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"News" Continued...

Issue: "Gulf toil," June 5, 2010

Filing flurry

In 2006 Congress passed a law forcing nonprofit groups with revenues under $25,000 (other than churches) to file a Form 990-N each year with the IRS, beginning in 2007. Failure to file the form for three years in a row would mean loss of tax-exempt status. Thousands of small nonprofits didn't know about the rule, and on May 17, the three-year clock expired. A rush to file on the deadline swamped the IRS, and many small charities were unable to file. But IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said his agency would work with charities that missed the deadline to help them keep their tax-exempt status. Meanwhile, he said, "Go ahead and file, even though the May 17 deadline has passed."

From the heart

Former first lady Laura Bush acknowledged in a May interview with CNN's Larry King that she supports gay marriage and the legalization of abortion. "When couples are committed to each other and love each other then they ought to have, I think, the same sort of rights that everyone has," she said. And when King asked her about abortion, she said, "I think it's important that it remain legal." She differs with her husband on both of these issues, but told King, "I really understand his viewpoint, and he understands mine." The former first lady stated back in 2001 that she opposed overturning Roe v. Wade, but the topic came up again in the wake of her new book, Spoken from the Heart.

Realignment

For the third time, a Gallup poll has found that more Americans oppose than support abortion: 47 percent call themselves "pro-life" and 45 percent label themselves "pro-choice." This continues a trend from last year, when in July 47 percent of Americans called themselves "pro-life" and 46 percent called themselves "pro-choice." Gallup found that since 2001, Republicans, Republican-leaning Independents, and Independents who leaned neither way were all more likely to call themselves pro-life. The highest pro-life jump came from the 18- to 29-year-old category, leaping from 42 percent pro-life in 2007 to 47 percent in 2010. The percentage of pro-life Democrats declined from 37 percent in 2003-2004 to 31 percent in 2009-2010.

Homeward bound

On May 10 more than 100 Iraqis were killed in a single day of bombings around Baghdad. In Afghanistan a Taliban suicide car bomber attacked a NATO-led military convoy in Kabul on May 18, killing 12 Afghan civilians, a Canadian soldier, and five Americans. But fresh worry about security isn't stopping plans for U.S. withdrawals-already underway in Iraq. "We are on track," Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza told The Wall Street Journal last month. The drawdowns begin this summer, leaving by September only 50,000 of the 92,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq. Troop levels from there will gradually zero out by December 2011. How to get the soldiers home? At Camp Adder workers are constructing a $19.5 million staging area needed to move back to the States military equipment and personnel.

Deal, no deal

U.S. officials reached agreement with permanent UN Security Council members China, Russia, Great Britain, and France on May 18 for a draft sanctions resolution over Iran's growing nuclear capability. The announcement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came one day after Iran offered a diplomatic proposal that many Western leaders view as an attempt to deflect the new round of economic strictures. Iran proposed to ship uranium fuel to Turkey in exchange for receiving fuel rods (it claims for medical research) from the West. The Obama administration rejected the latest proposal from Iran for building up its nuclear capability-but has not escaped criticism at home or abroad: "The Americans will take their wish to harm the Iranian nation to their graves," said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on May 20.

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