Morning Brief, Wednesday, January 30

2008 U.S. Elections DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images John McCain defeated Mitt Romney in the Republican primary in Florida, where Hillary Clinton won a symbolic vote since her campaign rivals did not contest the state. Rumor has it one-time front-runner Rudy Giuliani will drop out and endorse McCain today. Next up? The Maine caucuses on Friday, which ...

596781_mccain_65.jpg
596781_mccain_65.jpg

2008 U.S. Elections

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

John McCain defeated Mitt Romney in the Republican primary in Florida, where Hillary Clinton won a symbolic vote since her campaign rivals did not contest the state. Rumor has it one-time front-runner Rudy Giuliani will drop out and endorse McCain today.

2008 U.S. Elections

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

John McCain defeated Mitt Romney in the Republican primary in Florida, where Hillary Clinton won a symbolic vote since her campaign rivals did not contest the state. Rumor has it one-time front-runner Rudy Giuliani will drop out and endorse McCain today.

Next up? The Maine caucuses on Friday, which is Republicans only, followed by electoral contests in more than 20 states on “Super Tuesday.”

[Late-breaking update: John Edwards is dropping out of the Democratic race.] 

Asia

Pakistani tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud told Al Jazeera television he wants to attack the White House, London, and New York. It is doubtful he has the means to do so, though he is extremely powerful in South Waziristan.

The Chinese government is sending in 500,000 troops to help citizens cope with the effects of severe snowstorms.

The upper house of Afghanistan’s parliament is apparently A-OK with executing journalists for “blasphemy.”

Australia plans to formally apologize next month to its Aboriginal people.

Middle East

The U.S. commander in northern Iraq cautioned that dislodging al Qaeda from Mosul will “probably be a slow process,” appearing to contradict a more optimistic view expressed by Iraqi PM Nuri al Maliki.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed that his country will have nuclear-powered electricity within a year.

The Egyptian government is meeting separately in Cairo with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and representatives from Hamas to discuss the Egypt-Gaza border.

Europe

Reuters reports that Kosovo will declare independence in 10 days if the nationalist candidate wins Serbia’s elections, or in 17 days if the pro-Western candidate wins. Independence may be the least of Kosovo’s challenges, Bloomberg’s Celestine Bohlen warns.

A plane carrying Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov had to make an emergency landing in Portugal.

Elsewhere

The International Monetary Fund lowered its growth estimate for 2008 to 1.5 percent for the United States and 4.1 percent for the world as a whole. “Reports of decoupling have been greatly exaggerated,” said IMF Research Director Simon Johnson. More here.

The U.S. economy grew by just 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2007.

The opposition MP who was murdered in Kenya was a potential peacemaker, according to the New York Times.

U.N. envoy Guillermo Bettocchi said Somalia is “the most pressing humanitarian emergency in the world today — even worse than Darfur.” Three foreign-aid workers were killed there on Monday.

Today’s Agenda

  • The Winograd Commission is due to publish its final report on Israel’s conduct of the 2006 Lebanon war. For now, it looks like Israeli PM Ehud Olmert will survive the report.
  • Traders are waiting anxiously for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates, which is expected today.
  • The board of French bank Société Générale is meeting to consider the ouster of its chairman.
  • It’s the 60th anniversary of the death of Mahatma Gandhi. His ashes were scattered in the Arabian Sea today.

Yesterday on Passport

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