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May 16, 2008

The world doesn't stop just because the news cycle shifts. At the JOURNAL we focus on matters that are often less than fully covered by major media — and we use the power of the Internet to keep you up to date on stories that we have covered. Below you'll find new information on stories you've seen on THE JOURNAL.

The Farm Bill

cash and cropsIn April, 2008 THE JOURNAL featured several stories related to the pending renewal of the Farm Bill by Congress. Spending watchdogs wanted certain farm subsidies substantially reduced and President Bush promised to veto any bill which didn't make progress on that account. Hunger advocates wanted federal food aid increased. On May 15, 2008, the House passed $300 billion farm bill by veto-proof margin. Hunger advocates stand to be more pleased than subsidy cutters.

The Democratic Republic of Congo

On April 4, 2008, THE JOURNAL presented a special report documenting the efforts of aid workers on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "The aid agencies are almost substituting for a social welfare system that hasn't operated in these areas for decades," said Dominic MacSorley, Emergency Director for Concern Worldwide, an international aid organization.

Map of CongoThe news from the Congo is mixed. On April 14, 2008, Stephanie McCrummen of THE WASHINGTON POST reported on a "Change of Mentality" in Congo, a program among provincial authorities to "end graft and mismangement" that is meeting with some success. But the Congo's horrific problems are far from over. THE ECONOMIST, reported in May on "Atrocities beyond words" — the continuing campaign of rape in Eastern Congo. "Since all UN members have promised to observe a fundamental 'responsibility to protect' their citizens from war crimes and crimes against humanity, focusing world attention on such crimes in eastern Congo is perhaps the least outsiders can do."

Blackwater

Journalist Jeremy Scahill related his research on the Iraq contracting firm Blackwater on THE JOURNAL last fall close on the heels of a controversial shooting by Blackwater employees in Baghdad. Congress held hearings on Blackwater, and the Iraqi government itself protested the shooting and the company's role in the reconstruction efforts.Blackwater On April 5, 2008, the State Department renewed Blackwater's contract for another year. NEW YORK TIMES reporter James Risen writes: "The chief reason for the company's survival? State Department officials said Friday that they did not believe they had any alternative to Blackwater, which supplies about 800 guards to the department to provide security for diplomats in Baghdad."
Life in Sadr City

On April 18, 2008, the McClatchy Company's Baghdad bureau chief Leila Fadel gave JOURNAL viewers her perspective of the situation on the ground in the volatile Baghdad neighborhood Sadr City. Fadel answered viewer questions on our blog, and continues to update her own blog from Baghdad. Leila Fadel in Sadr City

Meanwhile an uneasy truce is alternatively in and out of effect in Sadr City. On May 11, 2008, THE NEW YORK TIMES reported: "The Iraqi government and leaders of the movement of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr agreed to a truce, brokered with help from Iran, that would end more than a month of bloody fighting in the vast, crowded Sadr City section of Baghdad."On May 13, 2008, the BBC reported "Baghdad clashes break ceasefire: At least 11 people have been killed and 20 injured in clashes between US troops and militiamen in Baghdad's Sadr City."

Published May 16, 2008.

Also This Week:

MELODY PETERSEN
Melody Petersen talks with Bill Moyers about her new book OUR DAILY MEDS, and how drug companies market medication.

THE NEVER-ENDING DEMOCRATIC DECISION
Berkeley law professors, and husband and wife, Christopher Edley and Maria Echaveste on their different choices.

THE AL QAHTANI DEBACLE
A special essay by Philippe Sands about Detainee 063 at Guantanamo.

JOURNAL UPDATES
From the Farm Bill to the situation in Sadr City — updates on JOURNAL stories.

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