Politics In 60 Seconds: What You Need To Know Right Now


Good morning!  Here’s what you need to know right now:

1.  Japan continued to struggle with its nuclear power emergency and an epic humanitarian crisis

2.  Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi appears to be on the verge of routing rebel forces seeking his ouster.  The United States and Europe have chosen not to intervene.

3.  Security forces in Bahrain today recaptured Pearl Square, which had been occupied by protesters for about a month.  Yesterday, the king of Bahrain declared a state of emergency

4.  US-Saudi relations have been strained by President Obama’s lack of support for long-standing US allies in the Gulf.  David Ignatius provides a useful analysis.

5.  CIA operative Raymond Davis was indicted today for double murder by a local Pakistani court.  Saudi Arabia is said to be brokering a deal that will free Mr. Davis and compensate his victims’ families for their loss.

6.  The best backgrounder we’ve seen on what Raymond Davis was really doing in Pakistan is here.

7.  The US has begun sending drones deep into Mexican territory to monitor cartel drug trafficking and gather signal intelligence on cartel operatives. 

8.  General David Petaeus painted a fairly optimistic picture of the Afghanistan War in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.  A good review of his testimony is here.

9.  Portugal’s debt rating was cut (again) by Moody’s Investor Services.  Most analysts expect that Portugal will soon be required to seek a bail-out from its European partners.

10.  Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, told finance ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday that the Eurozone’s (just agreed-to) package of debt-crisis measures were not good enough and would have to be made tougher. 

11.  The FT reports:  “Federal Reserve officials said the US economic recovery was on a “firmer footing”, upgrading their outlook on the back of a gradual improvement in the labour market but pledging to press on with monetary stimulus as planned.”

12.  The WSJ reports:  “Lawmakers in Illinois say they may try to fix the state’s ailing pension system by asking current workers to pay more into the plan, though the approach faces substantial legal and political obstacles.”

13.  President Obama’s leadership on a range of issues is (again) being criticised.  Politico has a round-up of the complaints.

14.  Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour campaigned in Iowa yesterday.  He talked about cutting defence spending, drawing down US forces in Afghanistan and expanding the use of nuclear power.

Bonus:  Tett on Japan’s role in the global manufacturing supply chain.  Leah Farrell on how Al Qaeda Works.

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