Saturday, December 01, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 1, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Congress Pushes Controls Over Marianas

December 1, 2007
Filed at 6:50 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress is trying again to exert more control over theNorthern Marianas, this time minus the interference of jailed lobbyist JackAbramoff, who for years dissuaded lawmakers from tinkering with the troubledPacific islands.

Legislation that could clear the House in December would apply federalimmigration and labor rules to the U.S. Commonwealth of The Northern MarianaIslands, which in the past three decades of local control has been taintedwith charges of sweatshop and human trafficking abuses.

The bill is opposed by commonwealth Gov. Benigno Fitial, who says it ignoresrecent improvements in labor standards and could cripple attempts to revivethe islands' depressed economy.

Over the past decade lawmakers have introduced several dozen billsaddressing the Northern Marianas' immigration and labor practices and itsright to use ''Made in the USA'' labels on garments made in factoriesemploying poorly paid, poorly treated Chinese, Philippine and other Asianworkers.

The lawmakers have little to show for their efforts. The lack of success waspartly the work of Abramoff, now serving a six-year prison term on unrelatedfraud charges.

more . . . . .


Romney Fights Back in Iowa, N.H.

December 1, 2007
Filed at 6:41 a.m. ET

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) -- Republican Mitt Romney, his once-strong leadsevaporated in Iowa and fragile in New Hampshire, faces a dual threat as thefirst voting nears -- Mike Huckabee on his right in Iowa and Rudy Giulianion his left in the Northeast.

The former Massachusetts governor is responding by fiercely assailingHuckabee's record on immigration and taxes while equating Giuliani withDemocrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Romney said Friday that Huckabee was guilty of ''raising taxes time andagain. He raised sales taxes, gasoline taxes, grocery taxes, even taxes onnursing home beds.'' Romney also noted anew that the ex-governor of Arkansassupported giving in-state tuition breaks to illegal immigrants.

Turning to Giuliani, the former New York mayor, Romney said, ''It would bevery difficult for our party to win the White House if our nominee was sosimilar to Hillary Clinton on abortion, on same-sex civil unions, on guns,on sanctuary cities and on a record of ethical lapses -- and I'm referringto the Bernie Kerik matter.''

The twin challenges confronting Romney -- and his willingness toaggressively confront them in the homestretch -- underscore the volatilityof the nomination race five weeks before voting begins. He has yet to runnegative TV or radio ads; his aides are weighing whether to do so.

more . . . . .


Clinton Adviser Was on Air at GOP Debate

December 1, 2007
Filed at 6:44 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- CNN is calling its Republican presidential debate a roaringsuccess, despite a flap over one on-air questioner who turned out to be anadviser to Hillary Clinton.

''The realty is, the questions are the heart of the debate, and thequestions were great,'' said David Bohrman, CNN's Washington bureau chief,who produced the debate. ''The answers, by and large, were great, too.''

Even so, CNN was caught by surprise when one participant in the open-forumevent turned out to be a member of a steering committee of gays and lesbiansfor Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

During the CNN/YouTube Debate, aired Wednesday from St. Petersburg, Fla.,Keith Kerr of Santa Rosa, Calif., a retired Army colonel who served as abrigadier general in the reserves, asked the eight candidates about theirviews on gays in the military, and identified himself as gay.

In response, Republican candidates Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, John McCainand Duncan Hunter all said they supported the current ''don't ask, don'ttell'' policy.

more . . . . .


Presidential Race Turns a Negative Page

December 1, 2007
Filed at 6:46 a.m. ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP)-- Mitt Romney is the target, abortion is the issue,and the $100,000 ad buy will change the tone of the Iowa and New Hampshirepresidential primaries.

This weekend marks the first negative TV advertising in the two early-votingstates as the campaign headed into the critical weeks before the firstvoting, with an independent group's claim that the former Massachusettsgovernor has flip-flopped -- a sometimes crippling charge in presidentialpolitics. Analysts say similar negative ads are likely against his chief GOPrival, Rudy Giuliani, whose positions on gun control and immigration aremarkedly different from those he espoused as New York mayor.

The anti-Romney ad campaign, by a Republican group that supports abortionrights, is fairly modest in scope. But it may open the door to bigger adbuys targeting other candidates and topics, several campaign veterans said.

''This will be the beginning of it,'' said Patrick Griffin, aManchester-based advertising executive who handled President Bush's 2000media effort in New Hampshire.

Given the pending ad against Romney and the confrontational tenor ofWednesday's Republican debate in Florida, Griffin said, the top campaignsmust be ready to launch hard-hitting ads the instant they decide thebenefits outweigh the risks. ''You can be sure there are scripts writtenand, very likely, spots produced,'' he said.

more . . . . .


Gay Question Puts CNN on Defensive

November 30, 2007

The president of CNN said yesterday that the cable channel would redoubleits efforts to vet the campaign affiliations of questioners at open-forumdebates, after a retired brigadier general was permitted Wednesday to askthe Republican presidential candidates about gay men and lesbians in themilitary without CNN's knowing that he was listed on an advisory committeeof Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign.

"I think it's pretty obvious, in retrospect, our search should have turnedthis up," Jon Klein, the president of CNN's domestic networks, said in aninterview. "It's in the nature of doing something that hasn't been donebefore - you're going to try to anticipate everything, and you're going tofail at that.

"Had we known ahead of time," Mr. Klein added, "we would probably not haveused his question. It raised too many flags, in terms of motivation."

The retired general, Keith H. Kerr, was one of 5,000 people who had uploadedvideos of themselves asking potential debate questions to YouTube, whichorganized the debate with CNN. Several dozen questions were selected foruse.

Mr. Klein said that a small group of producers had conducted basic searcheson the questioners picked as finalists, including whether they had madedonations to any presidential campaigns. There was no evidence Mr. Kerr had,Mr. Klein said.

more . . . . .


2007: A Year of Quiet Change
Politics and Religion Produce Strange Bedfellows. Familiar Faces Pass Fromthe Evangelical Scene. Without Great Drama Come Many Small Hints That'Change Is in the Air'

By Kevin Eckstrom
Religion News Service
Saturday, December 1, 2007; B09

History books are full of dates that mark seminal events: 1517, when MartinLuther nailed his 95 theses to the church door and launched the ProtestantReformation; or 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion.

Those boldface dates are preceded by less prominent but nonetheless decisivetimes: 1516, when a Dominican named Johann Tetzel led the sale ofindulgences that deeply angered Luther; and 1970, when a young Texas womannamed Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) filed suit to obtain an abortion.

This year may be recorded as such a pivotal year for religion andpolitics -- relatively quiet, unremarkable at first glance, but nonethelesssignificant as a harbinger of things to come.

"There are a lot of discrete things, but if you put them all together, youget the sense that change is in the air," said John Green, a senior fellowat the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The realignment of the religious right is perhaps the biggest religion storyof 2007 and the one most likely to affect 2008. The religious right is farfrom dead but leaves the year significantly altered:

more . . . . .


Estimate of AIDS Cases In U.S. Rises
New Test Places the Rate Of Infection 50 Percent Higher

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 1, 2007; A01

New government estimates of the number of Americans who become infected withthe AIDS virus each year are 50 percent higher than previous calculationssuggested, sources said yesterday.

For more than a decade, epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention have pegged the number of new HIV infections each year at40,000. They now believe it is between 55,000 and 60,000.

The higher estimate is the product of a new method of testing blood samplesthat can identify those who were infected within the previous five months.With a way to distinguish recent infections from long-standing ones,epidemiologists can then estimate how many new infections are appearingnationwide each month or year.

The higher estimate is based on data from 19 states and large cities thathave been extrapolated to the nation as a whole.

The CDC has not announced the new estimate, but two people in direct contactwith the scientists preparing it confirmed it yesterday.

more . . . . .


Let's Unite Against HIV-AIDS

By Laura Bush
Saturday, December 1, 2007; A15

Today, a red ribbon hangs in front of the White House to mark World AIDSDay. It's a celebration of the progress we've made -- and a reminder to allAmericans that the AIDS epidemic is far from over.

Reports released this week contain disturbing news about AIDS in ourcountry. As new medicines allow people with HIV to enjoy normal lives, moreAmericans are becoming complacent, and infection rates among gay andbisexual men are rising. Here in our nation's capital, the virus is spreadincreasingly through heterosexual sex and is being diagnosed more frequentlyin women. A disproportionate number of those living with HIV in the Districtare African American, and HIV infection rates are higher here than anywhereelse in the country.

I've seen the personal side of this epidemic. I visited the first facilityin America to make HIV tests part of all routine medical screenings, HowardUniversity's federally supported Center for Infectious Disease Managementand Research (CIDMAR). When patients show up for physicals, treatment ofbroken bones, even for cosmetic surgery, they're offered HIV screening --and the vast majority choose to be tested.

CIDMAR also treats those living with HIV-AIDS. I met one of thesepatients -- and she defies every stereotype surrounding HIV-AIDS. Shedoesn't use drugs. She's not promiscuous. She's young, beautiful,well-educated. It was only because she tried to donate blood that shelearned she had HIV.

The diagnosis was devastating. With the care and guidance provided byCIDMAR, though, this young woman lives a normal, healthy life. She holds apublic-policy position here in Washington. She smiles often but still hassad eyes. Few besides her doctor know her secret, and she endures herstruggle virtually alone.

more . . . . .


When It Comes to AIDS, a Tale of Two Washingtons

By Jose Antonio Vargas
Sunday, December 2, 2007; B01

"Oh Jose, can you see?"

Josh sounded like his usual peppy self when he called not too long ago. Heasked me about the upcoming Jay-Z album -- "You buying it?" -- and wonderedwhen we'd hang out. I was in Kentucky on assignment, following John Edwardsaround in a rental car, a world away from Washington's ongoing AIDSepidemic. Still, it was good to hear Josh's voice.

Three weeks later, I got another call. This one was from Joseph's House, anAIDS care home in Adams Morgan.

Josh had died on Oct. 24, a month shy of his 24th birthday.

Joshua Murray was the first person I thought of when the District's HIV/AIDS Administration released a 120-page study last week declaring the city's AIDSproblem "a modern epidemic." The report was announced with great fanfare,earning headlines nationwide. Here's new information! Ring the alarm! Let'sget cracking!

more . . . . .


In Boca Raton, Rudy Giuliani discusses Iran, illegal immigration

By Josh Hafenbrack
December 1, 2007


Stumping in South Florida, Rudy Giuliani took a tough stance on Iran andvowed that, if elected president, he'd beef up border security to haltillegal immigration but also allow more people to come here legally.

The former New York City mayor, now seeking the Republican nomination forpresident, took a break from increasingly heated rhetoric with campaignrival Mitt Romney. Feisty exchanges between the two have dominated thecampaign in recent weeks, but Giuliani didn't mention any other candidatesduring nearly an hour on stage before a crowded ballroom at the Boca RatonMarriott.

Taking friendly questions from an enthusiastic audience, Giuliani talked upa global economy based on free-trade practices, promised to shrink the sizeof the federal government and reign in what he termed frivolous lawsuits.

He got some of his biggest applause with a hard stance on Iran and itsvolatile leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"We should stand up to Ahmadinejad, stand up to Iran and deliver a veryclear message to him and to the world," Giuliani said. "If you're going tothreaten us . if you're going to threaten the destruction of Israel, we'rejust not going to let you become a nuclear power.

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: