Home > News > News in Brief: 10 June 2008

News in Brief: 10 June 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

Beef protesters pack Korean capital. Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the South Korean capital as objections to a plan to resume imports of US beef continued to escalate. An estimated 70,000 demonstrators gathered in Seoul on Tuesday evening, despite South Korea’s cabinet offering to take responsibility for the turmoil and resign. (Al Jazeera)

Bush and allies embrace possible Iran sanctions. President Bush and European allies on Tuesday threatened tougher sanctions to squeeze Iran’s finances and derail its potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Bush said the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran would endanger world peace. (AP)

Iran’s supreme leader opposes US-Iraq deal. Iraq’s prime minister made little headway in easing Iranian opposition to a U.S.-Iraqi security pact, as Iran’s supreme leader told him Monday that American troops must leave the country. The deal, which is still under negotiation, could lay the groundwork for a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq. The Iranians fear the deal would solidify U.S. influence in Iraq and give American forces a launching pad for military action against them. (AP)

Zimbabwe: Where Are the Election Observers? There are no election observers officially on the ground with just 17 days left before Zimbabwe’s presidential run-off ballot. After the 29 March poll, which saw the ruling ZANU-PF lose control of parliament for the first time since independence in 1980, there have been widespread reports of election violence that has left at least 60 people dead according to the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). (allAfrica)

Ethiopia: Two Regions Face Possible Famine. Along with the drought, rising food prices and limited market supplies have hit poor Ethiopian families hard. According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) market monitoring estimates, the price of maize increased by 83 percent while sorghum went up by 89 percent and wheat by 54 percent in the period between September 2007 and February 2008. (allAfrica)

Food summit overlooks price-surge ingredient. A United Nations-sponsored summit on soaring food prices demanded more aid for developing countries, adjustments to trade barriers – and more cash for UN agencies. This bureaucratic soup was unflavored by recognition of a core cause of the problem – the US Federal Reserve’s bailout of investment banks and mortgage lenders. (Asia Times)

Protests over fuel prices spread in Asia, Europe. Drivers crippled traffic in Hong Kong and fears mount over food and fuel supplies in Spain as truckers block roads. (Toronto Star/Reuters)

China stumbles in forging Russia gas deals. China, its demand for energy to fuel its fast-growing economy outpacing its local productive capacity, is handily placed next door to energy-rich Russia. It should be an ideal partnership, but inept negotiating by Beijing is slowing development of a much-needed gas partnershp. (Asia Times)

Lost Iraq Billions. A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq. A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations. The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies. (BBC)

U.S. Official Cites ‘Hardening’ of Iraqi Detainees. U.S. combat commanders are currently sending about 30 prisoners a day to the main U.S.-run detention centers in Iraq, with more of the detainees likely to be held for longer periods as security risks than those prisoners taken when the U.S. troop buildup first began last year. (Washington Post)

Asian markets drop. Asian stock markets sank Tuesday, with China’s most-watched index plunging 7.7 percent, as investors reacted to the country’s latest move to tighten credit and restrain inflation. (CNN)

Turkish PM says court is usurping parliament. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the Constitutional Court must explain its decision to overturn a government-led reform allowing students to wear Muslim headscarves at university. (FT)

France’s blunt warning over Irish No. Irish voters were warned on Monday that the rest of the European Union would look at them with “gigantic incomprehension” if they rejected the bloc’s Lisbon reform treaty in Thursday’s referendum. (FT)

Leader of Somalia’s insurgency rejects UN peace deal. A leader of Somalia’s ousted Islamic movement rejected a UN-brokered peace deal between the government and an opposition alliance, saying Tuesday that Islamic insurgents will continue to fight. (Hiiraan/AP)

Azerbaijan: Opposition Mulls Presidential Election Boycott. Azerbaijani opposition leaders are condemning recent election code amendments, which they claim will scuttle any hopes for a free-and-fair vote in the upcoming October 15 presidential election. At the same time, they remain divided over the best way to respond. (Eurasianet)

Nuclear energy the best option. India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday India was left with no option but to tap all possible sources of energy, including nuclear, due to the steady increase in power consumption predicted for the coming years. (The Hindu)

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