Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 3-26-2008

The latest news on Supreme Court, Medicare, Money in politics, Immigrants, Global warming, Iraq, Tibet, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nuclear fuses to Taiwan, and Opinion.

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Supreme Court. Justices Rebuff Bush and World Court "The Supreme Court issued a broad ruling limiting presidential power and the reach of international treaties, saying neither President Bush nor the World Court has the authority to order a Texas court to reopen a death penalty case involving a foreign national." Supreme Court rules against Bush in death-row case "A 6-to-3 majority said the president can't order a state court to abide by an international court ruling."

Medicare. Medicare on fast track to fiscal ruin "Trustees for the government's two biggest benefit programs warned that Social Security and Medicare are facing "enormous challenges," with the threat to Medicare's solvency far more severe." Outlook Remains Bleak for 2 Programs"The Bush administration issued a grim report on Tuesday on the financial outlook for Medicare and Social Security, but said the condition of the programs had not significantly deteriorated since last spring."

Money in politics. Big money in politics "With eight months to go before the U.S. presidential election, the candidates have raised almost $1 billion to fund their campaigns -- more than the size of the economies of several African countries."

Immigrants. More clergy visits sought for those awaiting deportation "Citing cases of suicide and other spiritual distress, immigrant advocates and religious workers are pushing for more spiritual counseling to arrested immigrants awaiting deportation."

Global warming. Western Antarctic Ice Chunk Collapses "A chunk of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk," Giant Antarctic ice shelf breaks into sea"A vast hunk of floating ice has broken away from the Antarctic peninsula, threatening the collapse of a much larger ice shelf behind it, in a development that has shocked climate scientists."

Iraq. Iraqi leader issues ultimatum as clashes continue in Basra "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki called on gunmen to surrender today on the second day of clashes in the southern oil hub of Basra, as the fighting between Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias also continued in Baghdad and other cities." Iraqi leader orders militias to surrender weapons amid heavy fighting "Amid heavy clashes between government forces and Shiite Muslim militants in Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki issued an ultimatum demanding that the militias surrender their weapons within 72 hours." Iraqi Crackdown on Shiite Forces Sets Off Fighting"Heavy fighting broke out Tuesday in two of Iraq's largest cities, as Iraqi ground forces and helicopters mounted a huge operation to break the grip of the Shiite militias controlling Basra, and Iraqi forces clashed with militias in Baghdad."

Tibet. China seeks to contain ongoing Tibet unrest "China sought on Wednesday to contain ongoing protests in its ethnic Tibetan regions, as it stepped up detentions in Tibet's capital Lhasa and vowed tighter control over monasteries." Unrest at Shuttered Gateway to Tibet "Chengdu has always been a gateway to the remote Tibetan plateau, but now it feels like a border outpost, tense and anxious, at the eastern edge of what several Tibetans here described as a war."

Iran. Cheney disputes Iran's nuclear goals "Vice President Dick Cheney charged in an interview that Iran is trying to develop weapons-grade uranium, though international inspectors and U.S. intelligence services have not found evidence of such an effort."

Pakistan. Moderates Hold Key in Pakistan "One of the most significant results of Pakistan's elections in February was the defeat of the religious parties that ran this critical border province for the last five years."

Afghanistan. France may boost its Afghan force "Franceis expected to announce next week that it is nearly doubling its commitment of forces to the international deployment in Afghanistan, sending about 1,000 troops in the most concrete step yet by President Nicolas Sarkozy to support the U.S.-led campaign."

Nuclear fuses to Taiwan. Nuclear Parts Sent To Taiwan In Error "The Defense Department mistakenly shipped secret nuclear missile fuses to Taiwan more than 18 months ago and did not learn that the items were missing until late last week," U.S. mistakenly sent nuclear triggers to Taiwan "The U.S. military mistakenly shipped four nuclear-missile detonators to Taiwan in 2006, then failed to detect the error for more than a year, the Pentagon announced Tuesday."


Rev. Wright in a different light (William A. Von Hoene Jr., Chicago Tribune) "I have been a member of Trinity, a church with an almost entirely African-American congregation, for more than 25 years. I am, however, a white male. From a decidedly different perspective than most Trinitarians, I have heard Wright preach about racial inequality many times, in unvarnished and passionate terms.

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