Daily News Digest

By Duane Shank 3-20-2008

The latest news on Iraq war President, Iraq war-antiwar, Iraq-Military, Iraq-politics, McCain in Israel, Death penalty, Farm bill and hunger, Katrina, Tibet, Chad, and Pakistan.

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Iraq war - President. Bush defends Iraq war as worth it; Democrats disagree "President Bush declared that "the successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable" as he gave a rousing defense of the war on its fifth anniversary before a receptive but not overwhelmingly enthusiastic Pentagon audience." On War's Anniversary, Bush Cites Progress "President Bush sought to convince a skeptical public that the United States is on the cusp of winning the war in Iraq, arguing in a speech at the Pentagon that the recent buildup of U.S. forces has stabilized that country and "opened the door to a major strategic victory in the war on terror." Bush says 'America can and must win' Iraq war "Five years into a costly war in Iraq that has lost the support of the majority of Americans, President Bush insisted that "this is a fight America can and must win."

Iraq war-antiwar . Protests mark Iraq war's 5th anniversary "Entrances to the Internal Revenue Service were blocked by "war crime-scene" tape. Traffic couldn't pass through parts of downtown. And families sightseeing near the White House shielded their children from a demonstration against torture." Cries Against War Sparse But Fierce "Yesterday's 12-hour protest of the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war created only minor disruptions across Washington and appeared to have been among the smallest such demonstrations in the city since the war began." Iraq war protesters make selves heard in Chicago "The downtown protest was one of many across the Chicago area and the nation against and in support of U.S. military involvement in Iraq." Faiths join in prayers for peace "At the front of the church sat 40 empty chairs, one for every 100 American troops lost in Iraq. In the pews sat people of diverse faiths. They shared their traditions, closed their eyes and prayed for peace."

Iraq-military. Pentagon divided on Iraq strategy "inside the Pentagon, turmoil over the war has increased. Top levels of the military leadership remain divided over war strategy and the pace of troop cuts. Tension has risen along with concern over the strain of unending cycles of deployments." In Mosul, New Test of Rebuilt Iraqi Army "American officials acknowledge that Iraqi methods often deviate from standard military doctrine but say that even rough-hewn tactics are more acceptable than the prospect of an indefinite, if more professional, occupying force. "

Iraq-politics. Iraqi Council Ends Objection to Election Law "A member of Iraq's Presidency Council, whose objections had blocked a law calling for provincial elections by October, withdrew his objections in a sudden turnaround that raised hopes for long-sought political progress." Iraqi Council Clears Key Legislation on Provincial Elections "Iraq's three-member presidential council approved legislation that sets a time frame for provincial elections, a development that Iraqi lawmakers called an important step toward reconciling rival factions in the divided government."

McCain in Israel. McCain visits besieged Israeli town "The all-but-certain Republican nominee for the White House stopped in Israel during a seven-day overseas trip to affirm his friendship with the Jewish state and his solidarity with its most besieged citizens." McCain Visits Israeli Town That Rockets Often Strike "Mr. McCain's visit to Sderot - a town near Gaza that has been hit by more than 2,000 rockets in the past four years and where siren warnings are common and concrete rocket shelters are proliferating - came in the middle of what was officially a Senate fact-finding trip." McCain promotes Mideast peace talks but avoids sit-down with Palestinians "With the Republican presidential nomination virtually assured at home, Sen. John McCain sought to demonstrate his diplomatic acumen in the Middle East on Wednesday by promoting Israeli talks with moderate Palestinian leaders as the best route to peace."

Death penalty. Blacks Were Improperly Kept Off La. Jury, High Court Rules "The Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a Louisiana death row inmate, ruling that a prosecutor improperly excluded African Americans from the jury in what he had called his "O.J. Simpson case."

Farm bill and hunger. Tied-up farm bill leaves food pantries struggling "The growing number of hungry Ohioans may not know it, but their fates are tied to a colossal farm bill lingering in Congress. Passage of the long-awaited bill, which includes millions in aid for food pantries, cannot come soon enough."

Katrina. Katrina help rare in campaigns "The government's ineptitude in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is a good red meat applause line for the Democratic presidential hopefuls, but the residents still sifting through broken lives in Mississippi and Louisiana stopped waiting for help from politicians long ago."

Tibet. China admits spread of protests "China has acknowledged for the first time that anti-government protests have spread outside Tibet, and announced arrests following the riots in Lhasa." China steps up Tibet crackdown "officials said 24 people had been arrested after demos in the Tibetan city of Lhasa, and 170 protesters had surrendered to authorities."

Chad. Chad peace force 'to shoot back' "The head of the European peace force in Chad has told the BBC that his troops will return fire if rebels attacked any refugee camps under its protection."

Pakistan. Radical Islamists no longer welcome in Pakistani tribal areas "The tribes no longer are willing hosts to the foreign fighters, local jihadis and criminal warlords who hold sway over parts of the Pashtun tribes' mountain homeland. They've become tired and infuriated by the bloodshed, coercion and suffering that radical Islam has brought to their lives."

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