Morning Report: August 1, 2005

King Fahd dies. Though largely a figurehead since suffering a debilitating stroke in 1995, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, who rose to power in 1982, left his mark on the Middle East. He died early Monday at the age of 84. Voice of America has this: 'Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, who had been in ill health for years, died early Monday in Riyadh. The Saudi royal court announced the king's death and said Crown Prince Abdullah, Fahd's brother, has assumed the throne. The crown prince has been Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler since Fahd suffered a stroke 10 years ago. Officials say the monarch died at the King Faisal Specialized Hospital in Riyadh, where he had been admitted in late May for unspecified medical tests. ...' MSNBC: 'Fahd died at approximately 2:30 a.m. EDT, a senior Saudi official in Washington told The Associated Press. President Bush was alerted within minutes of Fahd’s death, the official told The AP on condition of anonymity. The king’s funeral was to be held Tuesday evening, he said.' Mahmood has a tribute. (VOA, MSNBC, Mahmood)

Bolton to get UN appointment. President Bush will appoint the controversial John Bolton as the US ambassador to the United Nations, media sources report. MSNBC: 'Frustrated by Democrats, President Bush will circumvent the Senate on Monday and install embattled nominee John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official told NBC News. Bush has the power to fill vacancies without Senate approval while Congress is in recess. Under the Constitution, a recess appointment during the lawmakers' August break would last until the next session of Congress, which begins in January 2007. ...' Fox: 'Democrats have not relented in their argument that Bolton is not the man for the job. "He's damaged goods; this is a person who lacks credibility. This will be the first U.N. ambassador since 1948 we ever sent there under a recess appointment. That's not what you want to send up, a person who doesn't have the confidence of the Congress," Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., told "FOX News Sunday." Republicans say the Democratic filibuster justifies use of a recess appointment. "I think Mr. Bolton has been treated incredibly unfairly by the process here. And the president would have every right to give him a recess appointment," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.' CNN: 'Senate Democrats held up the nomination after the White House refused, on grounds of executive privilege, to provide records of communications intercepts Bolton sought from the National Security Agency when he was the State Department's point man on arms control. The State Department last week acknowledged that Bolton incorrectly told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a questionnaire that he had not been interviewed as part of any investigation within the past five years.' (various)

Bloggers' demo cancelled. Overshadowed by President Mubarak's unsurprising (but awkwardly timed) announcement that he will seek a fifth term in office, the planned demonstration in memory of the victims of Sharm-el-Sheikh was cancelled. 'Why did our permit get revoked? Why did the police send such a huge number of security soldiers to an anti-terror demonstration? I believe the answer lies in the phobia that our government has towards any sort of demonstration even if it was a protest denouncing Osama Bin Laden. They hate assemblies, period. May be the police was afraid lest our protest turn into an anti-government or an anti-Mubarak demonstration or something. They just don't want the hassle.' Sandmonkey: 'How can you explain to people the logic behind the illogical? Forget that, how can you put them in the same situation you were put in? After all the work they had to do to lobby for this thing to work, they had to call all of those people and convince them not to go, because the vigil was canceled, just like that. And the worst part is: you will no longer have any credibility with those people. You won’t be able to get them to come the next time.' (Big Pharaoh, Sandmonkey)