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Bush Lauds Gerald Ford

 

CRAWFORD, Texas, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. President George W. Bush Saturday praised former President Gerald Ford as one of the finest public servants the United States has ever known.

Ford, the 38th president of the United States, died Tuesday. Bush will participate in some of the upcoming memorial services for Ford. He used his weekly radio address to talk about his predecessor.

'At every stage of his (life`s) journey, he displayed a decency, patriotism and courage that Americans will always admire,' Bush said. 'As we say goodbye to the year 2006, we bid farewell to one of the finest public servants America has ever known.'

Bush went over Ford`s life, including his 13 successful runs for U.S. Congress from Michigan, his selection as vice president and then his stepping into the presidency when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 over the Watergate scandal.

'Providence gave us Gerald Ford`s steady hand and calm leadership during a time of great division and turmoil,' Bush said. 'He guided America through a crisis of confidence and helped our nation mend its wounds by restoring faith in our system of government.'

 


World Reacts to Saddam`s Execution

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- World reaction to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein`s execution ranged from joy and vindication to fear and dismay Saturday.

U.S. President George W. Bush said Saddam`s execution would not halt Iraqi violence, but marked the 'end of a difficult year.'

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said Saddam had been 'held to account.'

Cardinal Renato Martino, Pope Benedict XVI`s top prelate for justice issues, said the execution punished 'a crime with another crime,' the Rome newspaper La Repubblica reported.

Russia`s foreign minister expressed regret over the execution and warned of deterioration in Iraq.

A Russian ultra-nationalist party staged a rally outside the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow to protest the execution, RIA Novosti reported.

India called the hanging 'unfortunate,' with most diplomats saying it would sharpen Iraq`s Shiite-Sunni divide and destabilize the region, the Press Trust of India reported.

It would also likely inflame further anti-U.S. feelings there, the diplomats said.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said thousands of Iraqis, Iranians and Kuwaitis were overjoyed by the execution, IRNA said.

 


Pentagon Seeks $100b More for Terror Fight

 

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department wants nearly $100 billion more for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, it was reported Saturday.

If approved by Congress, the $99.7 billion request on top of $70 billion already approved for this fiscal year, would set an annual record for war-related spending, The New York Times said.

The request -- 45 percent more than Congress provided for 2006 -- is likely to receive more scrutiny from Congress next year than previous supplemental spending bills, the Times said.

This is in part because Democrats are poised to control both the House and Senate. Another reason is because the Pentagon asks for costs related to the longer war against terror, not just operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the newspaper said.

'There are a number of weapons systems in the supplemental request not normally associated with fighting terrorists but which the services say still should be covered as part of the global effort,' Lexington Institute defense analyst Loren Thompson said.

 


Police Find 15 More Remains in India

 

NOIDA, India, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Police near New Delhi Saturday found more skeletal remains, including 15 skulls, of boys and girls believed sexually abused and killed.

The remains and children`s clothes were found in a dry drain behind the house of a factory owner in Noida, the Press Trust of India reported.

A domestic worker in the house, Subhash alias Surendra, admitted to sexually abusing and strangling two boys and six girls, ages 4 to 12, and a 26-year-old woman, before disposing of their bodies in the drain, The Times of India reported.

A police officer said Subhash appeared 'deranged' and 'may well have forgotten how many children he actually killed.'

Subhash was arrested Friday, police said.

The owner of the house was also arrested as police investigated his role in the crimes.

A large number of onlookers, including parents carrying photographs of their missing children, crowded around the house as police searched and dug Saturday.

Villagers had complained for two years that children were frequently disappearing there, the Times said.

Police initially questioned Subhash during their search for the 26-year-old woman. He was carrying her cell phone.






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