala "As the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq neared, Vice President Cheney flew unannounced into Baghdad and declared the U.S. effort to install democracy and stabilize Iraq a "successful endeavor" that has been "well worth the effort." Iraq war has transformed tech-savvy U.S. military "Instead of planning for quick, decisive battles against other nations, as it was five years ago, today's American military is planning for protracted, nuanced conflicts with terrorist groups, insurgents, guerrillas, militias and other shadowy forces that seldom stand and fight."

Americans in Canada. Beyond the Border of War: In Canada, Deserters Find an Uncertain Haven" Across Canada, the remnants of a lost counterculture are rising up again as hundreds of aging draft dodgers reluctantly leave the quiet comforts of their anonymous lives to help an estimated 200 Iraq war deserters who fled north with no promise of asylum."

Tibet. Chinese premier accuses Dalai Lama over Tibet violence"The Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, today ramped up government attacks on the Dalai Lama, accusing followers of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of orchestrating riots in Lhasa in order to sabotage the Beijing Olympics." Simmering Resentments Led to Tibetan Backlash"To many Tibetans and their sympathizers, the weeklong uprising against Chinese rule in Lhasa reflects years of simmering resentment over Beijing's interference in Buddhist religious rites, its tightened political control and the destruction of the environment across the Himalayan territory the Tibetans consider sacred." Years of grievances erupt into rage "Public schools Tibetans attend give short shrift to the Tibetan language, emphasizing Chinese instead. Ethnic Chinese hold most jobs, and Tibetan civil servants can be fired if their homes contain the traditional Buddhist shrine: a Buddha statue with incense sticks in front. Portraits of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader who has been in exile since 1959, are prohibited."

Pakistan. New Pakistan parliament sworn in "A new parliament dominated by foes of President Pervez Musharraf was inaugurated Monday, ushering in what is likely to be a concerted effort to curtail the near-total powers of the Pakistani leader." Pakistan's new leaders declare 'last day of dictatorship' "Pakistan's newly elected National Assembly met for the first time and delivered an immediate rebuff to Pervez Musharraf, setting up a head-on clash between the elected assembly and the unpopular U.S.-backed president."

Iran. Incentives package prepared for Iran "The United States and four other veto-wielding states on the U.N. Security Council are preparing a package of incentives aimed at Iran's newly elected parliament in hopes of ending the country's uranium-enrichment program - the main impediment to improved ties between Iran and the West."


The Street on Welfare (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post) "Never do I want to hear again from my conservative friends about how brilliant capitalists are, how much they deserve their seven-figure salaries and how government should keep its hands off the private economy."

The Bailout Artists (David Brooks, New York Times) "In normal times, the free market works well. But in a potentially disastrous financial crisis like this one, few are willing to sit back and let the market find its own equilibrium."

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