Osama Bin Laden
(Yes, I'm perfectly aware that he isn't a country. But he is the single biggest news item today.)
- Old news at this point, but Osama Bin Laden was killed in a a gun battle with US forces in his three-story resort fortress 35 miles north of Islamabad. One of his adult sons, two other men, and an unidentified woman were also killed in the fight.
- The reaction of the Islamic to the news of Bin Laden's death has been mixed. The Palestinian Authority has called his death "good for the cause of peace", Hamas is calling it "the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior," and Human Rights Watch is saying "Bin Laden Is just a bad memory. The Region has moved way beyond that, with massive broad-based upheavals that are game-changers." These may be taken as typical of the responses: "yay!", "boo!", or "so what?"
- Osama Bin Laden was been buried at sea at 2 AM EST. Reports from the US Department of Defense are that "The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. a military officer read prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was place on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body eased into the sea,"
- Secretary of State Clinton took the opportunity of Osama Bin Laden's death to declare to the Taliban that "you cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us but you can make the choice to abandon al Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process."
- The Taliban has announced the start of its spring offensive by warning civilians to stay away from public gatherings, military bases, government buildings and convoys, and stating that it will target foreign troops, Afghan security forces, and Afghan officials.
- China Marine Surveillance is adding 1000 new personnel and new equipment "to sthrengthen law enforcement in Chinese-related waters". The enhanced surveillance is aimed at disputed maritime claims between China and neighboring nations.
- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ended a week-long boycott of his official duties, begun after a dispute between himself and Ayatollah Khamenei over the dismissal of Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi last month.
- Godrej and Boyce, the last company on earth manufacturing manual typewriters, has officially closed up shop.
- In the wake of the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Araby has called on the United States to support the declaration of an independent Palestinian state.
- Following the reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah, Israel has suspended tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
- Japan's parliament has passed a 4 trillion yen (that's about $49 billion) emergency budget to help fund reconstruction and support businesses.
- Around 2000 people carrying flags and pictures of Muammar Gaddafi turned out for the funeral of his son Saif al-Arab, who was killed in a NATO missile strike on Gaddafi's home in Tripoli on Saturday. NATO leaders continue to insist that the three separate missile strikes on Gaddafi's home over the course of the last week were not assassination attempts on the Libyan leader.
- Turkey is evacuating staff from it's Libyan embassy in the wake of attacks on the British and Italian embassies in Tripoli, which appear to be driven by Libyan rage over the Saturday missile strike that killed Saif al-Arab and three of Gaddafi's grandchildren.
- The United Nations has also withdrawn its international staff following the mob looting and burning of the UK embassy.
- Former President Jimmy Carter has stated that the starvation of the North Korean people is a human rights violation, and has laid the blame for that starvation squarely on the United States.
- In an appearance on the Oprah show today, President Obama announced that he is looking for ways to provide "immediate relief" for high US gasoline prices, and called for an end to tax breaks for oil companies.
- Six US tobacco companies have won a lawsuit brought by 37 hospitals seeking reimbursement for treating uninsured smokers who had not paid for care.
 I guess that sounds better than "the US military tossed Bin Laden's body overboard".
 And not on the North Korean government, which ordered US humanitarian aid workers to leave the country in 2009. Or the use of cereals to produce luxury export products. Or the preferential allocation of food to Korean Workers Party members and governmnet officials. Or the stockpiling of food by the North Korean military.