Morning Brief, Thursday, January 4

Iraq and Middle East The Iraqi government defends the hanging of Saddam, but is detaining a guard thought to have shot the video of the chaotic execution scene.   The next two top Baathists to be executed will die very soon if the Iraqi government continues to ignore international critics.  Fighting between Palestinian factions renews ...

605118_negroponte5.jpg
605118_negroponte5.jpg

Iraq and Middle East

The Iraqi government defends the hanging of Saddam, but is detaining a guard thought to have shot the video of the chaotic execution scene.  

The next two top Baathists to be executed will die very soon if the Iraqi government continues to ignore international critics. 

Iraq and Middle East

The Iraqi government defends the hanging of Saddam, but is detaining a guard thought to have shot the video of the chaotic execution scene.  

The next two top Baathists to be executed will die very soon if the Iraqi government continues to ignore international critics. 

Fighting between Palestinian factions renews in the Gaza strip, with 5 killed on Wednesday.

Washington

John Negroponte will move from his post as director of national intelligence to become Condi Rice’s deputy. That’s slightly farther than the three inches Negroponte depicts at right.

Congressional Democrats are divided on a troop surge for Iraq. 

Europe

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development wants the eurozone to grow faster. They’re forecasting a modest 2.2 percent for 2007.

Belarus swallowed its pride and agreed to a price hike for Russian gas hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Now, Europe’s last dictatorship is threatening to charge Moscow for the transport of Russian oil.  

A victory for unorthodox protest tactics? The French government promises to adopt housing as a legal right.

The U.S. reacted cautiously to a German proposal to enhance transatlantic trade. German PM Angela Merkel arrives in Washington today for talks with President Bush.

Asia

Bangladesh’s biggest political party will boycott elections scheduled to take place on January 22.

Toyota continued to crush its U.S. automaking rivals in December. 

Elsewhere

The U.S. wants to revive its diplomatic presence in Mogadishu. They also want the Ethiopians to stay a bit longer to maintain stability (too late?). The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, is patrolling the Somalian coast to catch escaping Islamists.

The Pakistani prime minister is in Kabul today for talks with Afghan premier Hamid Karzai, whose comments on Pakistan have become increasingly shrill of late.

Rio de Janeiro’s governor has a solution to Brazil’s burgeoning gang problem: Send in the troops.

Militants in the Niger Delta are out of control. They’ve taken 500,000 bpd of Nigerian oil offline since February of 2006.

Osama bin Laden? Haven’t seen that guy in years, writes Taliban leader Mullah Omar in an email to Reuters

2007 will be hot, hot, hot. The culprit? El Niño

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