Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

The latest on this week's biggest stories

Issue: "Autumn books," Oct. 7, 2006

Afghanistan

Ten years after Taliban forces took over Afghanistan, with reported help from Pakistani intelligence operatives, Afghanistan's democratically elected post-Taliban president, Hamid Karzai, and Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, strolled the Rose Garden with President Bush. The meeting, falling on the anniversary of Kabul's fall, found each leader blaming the other for the Taliban's recent resurgence: On talk shows Karzai accused Musharraf of lax border security, and Musharraf said Karzai turned "a blind eye" to deteriorating security in his own country.

"You do have two leaders who want to have a good relationship with the United States and particularly George Bush," Ivo H. Daalder, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times, "so that does provide Bush an opportunity to say, 'You guys need to cooperate. We have a common enemy.' I admire him for doing this. It's the right thing to do."

Venezuela

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Venezuela-backed Citgo Petroleum faced anger among its U.S. outlets after Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez blasted President Bush as "the devil" at UN proceedings last month. Convenience-store giant 7-Eleven announced Sept. 27 that its more than 2,000 stores will no longer pump Citgo fuel. In Boston, local politicians called for the removal of a large, lighted Citgo sign visible from Fenway Park and long a local landmark. And low-income Americans in the Northeast who benefit from a Citgo- and Chavez-sponsored home-heating program said they're rethinking the price of the discount. "He stepped out of line," said Boston resident Linda Kelly of Chavez, whose discount heating fuel program saves her and other households in the Northeast several hundred dollars a winter. The program began in Boston, and last week Chavez announced extending it to 17 states to reach 450,000 households.

Anglicans

Top leaders from 20 of the worldwide Anglican Communion's "Global South" provinces in Africa, Asia, and South America ratcheted up the pressure on the Episcopal Church, the U.S. member of the Communion. Gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, the archbishops issued a communique stating, "We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the U.S.A." Archbishop Gregory Venables of South America said afterward: "It has become tragically obvious to us that the Episcopal Church has departed from Christian teaching and practice."

Shooting

"We are a community in mourning," Colorado school superintendent Jim Walpole said following the Sept. 27 hostage-taking that ended in the death of one student at Platte Canyon High School. The crisis unfolded at noon when 53-year-old Duane R. Morrison, wearing a backpack in an apparent attempt to blend in with students, walked into a classroom, fired a warning shot at the floor, and ordered students to line up at the chalkboard. Tapping each with his gun, Morrison took six girls hostage for about four hours, sexually assaulting at least some of them, according to authorities. He released four but fatally wounded 16-year-old Emily Keyes while the other hostage escaped, and then shot himself as a SWAT team closed in. Keyes, pronounced dead at a Denver hospital, was a volleyball player, a member of the school newspaper staff, and a part-time waitress friends described as "just a good person." The 460-student high school is less than an hour's drive from Columbine High School, site of the 1999 school shooting that killed 12 students. Churches promised to open their doors for counseling and support in the community of about 2,000, said Mike Brooks, an eyewitness at the school who attends nearby Elk Creek Community Church. "Everybody pulls together here and we will support each other," he told WORLD.

Academia

Spurning the recommendation of a tenure committee, newly appointed Baylor president John Lilley granted tenure to conservative Christian scholar Francis Beckwith on Sept. 22. Beckwith had appealed his original denial of tenure after he was unfairly railroaded for holding conservative positions ("Baylor boot," Sept. 23, 2006). The accomplished author and pro-life advocate told WORLD he "was always confident that my appeal was rock solid, and that the mountain of evidence that I submitted to the administration was more than compelling."

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