Allies of US President George W. Bush in the Senate began a major effort on Tuesday to prevent a potentially embarrassing rejection of the president's plan to push 20,000 more troops into Iraq.
With the Senate expected to reach votes on possible resolutions sometime next week, the signs of the new campaign seeped out after a weekly closed-door lunch in which Republican senators engaged in what participants described as a heated debate over how to approach the issue.
The new effort by Bush's allies was aimed at blocking two nonbinding resolutions directly critical of the White House that had appeared to be gaining broad support among Democrats and even some Republicans.
Republicans skeptical of the troop buildup said some of their colleagues had begun to suggest that opponents of the White House plan ran the risk of undermining Lieutenant General David Petraeus, the new military commander in Iraq, as well as Bush.
"There is a lot of pressure on people who could be with us not to be with us," said Representative Susan Collins, the co-author of one resolution with representatives John Warner and Ben Nelson.
As an alternative to that measure and another broadly backed by Democrats, representatives John McCain and Lindsey Graham, along with Representative Joseph Lieberman were trying to enlist support for a resolution that would set benchmarks for the Iraqi government to work towards and describe the US troop increase as a final chance to restore security to a war-torn Baghdad.
Graham and McCain have been joined in their effort by Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Representative John Cornyn and Representative David Vitter of Louisiana.
In advance of a possible Senate vote on the resolutions, Republican senators appeared widely divided over how to proceed.
In trying to head off the resolution supported by Warner and Collins, allies of the White House appeared to be trying to muster at least the 41 votes they would need to prevent a vote on the measure under Senate rules.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent