World News Brief, Thursday April 23

ANC could lose constitution-changing majority in South Africa; US to kick-start Mid-East peace process; South and North Korea talks falter; Taliban extend reach in Pakistan; and more

Top of the Agenda: South Africa's Elections

South Africans headed to the polls today for general elections that will usher in a new president. The Mail & Guardian reports early indications show both of the country's major parties relatively happy with the logistical progress of the vote, despite a few glitches.

South Africa's ruling ANC party is expected to win the elections by a comfortable margin, meaning that its party president Jacob Zuma will become the next president of South Africa. The BBC reports, however, that the ANC could potentially lose its two-thirds majority in parliament, which allows it to change the constitution.

Business Day, another South African paper, reports the vote could emerge as South Africa's most important since the end of apartheid in 1994, given record turnout and the firmest challenge to ANC dominance the party has faced in that period. The article adds that a weakened ANC majority would cheer investors, many of whom have been frustrated by the party's iron grip on power.

The biggest challenge to the ANC comes from COPE, the Congress of the People party, which broke off from the ANC as a splinter party three months ago, drawing some important figures from the ANC's ranks with it. NPR profiles COPE and says it faces some major challenges of its own, however, not least of which is its relatively unknown presidential candidate.


- AllAfrica has compiled articles about the election from several regional news sources.

- The Economist looks at what Zuma's ascent might mean for international politics in southern Africa.

- Zuma discussed South Africa's role as a regional mediator in a recent appearance at CFR. Here is a transcript of that meeting.


PACIFIC RIM: Korean Talks Falter

The Chosun Ilbo reports planned talks between North and South Korea faltered yesterday, with delegates spending "most of the day talking about talks, instead of actually holding them."

The Korea Times reports Seoul and Washington will complete a joint contingency plan today, preparing themselves for the possibility of increased internal instability in North Korea.

CHINA-FRANCE: China Daily reports French President Nicolas Sarkozy has invited Chinese President Hu Jintao to Paris in a move aimed at mending ties with Beijing following a reported spat between the leaders at the G-20 summit earlier this month, and concerns from China after Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in December.



Obama invites Mideast leaders for new peace talks.

Taliban raids pick up in Pakistan's Swat valley; militias seize Buner.

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