Monday, November 27, 2006

Morning News Roundup (27 November)

Iraq's Civil War
  • Jordan's King Abdullah, who will host President Bush this week during emergency talks on Iraq, said yesterday that the Middle East faces the prospect of three simultaneous civil wars erupting. "We're juggling with the strong potential of three civil wars in the region, whether it's the Palestinians, that of Lebanon, or of Iraq," the Jordanian king said on ABC's "This Week."

    He said the US should look at the big picture in seeking a resolution to the problems in Iraq and bring in all of the region, including Syria and Iran. He said if a regional peace process did not develop soon, "there won't be anything to talk about". "America needs to look at it in the total picture. It's not just one issue by itself." [WaPo and BBC]

  • Although violence was light in the capital, at least 148 Iraqis were killed or found dead today and another 58 were wounded during violent acts there and throughout Iraq. Five more American servicemembers were reported dead. Two American and seven British soldiers were wounded in separate events. Also, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's motorcade was stoned while traveling through Sadr City. []

  • Followers of the militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took over state-run television Saturday to denounce the Iraqi government, label Sunnis "terrorists" and issue what appeared to many viewers as a call to arms.

    The two-hour broadcast from a community gathering in the heart of the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City included three members of al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc, who took questions from outraged residents demanding revenge for a series of car bombings that killed some 200 people Thursday. [San Jose Mercury News]

  • CNN’s John Roberts called the situation in Iraq an “absolute mess,” and said the media has “sanitized” their coverage of the violence. “The amount of death that’s on the streets of Baghdad for U.S. forces and for the Iraqi people is at an astronomical level,” Roberts said. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast; also check out the video at Crooks and Liars]

  • A mortar attack set ablaze oil storage tanks in northern Iraq on Monday, police said, and a source at the state North Oil Company said the attack may mean a protracted cut in output from oilfields in the region. [Reuters]

BushCo's Wars
  • Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison's former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday. Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.
    "The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished,"" she told Saturday's El Pais. [WaPo]

  • On Thanksgiving eve, writer and activist Tom Hayden posted an explosive article at Huffington Post about what may be elements of the US's secret diplomatic exit strategy from Iraq. Hayden details a possible endgame strategy--including reports of US officials having contacted Sunni nationalist insurgents to explore a cease-fire and replacement of the Iraqi Al-Maliki government with an interim one. [Katrina vanden Heuvel at The Nation]

  • Nato's fragile unity over Afghanistan has begun to crack ahead of an important summit - with one public call to discuss an exit strategy from the Allied forces' bloody confrontation with the Taliban. While heads of government are to make a show of unity over Afghanistan at tomorrow's alliance summit in Riga, Belgium's Defence Minister has questioned the future of Nato's most important mission.
    In the bloodiest day of violence to grip the country in many weeks, a series of fierce clashes between Nato forces and Taliban fighters and a suicide bombing left 76 people dead and more than 45 injured yesterday, many of them children. [The Independent]

Climate Crisis
  • The Opinion Research Corporation just polled a bunch of Americans concerning automobile efficiency and the results are very encouraging. Seventy-eight percent of people say that they would like the government to impose a 40 mpg fuel efficiency standard (the current standard is 27.5 mpg.) Though it seems that Americans are not currently enamored with driving the 40 mpg vehicles that are available, apparently they would like to be forced into it.

    The poll also showed strong support for bringing efficient EU models to America and support for gasoline taxes that would subsidize research and development of clean energy technologies. Most encouraging of all, the support was largely bi-partisan. Seventy percent of Republicans were in favor of new gasoline taxes compared with 78% of Democrats. The poll repeatedly shows that clean technology is not a partisan issue. [Treehugger]

  • While the political debate over global warming continues, top executives at many of the nation's largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable.

    The Democratic takeover of Congress makes it more likely that the federal government will attempt to regulate emissions. The companies have been hiring new lobbyists who they hope can help fashion a national approach that would avert a patchwork of state plans now in the works.
    The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a group of seven Northeastern states, is moving ahead with a proposed system that would set a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions, issue allowances to companies, and allow firms to trade those allowances to comply with regulations.

    California is drawing up its program. Other states are also contemplating limits. Even the city of Boulder, Colo., has adopted its own plan -- a carbon tax based on electricity use. [WaPo]

Obama Watch
  • In the latest sign that the “God gap” between Republicans and Democrats is narrowing, one of America’s biggest evangelical churches will this week welcome Senator Barack Obama, the rising African-American star of the Democratic party who has become a leading contender for the 2008 presidential elections.
    Obama will appear on Friday at the Saddleback church in Lake Forest, California, where at least 20,000 conservative Christians gather each week for services led by Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical author of the bestselling inspirational book The Purpose Driven Life.

    At first glance Warren and Obama appear the unlikeliest of allies — the conservative white preacher and the liberal black Democrat — yet aides to both confirmed last week that they have formed an intriguing friendship that may prove a key element in the next presidential campaign. [London Times]

  • Sara Robinson over at Orcinus reports that the National Science Teachers Association turned down the offer to receive 50,000 copies of the Inconvenient Truth DVD from producer Laurie David, first citing the receipt of gifts from "special interests" and then adding:
    It might jeopardize their capital campaign. It turns out that NSTA gets millions each year from groups like Exxon-Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute -- who, in turn, are given access to American science classrooms to promote anti-global-warming propaganda with titles like "You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel." If they started telling kids the truth about global warming, they whined, that money might go away. And then how would that fine organization continue to support America's science teachers in their quest to instill their students with a passion for empirical truth, and teach the rigors of the scientific method to the country's next generation of technology leaders?

    Memo to the Christian Coalition: The NSTA is for sale. For a mere million bucks a year, I'll bet you could get them on board with Intelligent Design, too.

  • Despite a lackluster first half which saw Manchester United's Louis Saha score an incredible goal, Chelsea got it together and earned a draw with the league leaders thanks to defender Ricardo "Elliot Gould" Carvalho's pounding header.

  • For all the fame of the rain in this soggy city, conversations about climate often lead to local defensiveness: Seattle, which averages about 38 inches of rain annually, is far from the country’s wettest big city. Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Miami and New York are just some of the others that get more rain.
    At midday on Sunday, near the end of what is typically Seattle’s rainiest month, the official rain gauge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was well past 14 inches and rising, having mocked the November average of about 5.9 inches and smeared the previous single-month record documented at the airport, 12.92 inches, set in January 1953.

    Storm after storm has slammed the Puget Sound region, riding warm air from southern parts of the Pacific Ocean.

    Now some wonder whether the weather here might deliver the single-month record for rainfall since such data was first collected back in the 19th century. The mark, 15.33 inches, was set in December 1933, when the official rain gauge was downtown; the official gauge was moved to the airport in 1945. [NYTimes]

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At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta say, this business about Obama being a serious 2008 candidate is all a fantasy. Perhaps VP, but there is 0 chance he is our next pres. All this talk is for his book and for the media to sell newspapers (or get viewers)...


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