International Criminal Court to arrest Sudanese president; cash handouts for Japanese; Beijing's defense budget grows; Washington to try talks with Syria; Pakistan arrests terror suspects; the Russian response to Obama letter
Top of the Agenda: Sudan and the ICC
Judges at the International Criminal Court are expected to issue a warrant (VOA) today to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and try him for war crimes at The Hague. The prosecutor in the case alleges Bashir mobilized Sudan's military and allied militias to commit acts of murder, rape, and forced displacement in the country's Darfur region. The BBC has a video interview with one Sudanese army deserter who describes having been ordered to commit atrocities. The Associated Press reports, however, that Bashir appears defiant. He derided the process yesterday, saying: "They will issue their decision tomorrow, and we are telling them to immerse it in water and drink it"-a common Arabic insult.
One major lingering question is whether the ICC issuing a warrant could prompt further violence in Sudan. The Kenyan paper Daily Nation reports security officials in South Sudan implemented an unannounced curfew in the southern part of the country and appealed for calm ahead of the ruling. AngolaPress reports there are fears of a violent retaliation against the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force working in the country.
- CFR.org's Emmy Award winning Crisis Guide on the Darfur conflict presents an in-depth examination of Sudan's problems using video, audio, and textual analysis.
- This Q&A from the Guardian explains the charges against Bashir.
- The Guardian also has a profile of Bashir.
PACIFIC RIM: Japan Stimulus
Japan's government approved a bill that will give cash handouts (Japan Today) to every Japanese citizen in an effort to boost domestic spending and pull the country out of recession.
CHINA: A spokesman for China's parliament announced Beijing's defense budget will grow 14.9 percent in 2009 (Xinhua), despite the current economic turmoil.
A recent CFR.org Backgrounder examines China's military power.
MARKETS: The AP reports speculation that China might implement new economic stimulus boosted markets worldwide.