Morning Brief, Thursday, February 14

Middle East RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images The U.S. State Department welcomed the assassination of Hezbollah military chief Imad Mougniyah, one of the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists. Hezbollah lauded him as a martyr. In a dramatic illustration of Lebanon’s deep divide, one crowd is gathering in Beirut today to mark the three-year anniversary of the assassination of former ...

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596469_080213_lebanon2.jpg

Middle East

RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department welcomed the assassination of Hezbollah military chief Imad Mougniyah, one of the FBI's most-wanted terrorists. Hezbollah lauded him as a martyr.

Middle East

RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department welcomed the assassination of Hezbollah military chief Imad Mougniyah, one of the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists. Hezbollah lauded him as a martyr.

In a dramatic illustration of Lebanon’s deep divide, one crowd is gathering in Beirut today to mark the three-year anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafiq al-Hariri, while another assembles for the funeral of Mougniyah — and they’re being kept separate by 8,000 troops and police.

U.S. President George W. Bush announced new economic sanctions against top Syrian officials.

Iran has postponed planned Iraq talks with the United States.

Asia

Domestic support for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has reached new lows ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections, a new BBC World Poll has found. Musharraf today warned the opposition not to take to the streets if they lose.

China denies spying on the United States.

The World Trade Organization ruled against China for the first time.

A top Burmese opposition leader was killed across the border in Thailand.

Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated a threat to target Eastern European countries that host components of a proposed U.S. missile defense system.

A Georgian opposition leader who was found dead in Britain died of natural causes, initial tests say.

Europe’s fourth-quarter growth numbers were not as bad as expected.

2008 U.S. Elections

Campaigning in Wisconsin, Barack Obama expanded upon his economic proposals.

With his path to the nomination clear, John McCain is gearing up for the general election.

Confused about delegates? So is everyone else. But on the Democratic side, the race could very well hinge upon them.

Elsewhere

The price of oil has crept back up to $93 a barrel.

Stock markets have had a good day around the world; the Nikkei index had its best day in six years.

Today’s Agenda

  • Happy Valentine’s Day.
  • U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are testifying on Capitol Hill about the state of the U.S. economy.
  • Kiev hosts a joint meeting between foreign ministers from the EU and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation.
  • Mike Huckabee is campaigning in Wisconsin; John McCain is in Vermont and Rhode Island; Bill Clinton is stumping for Hillary in Wisconsin; and Barack Obama is taking a breather today.
  • President Bush is expected to deliver a speech on Africa ahead of his trip that begins tomorrow.
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science holds its annual meeting.

Yesterday on Passport

Web Exclusive

Crisis in the Dark
Is the global financial system headed for a meltdown? From Nobel Prize-winning economists to captains of industry, the world’s top experts are united by a common answer: We don’t know. By Moisés Naím

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