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Wall Street Journal – Worldwide News Briefs For January 23, 2007 January 23, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, World News.
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BUSH PLANS TO CALL for an increase in U.S. renewable-fuels usage to 35 billion gallons in 2017. The new goal includes ethanol made from both corn and cellulosic materials such as wood chips.
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Sen. John Warner, the top Armed Services panel Republican, broke ranks with Bush ahead of the president’s State of the Union speech, saying more U.S. troops should not be put between warring Sunnis and Shiites.
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Bush has lost the nation’s ear, a WSJ/NBC News poll shows, leaving him with little leeway to pursue major policy initiatives, especially on Iraq. His approval rating is just 35%.
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China said it won’t loosen its so-called one-child policy, despite a government official’s acknowledgment that the policy was partly to blame for a worsening gender-imbalance problem.
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Two bombs struck Shiite targets in Baghdad, killing five people, and a helicopter operated by security company Blackwater crashed in the capital, killing five. The U.S. military announced the deaths of two more troops.
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Opposition protesters paralyzed Lebanon by burning tires and cars at major thoroughfares in and around Beirut, sparking clashes with government supporters amid a general strike aimed at toppling the U.S.-backed prime minister.
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Libby’s lawyer said his client was a scapegoat for top White House officials, while prosecutor Fitzgerald accused the former Cheney aide of lying to investigators.
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China said its former top statistician will face criminal charges related to Shanghai’s corruption scandal surrounding pension-fund misuse.
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A top U.S. diplomat ruled out direct negotiations with Iran and said a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran was “not possible” until Iran halts uranium enrichment.
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China confirmed publicly that it tested an antisatellite missile earlier this month, but its lack of openness has damaged efforts to polish its international image, analysts said.
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The U.S. wants to open formal negotiations with Poland over the possibility of basing part of its missile-defense system on Polish territory.
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Australia’s prime minister unveiled a modest ministerial reorganization, aiming to revitalize his team ahead of a general election expected around October.
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Israel’s attorney general notified President Moshe Katsav that he plans to indict him on charges of rape and abuse of power.
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Jimmy Carter went to Brandeis University to confront the furor over his new book on the Middle East, which has been attacked as slanted against Israel.
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A bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of workers outside a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan, killing 10 people and wounding at least 14 others in the deadliest suicide attack in four months.
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Ethiopian troops began withdrawing from Somalia after helping the nation’s government drive out a radical Islamic militia.
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Mexican President Calderón has strengthened his hand by reaching out to traditional power brokers, but this may prevent him from making the deep political and economic changes needed to modernize.
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Thailand’s economic growth may be riding on whether the king can help guide the country back to democracy after a series of troubling events and political rifts.
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Air-traffic controllers share some blame for the plane collision over the Amazon in September that killed 154 people in Brazil’s worst air disaster.
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Sentencing was delayed for former FDA head Lester Crawford, who pleaded guilty to lying about stock holdings that posed a conflict of interest.
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A Justice Department report said the FBI should have acted to protect teenage House pages when it initially learned that ex-Rep. Foley had sent disturbing emails to a former male page.
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An AIDS organization sued Pfizer over ads the group says encourage use of Viagra as a party drug, and that such recreational use furthers the spread of HIV and other diseases.
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Mexico will push on with a program to send imprisoned traffickers to the U.S. after extraditing four drug bosses, in a move designed to strike back at violent drug cartels.
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Ministers from around the world will gather in a Swiss resort this week for their most important discussions on how to save global-trade negotiations since they broke down last year.

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