Morning Brief, Monday, May 21

Middle East RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images Over 40 died as the Lebanese military brawled with extremist militants in a Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli, north of Beirut. The U.S. military is cautiously pushing its way into Sadr City, the sprawling Baghdad slum that provides the power base for Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia. (Apparently, the U.S. ...

601785_070521_tripoli_05.jpg
601785_070521_tripoli_05.jpg

Middle East

RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images

Over 40 died as the Lebanese military brawled with extremist militants in a Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli, north of Beirut.

Middle East

RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images

Over 40 died as the Lebanese military brawled with extremist militants in a Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli, north of Beirut.

The U.S. military is cautiously pushing its way into Sadr City, the sprawling Baghdad slum that provides the power base for Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia. (Apparently, the U.S. military tried to kill Sadr back in 2004.)

Israel struck targets in Gaza, vowing that all Hamas leaders tied to rocket attacks are “in the crosshairs.”

The Iraq Study Group is back.

Europe

Gordon Brown will pull British troops from Iraq by spring 2010 … just in time for Britain’s next national election. 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is kicking off campaigning for his country’s upcoming parliamentary elections that are to be held June 10 and 17.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer dined on beef tenderloin and asparagus at the ranch of U.S. President George W. Bush as the two men discussed ways to shore up the alliance’s position in Afghanistan.

A new merger would create Europe’s second-largest bank; investor reaction has been mixed.

Asia

The Chinese government is using its foreign-exchange reserves to purchase an 8-percent share of the Blackstone Group, a prominent U.S. private equity firm. 

U.S. inspection records paint a picture of a deep, longstanding problem with the safety of Chinese food products. And in Panama, brushing with Chinese toothpaste can be hazardous to your health.

India’s electricity crisis is holding back the country’s economic growth. Meanwhile, talks have stalled over the nuclear energy deal with the United States, with U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns postponing indefinitely a trip to Delhi that was planned for this week.

Elsewhere

Rampant piracy is complicating U.N. aid efforts to Somalia.

British heir apparent Gordon Brown said the Bush administration is “likely to nominate an American” to replace Paul Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank.

Amid scattered violence, Nobel laureate José Ramos-Horta took office Sunday as the new president of Timor-Leste. 

Today’s Agenda

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