The world was still at work.

Resign yourself. The Pentagon’s top official overseeing Gitmo detainee policy resigned over “personal issues,” on the heels of White House counsel Gregory Craig’s resignation earlier this year. Craig was also in charge of detainee policy. Germany’s armed forces chief is also resigning, in the wake of media reports that the government may have concealed a deadly attack that killed numerous civilians in Afghanistan. The son of a southern Philippine province’s governor surrendered to authorities after his family was tagged as prime suspects in last Monday’s massacre of almost 60 unarmed civilians in the country, in which 100 pro-government militiamen herded a caravan of journalists, lawyers, and supporters of Buluan vice town mayor Esmail Magundadatu to a remote area in broad daylight before attacking them with M-16 rifles and machetes.

The White House, walking the talk, announced Obama will go to Copenhagen in the flesh, although the timing of his appearance is early and therefore inopportune, and therefore lackluster. And therefore in step with overrall conference expectations.

U.S. Commanders in Afghanistan will devote most of the fresh troops expected from the White House to securing the country’s troubled south, particularly the volatile Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. Unfortunately, the militants are therefore taking advantage of the lower security in the North.

Bad week for Barack. Public approval of Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan has plummeted, a USA TODAY/Gallup poll reported. Some say that’s because it took the administration so long to reach a decision. The whole recession thing that began before he took office didn’t help, and brethren Dems have started to balk at his legislative agenda, demanding greater efforts to create jobs. Some of the really liberal want him to replace his economic team, while moderates fear Obama’s bid to overhaul healthcare and stem global warming — his two top priorities — may mean more fiscal hard times, at least in the mid- short-term. Then Times pot-stirrer Maureen Dowd got all scathing and called him a “cold shower” compared to his predecessor Bill Clinton, who gave an aura of a “warm bath.” Thomas Friedman was off that day.

Bernanke tells Congress via a WaPo editorial to back off from legislation that would limit the Fed’s role in controlling the national economy, particularly its ability to regulate banks.

China said it will cut emissions by a drastic 40-45 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2020. The announcement came just a day before it was set to hold dialogue with India, South Africa and Brazil on preparations for Copenhagen, putting pressure on other developing nations to buck up.

A former leader of Marxist guerrillas who once sought power through kidnappings and bombings is now the president-elect of Uruguay. Cattle rancher Porfirio Lobo wins the Honduran presidency, defeating Manuel Zelaya, who was deposed by the military in June after the Supreme Court ruled his bid to change the constitution was illegal. The congress will vote Wednesday on whether to allow Zelaya to return to office and finish his term before Lobo takes over in January. Zelaya pledged to fight until “toppling the dictatorship.”

On Wednesday, Dubai’s investment arm Dubai World asked to delay payment on billions of dollars of its debt, causing an international freakout in the global markets. World leaders and major banks that could be vulnerable if the conglomerate defaulted on its loans then looked on the bright side: Dubai World held $59 billion of Dubai’s $80 billion in debt as of August, a hiccup compared to the $2.8 trillion in writedowns U.S. and European lenders made between 2007 and 2010.

U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA voted Friday to rebuke Iran for building a uranium enrichment plant in secret. Tehran rejected the move as “intimidation” that would poison its negotiations with world powers, and then its parliament called to downgrade relations with the Group 5+1. Then, Iran announced it will build 10 new uranium enrichment plants. No secret.

Lebanon’s new cabinet agreed to recognize Hezbollah’s right to use weapons to counter any future aggression from Israel, despite disagreement by some members of the ruling majority weary of the Shiite resistance group.

A Russian train carrying 700 passengers derailed between Moscow and St. Petersburg, killing 26 and wounding over 100, as a homemade bomb planted on the tracks exploded. Terrorism is the consensus culprit.

Torrential downpours killed 77 people performing the Hajj pilgrimage to the Saudi city of Mecca.

Israel will likely free up to 980 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

While Israel unveiled its plan on Wednesday to limit settlement construction and therefore persuade Palestinians to return to peace negotiations, settlers keep building no matter what the Israeli government says.

In Palestine, who’s job for peace? asks Arabic international paper Asharq Aswat‘s editor in chief.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the US President “is not doing anything at the present time” to revive the Israeli – Palestinian negotiations for peace, adding that Obama “called for us to resume the peace process…and I hope that he plays a larger role in the future.” Abbas also said that the Palestinians “are waiting for America to put pressure on Israel to respect international law and follow the roadmap for peace.”

The question that must be asked here is why is it up to Obama to do something for the peace process or for the benefit of the Palestinian people when the Palestinians are not doing anything for themselves?

Staff

Over the last week Israeli and Palestinian leaders have spoken of different ways to attain peace, but the rockets still fly. Meanwhile, the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip widens as the Palestinian Authority accuses Hamas of negotiating with Israel and Washington behind its back.

Tensions reached new heights when Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA), announced that Palestine would submit a proposal for its independence to the the United Nations. In the address to members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Algeria, Abbas sounded confident that the world was ready for the end of Israeli occupation. “All the states in favor of freedom, justice and peace support the Palestinian struggle.” Abbas called on those states to  actively support his proposal to “help end the occupation” so that the Palestinian people could have a sovereign state. Reactions all over the world were mixed, but the U.S., with its deciding vote on the UN Security counsel, made its stance on the proposal quite clear. “It would be D.O.A. – dead on arrival,” said Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE). “It’s a waste of time.”

Israel responded with an announcement that such a move would prompt it to annex parts of the West Bank. It followed this threat with action, announcing on Wednesday that it would build 900 new dwellings in Palestinian East Jerusalem. UN Chief Ban-Ki Moon released a statement admonishing Israel. “The secretary-general deplores the government of Israel’s decision today to expand Gilo settlement, built on Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.” Britain and the U.S. followed in suit. “Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations,” said Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Through his lawyer, jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti encouraged Palestinians to begin a popular resistance. Last month he told them that anyone who believed negotiations with the current Israeli government were possible is delusional.

Also on Wednesday, rockets from the Gaza Strip hit their Israeli target. On Thursday Israel responded by bombing Gaza, specifically, two tunnels at the Rafah Crossing (Gaza’s border with Egypt) and a facility said to be occupied by Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qasam Brigades. All of this as media outlets allege that Israel is negotiating the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier that has been held by Hamas for years, through a German mediator.

But are rumors of negotiations just rumors? In an interview, Mahmoud Abbas declared that Hamas was negotiating with Israel behind the PA’s back, claiming they are working with Washington on a two-part deal. In the first part, Israel would establish temporary Palestinian borders and slowly pull out of the territories. In the second part, permanent Palestinian borders would be established in exchange for recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Hamas flatly denied that these plans exist, saying that they “do not negotiate with the occupation.”

Distrust between Palestinian factions has been a major hindrance in the peace process since the brief civil war in 2007 that expelled the Palestinian Authority from Gaza. The split in leadership has lead to crises of legitimacy for Hamas as well as the PA. In the PA-controlled West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to resign and, in an effort to avoid a crises of leadership, pushed back elections to be held this winter. Israel blames Palestinian disunity, in part, for the failure of peace negotiations. Hawkish Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that, “During Operation Cast Lead, the Palestinian Authority pressured us to crush Hamas…Then, a month later, they submitted a complaint against us to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”

On Saturday, Nov. 21, Hamas announced that it had reached an agreement with all militant factions in Gaza to temporarily cease firing rockets at Israel. On Sunday, Israel attacked Palestine, targeting more weapons facilities and tunnels. Now Palestinian factions are saying they never signed a cease-fire agreement, and they will not honor it. Hamas’ political adviser, Ahmed Yusuf, called the attacks “an invitation to escalate the conflict.” As all sides point fingers at the other, the world hopes that some of the rumors of peace are true.

Many have come to see the conflict between the Iranian financed Houthis of northwest Yemen and a combination of Yemeni and Saudi forces as a proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran. This week, major Iranian news network Al-Alam blacked out, as its satellites — Saudi-based Arabsat and Cairo-based Nilsat — dropped it without prior notice. If the proxy war analysis is true, the battle in Yemen is part of a greater pan-Islamic conflict and we are seeing the fall-out in frosty relations. Some, however, don’t buy the hype, arguing that the situation is more complex than that.

Yemen’s government has been fighting the Houthis, a Shia minority in Sunni Yemen, since 2004, with an escalation of the conflict taking place this summer in an engagement known as “Operation Scorched Earth.” Recently, Saudi forces have joined the battle because of alleged Houthi incursions across the border into their territory. Now the world is watching the conflict. Reports from the battlefield indicate that the Saudis are creating a six-mile buffer zone around their border, despite heavy Houthi fire power. “They have secret power, some kind of magic,” said one refugee. “I mean, those guys are very strong. God knows what they have. They scared even the Saudi soldiers.” Reports have also revealed that the Houthis have Pakistanis fighting in their ranks.

Meanwhile, in Iran and Saudi Arabia accusations and condemnations abound.Iranian cooperation with Huthi rebels in Yemen is a collusion for sin and aggression, “ said Saudi Cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh. 40 more clerics signed a statement saying that Iran “destabilizes Muslim nations by implanting, financing and arming its agents to spread” Shiism. In Iran, 250 legislators signed a statement condemning the killing of Muslims in Yemen by Saudi forces. Dialogue to normalize relations looks like an impossibility, as Yemeni government officials have refused to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Foreign Policy magazine, however, argues that the issue is more complex than simple Sunni vs. Shia. The Houthis are of the Zaidi sect of Shia Islam and do not ascribe to the believes of traditional Twelver Iranian Shia Islam. Thus, the Houthi uprising is a local affair, a domestic Yemeni conflict blown out of proportion by meddling, self-interested outside forces.

Saudi intellectual and expert on Islamic movements Mashari Al-Zaydi disagrees. He argues that the Houthis have, in fact, hijacked the Zaidi sect. He sites manuscripts written by Hussein Badreddin al-Huthi, a radical Houthi leader killed in 2004, as proof. Al-Huthi believed that Zaidi relations with Sunni Muslims were foolish, as their sect had been defeated throughout history for their false beliefs. He goes on to praise Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini as a great leader who could build a great nation.

Yemen is a partner in the United States’ “War on Terror,” and Saudi Arabia is a major producer of oil. Those facts alone are enough to solidify the world’s interest in this struggle as it is. Once explanations on the Houthi fight are clearer — perhaps at the conflict’s end — the world will be better informed on where Islam will be as a whole.

"I'm going to be stubborn on this." Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., pauses to talk to reporters before heading into a Democratic caucus on health care reform last week. (Image via AP)

An Israeli official said “the Shalit matter is about to be closed” as talks with Hamas to exchange Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for 350-450 Palestinian prisoners. Shalit would be handed over to Egypt. “The efforts to win Gilad Shalit’s release are continuing and taking place outside the media spotlight. We have no intention of commenting beyond this,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. [France 24]

The U.S. government may be financing its more than trillion-dollar-a-year borrowing with IOU’s on terms that seem too good to be true. That reality may turn sour as the Fed turns course away from current ultralow interest rates. [NYT]

But, on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria show, India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who seems to be in town at the right time — said he still had confidence in the U.S. dollar, and sees any setbacks to financing such hefty borrowings as temporary. “As far as I can see right now, there is no substitute for the dollar … we have not entered an era of irreversible shift in economic strength of the United States.” Afterward, Singh met with President Barack Obama. [Times of India]

UN climate change negotiator Yvo de Boer has expressed slight optimism about the ever-near Copenhagen talks. Due to recent promises from attending countries, including the U.S., de Boer expects developing and developed nations to both come to the table with numbers. He also expects Barack Obama to take the lead in discussions. “The key issue here at the moment is the United States,” de Boer said. “My sense is Obama will be in a position to come to Copenhagen with a target and and a financial contribution.” [AFP]

Meanwhile, the White House has yet to announce whether the president will attend Copenhangen in the flesh. It does, though, tout 10 mounths of unprecedented action regarding climate change unseen during the Bush administration. A senior WH official said that Obama sees a vital synergy between what happens during global talks and the moves legislators make in the U.S. Take the Senate, he said, where bipartisan talks lead by John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are most encouraging. Also, members of  the administration’s “Green Cabinet” have been heading to the Hill for meetings for months. [TPM]

UNICEF, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and the Shawthab Foundation for Children and Development have all expressed outrage that Houthi rebels in Yemen have been using child soldiers in their battle against the government. [Al Arabiya]

Twenty-one of forty political prisoners captured in the Philippines have been killed, and the army fears that more bodies will soon be uncovered. The 40 hostages were members of a convoy connected to Esmael Mangundadatu, a local mayor, and included his wife, who is among the dead, aides, supporters and journalists. Though thorough investigation looms, reports indicate the attackers were sent by Andal Ampatuan, a Philippine governor who is said to be involved in a feud against the Mangundadatu family. [Al Jazeera]

Fierce fighting erupted between the Pakistani military and the Taliban on Sunday night around the Orakzai tribal region, a Taliban stronghold. The Pakistani government estimates that 22 rebel forces were killed. [Reuters]

It’s election time in the Ukraine and incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko pledged to force Russia’s Black Sea Fleet to leave Ukraine’s Crimea by 2017. Russia has been leasing the sea for the use of practicing naval exercises, but Ukrainians would like to allow the lease to expire. Russia does not. Yushchenko is struggling to reach double digit numbers in election polls. [Ria Novosti]

Reports from China’s Heilongjiang province put the death toll from Saturday morning’s coal mine blast at 104. About 500 miners were working at Xinxing Coal Mine, under the state-owned Heilongjiang Longmei Mining Holding Group’s unit in Hegang City, when the explosion occurred. China Central Television (CCTV) said the explosion resulted from a massive gas buildup, but the government has yet to comment. [China Daily]

Video via Sky News.

Staff

Reed Seifer, the graphic artist who devised the "optimism" project in art school, with a new-look MetroCard. (via NYT)

Reed Seifer, the graphic artist who devised the “optimism” project in art school. (via NYT)

Experts estimate that the number of Chinese millionaires (in $USD) will double by 2013. Meanwhile the global assets of the rich fell by more than 11% in 2008. [Shanghai Daily]

The word “optimism,” printed on the back of seven million MetroCards randomly distributed this autumn, is New York’s latest large-scale public art project. [NYT]

The European Commission has pledged $1 billion to Nigeria for development. Most of the money is going to the oil-rich Niger Delta, where rebels have been executing violent attacks in protest of the inequitable spread of the regions wealth. [BBC]

→ More than last month’s call for disarmament to solve this problem. [BBC]

Echoing calls from the Obama administration, House Democrats have introduced a bill that would prevent widespread chaos from floundering “too big to fail” banks. A Financial Services Oversight Council would monitor a bank’s “scope, scale, exposure, leverage, interconnectedness of financial activities,” and report to the President before taking dramatic action. [Merco Press]

Though Mohamed ElBaradei, the departing chief of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, deems sanctions as a “grievous violation of human rights” that “affect the weak” and “do not solve problems,” Iran’s got to get it together to avoid new ones. “The ball is in Iran’s court.” [WSJ]

Villagers from the Dominican coastal town Arroyo Barillo will continue their suit against Virginia-based energy company AES. In 2003 and 2004 AES allegedly dumped toxic waste coal ash from its Puerto Rico plant into Arroyo Barill. People in the region are suffering from respiratory problems and dramatic birth defects. [Latin American Press]

Increasing efforts to prop up a shattered housing market, the U.S. government is greatly extending its traditional support of real estate, including guaranteeing the mortgages of middle-class and even upper-class buyers against default. [NYT]

→ While the country’s problem mortgages hit a new high. [WaPo]

Peruvian police busted a ring that has been murdering for human fat, to sell to the European cosmetics industry. Since the days of the Spanish conquests the children of the Andes have been terrified by tales of the “Pishtaco,” strangers who kill South American Indians on lonely roads, sucking out their fat to make lotions and potions for the West. [Times Online]

Farewell, Oprah. 2011 will be the end of the show that began an empire. Read the transcript here. “It feels right in my bones.” Or watch the tears up close. [USA Today]

Staff

Times of Earth coverage of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s inauguration. Correspondent discusses Karzai’s lack of domestic and international legitimacy and security the surrounding the ceremony.

In his inaugural speech, Karzai committed to making Afghan forces in charge of security, fighting corruption, and holding a Loya Jirga, grand assembly, to speak with the Taliban.

Hillary Clinton hailed the speech as a new beginning for Afghanistan. “He was particularly strong on the steps that he intends to take regarding corruption,” she told reporters after the ceremony, adding it “set forth an agenda for change and reform”.

Abdullah Abdullah, his former rival for the Presidency, is not impressed-speech is “more of the same.”

“The United States of America … came into this crisis without anything like the basic tools countries need to contain financial panics,” he said. “Coming into AIG, we had basically duct tape and string.”

That is how Timothy Geithner defended the U.S. bailout of insurance giant AIG today in a hearing in front of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. He also recommended that one regulatory body patrol large banks and that Congress pass regulatory legislation. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) is currently working on such a bill but, during the hearing, Republican Senator Richard Shelby said that it needed a  “complete rewrite.”

→ Republicans also called for Geithner’s resignation because of the slow speed of recovery. Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pressed Geithner to investigate the possible manipulation of the Chinese yuan. (Bloomberg)

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will host Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to talk about peace in the Middle East. Brazil has a history of remaining silent about abuses of human rights or power in other countries, but now that it is becoming a world economic power it is trying to show it can wield power diplomatically as well. (Reuters)

Two safe picks for Europe. Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy and British Trade Commissioner Baroness Ashton have been named the European Union’s new president and foreign minister. The choice indicates that countries may not want stars leading the newly strengthened European Union. Baroness Ashton has garnered the fiercest criticism because she has no diplomatic experience. (Telegraph)

White House strategist David Axelrod reminds us that Rome wasn’t built in a day after Obama’s lack luster China trip. (LA Times)
A letter written by FT Hood shooting suspect Nadal Hassan’s supervisor in 2007 shows that there were the faculty had “…serious concerns about CPT Hasan’s professionalism and work ethic. … He demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism.” It is signed by the chief of psychiatric residents at Walter Reed, Maj. Scott Moran. Hassan didn’t answer his phone while on call, proselytized to his patients, and missed an important exam. (NPR)

Famed public artist Jeanne-Claude passed away from a brain aneyurism at the age of 74. In collaborating with her husband Christo, Jeanne-Claude leaves a legacy of challenging, temporary and “etherial” public works, most notably “The Gates” in New York City’s Central Park.  (ArtInfo)

"The Gates"

"The Gates." Christo and Jeanne-Claude. 2005. Image courtesy: ArtInfo

Staff

To the Chinese media, is Obama "aobama" or "oubama?" (Image via Atlantic)

Nightcap

While in Rome for the UN Food Summit, Muammar Gaddafi paid 200 Italian women to attend a party lecture on Islam with him. He’d used a “hostess” service to request females — ages to 18 to 35 and at least 5-foot-7 — to show up. Syke.

What a summit it was.

Drones

Afghanistan is number-two.

Afghanistan is number-two.

Somalia is still the most corrupt country in the whole, wide world.

Drugmakers, who have already spent $110 million lobbying Congress this year, are preparing to make a stand in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is working to unveil a health care bill this week. [LAT]

→ Led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, business foes of health care overhaul legislation are outspending supporters at a rate of 2-to-1 for TV ads as they grow increasingly nervous over a final bill.

Did the reset work? The U.S. and Russia they only need to iron out a few more kinks before U.S. planes are flying through Russian airspace to Afghanistan. [Ria Novosti]

After a drug cartel shot down a police helicopter in Brazil last month, the country’s Federal Police have announced that unmanned spy planes will fly over the favelas at about 4 miles high, out of shooting range.[MercoPress]

David Plouffe, one of Obama’s chief campaign strategists in the 2008 election, exposes in his new book that John Edwards’ staff offered to endorse Obama in exchange for making Edwards his VP pick. . . . the book is titled The Audacity to Win. [TPM]

After three years and $105 million, scientists studying AIDS in Thailand have worked up to a vaccine with a protective effect of 31.2%. “We’ve taken a very small step,” Jerome Kim of the Walter Reed Institute of Research says. “It’s not a home run, but it opens the door to future work.” Vaccine proponents also point to the lessons learned from the failed Merck STEP trial. [Scientific American]

The NY Fed gave up much of its power in high-pressure negotiations with AIG’s trading partners last year, according to a new report, which spells wasted-tax-dollars for the rest of us. [NYT]

→ Geithner may have led the negotiations with AIG counterparties when he headed the New York Fed last year, but TARP special inspector Neil Barofsky’s audit is damning where it really hurts. [via Reuters]

→ The Downfall of AIG’s ‘Beautiful Machine,’ [via WaPo]

Paul Allen, Microsoft Corp.’s co- founder, has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is undergoing chemotherapy. [Bloomberg]

Now that House Democrats have a brief respite on the health care bill’s passage, they can focus on another problem plaguing Americans: unemployment. The plan is to pass highway construction bill that would initiate infrastructure projects and therefore jobs. Legislators are also considering more small-business tax breaks, extending unemployment benefits again, paying the health benefits of unemployed workers, providing aid to state Medicaid programs and extending popular tax breaks to give more cash to consumers. [The Hill]

Meanwhile,

Obama, meet China.

“The United States and China have a great many mutual interests, and after 30 years of bilateral relations, I think it’s fair to say that our two governments have continued to move forward in a way that can bring even greater cooperation in the future,” Obama said.

→ President Hu Jintao appreciated Obama’s support of the one-China principal.

“We hope the U.S. understand and support China’s government’s stance and concerns, properly manage the Taiwan issue, and disallow any ‘pro-Tibet independence’ and ‘the East Turkistan’ forces to commit to any moves on the American soil to separate China.”

→ But some Chinese are not convinced by Obama’s words of love. They demand action to not take protectionist trade measures with China,  and to stop selling arms to separatist forces like Taiwan.

→ Obama and Hu agree to work for success at Copenhagen climate change talks.

→ But, Chinese officials successfully blocked the U.S. president’s town hall talk with 400 students, which did not make it to Facebook or YouTube.

U.N. chief says a climate change deal in Copenhagen next month is crucial to fighting hunger globally. Morale sunk after Barack Obama and other leaders backed delaying a legally binding climate pact until 2010 or later. “There can be no food security without climate security,” said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at a world hunger summit. (Reuters)

While a number of groups oppose abortion rights, the Catholic church is one of the few to also support Democratic efforts to overhaul health care. That has given the church a seat at the negotiating table, where they are working hard to curb any legislation delegating federal money for the deed. (LAT)

General Motors posted a $1.15 billion loss since emerging from bankruptcy in July, but said it would step up repayments to the U.S. and Canadian governments of bailout aid. (France 24)

→ That is, paying back the bailout using bailout money. Under its government agreement GM can use taxpayer money to repay the loan.

Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott — whose body was pulled out a local river on Monday — was ruled to have shot and killed himself. Scott had recently been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating allegations of politically influenced admissions to top schools. (AP)

When Lou Dobbs said he’d been summoned “to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day,” maybe he meant he’s running for Senate? (NYT Caucus)

→ Dobbs did say he was leaving his 30-year tenure for “a number of options and directions” . . .

Pakistan Taliban spokesman Tehreek e-Taliban says security contractor Blackwater — recently in the news for bribing Iraqi officials to keep quiet about civilian casualties — is responsible for the market blast late last month that killed over a hundred people.

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