Morning Brief, Friday, June 15

Middle East SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images Welcome to Hamastan. Hamas’s hostile takeover of Gaza is now complete. “We are not going to be like the Taliban,” a Hamas spokesman vowed, and Hamas promised amnesty for captured Fatah leaders. But with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas disbanding the government—and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya essentially telling him, “You and ...

601162_070615_hamas_05.jpg
601162_070615_hamas_05.jpg

Middle East

SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to Hamastan. Hamas's hostile takeover of Gaza is now complete. "We are not going to be like the Taliban," a Hamas spokesman vowed, and Hamas promised amnesty for captured Fatah leaders. But with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas disbanding the government—and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya essentially telling him, "You and what army, buddy?"—the stage is set for further showdowns. One thing seems virtually guaranteed: U.S. President George W. Bush's publicly stated aim of a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine is not going to happen anytime soon.

Middle East

SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to Hamastan. Hamas’s hostile takeover of Gaza is now complete. “We are not going to be like the Taliban,” a Hamas spokesman vowed, and Hamas promised amnesty for captured Fatah leaders. But with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas disbanding the government—and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya essentially telling him, “You and what army, buddy?”—the stage is set for further showdowns. One thing seems virtually guaranteed: U.S. President George W. Bush’s publicly stated aim of a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine is not going to happen anytime soon.

Compared with last year’s enormous wave of reprisal attacks, this year’s reaction to the bombing of the Askariya Shrine in Iraq has been relatively mild

A Lebanese news anchor at a pro-Syria television station was fired for laughing at the murder of anti-Syrian legislator Walid Eido. She didn’t realize she was still on the air.

Asia

China’s stock markets aren’t the only game in Asia: India’s are booming, too.

Howard French of the New York Times reports on the welcome reception Chinese investors are finding in Africa.

Back on the mainland, Chinese industrial output grew by an incredible 18.1 percent in May (year over year). 

Europe

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told NATO defense ministers that the United States intends to press ahead with a proposed missile shield in Europe despite Russian objections.

Kurt Waldheim, controversial former Secretary General of the United Nations and prime minister of Austria, died at age 88.  

Most European countries want to keep changes to the EU Constitution that Britain doesn’t want

Switzerland opened the world’s longest train tunnel on land

Elsewhere 

The U.S. Senate immigration bill is coming back

Some parts of the booming private equity sector may soon have to pay taxes just like everyone else. A bipartisan Senate bill would force private equity groups like Blackstone to pay the normal corporate rate of 35 percent if they go public.

Barring a presidential pardon, Scooter Libby is heading for the hoosegow within weeks. 

Today’s Agenda 

  • Today’s the deadline for the Board of the World Bank to accept nominations for Bank president other than that of Robert Zoellick, who was nominated by the United States and is expected to begin his new job on July 1.
  • The World Series of Mahjong begins in Macao. This ain’t your grandma’s mahjong game: Entry costs $5,000, and the total jackpot is one million dollars.
  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is in Islamabad for talks with struggling Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Negroponte’s visits overlaps with that of Richard Boucher, assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who is now in Quetta to meet with opposition leaders on border security.
  • Arab foreign ministers are gathering in Cairo to discuss the crises in Gaza and Lebanon.
  • Thailand’s military regime is bracing for unrest as ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra speaks to supporters today via video conference.
  • It’s Bob Barker’s last hurrah as host of The Price is Right.
  • Today is the 792nd anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.

Yesterday on Passport

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