Morning Brief, Thursday, December 20

Europe  FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images Wednesday’s U.N. Security Council meeting on the status of Kosovo ended in stalemate. Russia’s heir apparent Dmitri Medvedev officially registered as a presidential candidate and said he would step down as chairman of Gazprom. French authorities are holding five suspected members of the Algerian branch of al Qaeda. The European Union ...

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Secretary general of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon speaks to reporters after the end of his meeting with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (not pictured) during a short briefing held in Algiers City 18 December 2007. Ki-Moon is on an official one-day visit to Algeria. AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe 

FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Wednesday's U.N. Security Council meeting on the status of Kosovo ended in stalemate.

Europe 

FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Wednesday’s U.N. Security Council meeting on the status of Kosovo ended in stalemate.

Russia’s heir apparent Dmitri Medvedev officially registered as a presidential candidate and said he would step down as chairman of Gazprom.

French authorities are holding five suspected members of the Algerian branch of al Qaeda.

The European Union is proposing stringent new rules for auto emissions.

Asia 

Lee Myung-bak, South Korea’s new president, is vowing to get tough on North Korea.

U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley is selling $5 billion of shares to the Chinese government. Forbes notes the irony.

China’s new anti-corruption Web site crashed after it was swamped with traffic and complaints.

Middle East

Multinational troops discovered new mass graves and what they say is a “torture complex” in Iraq.

The U.S. State Department official in charge of the troubled embassy-construction project in Iraq is resigning

Is Hamas crying uncle?

2008 Election

A new Reuters/Zogby poll finds former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee trailing former New Mayor Rudy Giuliani by just 1 percent nationally.

Elsewhere

Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi accused the United Nations of employing “hype and exaggeration” about the situation in Somalia, where the Ethiopians have a military presence.

South Africa’s chief prosecutor says there’s plenty of evidence to charge Jacob Zuma, the new leader of the African National Congress, for corruption.

Today’s Agenda

  • Germany’s eastern border with Poland opens tonight.
  • Today is Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the hajj.
  • The pope is due to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Vatican in Rome.
  • U.S. President George W. Bush is holding a news conference at 10 a.m. EST to discuss the performance of Congress.

Yesterday on Passport

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