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In the interests of stabilizing a crucial ally, the US has urged leaders of Pakistan to resolve their differences. Is it a step toward democracy and civilian rule or a victory for the military and amnesty for high-level corruption? Will there be a backlash against US involvement? Also, Britain's Prime Minister to halve troops in Iraq by spring, and farmers warn that crops will rot in the fields if they don't get help finding more workers.

Reporter's Notebook Administration Attempts to Relax Visa Regulations for Farmworkers

Yesterday's Los Angeles Times reported that a shortage of farm workers threatens to leave un-harvested fruits and vegetables rotting in fields nationwide. The Departments of Labor, State and Homeland Security say they're trying to help farmers who are threatened with a shortage of workers to harvest crops. It's all about the complex process required for hiring legal workers and the stepped up enforcement that’s cutting supplies of illegal ones.

Nicole Gaouette, Bloomberg News
Manuel Cunha, President, Nisei Farmers League (@niseifarmers)

Making News PM Brown to Pull Half of British Troops Out of Iraq by Spring 5 MIN, 52 SEC

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told Parliament today that British troops in Iraq will be cut in half by spring of next year. Conservatives were outraged that he announced a reduction last week while he was in Iraq and accused him of playing politics with the armed forces. Bronwen Maddox is Chief Foreign Commentator for the Times of London.

Bronwen Maddox, Prospect magazine

Main Topic Politically Turbulent Times in Pakistan 42 MIN, 32 SEC

As expected, Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharaf was re-elected by national and local parliaments this weekend, even though he’s still the Army’s Chief of Staff. His victory was assured when the party of exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto abstained from voting.  But the Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether it’s legal for Musharaff to hold elected office while he still wears his uniform. Meantime, Bhutto plans to return to the country after Musharaff granted her amnesty from corruption charges.          

Mark Sappenfield, South Asia Bureau Chief, Christian Science Monitor
Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistani Senator and lead lawyer
Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the chairman of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy
Talat Masood, former General, Pakistani Army
Paula Newberg, Georgetown University

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