Friday, June 06, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - June 06, 2008

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-Protest Held Outside McCain Fundraiser
McCain Attends Fundraiser At St. Regis Fort Lauderdale Resort While presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain prepared to attend a fundraiser at the St. Regis Fort Lauderdale Resort, a small group of labor union members gathered outside to protest his proposed health care plan.

New York Times
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-Calif. clerks may issue same - sex licenses sooner
California officials say counties may begin issuing gender-neutral marriagelicenses the minute after a state Supreme Court order legalizing same-sexmarriage takes effect.

-Adviser Says McCain Backs Bush Wiretaps
The position appears to bring Senator John McCain into closer alignment withthe sweeping theories of executive power pushed by the Bush administration.

-Clinton Meets With Obama, and the Rest Is Secret
Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton pulled off a secret rendezvousThursday night, eluding camera crews and setting off a political scavengerhunt.

-Bush Overstated Evidence on Iraq, Senators Report
The report accuses President Bush and other top officials of overstating theIraqi threat in building the case for war.

-The Truth About the War
A new report shows clearly that President Bush should have known thatimportant claims he made about Iraq did not conform with intelligencereports.

-Combating Illegal Guns
The success of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign against illegal guns inNew York City provides a model for other jurisdictions.

-2 Leaders Ousted From Air Force in Atomic Errors
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made the decision after an inquiry intothe mishandling of nuclear weapons found systemic problems in the Air Force.

-Zimbabwe Said to Hold Tsvangirai
HARARE - Zimbabwean police on Friday detained opposition leader MorganTsvangirai for the second time this week after blocking him from reaching acampaign rally for the June 27 presidential run-off vote, his MDC partysaid. "(Party) president Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders were detainedagain in Umzingwane. They are being taken to Esigodini police station," saidNelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change.

-Justice Dept. Investigating Deportation to Syria
The Justice Department's ethics office is reviewing a decision in 2002 bydepartment officials to send a Canadian citizen to Syria, where he wastortured, American officials said Thursday. A Justice Department spokesman,Peter A. Carr, said that its inquiry, by the department's Office ofProfessional Responsibility, was begun in March 2007 and was examining therole of department lawyers in expelling Maher Arar to Syria, which has longbeen identified by the State Department as habitually using torture onprisoners. The existence of the Justice inquiry was disclosed at aCongressional hearing on Thursday by Richard L. Skinner, the inspectorgeneral of the Department of Homeland Security.

-Pakistan Tries to Assure Afghans Over Taliban Talks
Pakistan's foreign minister sought on Friday to allay Afghanistan's concernsthat peace talks with Pakistani Taliban would lead to more militant attackson the Afghan side of the border. "We will not engage with terrorists, wewill not compromise with terrorists. And those who would take up arms andguns are neither your friends nor our friends," Foreign Minister ShahMehmood Qureshi told a joint news conference in Kabul.
The United States and NATO commanders share doubts about Pakistan's proposedpeace pact with Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, basedin South Waziristan. NATO says Taliban attacks have jumped up along theborder areas since the start of talks in recent weeks.

-Zimbabwe Tells All Aid Groups to Halt Efforts
Zimbabwe's government has ordered all humanitarian aid groups to suspendtheir operations in the deeply impoverished nation, a prohibition thatrelief agencies estimate will deprive two million people of food aid andother basic assistance. The government had already barred CARE, one of theworld's largest aid groups, from providing humanitarian aid in the country,accusing it of siding with the political opposition before a presidentialrunoff this month. But Nicholas Goche, Zimbabwe's social welfare minister,greatly expanded the ban this week, applying it to all nongovernmentalorganizations working in a country where the economy is in shambles,unemployment has surpassed 80 percent and people are locked in anincreasingly desperate struggle to survive. As news of the government'sdecision leaked out Thursday, the police detained American and Britishdiplomats investigating political violence north of the capital and releasedthem only after a harrowing ordeal that included a six-mile car chase andthreats to burn the diplomats alive in their vehicle, American officialssaid.

-Turkey's High Court Overturns Headscarf Rule
Turkey's highest court dealt a stinging slap to the governing party of PrimeMinister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, ruling that a legal changeallowing women attending universities to wear head scarves wasunconstitutional. The Constitutional Court said in a brief statement thatthe change, proposed by Mr. Erdogan's party and passed by Parliament inFebruary, violated principles of secularism set in Turkey's Constitution.
The ruling sets the stage for a showdown between Turkey's secular elite -its military, judiciary and secular political party - and Mr. Erdogan, anobservant Muslim with an Islamist past. The court is one of Turkey's mostimportant secular institutions, and liberals see the ruling as largelypolitical. It bodes ominously for Mr. Erdogan: The same court is consideringa case that would ban him and 70 members of his party from politics. Adecision is expected in the summer.

-Obama Moves to Next Phase as Clinton Douses Talk of Ticket
Senator Barack Obama moved forcefully into the general election on Thursday,placing his stamp on the Democratic Party apparatus and holding a privatenighttime meeting with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in an effort to unifyDemocrats. A day after her campaign said she would end her quest for thepresidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton disavowed an effort by her supportersto pressure Mr. Obama into choosing her as his running mate. She said thatthey were acting on their own and that the decision was "Senator Obama's andhis alone." The meeting between the two former rivals in Washington wasinitiated by Mrs. Clinton after Mr. Obama spent the day in Virginia, a statesymbolic of his efforts to expand the Democratic reach.

-South Carolina to Offer Cross on Car Plates
South Carolina drivers will be the first in the nation to be offered license plates that carry the phrase "I Believe" and a Christian cross over a stained-glass window under a law that took effect on Thursday. Critics havethreatened to fight the law in court, saying the license plate represents an illegal state endorsement of religion.
The bill authorizing the plate passed the State House and Senate unanimously on May 22. It became law without the signature of Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, under the South Carolina Constitution. "While I do, in fact, 'believe,' it is my personal view that the largest proclamation of one's faith ought to be in how one lives one's life," Mr. Sanford wrote on Thursday in a letter to Glenn F. McConnell, president pro tem of the Senateand a fellow Republican.

-Unemployment Rate Hits 5.5%; Payrolls Shrink for Fifth Month
Employers shed 49,000 nonfarm jobs last month, and the jobless rate'ssurprising half-point surge signaled continuing weakness in the economy.

Washington Post
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-The 'Word' Is Out: It's Bad.
Science is not on my side (yet), but I insist there is some congenitaldefect in gays that prevents them from writing, directing and acting inhalfway decent movies about their own kind. I say this after years oftolerant, patient attendance at substandard gay-themed comedies and dramas.
As a result, there are no more chilling words than "gay film festival ."

-Africa's Messiah of Horror
A friend, the head of a major aid organization, tells how his workers ineastern Congo a few years ago chanced upon a group of shell-shocked womenand children in the bush. A militia had kidnapped a number of families andforced the women to kill their husbands with machetes, under the threat thattheir sons and daughters would be murdered if they refused. Afterward thewomen were raped by more than 100 soldiers; the children were spectators attheir own private genocide. This is ultimately the work and trademark of asingle man: Joseph Kony, the most carnivorous killer since Idi Amin. As themilitary and spiritual leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Kony is acombination of serial murderer and cult leader. He raises armies of capturedboys, who are often forced to kill their neighbors and engage in cannibalismto sever all their ties of community and conscience. Girls are kidnappedinto sexual and domestic slavery. Kony has a messiah complex -- all mustprostrate themselves in his presence -- but he is a messiah in reverse, whosheds his humanity instead of assuming it.

-What He Overcame By Eugene Robinson
There will be plenty of time to chart Barack Obama's attempt to navigate acourse between the exigencies of the old politics and the promise of thenew, between yesterday and tomorrow, youth and experience, black and white.
For now, take a moment to consider the mind-bending improbability of whatjust happened. A young, black, first-term senator -- a man whose father wasfrom Kenya, whose mother was from Kansas and whose name sounds as if itmight have come from the roster of Guantanamo detainees -- has won amarathon of primaries and caucuses to become the presumptive presidentialnominee of the Democratic Party. To reach this point, he had to do more thanoutduel the party's most powerful and resourceful political machine. He alsohad to defy, and ultimately defeat, 389 years of history.

-Pakistan's Worrisome Pullback
KABUL -- Relations between the U.S. military and the Pakistani army,critical allies in the "war on terror," are at their worst point since Sept.11, 2001, senior Western military officers and diplomats here say, asPakistani troops withdraw from several tribal areas bordering Afghanistanthat are home to Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders and thousands of theirfighters. Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, chief of the Pakistani army, has told U.S.military and NATO officials that he will not retrain or reequip troops tofight the counterinsurgency war the Americans are demanding on Pakistan'smountainous western border. Instead, the bulk of the army will remaindeployed on Pakistan's eastern border and prepare for possible conflictswith traditional enemy India -- wars that have always been fought on theplains of Punjab. More than 80 percent of the $10 billion in U.S. aid toPakistan since the Sept. 11 attacks has gone to the military; much of it hasbeen used to buy expensive weapons systems for the Indian front rather thanthe smaller items needed for counterinsurgency. There are also signs thatWashington is delaying delivery of U.S. arms meant for the eastern front andis asking Western allies to do the same.

-16 Tibet Monks Detained In Bombings, Beijing Says
Security forces in Tibet have arrested 16 Buddhist monks on charges ofplanning or carrying out separatist bombings that authorities said wereinspired by propaganda from the Dalai Lama, the New China News Agencyreported Thursday. The arrests, which the official agency said took place inMay, refocused attention on Tibet after nearly a month during which thedevastating earthquake in Sichuan province has dominated news from China andeclipsed a still-intense security crackdown in the restive mountain region.
Since rioting March 14 in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, security forces havearrested scores of Tibetans, many of them monks, and sentenced them toprison on charges including arson, murder and inciting subversion againstthe state. In addition, thousands of monks have been forced to undergo whatauthorities call "patriotic education," designed to inspire loyalty toBeijing's rule and discourage support for the Dalai Lama and his exile groupin India.

The Sun-Sentinel
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-9/11 suspects defiant before Guantanamo tribunal
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and others say they want the death penalty in order to become martyrs, and they reject U.S. defense lawyers. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and others say they want the death penalty in orderto become martyrs, and they reject U.S. defense lawyers.,0,5129255.story

-Gates ousts Air Force leaders in historic shake-up
Defense Secretary Robert Gates ousted the Air Force's top military and civilian leaders Thursday, holding them to account in a historic Pentagon shake-up after embarrassing nuclear mix-ups. Gates announced at a news conference that he had accepted the resignations of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne -- a highly unusual double firing.,0,602776.story

Miami Herald
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-Clinton acting not too vice-presidential
Hillary Clinton talked her way out of the vice presidency on Tuesday night.
Barack Obama may never have intended to make her the offer. But Clinton'slargely self-focused nonconcession speech suggested that what some call adream ticket could turn into a nightmare. Clinton did declare it an''honor'' to have Obama as an opponent and ''to call him my friend,'' butshe made no acknowledgement of the historic nature of her opponent'sachievement. Democrats, once the party most associated with slavery andsegregation, had just taken the decisive step of making Obama the firstAfrican American to be a major-party nominee for president. But Obama wasnot really on Clinton's radar. By contrast, Obama offered a lengthy tributeto Clinton and ''her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency.'' Hepraised Bill Clinton's successes in office. And in a graceful notehighlighting one of Hillary Clinton's many honorable passions, he declaredthat when universal healthcare is achieved, ``she will be central to thatvictory.''

-Mexico asks World Court to stay US executions
Mexico appealed to the U.N.'s highest court Thursday to block the executionsof Mexicans in the United States, arguing that U.S. officials have failed tocomply with a judgment ordering a review of their trials. The InternationalCourt of Justice said Mexico asked the court for an ''interpretation'' of anearlier ruling to clarify its meaning when it asked the U.S. to ''review andreconsider'' the cases of the condemned prisoners. Until that can be done,Mexico said the United States ''must take any and all steps necessary'' toensure that none of its citizens is executed, and asked the court to takeurgent measures to intercede. The court, informally known as the WorldCourt, ruled in 2004 that the convictions of some 50 Mexicans on death rowaround the United States violated the 1963 Vienna Convention, which providesthat people arrested abroad can have access to their home country's consularofficials.

Pew Research center
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-Hispanic Unemployment Rises Sharply
The latest economic slowdown has had a disproportionate impact on Latinoworkers. From a historic low in late 2006, the unemployment rate for Latinosrose sharply in 2007 and currently stands well above the rate fornon-Latinos. Read more

-Primary Wrap-Up: Obama Controversies Registered Widely
Of nearly 40 campaign events that have been measured, Obama's relationshipwith his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright remains the most widely heardabout campaign story. A News Interest Index report finds that Obama hasclearly been the dominant figure in the campaign thus far, both in terms ofpress coverage and public visibility. Read more

-Obama Backers Cool to Clinton as Running Mate
While a majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters (53%) favor aso-called "Dream Ticket," fully 54% of Obama supporters do not want Clintonchosen as his running mate. Read more

-Democratic Party's Favorables Rise; GOP and Congress Still Unpopular
While opinion of the Republican Party (39% favorable) remains at a historiclow, favorable views of the Democratic Party have risen to 57%. Attitudestoward the Democratic-led Congress, however, remain very negative. Read moreIraq and the Election

-The Iraq Challenge
The war is no longer the top priority among voters, having been displaced bysoaring concerns about the economy, and how it will figure as an issue inthe coming election is complicated by ambivalent and contradictory publicopinions. Read more

-Media Pivot to November, Iraq Debate
Campaign coverage about the developing general election between John McCainand Barack Obama brought the Iraq war back onto center stage. Read moreScience and Faith

-Brain Science's Picture of Religion
Recent advances in neuroscience are offering researchers a look into thephysiology of religious belief. In a transcript from a Pew Forum event,University of Pennsylvania radiologist, Dr. Andrew Newberg, discusses howmeasurable brain activity matches up with the religious experiencesdescribed by worshippers. Read more

Fort Report
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-Major Clinton Backers Rally Around Obama
Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday disavowed efforts by some supporters whohave urged Barack Obama to choose her as his running mate. The push-backcame a day after the former first lady said she would end her quest for theDemocratic nomination and endorse the Illinois senator.
"She is not seeking the vice presidency, and no one speaks for her but her,"communications director Howard Wolfson said. "The choice here is SenatorObama's and his alone."

-McCain says he won't run from Bush in campaign
Republican John McCain said he won't try to "separate" himself from aweakened President Bush or his unpopular handling of the war in Iraq to tryto win the general election against Barack Obama, who has made opposition tothe war a focus of the Democratic campaign.
During an interview Thursday with USA TODAY, McCain also made it clear thathe would emphasize his steadiness and experience - particularly on nationalsecurity issues - to counter the vibrancy and oratory skills that have madeObama a sensation on the campaign trail.

-Obama reaching out to the white working class
As he begins the general election contest for the White House, DemocratBarack Obama is targeting the voters he had the hardest time winning in theprimaries: those who are white and working class.
The Illinois senator told USA TODAY Thursday that his appearance here in asmall town on the Virginia-Tennessee border represented the first stop in a2½-week tour about economic issues. The trip will also take him to severalstates won by his rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, during the Democraticprimaries, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.


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