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>>IranThe IAEA announced yesterday that it had reached a “dead-end” in its efforts to ascertain whether there is a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, the agency reported that Iran had increased the number of centrifuges it operates by a factor of six since May and now had roughly 300kg of low enriched uranium, an amount that some analysts saw is half of what they’d need to produce a nuclear weapon. China called on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, but stopped short of joining those looking for new sanctions.

>>UkraineThe Ukraine’s governing coalition officially collapsed today due to infighting between President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko. In the next 30 days either a new coalition must be formed or elections will be held. There have been three such votes in three years. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc pulled out of the coalition on September 3 after Tymoshenko joined with the pro-Russia opposition to curtail the powers of the President.

>>GeorgiaToday in Tblisi, NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that Georgia remains on a “trajectory” toward eventual membership, a move likely to keep tensions high with Russia. The NATO SG was in Tblisi along with the alliance’s 26 other ambassadors to inaugurate the NATO-Georgia commission. It is unclear whether Georgia will be given a “Membership Action Plan” when NATO meets in December.



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>>IraqOn the third day of negotiations, political leaders in Iraq may have come to an agreement allowing provincial elections to proceed this year. The solution was put forth by a representative from the UN, who suggested that the law should contain an article calling for a solution to the controversial Kirkuk issue before the end of October, essentially decoupling the issue from the legislation. If a deal is worked out today, the elections can be held this year.

>>Iraqi RefugeesThrough a resettlement program announced today by the UNHCR, some of Iraq’s most vulnerable refugees will be moved to Iceland and Sweden. The refugees affected by this effort are Palestinian, persecuted in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein primarily because of his support before being deposed.

>>RussiaAfter several days of fighting in South Ossetia, Russia stated today it will not stay on the sidelines if conditions worsen. South Ossetian separatists have claimed that Georgian troops are targeting civilians as they shell Tskhinvali.



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>>ZimbabwePresident Mugabe’s negotiators have left power-sharing talks in Pretoria to return to Zimbabwe for a fresh round of consultations, what most analysts have declared a sign of near collapse. The sticking point is over opposition leader Tsvangirai’s position in the new government. Mugabe’s negotiators are only authorized to offer him the vice presidency, a position the MDC finds untenable. There is no word on when or if talks will resume.

>>Pakistan/IndiaSoldiers from Pakistan and India engaged in a 12-hour gunfight last night, in what some have called the most “serious violation” of the ceasefire agreement in five years. India claims that the fighting was sparked by a raid by Pakistani soldiers that left an Indian soldier dead. Pakistan claims that Indian troops were attempting to build a post on Pakistan’s side. Some analysts have suggested that this may simply be an attempt by Pakistan’s military to grab power from the new government by making it look weak on national security.

>>AustraliaAustralia will no longer immediately detain asylum seekers who arrive without visas. This controversial policy had left many immigrants in jail for up to three years while their status was being resolved. The UN has censured Australia 14 times for the policy.



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>>SerbiaThe wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, who is wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity, was arrested in a Belgrade suburb yesterday (the Guardian has his rap sheet). On the run since 1996, Karadzic had been practicing alternative medicine in the open under an elaborate disguise. He had been under surveillance for a week after a tip from a “foreign intelligence agency.” He will be taken the the UN war crimes court in the Hague. Karadzic’s arrest was one of the preconditions for Serbian advancement toward EU membership.

>>ZimbabweZimbabwe’s ruling party and two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change begin negotiations today in Pretoria on a power-sharing deal. All parties signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday that committed them to two weeks of talks. It was the first time that Tsvangirai and Mugabe had met face-to-face in a decade. The NY Times thinks more pressure need be put on China, Russia, and South Africa by President Bush.

>>ChinaTwo public buses exploded yesterday morning in Kunming, killing at least two. It is not yet known whether the perpetrators are foreign or domestic. Many residents received a text message prior to the blasts warning them off public buses.



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>>SomaliaAt UN-led talks in Djibouti yesterday, Somalia’s government signed a three-month ceasefire with the Alliance for Re-Liberation of Somalia. The ceasefire does not include many of the armed groups currently fighting the government and has been rejected by leader of the Union of Islamic Courts, Hassan Dahir Aweys. The agreement envisages the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops and their replacement by UN peacekeepers.

>>ChinaYesterday, soldiers in Sichuan blasted away debris and allowed the Tangjiashan quake lake to drain, destroying the uninhabited town of Beichuan, which authorities had already planned to rebuild elsewhere. The water level in the lake fell by over 20 meters, a “decisive victory” according to Sichuan party chief Liu Qibao.

>>South KoreaMassive street protests, sparked by a deal to widen the South Korean market to U.S. beef, caused South Korea’s entire cabinet to offer to resign yesterday. Concern over mad cow disease has opened the door to general discontent with President Lee’s six-month-old government. Lee plans to reshuffle his government later this week.

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style="padding-left:10px;
float:right">

>>Syria
The International Atomic Energy Agency announced
yesterday that Syria’s government will allow nuclear inspectors href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/03/world/middleeast/03syria.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin"
target="_blank">visit the site bombed by Israel in September 2007.
Syria has denied that the site was a nuclear reactor, but many
including the U.S. government believe otherwise. Soon after the
attack, Syria wiped the site clean and began rebuilding a new
structure, steps that investigators say will complicate their work.
The visit will occur June 22 to 24.

style="padding-left:10px; float:right">

>>North
Korea
Yesterday, an external
panel target="_blank">cleared the UN Development program of any
wrongdoing in North Korea and dismissed “without merit” the allegations
of a former contract employee who claimed to have been negatively
affected after blowing the whistle on the agency. These findings echo
those of a U.S. Senate subcommittee released this January. The
central allegation was that UNDP spent $2.7 million in hard currency
in North Korea that then ended up in the hands of entities suspected
of money laundering and arms dealing.

>>PakistanEight were killed and 25 injured yesterday in Islamabad when a car bomb exploded outside the Danish embassy, the second attack targeting foreigners in the last few months. Pakistan’s government recently signed a series of peace deals with Islamic militants in tribal areas.

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>>IraqToday the Iraqi army moved again to take control of Sadr City, the stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army. The forces have already advanced three-quarters of the way through the neighborhood without meeting resistance. Iraqi security forces have never entered the remaining quarter.

>>IsraelPrime Minister Ehud Olmert will be questioned again on Friday as part of an ongoing bribery investigation that could force him from office. Olmert, who has already acknowledged that U.S. businessman Morris Talansky raised money for him during two mayoral campaigns in the 1990s, is accused of taking “large sums of money from a foreigner.” If indicted Olmert has said he will resign.

>>TaiwanTaiwan’s new president, Ma Ying-jeou, the Nationalist Party candidate and a former mayor of Taipei, took office today. Ma has pledged to reopen the dialogue with China. The two sides have not talked since the 1990s.

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>>ChinaA 7.8 magnitude earthquake jolted Sichuan yesterday leaving nearly 12,000 dead so far. The shock, felt as far away as Bangkok, severed road, rail, air, and phone links to the region, hampering relief efforts and forcing some Chinese troops to march as much as 100 miles to reach affected areas. Tens of thousands are still trapped in collapsed buildings, including 900 teenagers in a school in Dujiangyan city. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao flew to the scene and made an emotional statement on CCTV.

>>IraqViolence flared again in Sadr City yesterday, as U.S. troops were attacked by who are thought to be supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr. These attacks put into question the agreement reached on Saturday between the government of Iraq and Sadr to end fighting and the amount of control that Sadr has over his supporters.

>>LebanonYesterday, as violence eased across Lebanon, the Lebanese Army, long seen as a neutral institution, said that it would begin to use force to stop fighting between government supporters and Hezbollah. The army remains deployed to the mountains east of Beirut and northern Lebanon as part of an agreement for them to take over militia positions and collect arms. Reportedly, some government supporters are beginning to distrust the army because it did not stop Hezbollah from seizing control of western Beirut on Friday.

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The death toll in Myanmar is now over 22,000.

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>>SudanTwo aid agencies have accused Sudan of bombing the village of Shegeg Karo in Darfur, destroying a primary school and a market and killing 13 people, including 7 children. Such an action would violate the UN Security Council resolution banning all offensive flying in the area. UNAMID is mobilizing helicopters to evacuate the wounded.

>>China/JapanHu Jintao arrived in Japan today for the first visit by a Chinese president in a decade. He will spend five days in Japan; to kill the time there is even a scheduled game of ping pong with the Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. Last year, China became Japan’s biggest trading partner, eclipsing the U.S. Controversial issues, like Japan’s wartime record, Taiwan, and Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council, will be avoided, despite the fact that recent polling shows that the Japanese want their government to take a harder line on China. The big question is whether Hu will offer Japan another panda to replace Ling Ling.

>>IranYesterday Iran called off a pending fourth round of talks with the U.S. that was intended to address security in Iraq. The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that continued talks “make no sense” as long as the U.S. continues attacks in Sadr City, a stronghold of the Shia Mahdi Army. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said, oddly, “It is meaningless to have talks on anything with Iran as long as they don’t change their behavior. That said, we have continued to be willing and ready, and are willing and ready, to have additional discussions with the Iranians through this tripartite channel.”

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>>China – China has sentenced 17 protesters who participated in the March 10 riots in Tibet and surrounding provinces. Sentences ranged from three years to life. Soi’nam Norbu, a 20-year-old driver accused of burning vehicles, throwing stones at government property, and assaulting firemen, and Basang, a monk accused of leading 10 people in destroying a local government office, looting 11 shops, and attacking police, were both given life sentences. All of the monks who followed Basang got over 15 years.

>>Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s rival opposition factions, which had split in 2005, have reunited and could now claim a majority in parliament. The combined opposition will now hold 109 seats in parliament to ZANU-PF’s 97. Meanwhile, the nation still waits, a month in, for the results of the presidential vote. Verification is set to begin today, with final results expected in a week.

>>Cuba – With the exception of three people charged with terrorism, Raul Castro has commuted all death sentences to prison terms of 30 years. Castro was quick to note that the death penalty still exists in Cuban penal code. In Cuba, the death penalty is carried out by firing squad. Last March, Cuba signed two central UN human rights agreements, which Fidel Castro had long opposed.

>>European Union – The European Union today ironed out a pact with Serbia, but failed to reach an agreement to restart stalled partnership negotiations with Russia. Lithuania still hasn’t seen assurances on Russian energy, judicial cooperation, and a softer foreign policy with regard to former Soviet states. The pact with Serbia holds a caveat; EU states will not ratify the pact, nor will Serbia receive any benefits, until all EU states are convinced that Serbia is doing its due diligence with regard to war crimes suspects.

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>>China – China has sentenced 17 protesters who participated in the March 10 riots in Tibet and surrounding provinces. Sentences ranged from three years to life. Soi’nam Norbu, a 20-year-old driver accused of burning vehicles, throwing stones at government property, and assaulting firemen, and Basang, a monk accused of leading 10 people in destroying a local government office, looting 11 shops, and attacking police, were both given life sentences. All of the monks who followed Basang got over 15 years.

>>Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s rival opposition factions, which had split in 2005, have reunited and could now claim a majority in parliament. The combined opposition will now hold 109 seats in parliament to ZANU-PF’s 97. Meanwhile, the nation still waits, a month in, for the results of the presidential vote. Verification is set to begin today, with final results expected in a week.

>>Cuba – With the exception of three people charged with terrorism, Raul Castro has commuted all death sentences to prison terms of 30 years. Castro was quick to note that the death penalty still exists in Cuban penal code. In Cuba, the death penalty is carried out by firing squad. Last March, Cuba signed two central UN human rights agreements, which Fidel Castro had long opposed.

>>European Union – The European Union today ironed out a pact with Serbia, but failed to reach an agreement to restart stalled partnership negotiations with Russia. Lithuania still hasn’t seen assurances on Russian energy, judicial cooperation, and a softer foreign policy with regard to former Soviet states. The pact with Serbia holds a caveat; EU states will not ratify the pact, nor will Serbia receive any benefits, until all EU states are convinced that Serbia is doing its due diligence with regard to war crimes suspects.

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>>Georgia – Yesterday Georgia accused Russia of violating its airspace with a MIG jet to shoot down a reconnaissance drone over Abkhazia. Russia denied the claim, saying that the drone violated UN ceasefire resolutions and was shot down by separatists. Georgia has video. Last week, Russia expanded relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, ratcheting up tensions.

>>Sudan – A census that is seen as an integral step toward holding democratic elections in 2009 has begun in Khartoum. The census will also help determine the distribution of Sudan’s oil revenues. Many in the south and in Darfur fear that the massive amounts of internal displacement will skew the results; insecurity will as well. President al-Bashir was the first counted. The United Nations is assisting Sudan’s government with this process.

>>Hamas – In a speech in Jerusalem capping his controversial nine-day visit, Jimmy Carter said that Hamas is willing to accept Israel’s right to exist as a “neighbor, next door, in peace” if a peace deal is accepted by Palestinians. They also said that they would allow kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shilat to send a letter to his parents and accept an interim ceasefire in Gaza. Israeli officials expressed doubt about Carter’s ability to follow through on the agreements and called his meeting with top Hamas officials “a disgrace.”

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>>Georgia – Yesterday Georgia accused Russia of violating its airspace with a MIG jet to shoot down a reconnaissance drone over Abkhazia. Russia denied the claim, saying that the drone violated UN ceasefire resolutions and was shot down by separatists. Georgia has video. Last week, Russia expanded relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, ratcheting up tensions.

>>Sudan – A census that is seen as an integral step toward holding democratic elections in 2009 has begun in Khartoum. The census will also help determine the distribution of Sudan’s oil revenues. Many in the south and in Darfur fear that the massive amounts of internal displacement will skew the results; insecurity will as well. President al-Bashir was the first counted. The United Nations is assisting Sudan’s government with this process.

>>Hamas – In a speech in Jerusalem capping his controversial nine-day visit, Jimmy Carter said that Hamas is willing to accept Israel’s right to exist as a “neighbor, next door, in peace” if a peace deal is accepted by Palestinians. They also said that they would allow kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shilat to send a letter to his parents and accept an interim ceasefire in Gaza. Israeli officials expressed doubt about Carter’s ability to follow through on the agreements and called his meeting with top Hamas officials “a disgrace.”

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>>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.

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    >>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.

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      Congratulations Washington Post reporter Steve Fainaru for winning this year’s Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (full list). UN Dispatch expects to at least be nominated next year.

      Top Stories

      >>Olympics – Over 3,000 French police officers were unable to stop protesters along the route of the Olympic torch ceremony in Paris, the last leg of which has now been canceled. The torch, on a 58-day journey through 21 nations, was extinguished three times, and some Olympic officials have openly wondered whether that agenda should be cut short. China has vowed to continue. Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said the executive board will decide on Friday whether the relay will continue. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has called for a boycott of the opening ceremonies.

      >>Iran – President Ahmadenijad announced on Iran’s “national nuclear day” that the nation is installing 6,000 new centrifuges at its Natanz facility, which would triple the number. Iran maintains that it is enriching uranium for civilian purposes.

      >>Iraq – As General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker prepare to deliver a progress report on Iraq to Congress today, Moqtada al-Sadr has agreed to disband his 60,000-strong al-Mahdi army if Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and other clergy based in Iran say he should. Al-Sadr’s spokesman said that he sought a similar ruling last year and was told to keep his militia intact. The announcement was unexpected given recent clashes between the Mahdi army and Iraqi security forces.

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      Congratulations Washington Post reporter Steve Fainaru for winning this year’s Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (full list). UN Dispatch expects to at least be nominated next year.

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      >>Olympics – Over 3,000 French police officers were unable to stop protesters along the route of the Olympic torch ceremony in Paris, the last leg of which has now been canceled. The torch, on a 58-day journey through 21 nations, was extinguished three times, and some Olympic officials have openly wondered whether that agenda should be cut short. China has vowed to continue. Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said the executive board will decide on Friday whether the relay will continue. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has called for a boycott of the opening ceremonies.

      >>Iran – President Ahmadenijad announced on Iran’s “national nuclear day” that the nation is installing 6,000 new centrifuges at its Natanz facility, which would triple the number. Iran maintains that it is enriching uranium for civilian purposes.

      >>Iraq – As General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker prepare to deliver a progress report on Iraq to Congress today, Moqtada al-Sadr has agreed to disband his 60,000-strong al-Mahdi army if Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and other clergy based in Iran say he should. Al-Sadr’s spokesman said that he sought a similar ruling last year and was told to keep his militia intact. The announcement was unexpected given recent clashes between the Mahdi army and Iraqi security forces.

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      The longest ever Olympic torch relay began in Beijing yesterday under massive security. India’s football captain, Baichung Bhutia, in solitary with Tibetan demonstrators, has declined an invitation to carry the torch.

      Starting 5

      >>Zimbabwe – After three days the winners of 109 of the 210 parliamentary seats have been named, and, according to the count of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has pulled two seats ahead of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Many consider the vote to be rigged. Mugabe’s security cabinet met on Sunday night to discuss how to react to the election — impose a state of emergency, unilaterally declare victory, or rely on the ZEC to falsify the results. They reportedly chose the latter. There is a heavy police presence on the streets of Harare. The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network has MDC standard bearer Morgan Tsvangirai besting Mugabe by almost 8 points.

      >>NATO – Germany has declared that it will veto the U.S. plan to allow Georgia and the Ukraine to join NATO’s membership action plan (MAP), the path to eventual entry into NATO. This is a blow to President Bush, who received a mixed reception in Kiev today as he voiced his strong support for both Georgia and the Ukraine’s NATO bids. He will travel to the Romania for the opening of the NATO summit tomorrow. Russia has voiced strong opposition to the candidacy of both nations, but Germany has denied the existence of a “Russian veto.” France has also announced it won’t back the plan.

      >>Iraq – A tenuous peace appears to be holding in Baghdad and Basra following a call on Sunday by Moqtada al-Sadr for his followers to stand down.  Shops and schools have reopened.  A New York Times reporter details his personal experience in Basra.  Meanwhile, the deathtoll in Iraq for March was 50 percent higher than in February.

      >>Somalia – Two UN Food and Agriculture Organization workers, a Kenyan and a Briton, were captured by gunmen on the road between Bu’aale and Sikow in southern Somalia.

      >>Uganda – LRA leader Joseph Kony has delayed signing a peace agreement with the government of Uganda until April 10. Two different reasons have been given for the delay: 1) he just needs more time to reach the meeting place (he was walking to the Congo-Sudan border), and 2) he is sick.

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      Africa

      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261367045/AR2008033100899.html">Tanzania
        – Detainee Is Charged With Capital Murder in Embassy Bombing
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261612630/idUSL2350258020080401">Cameroon
        – Hungry crowds spell trouble for world leaders
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/france.internationalaidanddevelopment?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Chad
        – Chad president pardons French charity workers

      Americas

      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7324000.stm">Brazil
        – Brazil army aids Rio dengue fight
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725289/AR2008033100703.html">Cuba
        – Cuba Repeals Ban on Its Citizens Staying in Hotels on Island
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7323715.stm">Ecuador
        – ‘Ecuador incursion’ into Colombia
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/internationalcrime?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Jamaica
        – Jamaica slums locked in violence, report says
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261405483/idUSN3141011820080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Ecuador - Ecuador
        sues Colombia over anti-drug spraying
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ac547f4e-ff49-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Argentina
        – Argentina unveils plan to end farm strike
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/f0db67d2-ff48-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Venezuela
        – Caracas eyes ‘dual currency’
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261467191/idUSN3132492920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Columbia - Colombia
        intercepts Ecuadorean military helicopter

      Asia

      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261843450/idUSPEK640820080401">China
        – China says has evidence linking Lhasa riots to foreign groups
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7324155.stm">China
        – IOC warns China over web access
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/korea?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Korea
        – Pyongyang lambasts new South Korean president
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7323895.stm">Russia
        – Russian cultists ‘leave cave’
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7323791.stm">Afghanistan
        – Top Taleban leader ‘is arrested’
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/28d3e6e6-ffa3-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Russia
        – Asian exports shifting to new markets
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261834119/idUSSP532420080401">China
        – China makes security top priority
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/tennis/7323230.stm">Russia
        – Sharapova to miss Fed Cup semis
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725286/AR2008033102691.html">Russia
        – Bin Laden Took Part in 1986 Arms Deal, Book Says
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261720672/idUST707120080401">Japan
        – Japan opposition threatens to censure minister

      Europe

      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/01/theairlineindustry?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">France
        – French authorities find evidence of EADS insider trading
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261751232/idUSL0130611620080401">Finland
        – Texting scandal forces Finland foreign minister out
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/entertainment/7323746.stm">Greece
        – Film director Jules Dassin dies
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/europe/01cats.html?ex=1364702400&en=5fbaf64081b743f6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Switzerland
        – Lucerne Journal: A Push to Stop Swiss Cats From Being Turned Into
        Coats and Hats
      • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3655976.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Germany
        – The Red Baron flies back into role of the hero in Germany
      • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3656349.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">France
        – Jean Sarkozy promoted to party chief of UMP, Neuilly-sur-Seine
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261383701/idUSMAT00802620080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Italy – Italian
        city of Milan to host 2015 Expo
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261326794/idUSL3120426920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Serbia – Serbia
        says will hold May elections in Kosovo

      Middle East

      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/7323910.stm">Iraq
        – Iraq UK troop reduction delayed
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725287/AR2008033102330.html">Iraq
        – SEAL Killed in Iraq To Get Medal of Honor
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725290/AR2008033102375.html">Israel
        – Israel Planning to Build Hundreds of New Homes
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261619358/idUSL3164657920080401">Israel
        – Rice says Mideast talks on track, despite settlements
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/israelandthepalestinians1?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Israel
        – Nomadic bedouin fight to survive in the village which does not exist
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/middleeast/01diplo.html?ex=1364702400&en=91e4a68fad59d54c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
        – Pressed by Rice, Palestinian Leader Agrees to Return to Peace Talks
        With Israeli

      The longest ever Olympic torch relay began in Beijing yesterday under massive security. India’s football captain, Baichung Bhutia, in solitary with Tibetan demonstrators, has declined an invitation to carry the torch.

      Starting 5

      >>Zimbabwe – After three days the winners of 109 of the 210 parliamentary seats have been named, and, according to the count of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has pulled two seats ahead of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Many consider the vote to be rigged. Mugabe’s security cabinet met on Sunday night to discuss how to react to the election — impose a state of emergency, unilaterally declare victory, or rely on the ZEC to falsify the results. They reportedly chose the latter. There is a heavy police presence on the streets of Harare. The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network has MDC standard bearer Morgan Tsvangirai besting Mugabe by almost 8 points.

      >>NATO – Germany has declared that it will veto the U.S. plan to allow Georgia and the Ukraine to join NATO’s membership action plan (MAP), the path to eventual entry into NATO. This is a blow to President Bush, who received a mixed reception in Kiev today as he voiced his strong support for both Georgia and the Ukraine’s NATO bids. He will travel to the Romania for the opening of the NATO summit tomorrow. Russia has voiced strong opposition to the candidacy of both nations, but Germany has denied the existence of a “Russian veto.” France has also announced it won’t back the plan.

      >>Iraq – A tenuous peace appears to be holding in Baghdad and Basra following a call on Sunday by Moqtada al-Sadr for his followers to stand down.  Shops and schools have reopened.  A New York Times reporter details his personal experience in Basra.  Meanwhile, the deathtoll in Iraq for March was 50 percent higher than in February.

      >>Somalia – Two UN Food and Agriculture Organization workers, a Kenyan and a Briton, were captured by gunmen on the road between Bu’aale and Sikow in southern Somalia.

      >>Uganda – LRA leader Joseph Kony has delayed signing a peace agreement with the government of Uganda until April 10. Two different reasons have been given for the delay: 1) he just needs more time to reach the meeting place (he was walking to the Congo-Sudan border), and 2) he is sick.

      Yesterday in UN Dispatch

      The Rest of the Story


      Africa

      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261367045/AR2008033100899.html">Tanzania
        – Detainee Is Charged With Capital Murder in Embassy Bombing
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261612630/idUSL2350258020080401">Cameroon
        – Hungry crowds spell trouble for world leaders
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/france.internationalaidanddevelopment?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Chad
        – Chad president pardons French charity workers

      Americas

      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7324000.stm">Brazil
        – Brazil army aids Rio dengue fight
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725289/AR2008033100703.html">Cuba
        – Cuba Repeals Ban on Its Citizens Staying in Hotels on Island
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7323715.stm">Ecuador
        – ‘Ecuador incursion’ into Colombia
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/internationalcrime?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Jamaica
        – Jamaica slums locked in violence, report says
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261405483/idUSN3141011820080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Ecuador - Ecuador
        sues Colombia over anti-drug spraying
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ac547f4e-ff49-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Argentina
        – Argentina unveils plan to end farm strike
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/f0db67d2-ff48-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Venezuela
        – Caracas eyes ‘dual currency’
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261467191/idUSN3132492920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Columbia - Colombia
        intercepts Ecuadorean military helicopter

      Asia

      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261843450/idUSPEK640820080401">China
        – China says has evidence linking Lhasa riots to foreign groups
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7324155.stm">China
        – IOC warns China over web access
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/korea?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Korea
        – Pyongyang lambasts new South Korean president
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7323895.stm">Russia
        – Russian cultists ‘leave cave’
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7323791.stm">Afghanistan
        – Top Taleban leader ‘is arrested’
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/28d3e6e6-ffa3-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Russia
        – Asian exports shifting to new markets
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261834119/idUSSP532420080401">China
        – China makes security top priority
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/tennis/7323230.stm">Russia
        – Sharapova to miss Fed Cup semis
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725286/AR2008033102691.html">Russia
        – Bin Laden Took Part in 1986 Arms Deal, Book Says
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261720672/idUST707120080401">Japan
        – Japan opposition threatens to censure minister

      Europe

      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/01/theairlineindustry?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">France
        – French authorities find evidence of EADS insider trading
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261751232/idUSL0130611620080401">Finland
        – Texting scandal forces Finland foreign minister out
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/entertainment/7323746.stm">Greece
        – Film director Jules Dassin dies
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/europe/01cats.html?ex=1364702400&en=5fbaf64081b743f6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Switzerland
        – Lucerne Journal: A Push to Stop Swiss Cats From Being Turned Into
        Coats and Hats
      • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3655976.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Germany
        – The Red Baron flies back into role of the hero in Germany
      • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3656349.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">France
        – Jean Sarkozy promoted to party chief of UMP, Neuilly-sur-Seine
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261383701/idUSMAT00802620080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Italy – Italian
        city of Milan to host 2015 Expo
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261326794/idUSL3120426920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Serbia – Serbia
        says will hold May elections in Kosovo

      Middle East

      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/7323910.stm">Iraq
        – Iraq UK troop reduction delayed
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725287/AR2008033102330.html">Iraq
        – SEAL Killed in Iraq To Get Medal of Honor
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725290/AR2008033102375.html">Israel
        – Israel Planning to Build Hundreds of New Homes
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261619358/idUSL3164657920080401">Israel
        – Rice says Mideast talks on track, despite settlements
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/israelandthepalestinians1?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Israel
        – Nomadic bedouin fight to survive in the village which does not exist
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/middleeast/01diplo.html?ex=1364702400&en=91e4a68fad59d54c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
        – Pressed by Rice, Palestinian Leader Agrees to Return to Peace Talks
        With Israeli
      Top Stories

      >>Pakistan – Within minutes of assuming his new role, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani released a dozen judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, detained by President Musharraf last year. PM Gillani also called for a UN investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

      >>Iraq – Government security forces battled with Shi’ite militias in Basra today in an attempt to bring the city under federal control. The battle may prove important in the British exit strategy. Meanwhile, followers of Muqtada al Sadr continued to engage in a national civil disobedience campaign.

      >>Comoros – The archipelago nation of Comoros, located off the coast of Mozambique, has, with the assistance of 1,350 African Union troops, taken control of the rebel island of Anjouan. Anjouan, an island of 300,000, was led by Mohamed Bacar, who had clung to power after an illegal election last year. Comoros has endured 20 coups since it gained independence in 1975.

      >>Tibet – Protesting Tibetan monks, joined by locals hundreds of locals to call for the return of the Dalai Lama, were fired on by Chinese paramilitaries in Garze, which borders Tibet. Reports suggest that at least two were killed.

      Yesterday in UN Dispatch

      The Rest of the Story


      Africa

      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7312018.stm">Mining
        forces out thousands in SA
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7312311.stm">Slow
        progress on Kenyan cabinet
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/africa/25briefs-WHOSAYSPOLIO_BRF.html?ex=1364097600&en=bd27a4fc3257a6d6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">TB
        Patients Chafe Under Lockdown in South Africa
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/africa/25briefs-WHOSAYSPOLIO_BRF.html?ex=1364097600&en=bd27a4fc3257a6d6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Somalia:
        W.H.O. Says Polio Has Been Eradicated Again
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7311564.stm">Ugandans
        ‘forgive’ Gaddafi

      Americas

      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/257451684/idUSN2535830620080325">Colombia
        revives tensions with comments: Chavez
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/257431385/idUSN2434832720080325">Venezuela
        Chavez basks in needed glory of Exxon win
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/middleeast/25iraq.html?ex=1364184000&en=070fb77149dd6bf4&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Two
        Contractors Abducted in Iraq Are Found Dead
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/americas/25briefs-DENGUEFEVERO_BRF.html?ex=1364184000&en=2a9de5828497757d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Brazil:
        Dengue Fever Outbreak
      • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3614127.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Economy
        takes place of war in election fight
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7312018.stm">Mining
        forces out thousands in SA
      • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/257408637/AR2008032402995.html">Bush
        Says War’s Outcome ‘Will Merit the Sacrifice’
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7311945.stm">Earthquake
        strikes northern Chile

      Asia

      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/mar/25/china.tibet?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Just
        like America, China is building a multi-ethnic empire in the west
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/25/afghanistan.internationalaidanddevelopment1?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">40%
        of Afghan aid returns to donor countries, says report
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7312335.stm">Fresh
        inquiry into Gujarat riots
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/257553426/idUSPEK35655120080325">Torch
        protest was “disgraceful”, says China
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7312240.stm">BBC
        website ‘unblocked in China’
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/257510504/idUSL2511175020080325">Russia’s
        Medvedev presses NATO over expansion
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/asia/25afghan.html?ex=1364184000&en=913a5777cd39e14f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">5
        Dead in Attack on Mine-Clearing Team in Afghanistan
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/257435849/idUSISL4141920080325">Bhutanese
        vote sees rejection of king’s in-laws

      Europe

      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7312477.stm">Up
        to 100 cars in Austrian crash
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/5f9301dc-fa51-11dc-aa46-000077b07658.html">Iceland
        unexpectedly raises rates to 15%
      • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/25/crash.motorway.austria?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">One
        dead in Austrian motorway crash
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/europe/25briefs-USCUTSEMBASS_BRF.html?ex=1364184000&en=cb785441920da6f7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Belarus:
        U.S. Cuts Embassy Staff
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/europe/25briefs-USCOMPANYSHU_BRF.html?ex=1364184000&en=6cbff451145916b4&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">The
        Netherlands: U.S. Company Shuts Anti-Koran Web
        Site
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/europe/25bulgaria.html?ex=1364184000&en=953e3fe37b46a9f9&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Out
        of East Germany via Bulgaria
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/europe/25andorra.html?ex=1364184000&en=991b248b8f970191&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Andorra
        La Vella Journal: Hard Times Hit a Postage-Stamp Land
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/world/europe/25kosovo.html?ex=1364184000&en=79787df479901882&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Serbia
        Formally Proposes Ethnic Partition of Kosovo
      Top Stories

      >>Russia – Today Secretaries Rice and Gates continue what has been widely reported as positive talks on missile defense, non-proliferation, and terrorism in Moscow. Yesterday Secretary Rice confirmed that President Bush had sent a letter to President Putin in the last few days proposing a new strategic framework for cooperation. On Sunday, Secretary Gates suggested that, in order to address Russian concerns about missile defense, the U.S. would not turn on certain elements of the system until Iran demonstrated that it had a missile that could reach Europe. President Putin endorsed portions of the letter on Monday. Secretary Rice is meeting with Kremlin opponents today.

      >>Serbia – Yesterday, 100 UN riot police backed by NATO soldiers regained control of a courthouse in Mitrovica in northern Kosovo from which the UN had overseen local justice. The courthouse had been overrun by 300 Serbs on Friday, who refused to leave. The raid, in turn, sparked riots and machine gun and grenade attacks on UN police and NATO peacekeepers in the worst violence in northern Kosovo since Kosovo declared independence last month. One Ukrainian serving in the UN police force was killed by shrapnel, and UN personnel were force to pull out.

      >>Pakistan – Pakistan’s new National Assembly, led by opponents of President Musharraf, was sworn in on Monday. Fahmida Mizda, a women and a close associate of Bhutto widower Asif Ali Zardari, has been named as the parliamentary speaker pending approval. Meanwhile, the leader of Pakistan’s lawyers’ movement has said that there will be nationwide protests if the Supreme Court, stacked by Musharraf, decides today to stall the parliamentary resolution to reinstate judges fired by Musharraf. Zardari has said that such a resolution should pass within 30 days.

      Yesterday in UN Dispatch

      The Rest of the story

      Africa

      Americas

      Asia

      Europe

      Elsewhere

      Did Slate knowingly swipe “Eliot’s Mess” from Colbert? Meanwhile, the Vatican delineates new sins, including pollution and “social injustice.”

      Top Stories

      >>The Hague – The prosecution of three Croatian former generals, Ante Gotovina, Ivan Cermak, and Mladen Markac, accused of playing key roles in Operation Storm in Croatia’s eastern Krajina in 1995, has begun at a UN war crimes tribunal at the Hague. Mr. Gotovina, regarded as a war hero among some in Croatia and being portrayed as such in a film starring Goran Visnjic, is being charged with responsibliity for 150 Serbian deaths.

      >>Beijing Olympics – Roughly 100 Tibetan exiles marching from northern India to Tibet to protest the Beijing Olympics were told by police on Monday night that they were not allowed to leave the Kangra district of the Himachal Pradesh state under orders from central government, which has agreed not to conduct “anti-Chinese activities.” Similar protests, though not as long or hard on the soles, were held around the world, including in Lhasa, yesterday, the 49th anniversary of the uprising against Chinese rule that led to the Dalai Llama’s flight to India. According to the Guardian, India has been “sympathetic to the Tibetan cause in the past, but has begun to clamp down on public protests in recent years, fearing they could embarrass Beijing and damage burgeoning relations between the two Asian giants.” The group is marching on.

      >>Darfur – Bandit attacks in Darfur have forced the World Food Programme to halve its deliveries of emergency food aid, a necessity for 2 million Darfuris. In total, 51 vehicles have gone missing and 23 drivers are still unaccounted for. Meanwhile, a funding crisis threatens to shut down air deliveries, increasingly important because of the increasing insecurity on the roads.

      Quote of the Day

      “The pollution in China is a threat to my health and it would be difficult for me to run 42km in my current condition”
      Haile Gerbrselaisse, world record holder who today announced that he would not compete in the Olympic marathon in China.

      Yesterday in UN Dispatch

      Hillary promises to press on regardless of the results today in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The BBC reports from the Obama bus.

      Top Stories

      >>Ukraine – Gazprom, Russia’s state natural gas company, cut a quarter of its gas flow to Ukraine yesterday and threatened another 25 percent cut today to force the nation to pay a debt of $600 million. A similar incident occured two years ago when Russia unilaterally renegotiated the price of natural gas supplied to the Ukraine. Europe, which draws 20 percent of its gas from Gazprom pipelines crossing the Ukraine, has expressed concern about the reliability of Gazprom’s gas. The Ukraine has threatened to restrict the gas flow to Europe if Gazprom proceeds with further cuts.

      >>China – China announced today that it intends to increase military spending by almost 18 percent this year to $59 billion (compared to the $439 billion — not including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — spent last year by the U.S.). Yesterday the Pentagon released a report criticizing the lack of transparency in China’s military spending, which, it says, “poses risks to stability by increasing the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation,” and its development of the ability to destroy enemy satellites.

      >>Iraq – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on his second day in Iraq, called for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops, saying their presence has only caused “descruction and division.”

      >>Iran – The United Nations Security Council enacted a third round of sanctions (resolution 1803) against Iran yesterday, which imposes a travel ban on Iranians suspected of involvement with a nuclear weapons program and further restricts the activities of Iranian banks.

      First the New York Philharmonic, now Eric Clapton has been invited to play Pyongyang.

      Top Stories

      >>Kenya – Kofi Annan has expressed frustration that parties in Kenya have been unable to reach a final deal, despite weeks of talks. The sticking point seems to be the amount of power that the agreed-on new post of Prime Minister would hold. The opposition Orange Democratic Movement has filed the necessary papers for what it says will be a massive protest on Thursday. Estimates suggest that 1,500 people have died in violence over the past two months.

      >>Belgium – The political stalemate that has kept Belgium from forming a government for nearly nine months appears to be almost over. A compromise between the Flemish and Francophone political parties was reached on Monday to devolve powers over industrial policy, housing, and agriculture to the regions. The new government will be led by Yves Leterme, a Flemish Christian Democrat.

      >>World Food Programme – Director of the World Food Program (and former US Undersecretary of State) Josette Sheeran has said that, due to the sharp increase in global commodity prices (food increased 40 percent last year), it would need more support from donor countries to ensure it can continue to provide even the current level of food aid. Through voluntary contributions by Member States to a budget of roughly $2.8 billion, the WFP feeds 73 million people in 78 countries. Meanwhile, wheat prices jumped 25 percent in one day to a record high, as major exporter Kazakhstan announced it would impose export tariffs.

      >>Thailand – Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand who was ousted in a military coup, will return on Thursday to fight corruption allegations. Thaksin ally Samak Sundaravej recently took office as the new Prime Minister.

      >>Nigeria – The 2007 election results that put President Umaru Yar’Adua in office have been validated by a five-judge tribunal, created after his rivals asserted that the election was rigged. Observers worried that the nation, a major oil exporter, could have been destabilized had the decision gone the other way.

      Quote of the Day

      “This is the new face of hunger. There is food on shelves but people are priced out of the market. There is vulnerability in urban areas we have not seen before. There are food riots in countries where we have not seen them before.”
      – Josette Sheeran, director of the World Food Program

      Yesterday in UN Dispatch

      The Rest of the Story
      Africa

      Americas

      Asia

      Europe

      Middle East

      Elsewhere

      Obama gets the endorsement of Obama, Japan, … well at least part of it, while McCain is endorsed by Bush, Sr. Today, Wisconsin and Hawaii will decide for themselves.

      Top Stories

      19beeb.enlarge.jpg

      >>Cuba – Fidel Castro has officially stepped down as the president of Cuba, citing his “physical condition” (read his letter to “compatriots”).  At 49 years, this ends the world’s longest reign in power, not including monarchies. In the next few days, the National Assembly will meet to chose a new head of state, expected to be his brother Raul.

      >>Pakistan – President Pervez Musharraf’s Pakistan Muslim League-Q party suffered a devastating loss in parliamentary elections, with most of its top leadership losing their seats. An opposition leader will likely become the next Prime Minister, but it is not yet clear whether that will be the head of Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party or Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N. The Guardian reports from Punjab.

      >>Kosovo – Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on Sunday, sparking a divided reaction, both domestically and internationally. Though ethnic Albanians from around the world held a massive celebration in Kosovo, Serbs in Belgrade and northern Kosovo stoned the American Embassy, burned a border crossing, and threw a grenade at a UN building. President Bush recognized Kosovo’s independence today (as did others) causing Serbia to withdraw its ambassador, while Russia suggested that recognition threatens international stability.

      >>BBC World Service – More than 75 years after King George V first used “Wireless” to speak to “men and women so cut off by the snows, the desert or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them” through a Christmas speech prepared by Rudyard Kipling, the BBC World Service is shutting down its English-language shortwave service in Europe, another casualty of the rising price of fuel.

      Quote of the Day

      “I will not aspire to neither will I accept — I repeat I will not aspire to neither will I accept — the position of President of the Council of State and Commander in chief.” – Fidel Castro, in a letter to “compatriots” on Tuesday.

      “I feel the heartbeat of our ancestors. We, the leaders of our people, democratically elected, through this declaration proclaim Kosovo an independent and sovereign state.” – Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo

      Friday in UN Dispatch

      The Rest of the Story

      The RNC hates on Obama’s Grammy (video) as we head into the “Potomac” or “Chesapeake” primaries today (DC, VA, and MD). Television and film writers are expected to approve a deal to end the three-month-long strike today. Saudi Arabia bans red, at least for a day.

      Top Stories

      temple.jpeg

      >>Malaria – Interpol, the WHO, and others have exposed a massive trade in counterfeited, and sometimes life-threatening, malaria pills, funneled from China to Southeast Asia. Sophisticated methods were used by manufacturers to mimic the actual drugs and to trick authorities, including distributing the pills in bubble packs authenticated with up to 16 holograms and lacing them with trace amounts of the active ingredient of the authentic pill (artesunate) to foil screening tests. Up to half the pills tested in Southeast Asia were counterfeit, some containing toxic chemicals and psychedelics. The upside: the investigation was carried out employing a new form of analysis using pollen that allowed authorities to arrest four in China and promises to bolster similar investigations in the future.

      >>Pakistan – Two Pakistani nuclear technicians have been abducted in northwest Pakistan, in the Dera Ismail Khan district. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin, may or may not have been kidnapped in Kyber in northwest Pakistan, but he’s definitely missing. Also, the convoy of Nisar Ali Khan, a parliamentary candidate campaigning in Northern Waziristan, was attacked by a suicide bomber, killing seven and injuring the candidate.

      >>Iraq – Two CBS journalists were abducted in Basra. Witnesses say that they were taken from the Sultan Palace Hotel by at least eight gunman.

      >>Kenya – Kofi Annan (the former SG not Kenya’s new rhino), mediating the crisis in Kenya that has killed over 1,000 and caused over 600,000 to flee their homes, has said that it looks like there will be a political solution by the end of the week. That solution appears to include a “Grand Coalition” government, an independent investigation that will lead to election reforms, and new elections next year.

      Quote of the Day

      “He’s got a great life. He wakes up around 11, gets a couple of cookies and goes with me to the grocery store. Everywhere we go, people want to pet him.”
      – Barbara Bishop, owner of Rufus, the 2006 Westminster champ who took a digger over the weekend leaning in “for a better look at the other dogs.”

      Yesterday in UN Dispatch
      • Congressman
        Lantos, RIP
        by Mark Leon Goldberg
      • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/02/escalation_in_d.php">Escalation
        in Darfur – by Mark Leon Goldberg

      The Rest of the Story
      Africa

      Americas

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      Elsewhere

      Africa

      Americas

      Asia

      Europe

      Middle East

      President Bush delivered
      his last State of the Union
      last night, but most attention is
      focused on today’s Republican primary in Florida.  A West
      Virginia major  href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,326152,00.html">used
      a magazine containing  his photo as an ID at airport
      security, and a New Jersey cop  href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,325987,00.html">left
      his fellow officers a few going away presents.

      style="background-color: rgb(255, 179, 64); padding-top: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; color: rgb(255, 230, 118); width: 100%; font-size: 1.15em; font-family: sans-serif;">  TOP
      STORIES

      china-police385_273451a.jpg
      style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 700; float: left;">>>

      Public health workers in Europe  href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/4e661694-cdf9-11dc-9e4e-000077b07658.html">have
      found significant resistance to Tamiflu, as the number of
      bird flu deaths in Indonesia  href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7213561.stm">eclipses
      100. Roche, the company that manufactures Tamiflu, has sold
      220,000,000 treatments for stockpiles in 85 countries.

      style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 100; float: left;">>>

      Gorbachev has openly criticized
      the state of the Russian electoral system, while Putin’s chosen
      successor, Medvedev, has  href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225135580/idUSL2913356920080129">ruled
      out TV debates with his remaining opponents. The Kremlin also
      warned the U.S. and EU that it  href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/224676151/idUSL287999020080128">would
      take unidentified measures if Kosovo declares independence.

      style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 700; float: left;">>>

      The worst snowstorm in a half century  href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3264827.ece">has
      paralyzed large swaths of China as many are travelling for
      the Lunar New Year celebration.  style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/world/asia/29china.html?ex=1359262800&en=60f48f697bf1f658&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Twenty
      four have died, and as many of 600,000 train passengers are
      stranded in Guangzhou. href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3264827.ece">
      href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3267178.ece">

      style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 700; float: left;">>>

      An opposition MP, Melitus Were, href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7214558.stm">was
      killed yesterday, sparking yet another wave of violence
      through a Nairobi slum. Fighting continued in the Rift Valley.
       Reports suggest that href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/224986304/idUSWAL22103220080129">helicopters
      firing rubber bullets, made an attempt to curb attacking
      Kikuyu in Naivasha.
      href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9be58058-cdcc-11dc-9e4e-000077b07658.html">

      style="background-color: rgb(255, 179, 64); padding-top: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; color: rgb(255, 230, 118); width: 100%; font-size: 1.15em; font-family: sans-serif;">  YESTERDAY IN UN DISPATCH

      style="background-color: rgb(255, 179, 64); padding-top: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; color: rgb(255, 230, 118); width: 100%; font-size: 1.15em; font-family: sans-serif;">  THE REST OF THE STORY

      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/world/asia/29ship.html?ex=1359262800&en=6e17f2b5dbba7ed4&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">China
        Allows U.S. Port Call in Hong Kong
        by David Lague (NY Times)
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225133432/idUSL2974729020080129">Israel
        won’t resist Abbas control at Egypt crossing
        by Reuters
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7213057.stm">EU
        launches Chad protection force
        by BBC News
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/224584103/idUSL2813089520080128">Congo
        ceasefire broken, rebels and militia clash
        by Reuters
      • href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120153555403922309.html?mod=fox_australian">OPEC
        May Cut Output in Spring
        by Spencer Swartz and Neil King Jr. (WSJ)
      • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3f8e1ca6-cde1-11dc-9e4e-000077b07658.html">Fed
        expected to cut rates again
        by Krishna Guha (FT)
      • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3267190.ece">Hunt
        for ‘Dr Horror’ after police close clinic in kidney swaps raid
        by Jeremy Page (Times)
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/224802979/idUSL284565820080128">Morocco
        arrests suspect in 2004 Madrid bombings
        by Reuters
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7214445.stm">Russia
        to limit election monitors
        by BBC News
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/224893089/idUSBKK478020080129">Boom
        time hits Cambodia, but not all are smiling
        by Reuters
      • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article3266793.ece">Chad
        peacekeepers get Brussels green light
        by Rory Watson (Times)
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/world/europe/29serbia.html?ex=1359262800&en=53644922f0f1a7ee&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Europe
        Offers Serbia Deal to Sway Vote
        by Dan Bilefsky and Stephen Castle (NY Times)
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/world/europe/29turkey.html?ex=1359262800&en=c41279d6c50b5eac&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">In
        Turkey, a Step to Allow Head Scarves
        by Sabrina Tavernise (NY Times)
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7214540.stm">US
        jails Colombian rebel leader
        by BBC News
      • href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/28/AR2008012801801.html?wpisrc=_rssworld">Brazil
        Seeks to Build Nuclear Submarine
        by Stan Lehman (Washington Post)
      • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225042140/idUSBKK33286920080129">Myanmar
        junta charges leading protesters
        by Reuters
      • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Algeria-Blast.html?ex=1359262800&en=22f7062d9680c9fe&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Car
        Bomb Blast in Algeria Kills 2
        by AP (NY Times)
      • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7214846.stm">Somali
        insurgents in deadly fight
        by BBC News

      Over the long weekend, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses, while John McCain outlasted the dirty politics of South Carolina. Last night the Dems had a firey debate in Myrtle Beach (C&L has video. )

      In Other News…

      >>The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and rebel general Laurent Nkunda have reached a peace agreement possibly ending a conflict in eastern DRC that has driven 400,000 people from their homes and threatened the fragile, newly elected government. United Nations peacekeeping forces will maintain a buffer zone between the two forces.


      Prince Charles in holographic message to energy summit

      >>The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany are meeting in Berlin to discuss a possible third Security Council sanctions resolution to further pressure Iran to dismantle what some believe is a nascent nuclear weapons program. Russia and China have hardened their position against sanctions in light of the National Intelligence Estimate released earlier this year that stated that Iran discontinued its program in 2003.

      >> Italy’s Prime Minister Romano Prodi called for votes of confidence in both the Chamber of Deputies, where he has a decisive majority, and the Senate, where victory is not so certain. Prodi’s coalition took a hit yesterday when a small Catholic party led by the Justice Minister, Clemente Mastella, quit. Mastella is under investigation for corruption.

      >>Stock markets around the world declined yesterday amid fears that the U.S. economy is in recession. Analysts see this as a blow to the theory of “decoupling,” which suggests that markets in Europe and Asia are now less dependent on the U.S. economy.

      Climate Change News of the Weird

      • Prince Charles reduced his carbon footprint by appearing as a hologram at an alternative energy summit in Abu Dhabi.
      • Lower-altitude ski resorts, endangered by climate change, are selling for $1.
      • The Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala has received a grant to measure the greenhouse gases emitted when cows belch.

      The Rest of the Story