ThinkFast: January 5, 2008

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"ThinkFast: January 5, 2008"

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The EU is pushing for a cease-fire and “sustainable truce” between Hamas and Israel. One proposal circulating in “Paris and at the United Nations on Sunday was to send European Union troops as part of an international force to the Gaza border to help prevent smuggling of munitions across the frontier, diplomats said.” In the meantime, the European Commission promised $4.2 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Senior Israeli officials said that the fighting could go on for days, if not weeks, and that calls for a cease-fire were premature.” “Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted that, while Hamas had ‘sustained a very heavy blow from us,’ Gaza operation was not finished. ‘We have yet to achieve our objective.’”

The RNC will select its new chairman this month and the six-way contest is aggravating “intraparty tensions.” As one RNC consultant explained to Politico, “Some people are p-ssed off at [Americans for Tax Reform President] Grover [Norquist]. Some people are p-ssed off at the Conservative Steering Committee. Some people are p-ssed off at [current RNC chair] Mike Duncan. Some people are p-ssed off at social conservatives. … Everyone is basically p-ssed.”

According to a report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, “the Internet overtook print newspapers as a news source this year.” The popularity of newspapers did not decline, but rather, the number of people naming the internet as their primary news source nearly doubled.

President-elect Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan — which may cost nearly $775 billion — “plans to include about $300 billion in tax cuts for workers and businesses” which will “provide credits up to $500 for most workers” and “more than $100 billion in tax incentives for businesses.”

Obama and congressional Democrats are “planning swift action to overturn a Supreme Court decision that made it much harder for people to challenge discrimination in employment, education, housing and other fields.” Since the May 2007 decision, courts “have gone far beyond the facts of that case and cited it as a reason for rejecting lawsuits claiming discrimination based on race, sex, age and disability.”

In Baghdad today, the United States opened its new embassy building in “a step meant to symbolize its transition from occupying power to an ally of a sovereign Iraqi government.” The building, which is the largest U.S. embassy building in the world, cost $592 million to construct and will be staffed by 1,200 employees, including diplomats, servicemen and staff from 14 federal agencies.

A female suicide bomber in Baghdad killed at least 40 people Sunday near one of Iraq’s most sacred Shi’ite shrines. The attack occurred just ahead of the Islamic holy day of Ashura and was the deadliest in Iraq since December 11.

And finally: Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson is returning to her beauty pageant roots, working as a special “consultant” to the Miss America pageant this year. Carlson has been “given the task of posing questions about hot-button social issues — sex education, same sex couples and adoption.” Watch the video here.

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