Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Lebanon today. The total death toll from the recent violence has climbed to 36 people in Israel and nearly 400 in Lebanon. The estimated damage cost from the conflict is $1.5 billion in Israel and $3 billion in Lebanon.
Stephen Hawking, the “world’s best-known living scientist,” urged Europe not to “follow the reactionary lead of President Bush” on stem cell research. “Stem cell research is the key to developing cures for degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and motor neuron disease from which I and many others suffer,” he said.
In a “dramatic escalation of violence,” bombs killed more than 60 people and wounded more than 200 Sunday in Baghdad and the northern oil center of Kirkuk.
The father of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley, on President Bush: “If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we’ve experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign.”
The Institute of Science and International Security concluded Pakistan is building “a powerful new reactor for producing plutonium, a move that, if verified, would signal a major expansion of the country’s nuclear weapons capabilities and a potential new escalation in the region’s arms race.”
The World Trade Organization will formally announce today that the Doha round of trade talks has been suspended “anywhere from months to years.”
“Wage stagnation, long the bane of blue-collar workers, is now hitting people with bachelor’s degrees for the first time in 30 years. Earnings for workers with four-year degrees fell 5.2% from 2000 to 2004 when adjusted for inflation, according to White House economists.”
“Hundreds of Taliban guerrillas firing rocket-propelled grenades attacked a police station on Monday in southwestern Afghanistan, amid heightened violence in the south before a NATO deployment.”
And finally: Is Pootie-Poot the prankster who turned on a mic near Bush at the G-8 summit? A British television station thinks so. “The footage on Britain’s Channel 4 shows Blair finally spotting and turning off the ‘telltale red light,’ and then the film cuts to Putin, grinning about something. A British reporter asked a Putin spokesman about this, but the spokesman insisted the broadcast was ‘an accident.’”