The Iraq invasion and occupation, the devastated American economy, the historically high gas prices, and LaciKobiObesity have so dominated US News that many important issues have been relegated to America's Back Burners.
It's a ponderous stove top, Folks!
Explosions Wound Up to 27 in Eastern Afghan City
By Amir Shah Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Two explosions Wednesday injured as many as 27 people in an eastern Afghan city, and insurgents in another province burned trucks supplying American troops and abducted their Afghan crews, officials said.
The explosions occurred a few minutes apart near security checkpoints in downtown Jalalabad, 80 miles east of the capital, Kabul, officials said.
Further south, suspected Taliban stopped four trucks bound for an American base, burning them and abducting 12 people manning the vehicles, an Afghan military official said.
The trucks were stopped Tuesday afternoon in Nesh district of Uruzgan province as they were carrying food to American bases, said Khan Mohammed, a senior commander in neighboring Kandahar province.
"We have no idea where the (drivers and the truck crews) have been taken," Mohammed said. LINK
48 school deaths highest in years
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
The school year just ending was one of the deadliest in years,
, according to preliminary data showing 48 school-related violent deaths from August through June. That's more than in the past two school years combined and more than in any year in the past decade.
The 2002-2003 school year saw 16 violent deaths in and around schools, down from 17 the previous year, according to National School Safety And Security (news - web sites) Services, a Cleveland firm that tracks school violence. That includes not just violence by students but any homicide or suicide on school property, on the way to or from school or while attending or traveling to or from a school-sponsored event. That's the definition used by the federal government.
But a few law enforcement officials and school safety advocates say the nation's focus on terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, is beginning to drain money and attention from efforts to keep schools safe. They also say they're seeing an increase in gang-related school crime that they fear will worsen.
"It's a huge problem," says C. Ronald Huff, a criminology professor at the University of California-Irvine. He says funding for school-based and community policing is "just being decimated." LINK
Berlusconi suffers major setback in Italian election: estimate
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party lost control of its Milan power base in local elections, in another setback for the conservatives following their defeat in European parliamentary polls.
The left-wing challenger, Filippo Penati beat out the incumbent Milan governor Ombretta Colli, garnering 54.2 percent of the vote to her 45.8, RAI television reported citing figures from polling agency Nexus.
The opposition won outright in 40 of the 46 provinces it had held before the first round ballot, while Berlusconi's coalition only kept four of its 17 provinces. LINK
How Low Will GOP Go?
Gloria Borger: "Well, let's get to Mohammed Atta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was quote, "pretty well confirmed."
Vice President Cheney: "No, I never said that."
CHENEY: "Never said that."
BORGER: "I think that is ..."
CHENEY: Absolutely not.
Now see the transcript, NBC's Meet the Press, Dec. 9, 2001:
CHENEY: "It's been pretty well confirmed that he [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April."
Turns out it was not confirmed. Cheney was lying. Bush was lying. We were buffaloed into a war based on lie after lie.
When Bill Clinton lied, the only victim was a blue dress but Congress impeached him. When George W. Bush lied, thousands of Iraqis were killed, more than 800 Americans already have lost their lives, thousands more GIs are wounded and the Republican House can't be bothered to hold hearings to get to the bottom of these discrepancies. LINK
Economic Growth Was Less Robust Than Estimated
By JEFF BATER
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
June 28, 2004; Page A2
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy wasn't as strong during the first quarter as previously estimated, and inflation was a bit higher.
Gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services produced in a nation, increased in the January-March quarter at a 3.9% annual rate from the fourth quarter, a slower rate than the earlier estimated 4.4%, the Commerce Department said Friday.
Inflation as measured by the price index of personal consumption expenditures, which the Federal Reserve considers to be a better gauge of inflation than the better known consumer-price index, rose at an annual rate of 2%, excluding food and energy -- a faster rate than the previous estimate of 1.7%.
Corporate profits increased 2.1% from the previous three months, not at an annual rate, and were up 37.7% from the year-earlier period. LINK
Reports say billions of dollars of Iraqi money unaccounted for
LONDON (AP) Billions of dollars belonging to Iraq is not accounted for by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was given responsibility by the United Nations for the country's finances, British lawmakers and aid activists said Monday.
There are glaring gaps in the handling of $20 billion generated by Iraq's oil and other sources since the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein ended last year, according to reports from the Liberal Democrats, Britain's third-largest political party, and Christian Aid.
The Christian Aid report also said the majority of Iraq's reconstruction projects have been awarded to U.S. companies, which charge up to 10 times more than Iraqi firms.
There was no immediate reaction from coalition officials to the reports. LINK
US Army Plans to Activate Reserve Troops
The U.S. Army is preparing to activate thousands of reserve troops for potential duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Army officials say around 6,000 troops from the rarely-used Individual Ready Reserve will be informed of possible deployment.
The troops would be used to help fill gaps in units serving in the two active U.S. combat areas.
Violence in Iraq has forced the Pentagon to keep the troop level there at nearly 140,000, about 30,000 more than planned. The U.S. military has another 20,000 troops in Afghanistan.
The Individual Ready Reserve is a pool of more than 100,000 former soldiers who still have some obligations to the military.
The last time the Individual Ready Reserve was used was on the eve of the 1991 war that ended Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. LINK