Democrats Propose Iraq Pullout by Fall 2008
House Democratic leaders intensified their debate with President Bush over Iraq Thursday as they announced legislation that would pull American combat troops out of Iraq before the fall of 2008.
"Only then can we refocus our military efforts on Afghanistan to the extent that we must," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. She said the Iraq withdrawal deadline would be attached to legislation providing nearly $100 billion requested by the Bush administration for the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and money to expand health care for veterans.
Rep. David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the leadership's proposal "will essentially redirect more of our resources to the war against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, fighting the right war in the right place against the people who attacked us and who are giving al-Qaida sanctuary."
But despite the Democrats' advantage in the House (233 seats, to 201 for the Republicans), the leadership's proposal seems to have little chance of advancing, since Republicans are nearly united against it and Democrats are split, with some conservatives saying it goes too far in aiming to wind down the war in Iraq and liberals saying it does not go far enough.
Ford to Give Bonuses to All
Ford Motor Co., which had been criticized by union leaders over the prospect of bonuses for management, said on Thursday that all of its employees would receive a "modest" bonus.
Ford is rewarding its workers even though it lost a record $12.7 billion last year and mortgaged most of its assets to make sure it would have enough cash to complete its revamping and cover expected losses from automotive operations.
"Last year, though we fell short of our profit and market share goals, we made significant improvements in quality and cost savings," Ford's chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, told employees in an e-mail message Thursday.
Workers represented by the United Automobile Workers or the Canadian Automobile Workers union will receive $500. Bonuses for other nonmanagement employees range from $300 to $800. Workers in management-level positions will receive "higher, but still modest, awards that will proportionately reflect the metrics that were achieved in 2006," Mulally said.
Europe Divided on How To Fight Global Warming
Divisions over how to fight global warming threatened on Thursday to overshadow a summit meeting aimed at making the European Union the world leader in the battle against climate change.
European leaders are expected to approve plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 as part of an effort to reduce the bloc's dependency on oil and gas exports. But governments of the union's 27 member countries are at odds over other issues, including whether renewable energy targets should be binding and whether nuclear energy should be supported.
Speaking before the meeting, which began on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency, said the need to use more renewable sources was a matter of urgency. "It's not five minutes to midnight," she said. "It's five minutes after midnight."