Home > News > News in Brief: 11 November 2008

News in Brief: 11 November 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

Iraq: US pact changes not enough. Iraq’s government spokesman has said the United States’ offers of changes to a draft security agreement are “not enough” and asked Washington to offer new amendments if it wants the pact to win parliamentary approval. (Al Jazeera)

China fears India-Japan space alliance. China is concerned that an agreement between India and Japan to cooperate on the use of swift, dual-use surveillance satellites for monitoring national disasters may signify the birth of a powerful space alliance. It comes amid growing security cooperation between the United States allies, with Japan planning an early warning system and India wanting eyes on the Tibetan border. (Asia Times)

Israel allows some fuel into Gaza. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to partially lift Israel’s suspension of fuel supplies to the only power plant in the Gaza Strip. (BBC)

Afghanistan: Government Reshuffle Continues in Kabul. President Hamid Karzai is pressing ahead with a government reshuffle in Afghanistan as part of an overall effort to bolster his administration’s image. The latest casualty in Kabul is Transportation Minister Hamidullah Qadri. The governmental make-over is coming at a time when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has issued a warning about food shortages in northern and western provinces. (EurasiaNet)

Pakistani Army struggles to make headway against a determined enemy. Outgunned, outmaneuvered, the army finds the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal belt a formidable foe. (IHT)

US coaches Arab overtures to Iraq. Egypt is one among many Arab states rushing to restore diplomatic ties with Baghdad, despite past promises they would not do so until US troops had left Iraq. Pressure from Washington to counter Iranian influence, rather than the preservation of Iraq’s “Arab identity”, has led to the overtures. (Asia Times)

Turkey Between East and West. If the accession partnership between the EU and Turkey ultimately falters, Turkey could well end adrift, isolated, and more sympathetic toward Russia, Iran, and possibly China. Long the most eastward player among Western powers, Turkey could well reposition itself as the most western power among a loose bloc of Eastern players. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Eastern Congo on the Brink. Lawlessness in eastern Congo has reached a critical juncture. Analysts fear the crisis in the enormous country, which borders nine others, could spread across the region. (CFR)

Imperfect Knowledge and Post-Crisis Reform of the Financial System. Since stabilizing financial markets and reforming the financial system will be a top priority for the new administration, what types of reforms should be enacted? The paper below argues that it is crucial that the administration and policymakers consider these reforms within the context of models that recognize the importance of imperfect knowledge. (Economist’s View)

Two Summits to Focus on Financial Crisis. As the financial meltdown continues to spread to the far corners of the globe, over 30 world leaders are scheduled to participate in two key international conferences aimed at seeking short- and long-term solutions to the economic crisis worldwide. (IPS)

In shift, conservatives in Iran back Ahmadinejad. Conservatives initially criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for sending a congratulatory note to President-elect Barack Obama. (IHT)

Bhutan’s new king raises Asian eyebrows. For the past week it has been two of South Asia’s smallest nations – the archipelago nation of the Maldives and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan – which have stolen headlines. Both countries have seen unprecedented handovers of power, and other governments in the region are watching with wariness and envy. (Asia Times)

Tajikistan: President Rahmon Takes Another Step to Consolidate Authority in Dushanbe. The brother of Ghaffor Mirzoyev, a jailed warlord and former key ally of President Imomali Rahmon, is to be extradited from the United Arab Emirates “very soon,” the Tajik news agency Asia Plus reports. (EurasiaNet)

Turkey: As indictment reading ends, defense begins in Ergenekon trial. The reading of a massive indictment against 86 suspects in the first trial against Ergenekon, a criminal network accused of plotting to overthrow the government, was completed yesterday at the trial’s 11th hearing. (Today’s Zaman)

Arunachal dispute: China lashes out at India. China objected strongly on Tuesday to comments by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee in which he rejected Chinese claims over the border region long disputed by the two giants. (Times of India)

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