Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bush Signs Defense Bill With Some Reservations

With a long list of caveats, President Bush yesterday signed a bill authorizing $532.8 billion in defense spending for the 2007 fiscal year, including a 2.2 percent pay raise for members of the military.

The White House released two pages of administration disagreements and reservations about provisions that lawmakers put in the bill, including one that would require the Navy to keep its current number of 12 aircraft carriers. The administration wants to retire the USS John F. Kennedy.

The statement singled out about a dozen provisions that would require the White House to provide Congress with information on various subjects.

Bush reminded lawmakers of "the president's constitutional authority to withhold information, the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the executive or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

NATO Official Critical Of Afghanistan Steps

The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan failed to follow through as it should have after ousting the Taliban government in 2001, NATO's commander in the country said.

The mistake -- adopting "a peacetime approach" too early -- set the stage for this year's deadly Taliban resurgence, British Gen. David Richards said in a televised conference from Afghanistan.

He said that the international community has six months to correct the problem before losing Afghan support.

If there is no measurable improvement in six months, he said, Afghans may choose "the rotten future offered by the Taliban" rather than the hopeful future that the coalition offered but didn't deliver.

U.S. Offers to Resettle Refugees From Burundi

The United States is offering to permanently resettle up to 10,000 refugees from a 12-year civil war in the African country of Burundi, the State Department said.

The refugees would be brought to the United States over the next two years with refugee status and would be given the option of applying for U.S. citizenship, said State Department spokesman Tom Casey.

For the Record

· Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Lester Crawford pleaded guilty to conflict of interest and falsely reporting information about stocks he owned in food, beverage and medical device companies that he was in charge of regulating. The charges are misdemeanors, and each carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

· The U.S. government had sufficient basis to designate an Israeli extremist group, Kahane Chai, a foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled.

-- From News Services

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