Morning Brief, Thursday, November 15

Asia ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images Ahead of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte’s visit to Islamabad Friday, senior U.S. officials are telling the New York Times that the administration is losing patience with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and is looking into Plan B. Meanwhile, Musharraf is moving to appoint a caretaker government to take over ...

598135_071115_pakistan_05.jpg
598135_071115_pakistan_05.jpg

Asia

ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's visit to Islamabad Friday, senior U.S. officials are telling the New York Times that the administration is losing patience with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and is looking into Plan B. Meanwhile, Musharraf is moving to appoint a caretaker government to take over as the parliament's term expires, and his attorney general says his boss will step down as Army chief of staff by December (i.e., once his new Supreme Court has ratified his continuation as president.) Opposition spokesmen are not impressed. Perhaps it's because their leaders keep getting arrested. Former PM Benazir Bhutto is becoming more radical and is now pressing for a "unity government".

Asia

ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte’s visit to Islamabad Friday, senior U.S. officials are telling the New York Times that the administration is losing patience with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and is looking into Plan B. Meanwhile, Musharraf is moving to appoint a caretaker government to take over as the parliament’s term expires, and his attorney general says his boss will step down as Army chief of staff by December (i.e., once his new Supreme Court has ratified his continuation as president.) Opposition spokesmen are not impressed. Perhaps it’s because their leaders keep getting arrested. Former PM Benazir Bhutto is becoming more radical and is now pressing for a “unity government”.

The World Bank raised its growth forecast for East Asia to 8.4 percent even as news comes that China’s industrial output slowed somewhat in October.

North and South Korea are hoping to open a rail link between their two countries by the end of the year as relations between the two Koreas continue to thaw.

Middle East

U.S. military officials in Baghdad warn that Iraq’s Shiite-led government is missing a chance to reach out to Sunnis while violence is relatively low. According to one particularly frank deputy commander, Iraq’s ministers “don’t get out” and “don’t know what the hell is going on on the ground.”

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure requiring a timetable for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq, prompting a swift veto threat from the White House. 

Israel is considering what it would be like to live with a nuclear Iran

Europe

A British court today approved the extradition of one-armed, radical Egyptian cleric Abu Hamza to the United States, where he is to face trial for supporting terrorism.

French and now German transport workers continue to strike, though there are signs that a deal in France may be in the works.

The Financial Times named Peer Steinbrück of Germany its best eurozone finance minister of 2007. France’s Christine Lagarde was deemed the worst.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces growing dissent from the left wing of her fragile ruling coalition, which includes Steinbrück. 

Elsewhere

Agents from the U.S. Transportation Security Agency successfully posed as passenger and snuck bomb-making materials onto airplanes. But Congress wants to know if someone at TSA alerted airport security officials that some of the tests were coming.

Is sub-Saharan Africa finally catching up? A new World Bank report suggests so.

The joint United Nations-African Union mission to Darfur will fail, the U.N.’s peacekeeping chief warned, without increased logistical support.

Four hundred Colombian families are suing Chiquita Brands International for nearly $8 billion for alleged complicity with “torture and murder”.

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