Big Blue Marble

AF&O’s periodic sampling of news from around the globe…

Two Turkeys in Two Weeks: Following in the footsteps of brave and bold Sir Dubya, US Defense Secretary Donald “Rummy” Rumsfeld made an unannounced visit to Iraq Saturday to visit troops and to give the appearance that the US is making things better for Iraqi people.

How to Deal with Zimbabwe: A group of Commonwealth leaders, meeting in Nigeria, is wrestling with the contentious issue of whether to maintain Zimbabwe’s suspension to keep the debate from taking time away from necessary dicussions on AIDS, terrorism and other problems facing Britain and its former colonies. Job One: keeping Robert Mugabe from having a hissy fit.

Let There Be Peace: Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha and southern rebel leader John Garang arrived for talks in the Kenyan town of Naivasha, amid heightened expectations that a final peace agreement could be reached before the end of December.

When Will They Ever Learn?: Israeli soldiers have shot dead three Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including a teenager and two armed men. Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad says it won’t respect the recetnly struck ceasefire agreement with Israel. And over in Kandahar, Afghanistan, at least 10 Afghans were injured in a bomb blast which police blamed on Taliban militants. More: In Yessentuki, Russia, a huge explosion caused by a suspected suicide bomb ripped through a crowded commuter train and killed at least 41 people. Chechen rebels are believed to be responsible for the attack.

Premiership in Peril? UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s career may be on the line over a pair of controversies: his proposed boost in university “top-up” fees and the Hutton inquiry into the death of British weapons expert David Kelly.

Whatcha Gonna Do When the Well Runs Dry?: According to reports, the US in for a massive — and potentially deadly — flu outbreak this winter. And now, the two makers of flu vaccine say they’ve run out of supplies amid heavy demand. Uh oh.

The Vote Is On: Russians go the polls to elect a new parliament, a ballot which threatens to squeeze out the liberal opposition and hand President Vladimir Putin a crushing majority for his United Russia party.

Get Up, Stand Up: Hundreds of thousands of Italians took the streets of Rome in a massive show of force against controversial plans by the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to drastically reform the pension system.

Governator Goes Down: In his first major setback, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to win a legislative OK for his proposed $15 billion borrowing plan to rescue the state from its debt crisis.

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