- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

REPUBLICANS

Governors defend health care anger

NEW YORK | Republican governors said Monday that Americans are justifiably frightened by Democratic health care proposals.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said the anger expressed at town-hall meetings across the country was “democracy in action” and legitimately reflected the concerns many voters have about the health care plan.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle concurred, saying they weren’t simply concerned that their taxes might go up.

“The heightened anger is out of fear for what it’s going to mean for their lives and the lives of their families,” said Ms. Lingle, adding that anxiety about the potential changes to their health care make people worry, “‘My very existence could be threatened.”

ISRAEL

Pressure Arabs, 70 senators urge

President Obama should press Arab leaders for “dramatic gestures” on behalf of Middle East peace, an overwhelming majority of U.S. senators said in a letter made public on Monday.

“We would like to understand what steps you are urging Arab states to take and what your expectations are from Arab states in the coming weeks and months,” more than 70 of the 100 senators said in the message to the president.

“We also hope that you will continue to press Arab leaders to consider dramatic gestures toward Israel similar to those taken previously by brave leaders like King Hussein of Jordan and Anwar El-Sadat of Egypt.”

They were referring to Mr. Sadat’s historic 1977 visit to Jerusalem and the king’s opening of direct Jordan-Israel ties.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky both signed the message, which was drafted by Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. aims to kill drug traffickers

KABUL | A U.S. military “kill or capture” list of 367 wanted insurgents in Afghanistan includes 50 major drug traffickers who give money to Taliban militants, U.S. military commanders told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

U.S. and NATO troops are attacking drug warehouses and militant-linked narco dealers in Afghanistan for the first time this year, a new strategy to counter the country’s booming opium poppy and heroin trade. NATO defense ministers approved the targeted drug raids late last year, saying the link between Taliban insurgents and the drug trade was clear.

According to a report to be issued by the committee this week, U.S. commanders have no restrictions on the use of force against the targets, “which means they can be killed or captured on the battlefield.”

LABOR

Solis predicts more green jobs

LAS VEGAS | Hiring in the alternative energy industry will pick up in the next 12 months, though it will take some time before so-called green jobs will become a bigger part of the U.S. job market, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said Monday.

“Once you start seeing more investments made in our economy recovering, as we stabilize and we get people back to work, then I think there’ll be more interest in expanding,” Ms. Solis said. “There’ll be more, hopefully, credit available for this expansion, because there will be more confidence because that’s what we’re lacking right now - that investment and confidence in the market.”

After a terrible start to the year, there are signs of a rebound for alternative energy, in part because of a push from the Obama administration. Yet there is a split at the state and federal level over whether there are better ways to stimulate the job market.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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