Morning Brief, Thursday, December 14

Iraq and Middle East The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military asked President Bush for more troops in Iraq. Senator John McCain wants more troops than that. More abductions in Baghdad by gunmen wearing police uniforms, and more car bombings of Shiite markets. The elections for Iran’s city councils and the powerful Assembly ...

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ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 13: (AFP OUT) US President George W. Bush speaks to the media after meeting with military advisors at the Pentagon as Vice President Dick Cheney (L), and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace (2nd-L), look on, December 13, 2006 in Arlington, Virginia. Bush met with them to review the administrations policy on Iraq. (Photo by Carol T. Powers-Pool/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** George W. Bush;Dick Cheney;Peter Pace

Iraq and Middle East

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military asked President Bush for more troops in Iraq. Senator John McCain wants more troops than that.

More abductions in Baghdad by gunmen wearing police uniforms, and more car bombings of Shiite markets.

Iraq and Middle East

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military asked President Bush for more troops in Iraq. Senator John McCain wants more troops than that.

More abductions in Baghdad by gunmen wearing police uniforms, and more car bombings of Shiite markets.

The elections for Iran’s city councils and the powerful Assembly of Experts starts tomorrow. Iran has already rejected a draft U.N. resolution proposed by the Europeans. A team of IAEA inspectors will visit Isfahan tomorrow.

With talks of a “national unity” government going nowhere, Fatah and Hamas have resumed undermining their own cause by shooting each other. PM Mahmoud Abbas may announce a referendum on Saturday to break the deadlock.

Washington

Congressional Democrats are planning to assert more control over expenses for Iraq.

The White House summit on malaria begins today. 

If Democratic Senator Tim Johnson is forced to step down due the possible stroke he suffered yesterday, the Republicans will regain control of the Senate

Europe

Give up, conspiracy theorists. Princess Diana’s death was a “tragic accident,” not a murder, says an exhaustive British police inquiry

Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, who famously called rioting French minorities “scum,” is running for president. Now he wants to make amends with French Arabs and black Africans. Even hardcore anti-immigrant politician Jean-Marie Le Pen is reaching out.

Russia doesn’t murder people anymore, says a top KGB alumnus. 

Elsewhere

U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson says the Chinese must “accelerate the reform.” His counterpart, Vice Premier Wu Yi, responded politely that America doesn’t understand China very well.

Sudan’s foreign minister dismissed Tony Blair’s call for a no-fly zone, retorting that “threats, blockades and no-fly zones… would not solve the problem” in Darfur.

Ethiopia and the Somalian Islamists who control Mogadishu are girding themselves for war with each other.

More Indian soldiers have committed suicide this year than have died in enemy action.

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