Archive for January 25th, 2009

Vatican criticizes Obama on abortion issue

VATICAN CITY – Vatican officials said Saturday they were disappointed by President Barack Obama‘s decision to end a ban on federal funding for international groups that perform abortions or provide information on them.

Monsignor Rino Fisichella, who heads the Vatican‘s Pontifical Academy for Life, urged Obama to listen to all voices in America without “the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of life and death.”

Fisichella said in an interview published Saturday in Corriere della Sera that “if this is one of President Obama’s first acts, I have to say, in all due respect, that we’re heading quickly toward disappointment.”

Obama signed an executive order that ended the ban on Friday, reversing the policy of the Bush administration.

“This deals a harsh blow not only to us Catholics but to all the people across the world who fight against the slaughter of innocents that is carried out with the abortion,” another top official with the Academy for Life, Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, told the ANSA news agency.

“Among the many good things that he could have done, Barack Obama instead chose the worst,” he was quoted as saying Saturday.

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Schumer signals support for prosecution of Bush officials

Raw Story- David Edwards and Jeremy Gantz
Published: Sunday January 25, 2009

Echoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s words one week ago, New York Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday that he could support prosecution for Bush officials that participated in torture or broke other laws.

“If there are egregious cases, I don’t think you can say, blanket, no prosecutions,” Schumer told Fox’s Chris Wallace Sunday morning. “If there are egregious cases, yes, you have to look at them.”

Last Sunday on the same television show, Pelosi signaled that she’s open to backing prosecutions of Bush administration officials, telling Wallace that “you look at each item and see what is a violation of the law…”

But Schumer was far from aggressive, repeating President Obama’s comment earlier this month that “we should be looking forward, not backward.”

President Obama said two weeks ago that he was not ruling out possible prosecution for abuses committed under the George Bush administration, saying no one “is above the law.”

“We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth,” then President-elect Obama said in a TV interview when asked about alleged abuses under Bush.

“Obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he said.

With write reports.

This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Jan. 25, 2009.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Ted Haggard New Gay Sex Allegations

ERIC GORSKI | January 24, 2009 01:23 AM EST | AP

DENVER — Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard’s former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard _ a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Boyd said an “overwhelming pool of evidence” pointed to an “inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship” that “went on for a long period of time … it wasn’t a one-time act.” Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.

Reached Friday night, Haggard declined to comment and said all interviews would have to be arranged through a publicist for HBO, which is airing a documentary about him this month.

Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly.


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Saudi Prince: Bush Left “Sickening Legacy” In Middle East

DONNA ABU-NASR | January 24, 2009 02:41 PM EST | AP

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s ex-ambassador to Washington said former President George W. Bush left a “sickening legacy” in the Middle East and warned that U.S.-Saudi relations would be at risk if the Obama administration doesn’t change America’s policy in the region.

Prince Turki al-Faisal’s unusually tough words were the latest blunt assessment by the Saudi royal family that prospects for Arab-Israeli peace are growing dim unless dramatic policy changes are made.

Turki said he strongly promoted the Arab-Israeli peace process in his decades as a public servant. But after Israel’s three-week assault in the Gaza Strip, the prince said, “these pleas for optimism and co-operation now seem a distant memory,” he said in a Financial Times op-ed published Friday.

The kingdom has resisted calls for a holy war against Israel, “but every day this restraint becomes more difficult to maintain,” he added.

The comments followed a warning from King Abdullah on Monday that his 2002 Arab-Israeli peace initiative won’t remain on the table forever.

“America is not innocent in this calamity,” said Turki, who is the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. “Not only has the Bush administration left a sickening legacy in the region, but it has also, through an arrogant attitude about the butchery in Gaza, contributed to the slaughter of innocents.”

The impassioned comments are a departure from the oil-rich kingdom’s normally diplomatic rhetoric toward the U.S., its longtime ally. The Bush family has had strong ties with the Saudi royal family, and Turki’s harsh public comments about Bush were rare.

Analysts say the king had to send a clear message after Israel’s assault in Gaza left almost 1,300 Palestinians dead. A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza, was in its sixth day Saturday.


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