Tuesday, July 6, 2010

FP morning brief 7/6

State of emergency extended in Thailand

Top story: The Thai government on Tuesday announced that it would extend the state of emergency for another three months, in a bid to prevent a repeat of the anti-government protests that brought the country to a standstill in April. Those protests turned violent, claiming the lives of 90 people and wounding thousands more. The state of emergency will be lifted in five provinces that have seen little unrest, but will be extended in 18 of Thailand's 76 provinces, including Bangkok and throughout the north and northeast, where support for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra remains strong. Shinawatra's supporters are accused of leading the anti-government "red shirt" movement that sparked unrest earlier this year.

For now, however, the state of emergency has proven successful in stifling anti-government sentiment. "It's too risky even for a low-key provincial gathering," said one anti-government activist. The emergency law forbids a gathering of more than five people and places restrictions on free speech, banning the publication of material judged to be a threat to national security or that could cause panic. The security services are also empowered to detain suspects for 30 days without charge.

Oil skimming not going as planned: A March report released by BP, before the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, claimed that it had the ability to skim and remove 491,721 barrels of oil daily in the event of a major spill. Since the April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP has captured a total of 67,143 barrels by skimming, and burned off another 238,095 barrels. The skimming operation is capturing less than 900 barrels of oil per day, while estimates for the amount of oil spilled into the Gulf range from 1.1 million to 4 million barrels.

Middle East
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington today.
Thousands of people gathered in Beirut to attend the funeral of Lebanon's most important Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah.
Iran sent a letter to the European Union laying out the conditions for negotiations regarding its nuclear program.

The U.S. Justice Department is expected to challenge Arizona's restrictive immigration law on the ground that it intrudes on federal prerogatives.
A fire has caused mass blackouts in Toronto, leaving 250,000 people without electricity.
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said that Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos could be arrested if he visited Ecuador.

U.S. forces launched a major offensive in Afghanistan's eastern province of Konar.
Two people were killed in protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The tallest tent in the world opened in Kazakhstan.

Bronislaw Komorowski was declared the winner of Poland's presidential election.
French policy are probing allegations that French President Nicolas Sarkozy received illegal donations from France's richest woman.
The French Parliament is prepared to debate a ban on wearing a full Islamic veil in public.

A former Sierre Leone rebel denied giving blood diamonds to Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Ghanans welcomed home the Black Stars, their national soccer team, which advanced further in the World Cup than any other African team.
One farmer was killed after 200 people raided a Christian village near the Nigerian city of Jos.
-David Kenner
Getty Images

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