Weekend in review

Here are some of the stories that caught the attention of your writers this weekend.

1. The United States is increasing its unilateral airstrikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan before its new government changes its policy on American missions, according to U.S. officials. The increase reflects the Bush administration’s concern that Pakistan’s new majority will be less welcoming of such attacks than the former majority government of President Pervez Musharraf, a key U.S. ally. “U.S. Steps Up Unilateral Strikes in Pakistan” – [Washington Post]

2. Protesting monks disrupted a cadre of foreign journalists’ government-guided tour of Lhasa last Thursday. The journalists were the first allowed entry to Tibet since protests triggered a violent reaction from the Chinese government eighteen days ago. President Bush spoke with Chinese President Hu Jintao by telephone the day before, encouraging the government to talk with exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama. “Monks disrupt Tibet media visit” – [BBC  News]

3. Puerto Rican Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila was charged Thursday with 19 counts of campaign finance violations in a federal investigation. Acevedo, a Democratic Superdelegate and supporter of Senator Barack Obama, denied the charges and called the investigations politically motivated. He could serve more than 20 years in federal prison if convicted. “Puerto Rico governor charged with corruption” – [MSNBC]

4. Senator Barack Obama delivered a key speech that outlined his plans to modernize regulation of financial markets and provide relief for homeowners harmed by the housing crisis; he also proposed a $30 billion economic stimulus package to fuel growth and help protect families from potential recession. “Obama Casts Wide Blame for Financial Crisis and Proposes Homeowner Aid” – [New York Times]

5. The controversial comments of Senator Barack Obama’s former pastor had little negative impact on his presidential bid, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last Wednesday. Several pundits had predicted a fallout of white voters from Obama’s campaign after video clips from Jeremiah Wright’s sermons surfaced on the internet; the most popular video showed Wright yelling “God damn America” in a tirade condemning government policies toward blacks. 47 percent of voters who said they saw Obama’s popular speech on race said Obama has sufficiently addressed the comments made by Wright while 37 percent said he needs to address it further. Obama experienced a two percent decrease in favorablility ratings from polls conducted in early March; Senator Hillary Clinton experienced an eight percent drop during the same period, marking her lowest ratings since her 2001 election to the U.S. Senate. “First Thoughts: Myth buster” – [First Read, MSNBC political blog] *Full poll results available here.

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