Friday, October 20, 2006

Morning News Roundup (20 October)

Just a quick one as I've got a day full of appointments...

Lightning Round o' News
  • The Shiite militia run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized total control of the southern Iraqi city of Amarah on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by one of the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said.
    About 800 black-clad militiamen with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were patrolling city streets in commandeered police vehicles, eyewitnesses said. Other fighters had set up roadblocks on routes into the city and sound trucks circulated telling residents to stay indoors. [NYTimes]

  • The House Appropriations Committee had hired 60 extra investigators to deal with the unprecedented level of corruption in federal appropriations these days. Jerry Lewis, Chairman of the Committee (who's himself being investigated and has racked up $800,000 in legal fees) just fired them all. [Talking Points Memo]

  • In September, the Democratic campaign committees for the House and the Senate outraised their counterpart Republican committees, reversing historical trends. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $14.4 million and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee collected $13.6 million last month, they said. In contrast, the National Republican Congressional Committee raised $12 million and the National Republican Senatorial Committee collected $5.2 million. [WaPo]

  • China's envoy gets results: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il told visiting Chinese envoy Tang Jiaxuan that Pyongyang planned to conduct no further nuclear tests, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted a diplomatic source in China as saying on Friday. [NYTimes via Foreign Policy's Passport]

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office has instructed the country's health ministry to stop providing mortality figures to the United Nations, jeopardizing a key source of information on the number of civilian war dead in Iraq, according to a U.N. document. [WaPo]

  • The US military withdrew 3,000 troops from Mosul to send to Baghdad, where 15,000 US soldiers are now engaged in Operation Forward Together. Guerrillas in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city with a population of some 1.8 million, some 80% of them Sunni Arab, have taken advantage of the draw-down of US troops there to multiply the number of their attacks on police and the institutions of the new government. [Juan Cole's Informed Comment]

  • “Moving quickly to implement” the new Military Commissions Act, the Bush administration “has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Mass movements of people across the world are likely to be one of the most dramatic effects of climate change in the coming century, a study suggests. The study, "Feeling the Heat", says there are already an estimated 25 million environmental refugees, and this figure is likely to soar as rain patterns continue to change, floods and storms become more frequent and rising tides start to inundate low-lying countries such as Bangladesh or some of the Pacific islands. Tearfund says that without urgent action, world governments will lose the fight to tackle the world water crisis and the growing threat of climate-change refugees in catastrophic numbers. [The Independent via my Hugg]

Happy Friday everyone...

[ posted with ecto ]


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