Home > News > News in Brief: 24 July 2007

News in Brief: 24 July 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

China’s democracy debate: The end is nigh. China’s media have been conducting an unusually frank debate about the progress, or lack thereof, in democratic reform. But don’t expect great leaps once the 17th party congress convenes. For now, China’s leaders do not want to alienate any factions ahead of the congress, but after they consolidate their power the debate is likely to come to a jarring halt. (Asia Times)

Turkey steps back from Iraq invasion after poll. As Turkey’s government savoured an overwhelming electoral victory yesterday, regional analysts agreed that the immediate impetus for an invasion of northern Iraq had receded. (The Independent)

US and Iran renew talks on Iraq. Talks between US and Iranian envoys aimed at countering the deepening security crisis in Iraq began with a heated exchange today, according to an Iraqi official. (Guardian)

U.S. blockades Shiite bastion near Baghdad. U.S. and Iraqi forces blocked access to a town on the northeast outskirts of Baghdad where Shiite gunmen were dug in for a third day Monday behind earthen barriers. Police issued calls for residents to leave the town, and some said they were running out of food and fuel. (AP/Current Argus)

U.S. Is Seen in Iraq Until at Least ’09. While Washington is mired in political debate over the future of Iraq, the American command here has prepared a detailed plan that foresees a significant American role for the next two years. (New York Times – may require free login)

Pakistan warns U.S. against strikes. Hints from the United States that it is considering military strikes in Pakistan against suspected Al-Qaeda bases has evoked sharp reaction from Islamabad, reiterating its determination and military capability to handle the threat on its own and warning that any unilateral action by Washington would be “unacceptable,” “ill-conceived” and “deeply resented.” (The Hindu)

11 Wounded in Chechnya. Russian federal forces clashed on Monday with a group of Chechen rebels holed up in the republic’s southern mountains, with casualties on both sides. (Moscow Times)

Marriage in Israel. The agreement struck last week between Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann and Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar on marriages between non-Jews is an important step, even if it is far from being sufficient. The agreement allows for civil marriages when both partners are not Jews according to the halakha and are not recognized by the Interior Ministry as belonging to any other faith. There are currently 264,000 people in Israel who fall under this category, the vast majority of whom are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who until now could not marry in Israel and were forced to travel abroad in order to wed. (Haaretz)

Canada looks far south. As he winged his way back to Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was no doubt satisfied that his six-day trip to the Americas, especially the Caribbean, was worth it. He has acknowledged that Canada has neglected this part of the region for some time, but appeared to be now following the lead of countries like the United States and Britain, which over the years have sought closer trade and economic ties with a Caribbean region. (IPS)

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