Monday, September 04, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 4, 2006

Iranian President Wants Talks, Annan Says
Ahmadinejad Refuses to Suspend Enrichment First

By Nasser Karimi
Associated Press
Monday, September 4, 2006; A14

TEHRAN, Sept. 3 -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants negotiations on Iran's nuclear program but won't halt uranium enrichment ahead of talks, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Sunday after meeting with the Iranian leader.

Annan's two-day visit to Tehran comes after Iran ignored a United Nations deadline to halt uranium enrichment by the end of August, opening the door to possible sanctions.

"On the nuclear issue, the president reaffirmed to me Iran's preparedness and commitment to hold negotiations" with Western powers to find a solution to the impasse over the country's nuclear program, Annan said at a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

However, Ahmadinejad "reiterated that he did not accept suspension before negotiations," the U.N. chief said, conveying Iran's rejection of a condition set by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.


The Washington Post

Attacking Inequality
Tax Reform Has the Greatest Potential To Narrow the Gap

By Sebastian Mallaby
Monday, September 4, 2006; A19

By now almost everyone agrees that inequality is serious. Economic growth no longer seems to help the majority of workers; the proceeds flow to the top fifth or so of the workforce, and the top within the top has done especially handsomely. But the tough debate is what to do about this trend. The surprising answer is: tax reform.

Start with a few other proposals. Trade protection could help workers in the heavily traded manufacturing sector by shielding them from competitive pressure on their wages. But the cost to economic growth would be severe, and even if you don't care about growth, protectionism is a blunt tool for reducing inequality. Many of the poorest U.S. workers are employed in non-traded service jobs -- hotel workers, retail workers and so on. These workers benefit from trade, which puts little downward pressure on their
wages but a lot of downward pressure on the price of goods they purchase.


The Washington Post

White House Fights Race-Based Admissions Policies

By Charles Lane
Monday, September 4, 2006; A17

The Bush administration is siding with opponents of public school policies that assign students by race to some K-12 institutions, in the most important affirmative-action-related Supreme Court case since the justices upheld some forms of race-conscious admissions for higher education in 2003.

At issue are programs in Louisville and Seattle, which seek to ensure that the student bodies of public schools reflect the cities' ethnic composition. White parents have challenged the policies in court, arguing that their children were denied admission to their preferred schools because of race.

In briefs filed at the court on Aug. 21, the administration argued that such race-conscious assignment is just as unconstitutional as the racial segregation struck down 52 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education .


The Washington Post

The U.S. Edge In Education

By Richard H. Brodhead
Monday, September 4, 2006; A19

Even as they welcome students back to campus, our country's colleges and universities are deluded by their own historical excellence, and their many contributions to U.S. strength may be eroding. That, at least, is how a special commission of the U.S. Education Department sees it.

The critique by the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education was issued last month. It said that that while America's colleges and universities have "been the envy of the world for many years," they are no longer training the educated workforce needed to win in a global economy. In its unkindest cut, the report suggested that U.S. higher education may be -- dread phrase! -- a "mature enterprise": risk-averse, self-satisfied, self-indulgently expensive, oblivious to smarter rivals overtaking us.

I don't take such critiques lightly. But because they are often based on a view of Asia as our emerging competitive rival, let me share my own experience traveling to four Asian countries this summer.


The New York Times

September 4, 2006

Senator Backs the War in Iraq and Rumsfeld in a TV Debate

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 - Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, one of the most endangered Republican incumbents in the Senate, defended the war in Iraq on Sunday as a war of "necessity," not choice, arguing that it was a central part of "this broad war" against "Islamic fascism."

In a debate on "Meet the Press" on NBC, Mr. Santorum also praised the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and President Bush. Asked if he would join calls for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, Mr. Santorum said that the defense secretary had "done a fine job" and that the nation faced foes "much more potent than I think anybody ever anticipated."

Mr. Santorum's Democratic opponent, Bob Casey Jr., the Pennsylvania state treasurer, called him a "rubber stamp" for the Bush administration and said he had failed to hold Mr. Bush accountable for the conduct of the war.

"When you have two politicians in Washington who agree 98 percent of the time, one of them's really not necessary," said Mr. Casey, alluding to Mr. Santorum's voting record. "We could have a machine have that kind of vote."


The New York Times

September 4, 2006

Sudan Says African Force Must Leave
Filed at 4:17 a.m. ET

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- Sudan said Monday that the African Union has no right to transfer its peacekeeping mission in Darfur to the United Nations and must withdraw its troops from the western region by month's end.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jamal Ibrahim said that the AU had indicated that it could not continue its presence in Darfur beyond Sept. 30.

''If they are unable to continue with their assignment in Darfur beyond Sept. 30, then they have to leave before that date. At the same time, they have no right to transfer this assignment to the U.N. or any other body. This right rests only with the government of the Sudan,'' he said.

The government on Thursday rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution for the deployment of a 20,000-strong U.N. force in Darfur.


The Washington Post

Iraq Cites Arrest of a Top Local Insurgent
Officials Call Detainee No. 2 in Al-Qaeda Group

By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 4, 2006; A01

BAGHDAD, Sept. 3 -- U.S. and Iraqi forces have captured a top al-Qaeda leader who ordered the bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine in Samarra that triggered a wave of ferocious sectarian killings, Iraqi officials said Sunday.

The arrest of Hamed Jumaa Faris Juri al-Saeidi, described by Iraqi officials as the No. 2 leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was the latest in a series of blows to the Sunni Arab insurgent group, believed responsible for numerous suicide attacks on civilians and other deadly violence. The group's former leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed by U.S. forces in June and replaced by Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

"The al-Qaeda organization in Iraq has been seriously weakened and is now suffering from a leadership vacuum," Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, said at a news conference. Twenty senior al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters have been captured or killed based on information from Saeidi since his arrest within the past few weeks, Iraqi officials said.