Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "Signs and wonders," Jan. 26, 2008

Obama has since sought to distance himself from such tactics, offering conciliatory words Jan. 15 at the Democratic primary debate in Nevada: "What I am absolutely convinced of is that everybody here is committed to racial equality, has been historically."

That willingness to give whites the benefit of the doubt separates Obama from other liberal black politicians. Black conservative author Shelby Steele believes Obama's appeal among whites hinges on his dissociation from the politics of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, a requirement that may force the Illinois Democrat to further distance himself from his Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

Targeted abroad

A U.S. embassy vehicle was the target of a bombing on Jan. 15 that killed four people. The casualties were Lebanese, but an armored embassy SUV was damaged. The bombing took place just before a reception for U.S. ambassador Jeffrey Feltman in a Beirut hotel. Feltman is an outspoken critic of Syria, and Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon; he plans to leave the country at the end of January.

Separately the United States has begun a review of embassy security in Sudan following the killing of a U.S. diplomat, John Granville, in Khartoum on Jan. 1. An al-Qaeda-aligned website said Ansar Al Tawhid in Sudan claimed responsibility for the killings-the first claim issued by the group.


A prolonged Siberian snap across the Middle East has changed bird migratory habits-swans normally wintering in the north were spotted in the Jordan Valley-frozen pipes, and made driving hazardous in the normally temperate climate. It is also taking a toll on Israeli produce, a major export to Europe. At least half the Negev's potato crop, along with thousands of tons of avocados, bananas, flowers, eggplant, and other vegetables, have been destroyed. But retailers can take comfort: Sales of down blankets are up 50 percent, and tea and chocolate sales are up nearly 20 percent.


Colorado-based Compassion International reports that two child-development centers and one of its homes were burned during recent violence in Kenya. Office supplies and equipment also were looted when street violence spiked after contested elections Dec. 27. The violence has left 600 people dead and over 500,000 forced from homes and businesses.


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