Home > News > News in Brief: 9 October 2008

News in Brief: 9 October 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

Beijing restrains buying urge. The Chinese government, its coffers filled with cash, is being called upon to throw its weight behind ailing Western financial institutions and engage in setting new rules for the post-crisis world. So far, though, it prefers to stand aloof. (Asia Times)

Gates Seeks European Troops for Afghanistan. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Wednesday asked defense ministers from southeastern Europe to send more troops to Afghanistan, a message that he is likely to forcefully echo at a meeting with other NATO defense officials this week. (Washington Post)

Syria reaches out for growth. Syria is pushing through legal, financial and education reforms to pull back the role of government and create job opportunities for its young population. European and Chinese partners are keen to help out where Washington-imposed sanctions keep US companies at bay. (Asia Times)

US cooperating on intelligence sharing. US State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood has praised intelligence sharing between the United States and Turkey in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). (Today’s Zaman)

Cairo hosts Hamas men to discuss Fatah feud. Senior Hamas officials met Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss an Egyptian proposal for a Palestinian unity government, Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency reported. Suleiman’s talks with the Islamist Hamas came after a string of meetings with a dozen Palestinian factions, including the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, over the past two months to form a national unity government. (The Daily Star/AFP)

Eight dead in bombing at Islamabad police complex. At least eight people were killed in a car bombing at the main police complex in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Thursday, police said. (India Times)

Lucky ‘13?: Living With Lebanon’s Watered-Down Electoral Law. The ambitious draft law published by the Boutros Commission is officially on ice. The law actually passed by Lebanon’s parliament is a sad shadow of the original, having been stripped of some of the most potentially far-reaching reforms, such as lowering the voting age, allowing Lebanese living abroad to cast absentee ballots, mandating a fixed proportion of female candidates, and replacing the majoritarian representation system with proportional representation. (Qifa Nabki)

EGYPT: Anger Approaches Boiling Point. Public disaffection with the government appears to have reached an all-time high. “There’s no denying that popular anger towards the government is rising across the board,” Nabil Abdel-Fattah, assistant director at the semi-official Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies told IPS. “The political friction has become palpable.” (IPS)

Ukraine Will Hold Snap Elections. President Viktor A. Yushchenko of Ukraine signed an order Thursday to dissolve Parliament and hold snap elections, after efforts to resuscitate a long-ailing pro-West coalition collapsed and sent the country deeper into political turmoil. (New York Times)

Iran Halts New Sales Tax After Merchants Strike. A series of private-sector strikes has forced the Iranian government to suspend the implementation of a new sales tax borne most heavily by the politically powerful merchant class, marking a setback for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s plans for economic change. (Washington Post)

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