Morning Brief: Dead PM flying

Top Story Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso arrived in the United States today to meet with President Barack Obama. He is the first foreign leader Obama has hosted at the White House. On the agenda will be North Korea, which appears to be pressing ahead with a new missile test (see below) and Afghanistan, where ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
588282_090224_aso5.jpg
588282_090224_aso5.jpg

Top Story

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso arrived in the United States today to meet with President Barack Obama. He is the first foreign leader Obama has hosted at the White House. On the agenda will be North Korea, which appears to be pressing ahead with a new missile test (see below) and Afghanistan, where Japan has just pledged to pay the salaries of 80,000 police officers.

But the main item on the agenda is likely to be the economy. The yen has fallen to a 12-week low against the dollar as international investors flee the country. Aso's popularity is tanking as well. Seven out of 10 Japanese disapprove of his government and his own popularity is below 15 percent, making him one of the least popular prime ministers in postwar Japanese history. 

Top Story

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso arrived in the United States today to meet with President Barack Obama. He is the first foreign leader Obama has hosted at the White House. On the agenda will be North Korea, which appears to be pressing ahead with a new missile test (see below) and Afghanistan, where Japan has just pledged to pay the salaries of 80,000 police officers.

But the main item on the agenda is likely to be the economy. The yen has fallen to a 12-week low against the dollar as international investors flee the country. Aso’s popularity is tanking as well. Seven out of 10 Japanese disapprove of his government and his own popularity is below 15 percent, making him one of the least popular prime ministers in postwar Japanese history. 

Aso may be hoping for a bit of Obama’s popularity to rub off on him. Despite a recent dip, an overwhelming major of Americans are still supportive of the president. Obama might still be a bit preoccupied today. He makes his first address to congress tonight.

Asia

North Korea is likely dressing up a planned missile test as a communications satellite launch.

Taliban militants agreed to an open-ended ceasefire with Pakistani security forces in the Swat valley.

Protesters loyal to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra are demanding that Thailand’s parliament dissolve and hold new elections.

Middle East

Iraq’s national museum will reopen today, six years after it was looted during the initial U.S. invasion.

The U.S. will likely spend more than $900 million for reconstruction aid to Gaza.

Israel’s Labor Party rejected an invitation from Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu to join a coalition government.

Americas

Navy investigators found that the prison at Guantanamo Bay currently complies with Geneva Convention standards as British resident Binyam Mohamed, who says he was tortured at the facility, was released.

Gunmen attempted to assassinate the governor of the violence-wracked Mexican border state of Chihuahua.

The U.S. coast guard turned away a ship carrying 200 Haitian refugees. 

Europe

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party is 12 points behind Conservative rivals in a new poll.

Greece is conducting a criminal negligence investigation after yesterday’s Hollywood-esque prison break.

Young Irish are leaving the country in droves as the one-time Celtic Tiger’s job market dries up.

Africa

Insurgents fired mortars at the Somali presidential palace as Mogadishu’s brutal violence continued.

More than a dozen African migrants are presumed dead after smugglers forced them overboard in the Gulf of Aden.

Zimbabwe’s vice president has been accused of attempting a gold sale in violation of international sanctions.

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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