World News Brief, Tuesday March 17

Zardari reinstates Pakistan's Chief Justice; Australia cuts immigration quota; G20 finance ministers agree to stimulus funding; Netanyahu makes deal with right-wingers; Funes declares himself winner of El Salvador's election

Top of the Agenda: Pakistan to Reinstate Judges

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari conceded to the demands of his country's political opposition following days of protests, moving to reinstate (The News) Pakistan's deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges from the Pakistani supreme court. In response, the protest organizers called off major demonstrations (BBC) scheduled for today in Islamabad. Chaudhry and the other judges were removed from office by President Pervez Musharraf in 2007, setting off a chain of protests that eventually led to Musharraf's ouster in 2008. Zardari had promised to reinstate the judges during his campaign but had refrained from doing so out of concern that the judiciary would bolster Pakistan's opposition and potentially move to remove him from office. Dawn, the largest English language Pakistani paper, declared "Mission Accomplished!" on its blog focusing on the recent protests.

The Financial Times reports the riots and their aftermath have exposed Zardari's political weakness.

In an interview with the New York Times, Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, said Washington supports "the statesmanlike act by President Zardari and hope that it will help defuse a dangerous confrontation so that Pakistan, with the help of its many friends, can address the nation's pressing and urgent needs."

Writing in Al-Jazeera, Imran Khan, another prominent Pakistani politician, writes that the "man to watch" now is Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who reportedly played a major role brokering the deal and will meet with one of the main organizers of the protest, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, today. Khan says a major question is whether Zardari's reinstatement of the judges will create rifts in the president's PPP party--and that Gilani will be the person most likely to reconcile these rifts if they emerge.


- This Backgrounder explains long-standing structural factors underlying Pakistan's political turmoil.

- Another Backgrounder examines Pakistan's major political and civil institutions.


PACIFIC RIM: Australia's Immigrants

Australia cut its immigration quota (BBC) for foreign skilled workers in an effort to protect domestic jobs and marking the first quota cuts by the country in ten years.

A new Daily Analysis looks at how the financial crisis is affecting migration patterns globally.



- G-20 finance ministers strike deal for ADB funding.
- Israel's Netanyahu courts ultranationalist party for coalition, draws criticism.
- Leftist claims victory in El Salvador presidential election.


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