World News Brief, Thursday January 6

Pakistan governor Salman Taseer killed; member of Taseer's security detail responsible; US envoy will head to China for talks on North Korea's nuclear programme; Queensland flooding impact is huge--disruption of coal exports means loss of AU$100 million a day; Gbagbo to end military blockade; and more

Top of the Agenda: Moderate Pakistan Governor Assassinated


Thousands of mourners attended the funeral in Lahore for Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan's Punjab province (NYT), who was gunned down yesterday in Islamabad by a member of his security detail who surrendered after the shooting. The assassination was linked to Taseer's opposition of religious extremism and the country's strict blasphemy laws. Taseer often spoke out against the controversial law and had vowed not to back down despite demands from the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and threats to his life from religious groups (al-Jazeera). In particular, Taseer supported the pardon of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death last year for violating state blasphemy laws. The Economist reports that dozens of people are convicted of breaking the law each year.

The high-profile murder shocked moderate Pakistanis and supporters of the PPP, but was praised by some members of Pakistan's religious right (Dawn). Embattled Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who is fighting for political survival, appealed for calm on Tuesday so as to avoid extensive riots like those following the December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack (WashPost), saying she had met Taseer and "admired his work to promote tolerance and the education of Pakistan's future generations."


In the LA Times, Saroop Ijaz argues for the repeal of Pakistan's blasphemy law, saying it emboldens radicals and the Taliban.

This New York Times editorial calls for an international repudiation of the attack and warns of the potential for a downward political spiral in Pakistan.

This CFR Analysis Brief discusses the Pakistani government's loss of its parliamentary majority and the concerns among some analysts of instability for a country crucial to U.S. efforts to combat Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.


CFR's Pakistan Crisis Guide examines the roots of the current challenges in Pakistan, what it means for the region and the world, and explores some plausible futures for the country.


PACIFIC RIM: U.S. Envoy Set to Visit China


Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy, is set to visit China for talks on North Korea's nuclear development and limiting the country's military posturing (al-Jazeera).

Australia: Economists warn of the financial impact of widespread flooding in Queensland (SydneyMorningHerald). The disruption of coal exports, estimated at a loss of AU$100 million per day, will be felt across the globe.



- India Offered New Way to Buy Iranian Oil
- Gbagbo to End Military Blockade

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