Around the World

News from around the globe impacting our world.

Qaddafi Prepared to Consider Free Elections. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi told The Guardian that Libya is prepared to considering holding free elections, supervised by the United Nations, within six months of the end of the current conflict. Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, who took over from Moussa Koussa defected last month, added that the regime was prepared to consider an interim national government before elections could be held.

Joint Chief Adm. Mike Mullen Visits Pakistan. The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen arrive in Islamabad for a two day visit amidst a low in US-Pakistani relations. Dawn of Pakistan has more on the visit.

Gold Hits $1,500 An Ounce. In Hong Kong trading, the price of gold rose above $1,500 an ounce for the first time after concerns about global economic recovery lifted the metal's appeal as a safe haven.

End of an Era in Cuba. Fidel Castro was formally removed from the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party for the first time since its formation nearly 50 years ago with the senior post going to his younger brother, Raúl Castro, the current Cuban leader. Despite hopes that a younger generation might come to dominate the Politburo, the old guard remained firmly in charge. José Ramón Machado Ventura, 80, was named as Deputy Chairman. Machado is seen as a hard-liner. More from the Los Angeles Times.

 

Around the World

News from around the globe impacting our world.

Japan Nuclear Crisis to Last Nine Months. The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it expects to bring the plant to "cold shutdown" by the end of the year. The story from the BBC.

The Ongoing Brutal Crackdown in Bahrain. Arrests and troop movements signal another government crackdown on protests in the Gulf state. Both The Guardian and Al Jazeera have coverage.

Cuba to Introduce Wide Reforms. Speaking at the start he first congress of Cuba's ruling Communist Party in 14 years, Cuban President Raúl Castro is calling for wide political and economic reforms. Castro said top political positions should be limited to two five-year terms, and promised "systematic rejuvenation" of the government. In terms of economic reforms, free education and healthcare would still be guaranteed, but mass subsidies of basic goods would be removed and social spending would be "rationalized". More from the BBC.

Early Returns in Nigeria Favor Incumbent. Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent president leads in Christian south while his main rival, Muhammu Buhari, is ahead in Muslim north as counting is under way. Full coverage from All Africa

World Bank President Warns of Crisis. Robert Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, is warning that the world is "one shock away from a full-blown crisis." In particular, Zoellick is worried that rising food prices pose the main threat to poor nations who risk "losing a generation". The story from the BBC.

A Hong Kong Bubble? The Asia Sentinel looks at the real estate market in Hong Kong. Hong Kong likes to lay the blame for its escalating property prices on the influx of mainland money, particularly into high-end apartments. However the latest evidence from the HK Monetary Authority suggests that Hong Kong is doing much to help the process along. Meanwhile the territory's lending institutions are helping mainland firms avoid the rather modest efforts that China has been making to rein in credit growth.

Finns Voting in Crucial Parliamentary Elections. Finns are voting today in elections that may have a deep impact on the sovereign debt crisis in Eurozone countries and for the future of the euro itself. Finland has a unicameral Parliament with 200 seats and all seats are being contested. These elections, against the backdrop of the ongoing Irish and Portuguese debt crises, have seen the rise of right wing populism in the Nordic country. The polls show that the True Finns party, led by Timo Soini, stand to gain close to 20 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections on an anti-Islam, anti-Europe platform. Der Spiegel has a preview of the Finnish elections and what's at stake in this one of the most pro-Europe countries in the EU. I'll have a wrap-up later once results are in.

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