Friday, February 19, 2010

FP morning post 2/19

Niger's junta names colonel as new leader

Top story: After Niger President Mamadou Tandja (pictured) was captured in a military coup yesterday, a certain amount of normalcy has reportedly returned to the capital city of Niamey, where businesses and offices reopened as usual today.

The country's new military junta, calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, has appointed squadron leader, Col. Salou Djibo as its leader. The military has promised to restore civilian rule and turn the country into "an example of democracy and of good governance," but has not set a timetable for relinquishing power. Some members of the junta participated in Niger's last coup in 1999, which set the stage for Tandja's rise to power.

Tandja had drawn international and domestic criticism for constitutional reforms in 2009 which greatly expanded his powers and extended his term. The country's leaders have been under restrictive international sanctions for the last several months.

The African Union and former colonial power France have both condemned the coup as an unconstitutional seizure of power. U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley was somewhat more ambiguous. "President Tandja has been trying to extend his mandate in office. And obviously, that may well have been, you know, an act on his behalf that precipitated this act today," he said.

Toyota: After previously declining, Toyota President Akio Toyoda will testify before the U.S. Congress next week.

Middle East
  • Responding to fresh allegations from the IAEA, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei again denied that his country is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
  • Hamas said two of the suspects arrested in the killing of one of its leaders in Dubai are members of Fatah.
  • Yemeni rebels freed two Saudi troops as a recent truce continued to hold.
  • A Ukrainian court heard Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal of this month's presidential election.
  • The parliament of the Netherlands is debating withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • A bombing in Russia's Ingushetia region killed two people.
-By Joshua Keating

Boureima HAMA/AFP/Getty Images

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