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ThinkFast: June 1, 2010

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"ThinkFast: June 1, 2010"

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The United Nations Security Council condemned “acts” resulting in the deaths of 9 civilians in Israel’s attack on an aid flotilla that was trying to bypass the Gaza blockade. The Obama administration refused to endorse a statement that singled out Israel and is reportedly pushing for the Israelis to conduct their own “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent” investigation into the matter. “We’re the only ones who believe them – and what they’re saying is true,” an American official said.

Ties between Turkey and the U.S.may fray further” as a result of the incident. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told lawmakers in the Turkish parliament that “this bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse.”

Al Qaeda in Afghanistan said that a U.S. missile strike killed the group’s operational leader, Egyptian Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, one of al Qaeda’s founders and considered by American intelligence officials as the organization’s No. 3 leader. U.S. officials said they believed the statement from al Qaeda was accurate.

Carol Browner, the White House’s top energy adviser, has said that the BP oil spill is now worse than the Exxon Valdez as energy experts warn that oil may be gushing into the Gulf for two more months. “Government data released Thursday suggested between 18.6 million gallons and 29.5 million gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf – far more than the roughly 11 million gallons of crude spilled in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.”

“The US military has reprimanded six operators of an unmanned drone, which mistakenly attacked a civilian convoy in Afghanistan,” killing 23 innocent Afghans. “The botched strike happened despite Gen McChrystal’s introduction of much tougher rules of engagement” that were designed to limit civilian casualties.

“The bulk of U.S. military forces will depart Haiti” today, though 500 National Guard troops will remain to build “schools, clinics, and community centers,” and the U.S. will continue to help Haiti through foreign aid. The “long anticipated” departure signals that “we have reached a basic level of sustainment in Haiti,” a State Department spokesman said.

The IAEA reported yesterday that Iran has now produced enough nuclear fuel that, with further enrichment, would be enough to make two nuclear weapons. The report bolsters the Obama administration’s case for new U.N. sanctions against Iran and undercuts Tehran’s recent deal with Brazil and Turkey to ship its fuel abroad as, according to the IAEA report, Iran would still retain enough for a single weapon.

“Gay rights advocates in the House” believe they now have the momentum to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation. However, “politically imperiled Democrats” are “quietly angling to shelve the bill” and “many assume their leadership is on the same page.”

With state and local governments “knee-deep in budget woes,” stimulus money “running out,” and private employers “reluctant to hire until the economy shows more solid signs of recovery,” this year is “shaping up to be even worse than last for the millions of high school and college students looking for summer jobs.”

And finally: Demon sheep are following Republican California U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina around on the campaign trail.

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The WonkLine: June 1, 2010 ›

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