Iranian president accuses Bush of confrontation
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yest that President Bush sent a “message of confrontation” during his recent Mideast trip.
Bush spent much of his visit to the region, which he wrapped up on Wednesday, rallying support among Arab allies for a strong stance against Iran – calling the country the world’s top sponsor of terrorism.
“President George Bush sent a message to the Iranian people and all the nations worldwide,” said Ahmadinejad during an interview in Farsi with Al-Jazeera television. “This message reflects his own conceptions and it is a message of rift, a message of sowing the seeds of division. It is a message of confrontation demeaning the dignity of mankind.”
Tougher border rules mean longer lines, more ID
New border-crossing rules that take effect in two weeks will mean longer lines and stiffer demands for ID, including for returning Americans, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday.
A driver’s license won’t be good enough to get you past a checkpoint at the Canadian border, Chertoff said. That will be a surprise to many people who routinely cross the border, but Chertoff bristled at criticism that such extra security would be inconvenient. More than 800,000 people enter the US through land and sea ports each day.
“It’s time to grow up and recognize that if we’re serious about this threat, we’ve got to take reasonable, measured but nevertheless determined steps to getting better security,” he said.
U.S. to reduce troop levels as security improves in Iraq
As security conditions improve in Iraq, the U.S. should be able to reduce forces at a slow but consistent pace beyond this summer, but air support and ground troops likely will be needed for five to 10 years, a top military commander said Thursday.
Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, also said he believes Iraqi forces will be able to take over security in their country much quicker than they have suggested.
“What we don’t want to do is suddenly pull out a whole bunch of U.S. forces and suddenly turn things over to … the Iraqi security forces,” said Odierno.
Congress, White House issue rebates to prevent recession
United for urgent action, the White House and Congress raced toward emergency steps Thursday to rescue the national economy from a possible recession, including tax rebates of at least $300 a person – and maybe as much as $800.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke endorsed the idea of putting money into the hands of those who would spend it quickly and boost the flagging economy.
All the talk of rescue efforts failed to soothe Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrials plunged 306.95 points, underscoring concern about the country’s economic health.
The scramble to take action came as fears mounted that a severe housing slump and a painful credit crisis could cause people to reduce spending and businesses to stop hiring, throwing the country into its first recession since 2001.
– Compiled from Daily wire reports