Thursday, June 3, 2010

FP morning brief 6/3

Obama administration wants change of Israel's Gaza blockade policy

Top story: Amidst the diplomatic fallout over Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian activists, the Obama administration regards the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip as increasingly untenable, according to senior U.S. officials. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vigorously defended the blockade, saying that it is necessary for Israel's security. The unnamed administration officials, however, asserted that Netanyahu was privately in agreement that the current policy had to be modified.
This debate comes as another ship, the Rachel Corrie, will try to breach the Gaza blockade as early as Friday. The ship, which originated in Ireland, is carrying cement, educational materials, toys, and medical supplies meant for the people of Gaza. The European Campaign to End Siege on Gaza also announced that it had raised enough funds to sponsor three ships in a new flotilla.
No nuking the BP well: Responding to rampant speculation over how to stop the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department rejected an attempt to close the well using a controlled nuclear explosion. Another senior official referred to the idea as "crazy." Radical proposals for responding to the leak have increased following the failure of BP's "top kill" attempt.

Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan has emerged as the most likely candidate to become the country's next prime minister.
South Korea's rulling party was surprised by disappointing results in local elections.
A U.N. report strongly criticized the U.S. reliance on drone strikes to combat terrorism along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Middle East
Activists from the Gaza-bound flotilla raided by Israel were welcomed enthusiastically upon their arrival to Turkey.
Israel rejected an international investigation of its raid on the flotilla.
Iran's atomic energy chief said that the IAEA's recent report on the country's nuclear program made a "misinterpretation" of its capabilities.

Debt-strapped Greece outlined plans to partially privatize a number of publicly-held companies.
A British court fined JP Morgan a record $49.1 million.
Ukraine's Parliament approved legislation that reaffirmed the country's neutrality, and prevented it from joining NATO.

BP will fund six sand barriers to protect the Louisiana coastline from leaking oil.
A U.N. representative warned that Haiti's democratic institutions were endangered by the slow pace of reconstruction.
The United States urged Cuba to free one of its most prominent human rights activists.

A leading human rights activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been found dead.
South African President Jacob Zuma traveled to India in his first state visit to Asia.
Clashes in the Somali capital of Mogadishu killed at least 21 people, and wounded 59 others.
-David Kenner

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