World News Brief, Friday October 22

US announces largest arms deal in its history... to Saudi Arabia (+ analysis); Chinese economic growth slows... to 9.6 per cent; US officials to warn named Iraqis about new Wikileaks release; China fails to stall Darfur report showing it broke embargo; and more

Top of the Agenda: US Announces Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

The Defense Department notified Congress it wants to sell (WashPost) $60 billion in advanced aircraft and weapons to Saudi Arabia. The sale would be the largest arms deal to another country in US history and would include helicopters, fighter jets, radar equipment, and satellite-guided bombs. Congress has thirty days to review the sale before further discussions begin between the Pentagon, weapons makers, and Saudi Arabia. The sale would boost US efforts to support Arab allies against threats from Iran. It would also inject needed funds (AP) into US defense companies as the Pentagon considers tightening its contracting budget. US concerns about Iraq's stability and unrest in Yemen also play into the proposed Saudi deal. A small group of US lawmakers said they will try to block the deal (WSJ), arguing it would undercut Israel and support a government with a poor human-rights record.


On al-Jazeera, Riz Khan examines the state of political and social reform in Saudi Arabia, including freedom of speech, women's rights, and press freedoms.

Defense News reports the proposed arms deal would keep alive struggling U.S. aircraft companies hit by cancellation of aircraft programs--including the F-22, the C-17, and the presidential helicopter--and delays of a new search-and-rescue helicopter and a new bomber.

In this expert roundup, four experts discuss the merits of the proposed arms deal.


Read this October 20 US State Department briefing on the pending deal.


PACIFIC RIM: Chinese Economic Growth Cools

China's economy grew 9.6 percent in the third quarter, the smallest gain in a year (Bloomberg), as inflation accelerated in September to its fastest pace in twenty-three months.

Despite global tensions over China's currency and trade policies, US businesses stand to benefit from China's waning labor surplus and its growing consumer affluence, says Princeton University's JC de Swaan.

Japan: Japanese car giant Toyota announced three separate recalls (WSJ) of a combined 1.5 million vehicles, including 740,000 in the United States, due to concerns over brake-fluid leaks.



- US Alerts Iraqis to WikiLeak Release
- China Fails to Block UN Report on Sudan
- Efforts to Prosecute Blackwater Fall Short


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on