The U.S. House passage of sweeping health care legislation has by no means ended the political battle. Apart from the fact that some of the more critical changes won’t become effective for at least four or more years, Republicans have already announced that they will try to get the entire legislation repealed and that they are challenging major provisions in court. Der Spiegel argues that the continuing US health care debate may not be that positive for President Obama himself, and it may be very bad for the rest of the world.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a strong warning to Israel, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out halting settlement construction in the city of Jerusalem. Israel is facing total isolation. French President Sarkozy suffered a bruising defeat in regional elections, and the political upheaval surrounding German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg continued.
Finally, the pope’s letter of apology, strictly directed to the Irish church, was deeply disappointing–and no confidence was restored in the Vatican’s willingness to really deal with the mounting problems regarding their pedophile priests. Especially in Germany and Austria, the pope’s silence on the WORLDWIDE sex scandal was highly condemned. But even the reputation of the very person of the pope is at stake. As Die Tageszeitung wrote: “…the pope shies away from any debate about sexual morality in the church. And one can only hope that his public silence about the abuse cases in Germany, is not because the pope himself was unhappily involved in such a case when he was the archbishop of Munich…”