Morning Brief, Monday, March 31

Middle East Khaldoon Zubeir/Getty Images Basra is getting back to normal after Iran helped broker a truce between radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi government. Iran appears have played the arsonist and the fire brigade in this incident. Not only did President Nuri al-Maliki’s prestige suffer a blow from the inconclusive result, his ...

595739_080331_truce2.jpg
595739_080331_truce2.jpg

Middle East

Khaldoon Zubeir/Getty Images

Basra is getting back to normal after Iran helped broker a truce between radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi government. Iran appears have played the arsonist and the fire brigade in this incident. Not only did President Nuri al-Maliki's prestige suffer a blow from the inconclusive result, his security advisor was killed in Basra.

Middle East

Khaldoon Zubeir/Getty Images

Basra is getting back to normal after Iran helped broker a truce between radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi government. Iran appears have played the arsonist and the fire brigade in this incident. Not only did President Nuri al-Maliki’s prestige suffer a blow from the inconclusive result, his security advisor was killed in Basra.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice convinced Israel to remove 50 checkpoints in the West Bank. Israeli activist group Peace Now says that settlement activity continues unabated.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s opposition is claiming a massive victory in Saturday’s elections, but results are not yet official. Poll monitors fear the incumbent, Robert Mugabe, will try to rig the vote count. So far, Mugabe’s justice minister has lost his seat.

Europe

The number of Muslims in the world has overtaken the number of Catholics, the Vatican announced.

EU foreign ministers condemned Fitna, a controversial Dutch film that ties the Koran to violence but defended its author’s right to free speech.

A lawsuit warns that a Swiss particle accelerator could create a black hole that would destroy the Earth, a possibility that scientists heavily discount.

Serbia says it will arrest war criminal Ratko Mladic.

Asia

The Olympic torch has arrived in Beijing amid heavy security.

Inflation has pushed China to raise the value of its currency against the dollar. Visiting Beijing this week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is expected to praise the Chinese move.

North Korea is threatening to cut off dialogue with South Korea. U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill arrives in Seoul tomorrow.

Elsewhere

Al Qaeda is training operatives to “look Western,” according to CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden. (Transcript of Hayden’s remarks here.)

Global weapons shipments fell in 2007, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Here’s a preview of the pope’s visit to Washington in mid-April.

The Bush administration is planning to triple democracy-promotion grants related to Cuba.

Today’s Agenda

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