Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

The latest on this week's biggest stories

Issue: "Help on the inside," Aug. 12, 2006

Election '06

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman needs all the "Joementum" he can muster to knock off Democratic primary foe Ned Lamont on Aug. 8. Lieberman trailed slightly in the hotly contested race pitting an established senator versus an upstart who has accused Lieberman of being too closely allied with the Republican president.

The three-term senator's support of the Bush Iraq war policy hasn't played well with liberal Connecticut or left-wing bloggers, who have helped bankroll Lamont's candidacy. If he's knocked out, Lieberman says he'll run as an independent, where polls show him as a favorite to pluck his own seat away from the Democrats.

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And while Democrats are trying to sort out key primaries this month, GOP officials in Texas are trying to sort out how to run a candidate not named Tom DeLay in Texas' Sugar Land congressional district. DeLay, indicted in Texas for a fundraising scheme, won the March GOP primary, but withdrew from the race in April. Democrats have filed a lawsuit to prevent Republicans from running another candidate on the Republican ballot, citing Texas law that prohibits parties from switching candidates after primaries unless the party can prove a candidate is ineligible. DeLay recently moved to Virginia-a move GOP lawyers say makes him ineligible to run for office.

War zones

Hezbollah hit Israel with over 350 rockets Aug. 2-3, with hundreds landing within just minutes and at least eight Israelis killed and dozens wounded. It was the largest barrage of the war. Near Jenin in the West Bank, one of Hezbollah's longer-range rockets crashed into a rocky field 43 miles from the Lebanon border-the farthest reach into Israel yet as the conflict entered its fourth week.

Israel continued a ground offensive inside southern Lebanon and claimed it was right to target a building in Qana, where 56 people, mostly children, died. Israeli Brig. Gen. Guy Zur said forces would continue to bomb targets embedded in civilian centers "to destroy all infrastructure of terror we can get."

Don't believe it when Arab media show pro-terrorist compassion for children who are victims of bombings (story, p. 19). While al-Jazeera flooded its airwaves with Qana carnage, it showed only seconds of Baghdad bloodshed when terrorists exploded homemade bombs on a soccer field Aug. 2 , killing at least 11 young players.

Iranian nukes

Iran has until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution passed July 31, or face economic and diplomatic sanctions. The vote was 14-1, with Russia and China siding with the United States, and only Qatar opposing. The next day Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected the terms, saying, "The Iranian nation considers the peaceful use of nuclear fuel production technology its right."

Fidel

Havana streets filled with speculation over the health of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and the whereabouts of his temporary successor, younger brother Raoul. Castro, who turns 80 this month, temporarily ceded power to Raoul, 75, on July 31 following intestinal surgery. But four days later there still were no public pronouncements on the health of the world's longest-serving communist leader. Equally surprising, Raoul had failed during that time to appear in public.

Energy bill

Six months ago President Bush warned of the country's "addiction" to foreign oil. With war in the Middle East and prices up a further $10 per barrel, Congress is taking him seriously. The Senate Aug. 1 joined the House in passing legislation to vastly expand areas open to offshore drilling. Both bills make way for oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico in waters under a drilling moratorium for 25 years.

Congo

For its first democratic election in 46 years, voting was relatively peaceful in the vast and war-tattered Democratic Republic of Congo July 30. With initial results showing President Joseph Kabila (below) inching ahead, vice president and presidential challenger Azarias Ruberwa alleged "massive" fraud at polling stations. Rwandan Hutu militias in the restive east threatened to cut off the ears of voters who did not choose Kabila, he said. With such accusations, tensions could spill over into violence once results are known, despite a successful election.

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