Wednesday, April 09, 2008


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New York Times
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-Monks Disrupt Media Tour in China
BEIJING - Buddhist monks interrupted a government-managed media tour inwestern China on Wednesday, waving a Tibetan flag and protesting that theauthorities were depriving them of their human rights.

-In Justice Shift, Corporate Deals Replace Trials
WASHINGTON - In 2005, federal authorities concluded that a Monsantoconsultant had visited the home of an Indonesian official and, with theapproval of a senior company executive, handed over an envelope stuffed withhundred-dollar bills. The money was meant as a bribe to win looserenvironmental regulations for Monsanto's cotton crops, according to a courtdocument. Monsanto was also caught concealing the bribe with fake invoices.

-Anxious San Francisco Braces for Torch Protests
SAN FRANCISCO - The Olympic torch arrived at the airport here from Paris inthe wee hours Tuesday morning, exited out a side door and was escorted bymotorcade to a downtown hotel. There it took a well-deserved break in a roomcomplete with cable TV, room service and views of the city's popular UnionSquare shopping district.

-Calling Al Gore
Looking back at a week in which the most widely covered news to emerge fromthe campaign trail is that former presidents tend to write books and givespeeches for large amounts of money, and that campaign consultants whoundermine their boss' key policy positions for personal profit tend to befired, it may be worthwhile to consider where a Democratic primary basedmore on personal than ideological differences may eventually conclude.

-The Food Chain: As Prices Rise, Farmers Spurn Conservation
Out on the farm, the ducks and pheasants are losing ground.
Thousands of farmers are taking their fields out of the government's biggestconservation program, which pays them not to cultivate. They are spurningguaranteed annual payments for a chance to cash in on the boom in wheat,soybeans, corn and other crops. Last fall, they took back as many acres asare in Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

-Set to Return, Chief Justice Creates a Test for Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - After contradictory signals, and mounting pressurefrom the country's lawyers, the new democratic government appears poised toreinstate the Supreme Court chief justice who was dismissed by PresidentPervez Musharraf last year and recently freed from four months of housearrest.

Washington Post
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-Petraeus, Crocker Testify Before the House
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker returned toCongress this morning to urge House lawmakers to support a pause in troopwithdrawals from Iraq, a day after pleading with skeptical senators thatsuch a halt is necessary to consolidate security gains after five years ofwar.

-The Iran Problem
The language that Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker usedyesterday to describe the Iranian role in Iraq was extreme -- and telling.
They spoke of Tehran's "nefarious activities," its "malign influence" andhow it posed "the greatest long-term threat to the viability" of the Baghdadgovernment.

-Iraq Report Redux
The facts there have changed; the debate here, less so.
WHEN GEN. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker last testifiedbefore Congress in September, the military results of the U.S. troop surgein Iraq, though significant, were still so preliminary that much of thedebate centered on whether they were real. When the two men appeared againyesterday, the reduction of violence had been so great as to be undeniable.
Sen. Barack Obama, who predicted that the surge would not slow thebloodshed, was among the Democrats who acknowledged yesterday that it had.
Similarly, seven months ago, Gen. Petraeus and Mr. Crocker were hard-pressedto cite any movement by Iraqi leaders toward the political accords the surgewas supposed to facilitate; the best Mr. Crocker could do was to say he hadseen "seeds of reconciliation." Yesterday he was able to tick off a seriesof significant steps, including agreement on provincial elections that couldtransform Iraq's political landscape.

-China Uses Heavy Hand Even With Its Gadflies
SHANGHAI -- Zheng Enchong is a self-taught lawyer and a dogged human rightsactivist. In many countries, he would be considered a gadfly. But in Chinaduring this Olympic year, he is treated like a threat to national security.

Miami Herald
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-IRAQ WAR: Arrogance, indiscipline come down from the top
Return with me to Abu Ghraib. You remember it. You may not want to, but youdo. The Iraqi prison was the epicenter of an international scandal in 2004 when it was revealed that U.S. soldiers were mistreating detainees, forcing themto stand in stress positions, sexually humiliating them, menacing them withdogs, denying them clothes, dragging them on leashes, threatening them withelectrocution.

Fort Report
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-Candidates push policies at Petraeus hearings
Democrats, McCain clash on Iraq status
WASHINGTON - In a daylong grilling by senators demanding answers to theresolution of the US occupation in Iraq, the chief American commander therehad one absolute certainty even before he testified: One of his questionersis going to be the next president and will decide the fate of the Iraqmission.

-Obama gaining on Clinton in Pennsylvania: poll
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clintonleads Barack Obama by 6 points among likely Pennsylvania Democratic primaryvoters but he is chipping away at her lead, according to a QuinnipiacUniversity poll released on Tuesday.


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