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President George Bush reiterated yesterday the right of the U.S. to launch preemptive attacks anywhere in the world. He said, "America must remember the lessons of September the 11th. We must confront serious dangers before they fully materialize." His speech came just three days after a Senate Intelligence report was released that found nearly all of the intelligence used to justify the Iraq invasion was wrong. But Bush continued to back his decision to wage war. He said, "Although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, we were right to go into Iraq."
The Philippines government announced today it would withdraw its 51 troops from Iraq as soon as it can. Iraqi resistance fighters kidnapped a Filipino named Angelo Dela Cruz last Wednesday. They threatened to behead the man, a father of eight, if the Philippines did not pull out its troops. News reports indicate it is unclear if the troops will be pulled before Aug. 20 when the Philippines were initially planning to bring them home.
NBC news is reporting federal election officials will meet next week with officials of the Department of Homeland Security to discuss whether the November presidential election should be postponed in the event of a terrorist attack. Top Bush administration officials said Monday there were no plans to postpone the elections, but the head of the newly created US Election Assistance Commission is seeking the power to do just that in case of a national emergency. Last week when a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan if the elections will go ahead as planned, McClellan said " I don’t think anyone can make guarantees. But the full intention is to move forward and hold those elections." The country has never postponed or rescheduled a presidential election before. Many historians yesterday pointed out that even during the midst of the Civil War the country went ahead with elections. In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln said "We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us."
In California, critics of electronic voting have sued Diebold under a whistle-blower law, alleging that the company’s shoddy balloting equipment exposed California elections to hackers and software bugs. The suit was filed by computer programmer Jim March and Bev Harris, the author Black Box Voting.
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called on members of his organization to help oust President Bush. At the group’s 95th annual convention Bond accused the Republican party of appealing to "to the dark underside of American culture, to the minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality." President Bush declined an invitation to speak at the NAACP’s annual convention. He became the first president since Herbert Hoover to not address the NAACP during his first term in office. Senator John Kerry is scheduled to address the conference on Thursday. Bond said of the election, "The differences between the candidates this year are neither incremental nor inconsequential. Yes — the stakes are high, higher than ever in recent memory, and the consequences of loss almost too dire to bear."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is calling on the United States to the fight the war against AIDS with as much commitment as it is fighting the war on terror. Annan told the BBC that while terrorism could kill thousands of people, AIDS has already killed millions. Annan called on the United States to devote more money to fight AIDS.
Financial giant Morgan Stanley agreed to pay a 54 million dollar settlement rather than face a sex discrimination suit in court. Plaintiff Allison Schieffelin claimed she was passed over for a promotion because of her gender. More than two dozen female employees also reported that men at the firm invited clients on men-only strip-club outings, groped women and made lewd comments. The settlement could cover as many as 340 women. This marks the second largest settlement the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached with any company and the first settlement with a Wall Street firm.
The Washington Post is reporting that the average salary for male employees in the Bush White House is $17,000 higher than the average salary for female employees. The average male salary is nearly $77,000 per year. Women earn on average $60,000 or 78 percent of what men earn. Of the White House staffers earning the top pay scale of $157,000 a year, 12 of the 17 are men.
The Bush administration announced yesterday that it plans to overturn a Clinton-era rule that protects nearly 60 million acres of roadless areas from logging. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said the rule will be replaced with a policy that requires governors to petition the federal government if they wished to keep certain areas roadless. Timber industry groups applauded the change in policy. Environmental organizations condemned the new rule, citing the two and a half million public comments on the issue, most of which favored the roadless policy.
The Guardian of London is reporting the Bush administration is secretly negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic to set up a massive missile defense complex in one of the countries. The U.S. is looking to build radar stations and missile interceptor sites that would be part of the U.S. missile defense system.
Ronald Reagan’s youngest son, Ron Reagan, announced Monday that we would speak at the Democratic National Convention later this month in Boston. Reagan said he would not criticize the Bush administration during the speech but call for loosening restrictions on stem cell research — an issue that has put the Reagan family and the Republican Party at odds.
A new book on India reveals for the first time that former Indian defense minister George Fernandes was forced to undergo strip-searches on two different occasions in Dulles Airport in Washington following the Sept. 11 attacks. On one trip Fernandes was strip-searched as he arrived in Washington on an official trip.
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