>>Zimbabwe – Yesterday the high court of Zimbabwe dismissed the opposition’s appeal for an immediate release of long-delayed results of the presidential election held late last month. In response, the Movement for Democratic Change called for a nationwide strike today, which is also when the high court is set to rule on the opposition’s objection to a government recount of votes controlling 23 seats in parliament.
>>Iraq – Richard Butler, the CBS photographer who was kidnapped two months ago in Iraq, was rescued yesterday in Basra in a raid by Iraqi soldiers. Moqtada al-Sadr claims to have negotiated his release. Iraqi reports of the incident are somewhat contradictory — one source claiming he was stumbled upon and another confirming that they acted on a tip. Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer who has been held by American forces for two years on suspicion of aiding insurgents, was also released yesterday.
>>Italy – Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right alliance won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections, according to results released yesterday. Berlusconi will become prime minister again after two years in opposition. Italy’s failing economy appears to have been the decisive factor in the election. Berlusconi owes his majority to an alliance with the right-wing Northern League that favors a federalist system and that brought down his first government in 1994. However, many small parties faired poorly in this election (the Communist Party, for the first time ever, didn’t claim a single seat), which bodes well for the stability of the government. This is Italy’s 62nd government since World War II.