In this morning's New York Times, we'll start off by noting Erik Eckholm's "Chinese Woman Fights Effort to Deport Her:"
A permanent resident of the United States and a scholar at American University in Washington, Ms. Gao had been arrested at the Beijing airport, tried in secret on seemingly dubious espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison. That her son, an American citizen and only 5, was also seized and isolated for 26 days made the case seem all the more outrageous.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell publicly expressed dismay over her case, and members of Congress called for her release. To soothe relations with Washington, the Chinese put Ms. Gao on a plane after she served six months.
But since then, Ms. Gao and her husband have pleaded guilty to federal offenses and have been sentenced to prison terms. Today the family is again in a fix, caught in the grind of the justice and immigration systems, and the custody of the children is again in question.
Gao (and her husband) have pled guilty. Short of some evidence emerging that they were forced to cop a plea, presumption of innocence is over. Why are we starting off with this?
A lot of spying (and alleged spying) going on.
Kara e-mails to highlight Douglas Jehl's "Democrats, Seeking Files, Threaten to Stall Bolton Vote:"
Senate Democrats are threatening to abandon an agreement to move toward a swift vote on the nomination of John R. Bolton unless the State Department provides documents related to a clash between Mr. Bolton and intelligence officials over assessments of Syria.
The threat reflects growing tensions between Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over the handling of an inquiry into Mr. Bolton's qualifications to serve as ambassador to the United Nations.
The inquiry is scheduled to conclude on Friday, but the Republican chairman of the committee has refused to endorse a Democratic request for the Syria documents, and the State Department has not turned them over to the panel.
Krista e-mails to note Marc Lacey's "The New African Dream Is to Escape the Nightmare of Darfur:"
Most of the displaced people in western Sudan have settled just down the road in makeshift camps. Even those who crossed Sudan's western border into Chad remain within walking distance from their villages, though it is a rugged walk, through harsh desert terrain.
But some who are fleeing further afield. They are arriving in Ghana, more than 1,000 miles away. They are showing up in Britain and the United States. To get away from the bloodshed that began in 2003, they have trudged, hopped on the back of trucks, hidden in cargo ships, or, if they have had the means, settled into airplane seats - sometimes one or two or all of the above.
MR e-mails to note Felicity Barringer's "Bush Administration Rolls Back Rule on Building Forest Roads:"
The Bush administration on Thursday supplanted a Clinton-era rule banning road construction in nearly 60 million acres of national forest with a complex prescription for state-by state decisions on which areas should retain protections.
[. . .]
Spokesmen for such environmental groups and for possible Democratic presidential contenders, including Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, denounced the decision as a giveaway to industry that flouted the public will. Watersheds and wildlife habitats are now at risk, they said.
Billie e-mails to note James Brooke and Kate Zernike's "In Pacific Islands, Mixed Feelings About a Lobbyist's Work:"
Jack Abramoff, the Washington lobbyist under criminal investigation, used to say that the government here needed his services because it was the only American territory without a nonvoting delegate to Congress.
But in previously unreleased documents, Mr. Abramoff described how he worked hard to kill a bill in Congress that would have given the islands a delegate. He did so by exploiting his ties to Republican House leaders, including Tom DeLay of Texas, the majority leader whose travels arranged by the lobbyist have raised ethical questions.
[. . .]
Over six years, he and his law firm collected nearly $9 million from the Marianas. He also obtained work for friends. A $67,000 contract for one friend, Rabbi David Lapin, chief executive of Strategic Business Ethics Inc. of Los Angeles, to perform eight days of ethics training ballooned to $1.2 million a year later.
Wally e-mails to note Carlotta Gall's "Afghan Rebels Step Up Attacks, Killing 9 Near Pakistani Border:"
Nine Afghan soldiers were killed and three were wounded in an ambush Thursday in southern Afghanistan, in the most deadly single attack by rebels against the newly trained Afghan National Army, a military spokesman said.
The soldiers were on patrol in a mountainous district called Shah Wali Kot, in Kandahar Province, when their vehicle hit a mine and immediately came under fire from gunmen, said Gen. Zaher Azimi, the Defense Ministry spokesman.
Wally: But Bully Boy called this one a win, right? This is winning?
Most people this morning have e-mailed about a certain reporter. If you've read this far and feel let down, don't feel that way. When Elite Fluff Patrols go fluffing, they deserve their own entry.
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