ThinkFast: May 15, 2006

The Christian Aid charity warns that 184 million people in Africa alone could die as a result of climate change before the end of the century. The group’s report warns that climate-induced floods, famine, drought and conflict could reverse recent gains in reducing poverty.

“I don’t really believe those polls.” — First Lady Laura Bush, on her husband’s sinking approval ratings. Mrs. Bush added “As I travel around the United States…A lot of people come up to me and say, ‘Stay the course’.”

“Despite a congressional order that the military assess the mental health of all deploying troops, fewer than 1 in 300 service members see a mental health professional before shipping out.” Soldiers showing signs of psychological distress are being kept on duty, increasing the risk of suicide.

Roll Call reports, “Federal prosecutors are seeking to interview at least nine current or former staffers on the House Intelligence, Appropriations and Armed Services committees as they widen their probe into the bribery scheme involving former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.).”


A lawyer who sued Verizon last week on claims it violated privacy laws by turning over calling records to the National Security Agency said that customers of AT&T; and BellSouth want to join the lawsuit. If other telecommunications companies are named, “it may be the largest class-action ever filed,” said New Jersey public-interest lawyer Bruce Afran.

On March 17, China declared that it had insufficient evidence to try Zhao Yan, a New York Times researcher charged with “revealing state secrets to foreigners.” But Zhao remained in jail and Chinese officials now reveal that they have “re-transferred the case to the Beijing Second Intermediate Court,” even though “they could not find an article of law to cite for the re-transfer of the case.”

Sunday was “Iraq’s deadliest day in weeks,” but the country’s parliament was less concerned with the violence and more concerned with the minutiae of legislative rules. One piece of important debate over “governing” on Sunday: insisting that lawmakers must be dubbed “representatives,” not merely “members” of parliament.

New Orleans remains “full of patients, devoid of doctors.” “More than half of the city’s hospitals remain closed,” only “a quarter of the city’s doctors have returned since the disaster,” and assistance from the federal government has been scarce.

The Washington Post writes that Rep. Allan Mollahan (D-WV) “set up a network of nonprofit organizations to administer the millions of dollars he directed to such public endeavors as high-tech research and historic preservation.” Mollahan’s assets grew from no more than $565,000 to at least $6.3 million from 2000 to 2004.

And finally: BREAKING NEWS — Karl Rove was not indicted on Friday. The New York Sun has the story.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.