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>>Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s governing ZANU-PF party has signed a peace-sharing agreement with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, as well as one of the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, will serve as Prime Minister and Mutambara as his deputy. The opposition parties will hold 16 cabinet seats together. ZANU-PF will hold 15. Full details of the agreement are still emerging, and EU chief Javier Solana has said that the EU is postponing a decision on whether to lift sanctions.

>>Bolivia – South American leaders are meeting in Chile today amid rising concerns over the violent clashes in Bolivia between the government and protesters from regions that seek greater autonomy. Evo Morales has declared a “state of siege” in some provinces.

>>Pakistan – Two U.S. helicopters that had crossed into South Waziristan were turned back by Pakistani troops firing into the air. Roughly 20 people, including women and children, were killed in a raid by U.S. troops in this area this month. Pakistan’s military denied claims both that the U.S. helicopters were in Pakistani territory and that the shots came from Pakistani troops.

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The Beijing Olympics have ended. The U.S. won the most medals. China won the most gold.

The Democratic National Convention begins tonight. Stay tuned. Travis, our man on the ground, will be sending updates.

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>>Georgia – President Mikheil Saakashvili announced on Sunday that he intends to rebuild Georgia’s army and remains committed to keeping Abkhazia and South Ossetia under Georgia’s flag. Today both houses of Russia’s parliament voted today to request that President Medvedev recognize the independence of the two separatist enclaves.

>>Pakistan – The party led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has quit the governing coalition amid arguments over the reinstatement of judges dismissed by former President Musharraf and also who would be nominated as a replacement for the former President. Sharif claims that an earlier agreement had been reached to nominate a non-partisan candidate. The Pakistan People’s Party has nominated Benazir Bhutto’s widow, Asif Ali Zardari. Analysts believe it’s unlikely that the government will fall.

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>>China – In what the state news agency has called a “terrorist attack,” 16 policemen in Xinjiang were killed and 16 were injured when a truck rammed a group of police jogging and then attacked with explosives and knives. Xinjiang is home to a Muslim Uighur population that feels oppressed by Chinese rule.

>>Bangladesh – Bangladeshis voted in the first stage of local elections today, the first poll held since the military took power through an interim government in 2007. All candidates were “independents” as political parties have been banned. A series of local elections will be held, concluding in October. No voting irregularities have yet been reported.

>>AIDS – The Global Aids Conference opened in Mexico today, 25 years after the disease first became prevalent. Ahead of the meeting, new figures show that the number of affected people worldwide has decreased, although some nations are still seeing an increase in infections and many cannot get access to the correct treatment. Over 20,000 officials, scientists, and others, including President Clinton and Mark Goldberg, will be in Mexico for the meeting.

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>>Sudan – Today, ICC lead prosecutor Moreno Ocampo filed charges against president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Ocampo has charged that, through the “state apparatus,” al-Bashir killed at least 35,000 directly and caused the “slow-death” of up to 265,000. Sudan is not party to the court and has refused to cooperate with any investigation. A “carefully choreographed” protest against the charges was held in Khartoum.

>>South Korea – South Korea announced today that it would recall its ambassador to Japan in protest of Japan’s announcement that it would publish details about the two nations’ dispute over the Dokdo/Takeshima islands in school teaching guides. In the middle school guides, the islands will be referred to as Japanese territory. The islands are uninhabitable but are surrounded by fertile fishing grounds.

>>Malaria – Researchers in Melbourne believe they may have made a major breakthrough in the fight against malaria by removing a protein that makes the parasite “sticky” and more difficult for the body to flush. The protein is one of eight that allows the parasite to attach itself to the walls of blood vessels and keep from being destroyed by the spleen.

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>>Ireland – On Friday voters in Ireland rejected the carefully negotiated Lisbon Treaty, which would have provided a much needed restructuring to the European Union’s governing apparatus, by a margin of 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent. An aggressive “no” campaign appealed to voters’ fears. In order to come into effect, the Treaty needs to be ratified by all 27 EU nations. Some European leaders aren’t giving up.

>>China – Some areas in southern China already devastated by the May 12 earthquake are now suffering under torrential floods, which have killed at least 57 and displaced over 1.25 million. The Guangdong province, an important export area for China, has been one of the regions worst hit.

>>Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai threatened yesterday to send soldiers to fight Taliban militants in Pakistan if cross-border attacks continued. In response, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to receive a formal protest.

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>>Zimbabwe – A report released today by Human Rights Watch states that a shadowy security politburo, which goes by “Joint Operations Command,” took power in Zimbabwe shortly after President Mugabe’s election defeat in March and has organized the campaign of violence against the opposition over the past few months. According to The Times of London, the report is ‘corroborated by senior Western diplomats who describe the situation in Zimbabwe as a “military coup by stealth.”‘ The report also suggests that, shortly following his defeat, Mugabe planned to step down but wasn’t allowed by the JOC, which fears prosecution in a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.

>>Venezuela – Yesterday President Hugo Chavez called for a “grand humanitarian gesture” from the new leader of FARC in the release of all remaining hostages. Analysts believe that the new leader, Alfonso Cano, will be more likely to negotiate their release.

>>Nepal – Up to 450 Tibetan exiles were detained in Kathmandu on Sunday after protesting China’s crackdown in their homeland. Protests had been on hold as the Tibetan government-in-exile in India called for a hiatus in the wake of the earthquake in China.

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>>South AfricaAnti-immigrant attacks continued to escalate on Monday as mobs beat and raped foreigners and burned down their homes and shops. So far 22 have died in the violence. The groups mostly targeted Zimbabweans and Mozambicans, who they have accused of taking jobs and fueling the high violent crime rate. The unrest comes at a time when the nation is already struggling with power outages, inflation, and widespread anger at the government’s pro-business policies. On the flip side, investors are already worried about the growing influence of labor in an ANC lead by Jacob Zuma.

>>Myanmar – Today Myanmar agreed to open its doors to aid from Southeast Asian neighbors but will still restrict access to others. An estimated 2.5 million survivors are still in dire need of aid.

>>Iraq – An American sniper serving in Iraq has been sent home after it was discovered last week that he had used a Qur’an for target practice. Major General Jeffrey Hammond, the commander of U.S. troops in Baghdad, publicly apologized for the incident, which some Iraqi officers had threatened to quit over.

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>>Sudan – The rebel Justice and Equality Movement launched an attack on a Khartoum suburb Saturday, the first time in decades that the civil war has touched the capital. The Government rebutted the attack and severed diplomatic ties with Chad, who President al-Bashir blames for fomenting the attacks. JEM, which is seeking a stronger voice for regions in Sudan’s central government, fields only a few thousand soldiers compared to the government’s force of 100,000. JEM leader, Khalil Ibrahim, vowed more attacks.

>>Serbia – In Serbia’s general election yesterday, the President’s pro-EU party, the Coalition for a European Serbia, appears to have secured a surprising victory over the anti-EU nationalists, represented by the Serbian Radical party. The Coalition did not win an outright majority, and it is still unclear whether it will be able to form a government as many smaller parties may side with the Serbian Radicals. The Socialist party, formerly led by Slobodan Milosevic, made unexpected gains and could be crucial in forming the new government. Prior to the vote, analysts had predicted that international support for Kosovo’s independence would be a boon for the Serbian Radicals.

>>Lebanon – Hezbollah gunmen clashed with pro-government Druze in the mountains east of Beirut, killing 36. Hezbollah fighters overran positions of those loyal to Walid Jumblatt in the Chouf mountains before an agreement was struck for the Lebanese army to deploy in the area. The violence over the last five days, the worst since the civil war of the 1900s, has caused the Arab League to send a delegation headed by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, the Qatari foreign minister, to help end the crisis.

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>>Myanmar – Cyclone Nargis slammed into the Irrawaddy delta on Saturday, leaving 4,000 dead, 3,000 missing, and hundreds of thousands without shelter. The nation’s military junta made a rare appeal for international assistance. Relief agencies met at the UN’s offices in Bangkok to coordinate their response. Myanmar is scheduled to hold a referendum on a new constitution next week, and the government’s response to the cyclone could shape that vote.

>>Iraq – According to four Shi’ite militiamen captured in Iraq and questioned separately, Hezbollah has been training Iraqi militiamen at a base near Tehran. The U.S. has made such accusations in the past, and Iran has denied those accusations. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced Sunday that Iraq would launch its own investigation into the matter.

>>Somalia – Tens of thousands of people rioted today in Mogadishu over high food prices. The riot began with the refusal of traders to accept old 1,000-shilling notes, which they claim are worsening inflation.

>>Bolivia – Yesterday, Bolivia’s richest region, Santa Cruz, voted overwhelmingly for autonomy in a referendum boycotted by supporters of Evo Morales. The vote, the first of four on greater autonomy for eastern provinces, is seen as a rejection of Morales’s leftist reforms. Morales has said that, because of the boycott, the vote is invalid.

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>>ZimbabwePartial results from the recount of the vote in the parliamentary election, released over the weekend, confirm that President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has lost control of parliament. Results from 18 of 23 constituencies have been retabulated and confirmed with no seats changing hands. Mugabe will now have to choose whether to appoint an opposition cabinet or attempt to run the country on presidential orders instead of parliamentary legislation. Representatives from Mugabe and opposition leadership will be invited to verify results from the presidential election today, prior to their release. It is possible that opposition leader Tsvangirai has won outright and will avoid a runoff but not likely.

>>Afghanistan – Suspected Taliban insurgents executed a well-coordinated, but unsuccessful assassination attempt against President Karzai during the Afghan national day military parade on Sunday. Three were killed in the attack — a tribal chief, a member of parliament, and a 10-year-old boy. Afghan security forces, which the government has pressed as a replacement for foreign troops guarding Kabul, prepared for weeks in advance of the event. The Taliban, claiming to have received help from within the security forces, worked in two teams, one working a mortar and the other guns, which were fired into the V.I.P stands.

>>Olympics – On Sunday the Olympic torch traveled to North and South Korea. In South Korea, it was greeted by protesters seeking better treatment for North Korean refugees in China and thousands of young pro-China demonstrators who subsequently attacked the others with rocks and steel pipes. Two North Korean refugees attempted to light themselves on fire in protest. North Korea on the other hand, was the least contentious stop on the torch’s world tour. Tens of thousands of North Koreans waving flags lined the 12-mile route. Meanwhile Chinese authorities are locking down Lhasa in advance of the torch’s visit.

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>>ZimbabwePartial results from the recount of the vote in the parliamentary election, released over the weekend, confirm that President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has lost control of parliament. Results from 18 of 23 constituencies have been retabulated and confirmed with no seats changing hands. Mugabe will now have to choose whether to appoint an opposition cabinet or attempt to run the country on presidential orders instead of parliamentary legislation. Representatives from Mugabe and opposition leadership will be invited to verify results from the presidential election today, prior to their release. It is possible that opposition leader Tsvangirai has won outright and will avoid a runoff but not likely.

>>Afghanistan – Suspected Taliban insurgents executed a well-coordinated, but unsuccessful assassination attempt against President Karzai during the Afghan national day military parade on Sunday. Three were killed in the attack — a tribal chief, a member of parliament, and a 10-year-old boy. Afghan security forces, which the government has pressed as a replacement for foreign troops guarding Kabul, prepared for weeks in advance of the event. The Taliban, claiming to have received help from within the security forces, worked in two teams, one working a mortar and the other guns, which were fired into the V.I.P stands.

>>Olympics – On Sunday the Olympic torch traveled to North and South Korea. In South Korea, it was greeted by protesters seeking better treatment for North Korean refugees in China and thousands of young pro-China demonstrators who subsequently attacked the others with rocks and steel pipes. Two North Korean refugees attempted to light themselves on fire in protest. North Korea on the other hand, was the least contentious stop on the torch’s world tour. Tens of thousands of North Koreans waving flags lined the 12-mile route. Meanwhile Chinese authorities are locking down Lhasa in advance of the torch’s visit.

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>>Zimbabwe – On Sunday, authorities ordered a recount of votes for 23 seats in last month’s parliamentary election, which, according to the original count, gave the opposition Movement for Democratic Change control of parliament. The MDC has challenged the legality of that recount in Zimbabwe’s supreme court, which will rule on Tuesday. They are also expected to rule today on whether the long-delayed results of the presidential election should be released immediately, a request made by the MDC.

>>Kenya – A new unity cabinet has been announced by Kenya’s government, ending weeks of stalemate that threatened a renewal of violence. The government retains many of the top positions, but opposition leader Raila Odinga will be named the prime minister. The new cabinet houses 94 members, half of parliament. Its dramatic expansion, necessary to satisfy all groups, will present a large financial burden for the government.

>>Nepal – The most recent tally from last Thursday’s election shows an unexpected widening lead for former Maoist rebels. Analysts had expected them to finish third. This election will have significant consequences for the future of the nation, as the new parliament is slated to rewrite Nepal’s constitution and will likely end the 240-year-old monarchy.

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>>Zimbabwe – On Sunday, authorities ordered a recount of votes for 23 seats in last month’s parliamentary election, which, according to the original count, gave the opposition Movement for Democratic Change control of parliament. The MDC has challenged the legality of that recount in Zimbabwe’s supreme court, which will rule on Tuesday. They are also expected to rule today on whether the long-delayed results of the presidential election should be released immediately, a request made by the MDC.

>>Kenya – A new unity cabinet has been announced by Kenya’s government, ending weeks of stalemate that threatened a renewal of violence. The government retains many of the top positions, but opposition leader Raila Odinga will be named the prime minister. The new cabinet houses 94 members, half of parliament. Its dramatic expansion, necessary to satisfy all groups, will present a large financial burden for the government.

>>Nepal – The most recent tally from last Thursday’s election shows an unexpected widening lead for former Maoist rebels. Analysts had expected them to finish third. This election will have significant consequences for the future of the nation, as the new parliament is slated to rewrite Nepal’s constitution and will likely end the 240-year-old monarchy.

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Dith Pran, a New York Times photojournalist, chronicler of the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge, and basis for the The Killing Fields, died on Sunday.

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>>Zimbabwe – The results from Saturday’s presidential election in Zimbabwe have not been officially released, however the opposition is claiming a landslide victory over Robert Mugabe, who has held power for 28 years. A government spokesman responded by saying that such a claim “is called a coup d’etat and we all know how coups are handled.” Delayed reporting by the Zimbabwe Election Commission, which election monitors say should already have the results, has raised concerns that the ruling party would engage in underhanded tactics to fix the election. In the limited results that have already been announced, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a member of Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, has already lost his seat.

>>Iraq – Yesterday Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for his followers to cease hostilities and demanded concessions from the Iraq’s government after six days of fighting in Basra, which, according to some calculations, has claimed more than 240 lives. Iraq’s government has announced that it will not stop its attack, and British troops previously stationed at Basra airport have entered the battle for the first time. Plans for a drawdown of British troops will be postponed in light of the new insecurity in Basra.

>>Korea – A North Korean military commander has been quoted as saying, “Our military will not sit idle until warmongers launch a pre-emptive strike … Everything will be in ashes, not just a sea of fire, if our advanced pre-emptive strike once begins.” This statement is the most recent escalation in a war of words that began when South Korea’s new president threatened to halt new aid and speak out on human rights abuses should the North not abandon its nuclear program. The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in South Korea said last week that the South would strike North Korean nuclear bases in response to a North Korean attack but said that he had no plans for a pre-emptive attack.

>>Uganda – LRA commander Joseph Kony is walking to the Sudan-Congo border to sign a final peace agreement with the government of Uganda.

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Dith Pran, a New York Times photojournalist, chronicler of the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge, and basis for the The Killing Fields, died on Sunday.

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>>Zimbabwe – The results from Saturday’s presidential election in Zimbabwe have not been officially released, however the opposition is claiming a landslide victory over Robert Mugabe, who has held power for 28 years. A government spokesman responded by saying that such a claim “is called a coup d’etat and we all know how coups are handled.” Delayed reporting by the Zimbabwe Election Commission, which election monitors say should already have the results, has raised concerns that the ruling party would engage in underhanded tactics to fix the election. In the limited results that have already been announced, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a member of Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, has already lost his seat.

>>Iraq – Yesterday Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for his followers to cease hostilities and demanded concessions from the Iraq’s government after six days of fighting in Basra, which, according to some calculations, has claimed more than 240 lives. Iraq’s government has announced that it will not stop its attack, and British troops previously stationed at Basra airport have entered the battle for the first time. Plans for a drawdown of British troops will be postponed in light of the new insecurity in Basra.

>>Korea – A North Korean military commander has been quoted as saying, “Our military will not sit idle until warmongers launch a pre-emptive strike … Everything will be in ashes, not just a sea of fire, if our advanced pre-emptive strike once begins.” This statement is the most recent escalation in a war of words that began when South Korea’s new president threatened to halt new aid and speak out on human rights abuses should the North not abandon its nuclear program. The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in South Korea said last week that the South would strike North Korean nuclear bases in response to a North Korean attack but said that he had no plans for a pre-emptive attack.

>>Uganda – LRA commander Joseph Kony is walking to the Sudan-Congo border to sign a final peace agreement with the government of Uganda.

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The Olympic torch has begun its 85,000-mile journey. The American death toll in Iraq reaches 4,000.

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>>Pakistan – On Saturday, the Pakistan People’s Party named its pick for Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, a former speaker of the National Assembly who spent four years in jail under what many consider to be trumped-up corruption charges. Many speculate that Gillani was chosen over Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who ran the PPP during Benazir Bhutto’s exile, because he will be easier for Bhutto widower Asif Ali Zardari to dislodge after he runs for a seat in parliament and is eligible for the top position. Meanwhile, Musharraf has vowed to support the new government.

>>Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s leading opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has accused the government of Zimbabwe of printing 9 million ballots for Friday’s election when the nation only has 5.9 million registered voters, which includes nearly 600,000 extra for civil servants, police, and soldiers. Meanwhile, Mugabe increased government debt 65-fold ($53 billion) in the six weeks leading up to March 7 to bump up civil servant salaries and supply farm equipment.

>>Colombia/Ecuador – Colombia has admitted that an Ecuadorean citizen was killed in the raid three weeks ago on FARC rebels in Ecuadorean territory that caused a diplomatic standoff between Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, had previously said that it would be “extremely grave” if it proved true that an Ecuadorian was killed in the raid.

>>Bhutan – The people of Bhutan will become members of the world’s newest democracy today as they vote in an election for seats in the lower house of parliament that will end the hundred years’ rule of the extremely popular Wangchuck royal family. The 28-year-old king has implored citizens to vote.

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>>Tibet – China has closed Lhasa to visitors and blocked websites (including youtube) as violent protests continue there and spread to the neighboring Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces. The Dalai Lama has said that he will not intervene to stop the protests, but instead called for an independent investigation into the “cultural genocide” that he says China is waging. Eighty Tibetans have been killed during the unrest. The Washington Post reports on the domestic politic aspects in China.

>>Iran – Conservatives appear to have won as much as a 70 percent majority in Iran’s parliamentary elections. Many reformist candidates had been barred from participating. However, some analysts believe that President Ahmadenijad may still face significant resistance from moderate conservatives disgruntled over the state of the economy teamed with reformists.

>>Iraq – As part of a congressional delegation, Senator John Mcain made a surprise visit to Iraq on Sunday. He’s scheduled to meet with Ryan Crocker, General Petraeus, and Prime Minister al-Maliki before traveling on to Jordan, Israel, France, and Britain. The LA Times takes a look at the history of his foreign policy.

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William Safire takes on the etymology of “waterboarding.”

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>>Pakistan – Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, agreed on Sunday to join the Pakistan People’s Party — led by Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s widower — in a governing coalition. They immediately agreed to reinstate judges who Mussaraf dismissed last November. Those judges could rule on petitiions challenging the validity of his last election.

>>Venezuela and Columbia – Leaders from Venezuela and Columbia agreed to a 20-point declaration, which included a commitment by Alvaro Uribe to never again violate the sovereignty of his neighbors, at the Rio Group Summit on Friday, normalizing relations between the two nations only a week after tempers flared due to a Columbian raid on FARC rebels in Ecuadorian territory. Ecuador still needs some time before reconciliation.

>>Spain – Prime Minister Jose Ruiz Rodriguez Zapatero and his Socialist party won a hard-fought election on Sunday, opening the door for the continuation of his liberalization agenda. The Socialist Party claimed five more seats than in 2004 and are just seven seats shy of an absolute majority. The opposition Popular party also carried more seats this time around.

>>Serbia – The divided government of Serbia collapsed on Saturday due to intractable positions taken by nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and pro-Western President Boris Tadic over the nation’s relationship with the EU in the wake of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. New elections will be held in May.

>>Israel – Prime Minister Olmert has approved a plan to build 750 new homes in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, further imperiling peace talks.

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Protesters attack Japanese whalers with “non-violent chemical warfare,” rotten butter.

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>Russia – Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked successor, Dmitri Medvedev, won Russia’s presidential election with roughly 70 percent of the vote on Sunday. Putin will be his Prime Minister. Medvedev has never before held political office and will be the youngest Russian ruler since Tsar Nicolas II. Voter turnout was 64 percent, amid widespread accusations that citizens were pressured to vote. The major European elections monitoring group had previously refused to monitor the elections due to restrictions placed on them by the Russian government.

>>Venezuela, Ecuador, and Columbia – Venezuela and Ecuador sent thousands of troops, as well as tanks, to their border with Columbia yesterday after Columbia forces assassinated Raúl Reyes, a major FARC leader, inside Ecuador. President Rafael Correa of Ecuador expelled Columbia’s ambassador and withdrew Ecuador’s ambassador from Bogota. Hugo Chavez, who had been trying to mediate a prisoner exchange with FARC, has said that he would retaliate with recently bought Russian jets if Columbia were to make a similar incursion into Venezuelan territory. However most analysts agree that Venezuela’s economy (and Chavez’s political mandate) could not survive the loss of business with Columbia.

>>Iran/Iraq – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Iraq on Sunday, the first since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the first official state visit by any nation to post-Saddam Iraq, to cement “brotherly relations” (color on the fanfare in the Times). Ahmadinejad announced a $1 billion low-interest loan for reconstruction, and the two nations are expected to sign up to ten economic agreements over the next two days. Sunnis widely protested the visit.

Quote of the Day

“By this historical visit of our brother Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, we have first renewed the feelings of mutual struggle and jihad, which goes back a long time ago against the dictatorship.”
Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani

Joel and Ethan Coen, as well as Daniel Day Lewis and Javier Bardem, took home some well-deserved hardware at the Oscars last night. The NY Philharmonic meanwhile plays Pyongyang.

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>Cuba – Raul Castro became the new president of Cuba on Sunday, promising immediately to consult his brother on every major decision. The National Assembly stuck to the old guard when filling other major responsibilities as well, selecting 76-year-old Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, “a Communist hard-liner fiercely loyal to Castros,” to be the First Vice President and 70-year-old Ricardo Alacron to be the Assembly President. Some in Cuba had hoped that the mantle of leadership would pass to a younger generation.

>>Cyprus – Demetris Christofias, leader of the Communist Party, was elected president of Cyprus on Sunday, bolstering hopes that reunification of the island might be a possibility. He agreed to meet with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat, “at the earliest possible date.”

>>Turkey – Several hundred Turkish troops and dozens of tanks entered Northern Iraq at the end of last week, following hours of shelling and bombing by the Turkish military. Reports of casualties vary, but Turkey admits to the loss of one of its helicopters, which the PKK claims to have shot down. The incursion sparked intense criticism from the Iraqi government, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has urged Turkey to keep it short.

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Obama won primaries in Maine, Kansas, Louisana, Washington, and the Virgin Islands over the weekend, drawing the delegate count even closer. McCain won Washington, but lost Louisiana and Kansas to Huckabee. Amy Winehouse won five Grammys, but was forced to accept via satellite because she was denied a visa. Trailblazing supermodel Katoucha Niane, Yves St. Laurent’s muse during the 1980s and a campaigner against female genital mutilation, may have drowned in the Seine this week.

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>>East Timor – President Jose Ramos Horta, winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, was shot three times early Monday morning in a drive-by shooting at his home, an apparent coup attempt. He is being report as in “serious, but stable” condition in Darwin, Australia, where he was airlifted. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who led a rebellion in 2006 and has been in hiding since, was involved in the assassination attempt and was shot dead at the scene. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s home was also attacked, but he was unharmed.

>>Chad and Darfur – Sudanese airstrikes in Darfur have pushed more than 12,000 new refugees into eastern Chad, adding to the up to 400,000 refugees already in the border region. The first wave, arriving at the border on foot, were men. A second wave of women and children (unable to cross the distance as quick) are reported to be following. The EU is planning to resume the deployment of its 3,700-strong peacekeeping force to eastern Chad. Rebel groups have cautioned them against doing so.

>>Myanmar – Myanmar’s military junta announced its “road to democracy” on Saturday, setting a constitutional referendum for May and elections for 2010, the first since 1990 when Dawn Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory. Although there is deep skepticism abroad and from the National League of Democracy, there appears to be some hope on the streets of Yangon that this is an opportunity (albeit the sampling size is small).

Quote of the Day

“There is no cease-fire, the war is going on. In this situation it is very difficult to talk about
peacekeeping when there is no peace to keep.”
– Suleiman Sandal
Haggar, a senior commander of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement in Darfur

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The NY Giants pulled off one of the greatest upsets in American football history by beating the undefeated (and record-breaking) New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Nearly 750,000 have flocked to Carnival (video). And Sarko-Bruni is official (or as some are saying BRUNI-sarko).

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>>Chad – The government is reporting that they have pushed rebels, who overran Ndjamena on Saturday, to the eastern outskirts of the capital. The rebels retorted that they were allowing civilians safe passage before launching another attack. UNHCR has said that thousands fled to Cameroon during the fighting. There are reports of Sudanese involvement in attacks on border towns, and analysts fear an all-out war between Chad and the Sudan. Contributors to StopGenocideNow.org had been blogging on the ground until they were evacuated.

>>Kenya, DRC, and Rwanda – Kofi Annan brokered a deal on Friday to set up a framework for negotiations between Kenya’s ruling party and the opposition led by Raila Odinga. However, violence continued over the weekend (NY Times in pictures), and Mr. Odinga has called for AU peacekeepers. Meanwhile, in the Western Rift Valley, at least 40 were killed by two magnitude 6 earthquakes.

>>Serbia – Serbia’s President Boris Thadic, generally considered pro-western, was reelected on Sunday, defeating nationalist Tomislav Nikolic, an ally of Slobodan Milosevic. Tadic has said that he will not use force should Kosovo choose to succede, which it may do at any time.

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Obama won the S.C. democratic primary, and today he picks up a
key endorsement.
President Bush delivers
his final State of the Union tonight.
And Bono is engaging in iPod
diplomacy
.

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>>Right-wing ally of ousted PM Thaksin
Shinawatra, Samak Sundaravej, was
elected Prime Minister of Thailand
, returning the nation to
civilian rule. As
well as being a former governor, PM Sundaravej was once a popular TV
chef. Some
suspect
that his only goal as PM will be to rescind the
five-year political ban on Shinawatra, so that he can then return to
his former position. 

>>In what appears to be Kikuyu retribution for previous
violence undertaken by opposition leader Odinga’s Luo tribe, gangs
armed with rods and machetes rampaged
through Rift Valley towns over the weekend, leaving up to 70 dead.
 In Naivasha, the home of Kenya’s flower industry, eight were
burned alive locked inside a house.  In a continuing effort to
stem the violence, former Secretary General Kofi Annan met
with opposition leader Odinga.

>>In some of the worst violence in Beirut in two
decade, eight
were shot dead
during protests over
electricity rationing
.  According to Lebanon’s
military, generally considered impartial, it
is not yet clear who is responsible
.  The dead have
been identified as Hezbollah members of the Amal opposition.
  

>>As Russia completed the last
of eight uranium shipments
for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear
reactor, the Kremlin has barred
Michael Kasyanov, the last liberal opponent of Dmitri Medvedev, from
the presidential election, claiming that a significant portion of the
signatures he needed to register his candidacy were faked. 

>>Former Indonesian dictator Suharto died
yesterday after a protracted illness that left the country split on
whether he was ‘father of the nation’ or a ‘criminal.’

>>Representatives from more than 100 nations met in
Bali at a UN anti-corruption conference to develop new ways to stem the
flow of billions of dollars taken by corrupt governments from their
people.

Quotes of the Day

“There will be no celebration. I will continue with my normal
life.”
-New Thai PM Samak
Sundaravej


“We have moved out to revenge the deaths of
our brothers and sisters who have been killed, and nothing will stop
us,”
-Anthony Mwangi, Kikuyu
involved in the bloodshed over the weekend


The Rest of the Story

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