By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
April 07, 2007
Fifteen Royal Navy sailors and marines held captive by Iran for 13 days in a dispute over whether they entered Iranian territorial waters returned home Thursday.
The Britons said Friday they were bound by their captors, blindfolded, kept in isolation and threatened with prison if they didn't "confess" that they had strayed into Iranian waters. The sailors and marines were captured as they searched a cargo ship for smugglers in Iraqi waters, according to British and U.S. authorities. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he released them as "a gift to the British people."
Presidential hopefuls tally 'money primary' results
Democratic and Republican presidential candidates this week announced the results of their frenetic first-quarter campaign fund-raising efforts with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton leading that pack, as expected, with $26 million. But her chief Democratic rival, Illinois freshman Sen. Barack Obama, beat expectations with a very close second place showing at $25 million. Many Republicans were astonished when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led the GOP field with $23 million even though polls show him well behind former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who raised $15 million, and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who garnered $12.5 million.
Bush sidesteps Senate Democrats to appoint Fox
Using his authority to make temporary appointments when Congress is in recess, President Bush appointed prominent GOP fundraiser Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium Wednesday. Senate Democrats objected to Fox because in 2004 he donated $50,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group, which damaged Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign by accusing him of exaggerating his record during the Vietnam War. "It's sad but not surprising that this White House would abuse the power of the presidency to reward a donor over the objections of the Senate," Kerry said.
Bush denounces Pelosi's Syria trip
President Bush criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in Congress Tuesday for going to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, something the Bush administration refuses to do. The president said the trip by House Democrats and Republicans "sends mixed signals" that the Assad government is "part of the mainstream of the international community when, in fact, they are state sponsors of terror." Pelosi waved off the criticism. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," she said. Pelosi met with Assad for three hours.
Supreme Court slaps Bush's air pollution policies
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by automobiles must be regulated under the Clean Air Act, reversing the Bush administration's claim that it lacks authority to do so. In a 5-4 ruling, the court criticized the Environmental Protection Agency for offering "no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change." The next day, President Bush said he's taking the decision "very seriously" and promised to push for new standards with Congress.
World panel issues new global warming cautions
After an all-night series of negotiations, the United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change meeting in Belgium issued a report Friday that said warming temperatures will cause massive floods, food shortages and species extinctions. The United States, Saudi Arabia and China raised objections to the near-final draft Thursday, prompting last minute revisions. Panel chairman Rajendra Pachauri said the compromises were "a complex exercise." Even so, the report is apocalyptic, warning that 30 percent of all animal species face extinction if the world temperature rises another 3.6 degrees.
Supreme Court refuses detainee requests, for now
The Supreme Court declined Monday to review whether suspected terrorist detainees held in Guantanamo Bay may challenge their indefinite imprisonment in federal court. Nearly 400 prisoners have been held in Cuba for more than five years. Three justices wanted to take up the matter immediately, while two others said it would be "premature" but might consider such petitions in the future. Since more appeals are on the way, the court will have other chances. The White House reacted cautiously: "On first glance, we're pleased with the decision," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson dies
Eddie Robinson, one of the most successful college football coaches ever, died Tuesday after a decade-long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 88. Robinson won 408 games at Louisiana's Grambling State University, a record at the time of his retirement in 1997. More than 200 of his athletes went on to the NFL. "He always focused on coaching his players to be better men as well as better football players," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco called Robinson a "true American hero" who "tore down barriers to achieve an equal playing field for athletes of all races."
Detroit loses ground to Japan
U.S. automakers continue to bleed market share to Japanese manufacturers, according to industry sales records for March. Toyota's domestic sales leaped nearly 12 percent last month over a year ago, the strongest increase of any carmaker. So strong were Japanese sales that total U.S. sales increased last month. But the news was grim in Detroit where Ford Motor Co. posted a 9 percent drop. Sales for both General Motors and DaimlerChrysler vehicles declined by 4 percent each. Daimler officials in Germany are considering bids to sell Chrysler.
U.S. to thaw North Korean funds
Clearing a hurdle that recently
stalled nuclear disarmament talks, negotiators from four nations
agreed on a plan for the release of $25 million of North Korean
funds frozen in an Asian bank at the request of the United States,
authorities said Friday. U.S. spokesman Sean McCormack said the
transfer is now only a matter of "actual implementation."
North Korea had said the frozen funds threatened the next step
in its February agreement to shut down its nuclear plant in Yongbyon
by April 14.
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com
Publish A Letter on SitNews Read Letters/Opinions