Morning Report: March 21, 2005

Federal judge to review Schiavo case. In an unusual move, the US Congress passed, and the President signed, a bill that would prolong the life of Terri Schiavo pending review of her case by a federal judge in Florida. MSNBC reports: Taking the Senate’s lead, the House early Monday passed a bill to let the woman’s parents ask a federal judge to prolong Schiavo’s life by reinserting her feeding tube. President Bush signed the measure less than an hour later, at 1:11 a.m. ET. A White House source said he was woken from his sleep for the signing. Until now, federal courts have turned the case back to state courts. The law gives the U.S. District Court in Tampa jurisdiction on a case that has been taken up by Republican leaders and galvanized activists on both sides of the emotional end-of-life issue. An attorney for her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, went to the federal district court in Tampa at 3 a.m. ET, filing a request for an emergency injunction to keep their daughter fed. It was not known when the judge, James Whittemore, would make a ruling.' Full details are available at Straight Up With Sherri. (MSNBC, Straight Up with Sherri)

Rice: "Other options" on North Korea. Speaking in Beijing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cited "other options" if North Korea continues to refuse to cooperate with the US and other nations on halting its nuclear weapons program. Rice said her conversations with Chinese leaders stressed how the United States and China, "but especially China", could persuade Pyongyang to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons. This could be seen as a reference to economic sanctions, as the North Korean economy depends heavily on trade with China. Rice also discussed Taiwan relations, noting that the mainland regime's new anti-secsssion law had "raised tensions". (MSNBC)

Pakistan: Staging ground against Iran? Citing NetIndia, a recent itema at Regime Change Iran claims that Pakistan may agree to serve as a staging ground for US military action against Iran. 'According to a online report of Asia Times, Islamabad may have agreed to host US troops and intelligence assets near Pakistan's border with Iran in preparation for a possible attack on Iran and probably agreed to train American forces in Karachi in return for some kind of commitment on F-16 deliveries.' (NetIndia via RCI)