Morning Brief, Wednesday, July 25

Middle East AFP/Getty Images A rare meeting between the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors in Baghdad ended Tuesday with one concrete achievement: The two countries agreed to set up a joint security committee with the Iraqis. But on the nuclear front, Iran is trying to cooperate just enough with the IAEA to avoid U.N. sanctions.  U.S. ...

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Middle East

AFP/Getty Images

A rare meeting between the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors in Baghdad ended Tuesday with one concrete achievement: The two countries agreed to set up a joint security committee with the Iraqis. But on the nuclear front, Iran is trying to cooperate just enough with the IAEA to avoid U.N. sanctions

Middle East

AFP/Getty Images

A rare meeting between the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors in Baghdad ended Tuesday with one concrete achievement: The two countries agreed to set up a joint security committee with the Iraqis. But on the nuclear front, Iran is trying to cooperate just enough with the IAEA to avoid U.N. sanctions

U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki hold a video conference every two weeks, during which they often talk about their mutual faith in God.

Ehud Olmert promises to work directly with Middle East envoy Tony Blair, leading me to wonder if Britain’s ex-PM is savvier than I thought.

Europe

Some might call this chutzpah: Turkey’s secular opposition lost the elections, and now demands a veto over the winning party’s choice of president.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is heading to Libya in the hopes of becoming pals with the mercurial Muammar el-Qaddafi. French voters aren’t happy, though, about his wife sticking her nez in foreign-policy matters.

After the latest doping scandal, the director of the Tour de France says that professional cycling needs a complete overhaul

Asia

Remember that Taliban militant who blew himself up yesterday in Baluchistan? He was released from Guantánamo Bay in March 2004.

China’s spooks are gathering intelligence on foreigners who might cause trouble at the 2008 Olympics.

Russia is pumping cash into South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia.

Elsewhere 

The largest mortgage lender in the United States warned Tuesday that even people with good credit are having trouble making loan payments, and compared falling housing prices to the Great Depression. Investors trembled on the news.

Oil prices fell for the fourth straight day on news that refineries are increasing supplies and expectations that OPEC countries will soon increase their output of crude.

A new poll finds that Africans in 10 countries are mostly satisfied with their governments and hopeful for the future. 

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