Morning Brief, Friday, December 29

Iraq and Middle East Time is ticking for Saddam Hussein. He could be executed as early as Saturday, say U.S. officials, but Iraqis deny it. The surge: President Bush is considering extending the tours of two Marine regiments in Iraq.  Iraq is getting worse, as at least 108,000 Iraqis were forced to flee their homes ...

605193_saddam_watch5.jpg
605193_saddam_watch5.jpg

Iraq and Middle East

Time is ticking for Saddam Hussein. He could be executed as early as Saturday, say U.S. officials, but Iraqis deny it.

The surge: President Bush is considering extending the tours of two Marine regiments in Iraq. 

Iraq and Middle East

Time is ticking for Saddam Hussein. He could be executed as early as Saturday, say U.S. officials, but Iraqis deny it.

The surge: President Bush is considering extending the tours of two Marine regiments in Iraq. 

Iraq is getting worse, as at least 108,000 Iraqis were forced to flee their homes in December. And McClatchy Newspapers’s correspondent returns to Baghdad to find the city a sectarian nightmare and many of her old contacts dead or missing.

Europe

Europeans are nervous about an impending gas shutoff prompted by a price dispute between Belarus and Gazprom. German, Lithuania, and Poland would be threatened if Belarus siphons Russian gas originally destined for Europe. Gazprom urges Belarus to “think hard” about taking such a step.

Shocking: EU legislation is creating a “mountain of red tape” for local officials. 

Asia

A new Chinese white paper says that China’s modernizing military will never threaten another nation. At $36 billion, China’s military budget is 6.2 percent of America’s.

The number of Chinese internet users grew by 30% last year to 132 million.

Elsewhere

Brazilian drug gangs went on a rampage in Rio de Janeiro, killing 19. Several of the innocent victims were burned alive on a bus, but this wasn’t just senseless violence. The point was to send a message that Rio’s new get-tough policy on gangs is dead on arrival.

The Taliban’s Mullah Omar pops up with a greeting for the Hajj, vowing that “the enemy will have to quit the region with humiliation and disgrace.”

UNICEF says that 84,000 people have been displaced by civil conflict in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan. 

A second witness to Argentina’s “Dirty War” has gone missing.

A giant ice shelf broke free from the North Pole. 

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