The World

6 minute read
Harriet Barovick, Laura Fitzpatrick, M.J. Stephey, Randy James, Alex Altman, Claire Suddath, Alyssa Fetini, Meaghan Haire and Frances Romero

1 | Moscow When Barack Met Dmitri On his first trip to the Russian capital since taking office, President Obama and counterpart Dmitri Medvedev agreed to slash their nuclear stockpiles more than 25%, marking their lowest levels since the end of the Cold War. Obama hailed the pact, which requires ratification by the U.S. Senate, as a key step toward reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation in unstable nations such as Iran and North Korea. Less progress was made on the thorny issues of Georgia and a proposed U.S. missile-defense system in Eastern Europe. After a face-to-face with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Obama told a reporter he didn’t “anticipate a meeting of the minds anytime soon.” Obama departed for the G-8 summit in Italy on July 8 and planned a stop in Ghana before his return to Washington.

Estimated number of nuclear weapons per country, March 2009

Russia 14,000

U.S. 10,550

France 300

China 241

Britain 200

Israel 80

Pakistan 60

India 50

96% of the world’s nuclear warheads are held by Russia and the U.S.


2 | Libya An ICC Rebuke African Union leaders jointly declared on July 3 that member states would defy the International Criminal Court’s order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was charged in March with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the A.U.’s chief, said the ICC, based in the Hague, represents a “new world terrorism” and blamed prosecutors for targeting the continent. Several African states, including Botswana, have expressed discomfort with the A.U. declaration and said they would uphold ICC orders.

3 | Washington Don’t Eat That In an effort to curb the salmonella and E. coli outbreaks that have plagued the U.S. food supply, the White House announced tighter food-safety rules governing the production of eggs, poultry, beef and produce. But while consumer groups touted the new regulations as a step in the right direction, analysts cautioned that the FDA’s depleted workforce still won’t be able to inspect more than a fraction of the country’s 150,000 food-processing plants each year.

60% Potential reduction in infections caused by eggs under new food-safety regulations

4 | Afghanistan Grim Statistics Seven U.S. troops were killed in three separate attacks across Afghanistan on July 6, making it the deadliest day for American forces there in nearly a year. The casualties came as more than 4,000 Marines launched an offensive to drive insurgents from southern Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold. The tactic is the latest effort to shift U.S. military might from Iraq–where American soldiers withdrew from urban areas on June 30–to the nation now considered the key front in the war on terrorism.

5 | Tehran Clerics Slam Election Results A group of influential clerics denounced last month’s disputed election as “illegitimate,” in perhaps the clearest sign of deepening fault lines in the Iranian theocracy. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory, which triggered massive protests, has been backed by Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei.

6 | Detroit A Win for GM It appears Cadillac will not be going the way of the Edsel, thanks to a federal bankruptcy judge’s ruling that may save General Motors. The July 5 decision will let GM sell its best assets–including the Cadillac and Chevrolet brands–to a new company of which the U.S. government will have 60% ownership. The sale, opposed by some bondholders and consumer groups, could let the storied automaker emerge from bankruptcy in less than two months.

7 | Honduras IT’S NOT GOODBYE. IT’S SEE YOU LATER Eight days after he was expelled from Honduras in a military coup, President Manuel Zelaya attempted a dramatic return to his country–but his flight never touched down on home soil. At the behest of interim leader Roberto Micheletti, airport authorities denied Zelaya permission to land in Tegucigalpa on July 6. Tens of thousands of people rallied in support of the banished President, sparking clashes that killed two. Despite the showdown, Zelaya and Micheletti agreed on July 7 to participate in talks led by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, an accomplished regional peacemaker. The Organization of American States suspended Honduras for Zelaya’s ouster–its most extreme sanction since excluding Cuba in 1962.

8 | Indonesia Coasting to Victory Exit polls indicated that incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono notched a decisive win in Indonesia’s July 8 presidential election. More than 100 million people cast ballots in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Supporters laud Yudhoyono for fighting extremism and guiding the country through the global financial crisis.

9 | Washington A Delicate Step Forward for Stem-Cell Research In an effort to balance ethics and scientific advancement, the Obama Administration announced new guidelines for embryonic stem cells that could dramatically expand taxpayer-funded research. The rules, released on July 6 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), allow federal spending to study existing stem-cell lines, provided the embryos were freely donated and meet other ethical requirements. Stem cells derived from human embryos can grow into a wide range of organs and tissues; scientists believe they hold great promise in curing diseases, though critics believe embryo destruction is morally wrong. President Obama, who promised during his campaign to boost federal stem-cell research, directed the NIH to loosen former President George W. Bush’s research restrictions in March.

How should the Federal Government fund embryonic stem-cell research?

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

• No restrictions 14%

• Ease current restrictions 38%

• Keep current restrictions 22%

• Not fund at all 19%

• No opinion 7%


10 | New Delhi A Watershed Gay-Rights Ruling Gay Indians are no longer legally confined to the closet. In a landmark decision, New Delhi’s highest court struck down a 150-year-old law that prohibited “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” Though it applies only to the nation’s capital, the ruling is likely to prompt India’s government to appeal to the Supreme Court or to change the law nationwide. Advocates say the decision could pave the way for better sex education in a country with one of the world’s highest populations of people with HIV/AIDS.

* | What They’re Selling in California: Millions of dollars’ worth of IOUs–which the financially strapped state is issuing in lieu of cash as it grapples with a $24 billion budget crisis–are appearing on websites like Craigslist, where opportunists are buying them at a discount so they can turn a profit when the IOUs come due on Oct. 2. Meanwhile, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase agreed to accept the IOUs at face value through July 10. After that, recipients will have to go to check-cashing storefronts or credit unions, which will take them at a fraction of the full price.

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