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Limbaugh happy about kidnapped Christians

PALM BEACH, FL – Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh took his personal war with liberals to a new level last week, telling a caller to his nationally syndicated show that “part of me likes” the fact that four Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) activists were kidnapped by an Iraqi insurgent group. “Here’s why I like it,” he explained, “I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality."

Addressing the kidnapped activists, Limbaugh said, "[Y]ou’ve met the bad guys, and you tried your technique on them, and now you’re blindfolded in a room with guns pointed at you and knives at your throat. I don’t like that," according to a transcript of the show. Then he added, "But any time a bunch of people that walk around with the head in the sand practicing a bunch of irresponsible, idiotic theory confront reality, I’m kind of happy about it, because I’m eager for people to see reality, change their minds, if necessary, and have things sized up." read more

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Executions hit 1,000, but slowing

RALEIGH, NC – Early on Dec. 2, Kenneth Lee Boyd was executed in Raleigh by lethal injection for the 1988 murder of his estranged wife and her father, becoming the 1,000th person put to death in the United States since the death penalty was restored almost 30 years ago.

Later the same day, Shawn Humphries became number 1,001, executed in South Carolina for murdering a store clerk during a robbery on New Year’s Day 1994.

Next is line is Stanley Tookie Williams, the former Crips gang founder who was convicted of killing four people but later renounced his violent past. Although he has never admitting he committed the crimes for which he faces death, he has counseled young people not to join gangs. read more

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Doubts growing over Afghan strategy

KABUL – Four years after the U.S. military invaded Afghanistan and ousted the Taliban regime, doubts are growing about the U.S. ability to defeat a growing insurgency. Reports by the BBC, Pakistan Tribune and China News Agency indicate that bombings and shootings continue almost daily in the south and east, along with a rise in suicide attacks, for which Afghan officials believe al-Qaeda is partly responsible,

Despite the election of Pres. Hamid Karzai last year and a new parliament due to convene in January 2006, attacks have claimed at least 1,400 lives in the past year, the highest toll since 2001. Since the spring, evidence has been mounting of a renewed drive by Osama bin Laden’s network, particularly in eastern Afghanistan. read more

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Iraq air strike scheme questioned

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is considering a plan to put U.S. airpower at the disposal of Iraqi commanders in order to reduce the number of troops on the ground, an option that is causing consternation among U.S. Air Force commanders, the UK Guardian reports. Military officials warn it could lead to increased civilian casualties and the use of bombing to settle old scores.

According to an article in the New Yorker magazine by Seymour Hersh, the possibility of using airpower as a substitute for troops on the ground causes unease in the military mainly because officials suspect that Iraqis will eventually be responsible for target selection. read more

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U.S. held detainees in Kosovo

PARIS – The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Alvaro Gil-Robles, has told France’s Le Monde newspaper that the U.S. military ran a Guantanamo Bay-type detention center in Kosovo, and that he was “shocked” by the conditions he witnessed there in 2002. However, he has no proof that the center, located within the U.S. military’s Camp Bondsteel, is linked to alleged CIA “ghost prison” operations.

The Council of Europe, which guarantees human rights in its 46 member states, has launched an investigation into the alleged secret prisons. Dick Marty, who is leading the probe, has already concluded that Romania, which rights groups have labeled a likely site for a secret center, has not hosted a large jail, but didn’t exclude the possibility of small facilities with one or two detainees being kept temporarily for interrogation. read more

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China considers touch of green

BEIJING – Is China beginning to go green? There are some early signs, including the nation’s latest five-year plan, which calls for the efficient use of resources to build an “environmentally friendly society,” and tax reforms discussed at a recent seminar. The latter include preferential policies for the recycling industry and a possible consumption tax for disposable chopsticks, plastic bags, diapers, and other environmentally harmful goods.

According to, when the ideas were outlined by taxation chief Xie Xuren, scholars like Li Xiangju of Xi’an Communications University were enthusiastic. “Things like disposable chopsticks and plastic bags cause a big waste on natural resources and pose environmental hazards,” he said. read more