Morning Brief: Obama pledges to protect Israel

Top Story Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images Visiting Jerusalem, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama vowed to uphold the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel, whose success he hailed as a “miracle.” More here on the Illinois senator’s meetings today with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Obama, answering Katie Couric’s persistent questions last night about the “surge,” cited ...

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593816_080723_obama5.jpg

Top Story

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Visiting Jerusalem, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama vowed to uphold the "special relationship" between the United States and Israel, whose success he hailed as a "miracle." More here on the Illinois senator's meetings today with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Top Story

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Visiting Jerusalem, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama vowed to uphold the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel, whose success he hailed as a “miracle.” More here on the Illinois senator’s meetings today with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Obama, answering Katie Couric’s persistent questions last night about the “surge,” cited it as just one factor among many in reducing the violence in Iraq and said that the surge “doesn’t meet our long-term strategic goal.” McCain pounced, saying, “It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.”

Global Economy

The world’s stock markets advanced as the price of oil fell to below $126 a barrel.

Speaking at a closed fundraiser in Houston, U.S. President George W. Bush said that “Wall Street got drunk” and now it’s feeling the hangover.

Asia

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she had a “good meeting” involving the North Korean foreign minister, which she called “informal.”

The government of Indian PM Manmohan Singh survived a no-confidence vote, keeping the U.S.-India nuclear deal alive.

Eighty-six percent of Chinese say they are satisfied with their country’s direction, according to a new Pew poll.

Middle East and Africa

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that U.S. envoy William Burns spoke “politely and in a dignified way” at this weekend’s nuclear meeting in Geneva. He called the meeting a “positive step.”

Iraq’s provincial elections will likely be delayed.

Europe

U.S. and British intelligence agencies helped catch Radovan Karadzic. The war criminal’s first request? “A haircut and a shave.” Seeing this, I don’t blame him. Next up? Ratko Mladic.

Bulgaria is getting a stern talking-to from the EU for its failure to crack down on corruption.

Europe unveiled its new manned spacecraft, a joint venture with Russia.

Today’s Agenda

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, shrugging off an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court, is visiting Darfur.

Pakistan’s fractious ruling coalition is meeting to hammer out its differences. And they are vast.

U.S. lawmakers are to vote today on a rescue package for mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac whose cost could run to the tens of billions.

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