Morning Brief, Wednesday, May 30

Middle East ALI YOUSSEF/AFP April and May 2007 were the deadliest consecutive months for U.S. troops in Iraq. Ten U.S. soldiers died on Memorial Day—eight of them in a helicopter crash—and five British citizens were abducted from the Finance Ministry. The Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia, may be responsible for the kidnapping of the five ...

601599_070530_ministry_05.jpg
601599_070530_ministry_05.jpg

Middle East

ALI YOUSSEF/AFP

April and May 2007 were the deadliest consecutive months for U.S. troops in Iraq. Ten U.S. soldiers died on Memorial Day—eight of them in a helicopter crash—and five British citizens were abducted from the Finance Ministry. The Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia, may be responsible for the kidnapping of the five Britons, including a computer expert and his security detail.

Middle East

ALI YOUSSEF/AFP

April and May 2007 were the deadliest consecutive months for U.S. troops in Iraq. Ten U.S. soldiers died on Memorial Day—eight of them in a helicopter crash—and five British citizens were abducted from the Finance Ministry. The Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia, may be responsible for the kidnapping of the five Britons, including a computer expert and his security detail.

Iran formally accused three American citizens of spying, among them Haleh Esfandiari of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. 

Shimon Peres wants to be president of Israel

Is al Qaeda getting stronger in North Africa? 

Europe

European farmers are getting into the biofuels business. 

Russia tested a new ICBM; an anonymous American diplomat told the New York Times that the missile test was “not a subject of concern.”

Turkey sent 20 additional tanks to the Kurdish border. Is this a build-up? If so, a build-up to what?

Asia 

Switching from rhetoric to action, Chinese authorities tripled the tax on stock trading. The Shanghai Composite Index immediately dropped 6.5 percent on the news.

Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy to the six-party talks, believes that North Korea is committed to shutting down its nuclear reactor. 

As momentum apparently builds in the U.S. Congress for questionable new coal subsidies, the U.S. government announced it will promote “clean coal” in Asia. 

Elsewhere

U.S. President George W. Bush will nominate Robert Zoellick, former Deputy Secretary of State, to run the World Bank. His mission, according to France’s new foreign minister, will be to “re-establish, or establish, our confidence in the World Bank.”

Harsh interrogation techniques are counterproductive, according to participants in a study called for by the U.S. Intelligence Science Board.

Today’s Agenda

  • U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Potsdam, Germany, to discuss issues with her counterparts ahead of next week’s Group of Eight summit.
  • Sweden opens its embassy in Second Life.
  • President Bush will ask Congress for $30 billion in additional funding for AIDS treatment and prevention, to be spent in the first five years after he leaves office.

Yesterday on Passport

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