Morning Brief, Wednesday, June 20

2008 Pool/Getty Images Is New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plotting a presidential run, or just indulging his vanity? His quitting the Republican party could signal plans to run as an independent. Middle East Michael Gordon of the New York Times reports from Baquba, where the U.S. military is trying to flush out and catch some ...

601070_070620_bloomberg_05.jpg
601070_070620_bloomberg_05.jpg

2008

Pool/Getty Images

Is New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plotting a presidential run, or just indulging his vanity? His quitting the Republican party could signal plans to run as an independent.

2008

Pool/Getty Images

Is New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plotting a presidential run, or just indulging his vanity? His quitting the Republican party could signal plans to run as an independent.

Middle East

Michael Gordon of the New York Times reports from Baquba, where the U.S. military is trying to flush out and catch some 300-500 al Qaeda militants. The bad guys proved they can still hit back, though, with yesterday’s massive truck bombing of a Shiite mosque. Some good news: The U.S. military just signed up 10 tribes to fight al Qaeda in Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki plans to visit Ankara in July to talk about the PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group operating in Turkey. As Juan Cole notes, it’s a politically perilous topic for Maliki.

One day after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush, Israel agreed to let some Palestinians fleeing Gaza into the West Bank for medical treatment. Foreigners are leaving, too, as Israel begins air strikes against Hamas. Egypt, for its part, is moving its embassy to Ramallah in the West Bank.

Europe

French security authorities are warning top officials not to use their Blackberries, as the U.S. National Security Agency could intercept sensitive information. News flash: The NSA can intercept conversations through window panes…

The Vatican issued “10 commandments” for drivers to combat road rage. 

The European Space Agency is looking for a few good volunteers to simulate a Mars mission for 17 months

Asia

Coming up soon, on Lou Dobbs: Are Chinese toy manufacturers trying to kill your children?

Have China’s emissions already overtaken those of the United States? 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the Taliban’s shift to suicide attacks reflects a desperate foe and a strengthening national army. That would be an optimistic spin on things … 

Elsewhere

Rupert Murdoch, his bid for Dow Jones foundering, sets his sights on Yahoo! 

First they came for the bees. Now the birds are disappearing, too? 

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says that globalization isn’t as scary as many people think.

The United States is welching on its U.N. peacekeeping dues, critics say.

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