In a farewell speech on U.S. soil today, retiring U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan “plans to deliver a tough critique of President Bush’s policies,” accusing the administration of “dominating other nations through force, committing what he termed human rights abuses and taking military action without broad international support.”
Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made a surprise trip to Iraq yesterday “to thank US troops for their service.” On “all of his 14 previous trips to Iraq…Rumsfeld has taken reporters who cover him regularly at the Pentagon.” But on this trip, Fox News host Sean Hannity was the only member of the media allowed to accompany Rumsfeld.
Administration officials say their preliminary review of the Iraq Study Group report “has concluded that many of its key proposals are impractical or unrealistic, and a small group inside the National Security Council is now racing to come up with alternatives to the panel’s ideas.”
Outgoing U.N. ambassador John Bolton will return to the conservative American Enterprise Institute to speak, consult and “replenish the coffers after six years of public service.”
“Major partners in Iraq’s governing coalition are in behind-the-scenes talks to oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki amid discontent over his failure to quell raging violence, according to lawmakers involved.”
“Poverty, violence and discrimination assault women worldwide and undermine their children’s futures,” concludes a new report by UNICEF. More than one out of every four births to an adolescent mother occurs in the least developed countries and between 15 and 71 percent of women have “experienced physical or sexual assault from an intimate partner.”
“Iraq is failing to spend billions of dollars of oil revenues that have been set aside to rebuild its damaged roads, schools and power stations and to repair refineries and pipelines.” Iraq’s ministries “are spending as little as 15 percent of the 2006 capital budgets they received for the rebuilding.”
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), “a Republican whose once-steady rise in politics ended with a resounding defeat” in November to Bob Casey, “refused to be photographed with Mr. Casey [after their meeting Friday], and brushed past reporters in his closing days in the Capitol.”
And finally: Actress Fran Drescher, who has been lobbying for a gynecological health care bill, last week “offered herself as a reward to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).” In an e-mail to Senate staffers, Drescher wrote, “I promise Sen. Coburn that if this bill passes WE will forge an alliance and put HPV, Uterine and Ovarian Cancers in a major spotlight in a way that ONLY a high profile celebrity can do. … Don’t clip my wings. Together we can soar to the heavens. … Go get ’em tigers!”
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