Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 2-22-2008

The latest news onTurkish troops into Iraq, Campaign-Republican, Campaign-Democrats, Prison release, Homeowners, Human diversity, Serbia-Kosovo, Kenya, China-Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Rendition Flights, Satellite shootdown, and Selected Op-Eds.

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Turkish troops into Iraq. Turkish troops enter north Iraq "Turkish ground forces have rolled across the border into northern Iraq to target Kurdish rebels said to be sheltering there," Turkey Launches Ground Operation in Iraq "Turkish troops launched a ground incursion across the border into Iraq in pursuit of separatist Kurdish rebels, -- a move that dramatically escalates Turkey's conflict with the militants." Turkish ground troops enter Iraq "The military said its forces launched the cross-border land offensive backed by fighter jets on Thursday night."

Campaign-Republican. McCain on lobbyist: No affair, no special help "Sen. John McCain adamantly denied having an affair nine years ago with a Washington lobbyist and his presidential campaign sought to use the furor over the insinuation of one in a New York Times story to shore up his standing with conservatives and raise campaign cash." McCain story proves incendiary among journalists, conservatives "A controversial New York Times story accusing Sen. John McCain of an untoward relationship with a Washington lobbyist set off a furor among readers and journalists, and seemed to unify conservative commentators around the presumptive Republican presidential nominee." McCain allegations trigger political, journalistic firestorms "The New York Times triggered twin political and journalistic firestorms by raising questions about the relationship between McCain, who's cultivated an image of moral rectitude and political independence," McCain disputes report of lobbyist relationship "Sen. John McCain said a New York Times report questioning his personal and professional relationship with a female lobbyist is "not true," even as the article gave conservatives a reason to rally with Mr. McCain against the newspaper."

Campaign-Democrats. Democrats go toe to toe in Texas "Barack Obama defended his presidential campaign style as more than just inspirational, and Hillary Clinton got a mixed reaction when she told a debate audience that her rival's use of borrowed oratory makes his call for change as genuine as a Xerox copy." Clinton vs. Obama: a few sharp exchanges, but they mostly agree "Their clashes came mid-way through the debate. Until then it appeared the two might stage a 90 minute love-fest, emphasizing how much they agree with each other on most everything" Obama deflects Clinton's jabs "Facing what many view as a dream candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton set out night to prove the point -- that Barack Obama is just a dream." Debate Takes On Contentious Air for Democrats"After the 90 minute face-off was over, it was not clear that Mrs. Clinton, in the toughest position of the campaign for her, had done enough to change the course of the contest."

Prison release. Crack Offenders Set for Release Mostly Nonviolent, Study Says "Most of the more than 1,500 crack cocaine offenders who are immediately eligible to petition courts to be released from federal prisons under new guidelines issued by the U.S. Sentencing Commission are small-time dealers or addicts who are not career criminals and whose charges did not involve violence or firearms."

Homeowners. Rescues for Homeowners in Debt Weighed "Prodded in part by some of the nation's biggest banks, the Bush administration and Congress are considering costly new proposals for the government to rescue hundreds of thousands of homeowners whose mortgages are higher than the value of their houses."

Human diversity. DNA studies map human migration "Scrutinizing the DNA of 938 people from 51 distinct populations around the world, geneticists have created a detailed map of how humans spread from their home base in sub-Saharan Africa to populate the farthest reaches of the globe over the last 100,000 years." Genetic Mutations Offer Insights on Human Diversity "The findings -- the latest dividend from the world's investment in the Human Genome Project in the 1990s -- confirm a broad narrative of human history known from previous biological, archaeological and linguistic studies."

Serbia-Kosovo. U.S. Embassy in Belgrade Overrun "A rampaging crowd of several hundred Serb demonstrators, incensed by the U.S. recognition of Kosovo's independence, overran and burned part of the American Embassy in the Serbian capital of Belgrade." Fear dominates in Kosovo "Since the Serbian province declared independence Sunday, ethnic Serbs have gone to the streets to vent peacefully. Other protests have turned ugly and, in one case, deadly." Rioters attack U.S. Embassy in Serbian capital "As police looked on, one of the protesters climbed to the second floor of the embassy, tore down the American flag, set it on fire and hung a Russian flag in its place." Serb politicians warn of further violence "The storming of the US embassy in Belgrade could be a prelude for a crackdown against moderates,"

Kenya. Deal to Share Power in Kenya Appears in Reach "Kenya's rival political parties have nearly completed a deal to end the crisis that has kept this country on edge for almost two months, with the government agreeing to create a prime minister position," AU head urges Kenya peace deal "The African Union Commission chairman has urged Kenya's government and opposition to reach an agreement to end weeks of post-election violence. Jean Ping said he hoped for a deal next week. Earlier, there was hope that the rivals would end their talks on Friday." Warnings of further violence in Kenya "Mediators today kept up the pressure on Kenya's rival factions to share power amid warnings of a fresh outbreak of violence in the absence of an agreement."

China-Sudan. China defends arms sales to Sudan "China has defended its sale of weapons to Sudan, amid growing criticism of its alleged failure to help resolve the humanitarian crisis in Darfur."

Iraq . Sadr tells militia to extend truce "Radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr today ordered his Mahdi militia to extend a unilateral cease-fire by six months, a move welcomed by U.S. officials who say the truce has contributed to a drop in sectarian violence." Sadr declares new Iraq ceasefire "In a statement the US military said the truce extension would allow security forces to focus on combating al-Qaeda." Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites work together, distrustfully "The rivalry illustrates the difficulties the U.S. military faces as it tries to duplicate in religiously mixed regions of Iraq a strategy that produced a dramatic turnaround in Anbar, an overwhelmingly Sunni province."

Iran. UN Introduces Iran Nuclear Sanctions "Britain and France formally introduced a Security Council resolution calling for a third round of sanctions against Iran over its failure to suspend uranium enrichment." Security Council Weighs New Sanctions on Iran "The Security Council began formal consideration of a new resolution on Iran's nuclear program that imposes restrictions on cargo to and from Iran, travel bans, the freezing of assets for people involved in the program and tightened monitoring of Iranian financial institutions."

Syria. Sanctions on Businessman Target Syria's Inner Sanctum "The Bush administration froze the U.S. assets and restricted the financial transactions of Syrian businessman Rami Makhluf, a powerful behind-the-scenes middle man for the Syrian government, in a move targeting the political and economic inner sanctum in Damascus."

Pakistan. Pakistan's Rival Opposition Parties Agree to Form Governing Coalition "Pakistan's victorious opposition parties agreed to form a governing coalition in the newly elected Parliament, signaling a break from past political rivalries and imposing a fresh challenge to President Pervez Musharraf," Plan to reinstate Pakistan's judges will isolate Musharraf "Pakistan's main opposition parties, victorious in Monday's elections, announced that they'll work together to form a coalition government and that they've agreed that dozens of judges purged by President Pervez Musharraf should be reinstated." Pakistan Shift Could Curtail Drone Strikes "American officials reached a quiet understanding with Pakistan's leader last month to intensify secret strikes against suspected terrorists by pilotless aircraft launched in Pakistan,

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