Morning Brief, Thursday, May 17

Asia JUNG YEON-JE/AFP North and South Korea saw their first cross-border train action since 1951 in a hopeful indication of improving relations. As unrest over a suspended judge grows, Pakistan’s government is becoming less tolerant of criticism and unflattering coverage in the media.  The Bank of Japan made no change to the benchmark interest rate. ...

601838_070517_unitytrain_05.jpg
601838_070517_unitytrain_05.jpg

Asia

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP

North and South Korea saw their first cross-border train action since 1951 in a hopeful indication of improving relations.

Asia

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP

North and South Korea saw their first cross-border train action since 1951 in a hopeful indication of improving relations.

As unrest over a suspended judge grows, Pakistan’s government is becoming less tolerant of criticism and unflattering coverage in the media. 

The Bank of Japan made no change to the benchmark interest rate. The world’s second-biggest economy grew at 2.4 percent in the first quarter, lower than expected.

The Chinese government backed off on a plan to force bloggers to use their real names online.

Europe

Nicolas Sarkozy is wasting no time; France’s new president has already announced the appointment of François Fillon as prime minister and dined in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Estonia is reeling from cyber attacks that may be launched from Russia.

The Russian Orthodox Church has reunited with its exiled branch after 80 years of separation. 

Middle East

Nineteen Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted against a bill to cut off funding for the Iraq war by March 2008, killing the measure.

Britain’s Prince Harry is not going to Iraq after all.

A U.S.-funded Arabic-language satellite channel is getting slammed for airing the views of Hezbollah and Hamas. 

The fighting continues in Gaza.

Elsewhere

The United States is seeking to water down a statement on climate change that is to be published for the Group of Eight summit in June. 

Following a similar move by Apple, Amazon.com announced plans to sell DRM-free music over the Internet. 

Is Hugo Chávez using local councils to strengthen democracy or to strengthen his grip on power? (If his aggressive land redistribution program is any guide, it’s likely the latter.)

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