Morning Brief, Tuesday, January 30

Iraq and Middle East ASIF HASSAN/AFP At least 36 people were killed in bomb attacks targeting Shiites in three separate Iraqi cities, just at the height of the Ashura religious festival. (There were also anti-Shiite attacks in Pakistan.) Meanwhile, questions abound about the recent outbreak of fighting in Najaf. Did messianic Shiites attack establishment Shiites ...

By , a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
604433_ashura_05.jpg
604433_ashura_05.jpg

Iraq and Middle East

Iraq and Middle East

ASIF HASSAN/AFP

At least 36 people were killed in bomb attacks targeting Shiites in three separate Iraqi cities, just at the height of the Ashura religious festival. (There were also anti-Shiite attacks in Pakistan.)

Meanwhile, questions abound about the recent outbreak of fighting in Najaf. Did messianic Shiites attack establishment Shiites in order to hasten the return of the Mahdi? 

Saudi Arabia wants to shave oil output by 158,000 bpd. Maybe the Saudis don’t want to bury the Iranians in cheap oil after all. In fact, they’re negotiating with them over Lebanon’s instability.

Libya may decide not to execute five Bulgarian nurses convicted of infecting children with HIV.

Europe

European governments aren’t cracking down on Iran to Washington’s satisfaction.

Presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, hoping to lock up the French expat vote, holds a rally in London.

Asia

China’s stock markets are going like gangbusters

Beijing and Taipei have gone to war … over artifacts in Taiwan’s National Palace Museum, which contains treasures taken from the mainland in the 1940s by fleeing nationalist forces.

FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP

Global Warming 

Ban Ki Moon gambles that world leaders will attend his summit on climate change in September.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is putting the finishing touches on its latest report, to be released Friday. The grim details are leaking out already.

Greenpeace activists tagged the Eiffel Tower to draw more attention to the IPCC’s meeting. 

Elsewhere

Hugo Chávez is about to become a dictator for real, when the Venezuelan legislature passes his “mother law.”

Colombia’s defense minister heads to Washington and Europe this week to ask for more funding and military aid to combat his country’s drug kingpins and an ongoing Marxist rebellion. 

Two top North American newsprint manufacturers will merge, yet another symptom of declining newspaper readership.

Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.

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