Thursday, October 26, 2006

Morning News Roundup (26 October)

BushCo's Wars
  • Wednesday's dramatic events in Iraq began with a US military raid into Sadr City, the vast Shiite slum full of followers of nationalist young cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The soldiers said that they were looking for a suspected death squad leader. The Americans were attacked by Mahdi Army militiamen, and they called in air support. US planes dropped bombs on this area full of civilians. Iraqi police and hospital officials reported that the fighting and bombing left 4 Iraqis dead and 18 wounded. Aljazeera is showing footage of a combination funeral/ anti-American demonstration in Sadr City.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki roundly condemned the US raid, of which he said he had had no foreknowledge, and he complained bitterly about the lack of coordination between the US and his office. Al-Maliki also, however, warned that armed militiamen in the streets would not be tolerated. [Juan Cole's Informed Comment]

  • Five U.S. servicemen were killed in western Iraq on Wednesday, raising the October death toll to 96 and making it the fourth deadliest month for U.S. troops in the 3-1/2 year war, the U.S. military reported Thursday. [WaPo]

  • Horror at the bloodshed accompanying the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Iraq has accomplished what human rights activists, analysts and others say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been unable to do by himself: silence public demands for democratic reforms here.
    [...]
    Advocates of democracy are equated now with supporters of America, even "traitors," said Maan Abdul Salam, 36, a Damascus publisher who has coordinated conferences on women's rights and similar topics.

    "Now, talking about democracy and freedom has become very difficult and sensitive," Salam said. "The people are not believing these thoughts anymore. When the U.S. came to Iraq, it came in the name of democracy and freedom. But all we see are bodies, bodies, bodies." [WaPo]

  • At least 60 civilians were killed during NATO operations in a volatile southern area of Afghanistan this week. If confirmed, the civilian deaths would be the highest caused by Western forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. [WaPo]

Climate Crisis
  • Climate change could tilt the world's economy into the worst global recession in recent history, a report will warn next week. Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist with the World Bank, will warn that governments need to tackle the problem head-on by cutting emissions or face economic ruin. The findings, due to be released on Monday, will turn economic argument about global warming on its head by insisting that fighting global warming will save industrial nations money. [The Guardian]

Domestic Potpourri
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court left the door ajar for the approval of same-sex marriage Wednesday, ruling that gay couples are entitled to rights no different from those of heterosexual couples.

    The court gave state legislators 180 days to craft a bill offering same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples, though it appeared to leave open a choice between calling the status "marriage" or "civil unions."
    [...]
    The New Jersey decision could stoke the fires for social conservatives elsewhere in the nation, who during this election cycle have complained loudly of their unhappiness with the Republican Party. [WaPo]

  • By now everyone has heard Limbaugh's little commentary about Michael J. Fox's appearance in the ad for Claire McCaskill. Well tonight Keith Olbermann supplied us with the visual to accompany Rush's latest show of idiocy. Head on over to Crooks and Liars to see the video.

  • So it has come to this: Nineteen days before the midterm elections, President Bush flew here to champion the reelection of a congressman who last year settled a $5.5 million lawsuit alleging that he beat his mistress during a five-year affair.
    [...]
    At a time when Republicans are struggling to motivate religious conservatives to go to the polls next month, it is not clear what benefit the White House found in sending Bush to stump for Sherwood -- smack dab in the middle of what Bush, in an official proclamation, dubbed "National Character Counts Week." [Dana Milbank in the WaPo]

  • America's elderly enjoy outsized influence in elections because they vote in greater numbers, but this year they've focused their clout on the Iraq war more than traditional concerns such as health and retirement benefits.

    Poll after poll shows the U.S. war is uppermost in the minds of the gray-haired legions as they help decide whether President George W. Bush's Republican Party will keep control of Congress in the Nov. 7 election. [Reuters]

Big Blue Marble
  • Youths in the Paris suburbs have attacked two buses on the eve of the first anniversary of rioting among immigrant communities. In Nanterre, northwestern Paris, about 10 passengers fled a bus as masked youths set it ablaze, police said. A similar attack happened in Bagnolet, eastern Paris, where a youth held a gun to the bus driver's head while others set it on fire, officials said. Police report a spate of youth violence ahead of the anniversary. [BBC]

[ posted with ecto ]


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