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Disaster's Cause?

The latest from the Political Grapevine:

Disaster's Cause?

A Muslim cleric on Saudi TV insists he knows what caused the deadly tsunami in South Asia — Christians. Saudi Cleric Muhammed Al-Manajjid says, "[Christmas and other Christian holidays] are accompanied by forbidden things, by immorality, abomination, adultery, alcohol, drunken dancing ... and revelry. ... [So] At the height of immorality, Allah took vengeance on these criminals."

He did not explain why the vengeance was taken on largely non-Christian nations.

Back in the U.S., meanwhile, a writer on the Web site Democratic Underground (search) said President Bush and the war in Iraq could be to blame. The writer, quoted by The New York Times, says,
"You know, we've exploded many millions of tons of ordnance upon this poor planet. All that 'shock and awe' stuff ... Perhaps the earth was just reacting to something that man has done to injure it."

Relations Repaired?

CBS News president Andrew Heyward (search) has met privately with White House communications director Dan Bartlett trying to mend relations after CBS' discredited report on President Bush's National Guard service.

According to one source, quoted by Broadcasting and Cable magazine, Heyward was "working overtime to convince Bartlett that neither CBS News nor [Dan] Rather had a vendetta against the White House."

What's more, the source says, Heyward promised "from here on out [CBS] would do everything it could to be fair and balanced."

Uday's Impact

More than a year and a half after Al-Jazeera's CEO and director general at the time, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, insisted he never collaborated with Saddam Hussein's regime, a newly disclosed videotape shows Al-Ali meeting with Saddam's son Uday, and thanking him for "your cooperation and support for us."

In the tape, quoted by the leading Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat (search), Al-Ali tells Uday, "Al Jazeera is your channel." Uday then boasts that his ideas from previous meetings led to "some changes" in the network's political coverage, including a shuffle in the anchor line-up. Al-Jazeera declined to comment.

Advice for Illegal Immigration

The Mexican government is planning to hand out an illustrated 32-page guide to millions of migrants, with suggestions about crossing the U.S. border. The book carries a disclaimer, saying it's not promoting illegal immigration, and Mexican authorities insist they're just promoting safety.

But, among other pieces of advice, the book says, "Thick clothing increases your weight when wet, and this makes it difficult to swim or float [across rivers]." And, the book says, "Try to walk [across deserts] during times when the heat is not as intense." According to the Arizona Republic, the book offers no advice on getting a U.S. visa."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume