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Front Page: Ban Ki-Moon in Myanmar, Oil Spikes Three Days, Farm Bill and Tax Package

  • Ban Ki-Moon in Myanmar: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has begun his tour the devastated Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar. He is set to meet with military ruler Gen Than Shwe hoping to persuade the government to accept more aid for cyclone victims. So far the government has blocked large-scale international assistance, and foreign agencies say they are able to deliver just 30 percent of what they would like. The death toll from Cyclone Nargis is currently 78,000 dead, with another 56,000 missing. The UN says that fewer than a 25 percent of the 2.4 million people affected have received aid.

  • Oil Spikes Three Days: Oil cost attained a new record for highest price for a third straight day, topping $135 a barrel. OPEC producer Saudi Arabia last week said it had raised production by 300,000 barrels per day, but the news had minimal impact on the market.
  • Farm Bill and Tax Package: The House voted 316-to-108 to override President Bush's veto of the Farm Bill. The vote was well over the two-thirds needed. Bush said in his veto announcement, “for a year and a half, I have consistently asked that the Congress pass a good farm bill that I can sign. Regrettably, the Congress has failed to do so. At a time of high food prices and record farm income, this bill lacks program reform and fiscal discipline.” The House also passed a $54 billion tax package. The measure renews tax breaks that have expired or will expire soon and provides new tax relief in the form of child tax-credits and breaks for renewable energy.
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