Morning Brief, Monday, January 14

Asia PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images The landslide victory by Taiwan’s Kuomintang party will likely herald a calmer relationship between Taipei and Beijing. Accepting responsibility for the defeat, Chen Shui-bian (shown bowing at right) resigned as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party. In another blow to Taiwanese nationalists, the African country of Malawi announced it no longer ...

597126_taiwan_28.jpg
597126_taiwan_28.jpg
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian (L) apologises during a press conference at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party 12 January 2008 to shoulder full responsibility for what he said is the party's biggest ever election defeat following the parliamentary vote, as the party's presidential candidate Frank Hsieh looks on. Chen announced resignation as the party chairman. AFP PHOTO/PATRICK LIN (Photo credit should read PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Asia

PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images

The landslide victory by Taiwan's Kuomintang party will likely herald a calmer relationship between Taipei and Beijing. Accepting responsibility for the defeat, Chen Shui-bian (shown bowing at right) resigned as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party. In another blow to Taiwanese nationalists, the African country of Malawi announced it no longer recognizes Taiwan as an independent state.

Asia

PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images

The landslide victory by Taiwan’s Kuomintang party will likely herald a calmer relationship between Taipei and Beijing. Accepting responsibility for the defeat, Chen Shui-bian (shown bowing at right) resigned as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party. In another blow to Taiwanese nationalists, the African country of Malawi announced it no longer recognizes Taiwan as an independent state.

Bloomberg looks at the investment upside of closer Taiwan-China ties.

China claims that its food- and product-safety campaign has been completely successful

Pakistan’s army clashed with tribal militants near the Afghan border.

South Korea’s new president-elect said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il “anytime” if it would “help persuade the North to give up its nuclear programs.”

Middle East

Iraq’s parliament passed a “de-Baathification law,” but lawmakers have starkly different interpretations of what the bill actually means. Juan Cole thinks it’s bad news for Sunni Arabs.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi Sunday, U.S. President George W. Bush pushed Gulf Arab states to remain unified against  Iran. Meanwhile, Iran agreed to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas finally began “final-status” talks after a seven-week delay. In a conciliatory gesture, Olmert called illegal outpost settlements a “disgrace.”

Europe

The euro climbed to $1.4906 in European trading. Meanwhile, the British pound has dropped by nearly 9 percent against the euro since Nov. 2007.

For the first time since 1999, Britain’s economy is smaller than that of France.

European overfishing of the northwest coast of Africa has devastated that region’s fish stocks and led to illegal migration.

Elsewhere

Gold and platinum again rose to record highs in trading Monday.

In a bad sign for the U.S. economy, consumer spending may be taking a nose dive for the first time since 1991.

Kenyans expect more unrest this week.

2008 U.S. Election

Michagan’s primary is tomorrow. In the latest Reuters/CSPAN/Zogby poll of likely Michigan primary voters, John McCain holds a slight edge over rival Mitt Romney. Nationally, McCain’s poll numbers are surging.

Candidates from both parties have began emphasizing the troubled U.S. economy in their speeches and statements. 

Today’s Agenda

  • U.S. President George W. Bush heads to Saudi Arabia, where he will spend two nights before stopping in Egypt on his way back to Washington.
  • Manmohan Singh is visiting China for the first time as India’s prime minister. His visit overlaps that of Adm. Timothy Keating, who heads U.S. Pacific Command.
  • NASA’s spacecraft Messenger is due to pass the planet Mercury at around noon EST.
  • Álvaro Colom will be sworn in as Guatemala’s president.
  • The MacWorld Expo begins Monday.

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