Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 03-12-2008

The latest news on Governor resigns, Military commander resigns, President defends wars, Presidential campaign, Waterboarding veto upheld, Farm bill, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, and Features.

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Governor resigns. SPITZER RESIGNS "Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century." Eliot Spitzer resigns "New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned on Wednesday amid a scandal over a $1,000-an-hour prostitute, cutting short a career built on pugnacious investigations of Wall Street crimes."

Military commander resigns. U.S. commander in Mideast steps down "The resignation of Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command, comes at a crucial time -- a month before highly anticipated recommendations for the future of U.S. involvement in Iraq -- and amid a debate among top military commanders over American deployments in the region." U.S. military leader in Mideast resigns "Adm. William Fallon, who headed the U.S. Central Command, said recent news reports that showed him to be out of step with the Bush administration had become a distraction," Middle East commander resigned by phone from Iraq "Adm. William J. Fallon, the commander of all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, abruptly ended his nearly 42-year military career with a phone call from Iraq in which he asked to resign because of controversy caused by his criticism of the Bush administration's Iran policy." Pentagon denies Iran policy shift "The Pentagon also denied claims by leading Democrats that the resignation was a sign of White House attempts to stifle dissent." White House denies rift with Pentagon "The Bush administration today moved to downplay divisions within the Pentagon over its Iraq war strategy."

President defends wars . Citing Faith, Bush Defends War Actions "President Bush delivered a rousing defense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mixing faith and foreign policy as he told a group of Christian broadcasters that his policies in the region were predicated on the beliefs that freedom was a God-given right and "every human being bears the image of our maker." Bush presses allies for more help in Afghanistan " President Bush urged NATO allies to "make the hard decisions" necessary to secure peace in Afghanistan, where U.S. and allied forces have been fighting a resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda." Bush Moves to Bolster Support for U.S. War Effort "President Bush opened his latest drive to shore up support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, emphasizing the stakes in battles that, he said, pit the United States and its allies against a remorseless enemy with little regard for human life." Read the president's speech.

Presidential campaign. Obama Is Victorious in Mississippi "Sen. Barack Obama won the Mississippi Democratic presidential primary decisively last night, adding to his overall lead in delegates as he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton plunged into a six-week battle ahead of a showdown in Pennsylvania." Do Obama's 'red-state' wins matter for November? "Obama's primary victory in Mississippi raises a question: If a Democrat wins a Democratic primary in a Republican state, does it make a sound that can be heard in the fall?"

Waterboarding vetoupheld. House unable to override Bush's veto of waterboarding ban "House Democrats failed to override President Bush's veto of a ban on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, and they castigated the administration for subjecting prisoners to torture in the fight against terrorism."

Farm bill. Farm bill is extended until April "The Senate today extended current farm law for another month as talks over new legislation to extend and expand farm and nutrition programs stalled."

Gaza . Hamas-Israel deal would put Abbas' men at Gaza crossings "A deal being formulated between Israel, Egypt and Hamas involves deploying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' troops at the crossings with the Gaza Strip," Hamas sets out terms for ceasefireHamas demands "reciprocal, comprehensive and simultaneous" cessation of the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank."

Iran. Leader tells Iranians to back U.S. foes in vote "Iran's supreme leader implicitly endorsed hardliners seeking to tighten their grip on parliament by urging voters on Wednesday to shun candidates backed by Western "enemies" in Friday's election."

Iraq . Iraq Attacks Lower, but Steady, New Figures Show "Newly declassified statistics on the frequency of insurgent attacks in Iraq suggest that after major security gains last fall in the wake of an American troop increase, the conflict has drifted into a stalemate, with levels of violence remaining stubbornly constant from November 2007 through early 2008."

North Korea . U.S., N. Korea to Work Toward Ending Weapons Impasse "Top U.S. and North Korean diplomats will gather in Geneva tomorrow amid signs that the two sides, with the help of China, have structured a diplomatic framework that could resolve an impasse that has blocked a deal to end Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs."

Sudan . State Dept. Rights Report Calls Record of Sudan 'Horrific' "The State Department's annual survey of human rights practices around the world calls Sudan's record "horrific" and notes that countries where power is in the hands of unaccountable rulers are the most systematic violators of human rights standards." Sudan warns of 'another Iraq' "UN peacekeeping troops are heading for "another Iraq or Afghanistan disaster" in Darfur as long as talks between the government and rebel groups remain stalled and the US maintains its hostile stance, Sudanese officials and regional experts warned today."

Feature. Rev. Jim Wallis searches for old-time justice (Jane Lampman, Christian Science Monitor)"A movement happens, he says, when people change their minds about what is acceptable in the world, and have faith that what needs to be done is possible."

Feature on global poverty (Mark Lange, Christian Science Monitor)

Part 2 - Why so much aid for the poor has made so little difference Is poverty a problem of policy or destiny? Experts tend to pull in one of two directions. Some focus on the social fundamentals for prosperity. Others, on the technical and financial requirements for sustainable growth.

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