Obama begins six-day Europe visit; Obama will address both houses of Parliament at Westminster; Middle East expected to be a major topic of conversation between Obama and European leaders; Kim Jong-Il to meet Chinese premier Jiang Zemin; Sony reports huge losses for the year, partly attributed to Japan earthquake and tsunami; Yemen's leader refuses to sign deal to step down; 89 killed as tornado rips through Missouri; and more
Top of the Agenda: Obama Begins Six-Day Europe Trip
President Barack Obama arrived in Ireland on the first stop of a six-day trip to Europe, which will also include England, France, and Poland. Analysts expect the grassroots uprisings in the Middle East (NYT) to feature prominently in the president's trip--which follows a week where he delivered a major policy speech on the region and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Sunday, Obama also spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (FT), a pro-Israel lobby, and urged leaders to restart Palestinian peace negotiations. Obama used the speech to reiterate his call for a return to 1967 borders and a land swap as the basis for talks.
On Tuesday, Obama will fly to London and meet with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, where the NATO-led operation in Libya (BBC) is expected to be high on the agenda. The president will also address both houses of the British parliament at Westminster Hall--a rare occurrence for a foreign head of state.
The White House will be using the trip to strengthen U.S.-European relations (DeutscheWelle), a partnership that some analysts say requires more effort on both sides of the Atlantic, as evidenced by the divisiveness leading up to NATO's intervention in Libya. In meeting with his European counterparts, discussions of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and peace talks with the Taliban are also expected to be on the table.
Rounding out his trip, the president is scheduled to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the G8 summit (IBT) in Deauville, France; and then travel to Warsaw to meet with President Komorowski of Poland.
Obama's European trip will aim to reassure European allies about transatlantic ties and forge consensus on supporting and sustaining democratic reforms in the Middle East, says CFR's Charles Kupchan.
In the Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash examines how Obama can define the third great project of Euro-Atlantic partnership.
In this article for Foreign Affairs, Henry Farrell and John Quiggin write that European politicians are worried about managing fiscal stabilization, but strict spending limits could destroy what little is left of the EU's political legitimacy.
PACIFIC RIM: Kim Jong-Il to Meet Jiang Zemin
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is in Yangzhou for meetings with former Chinese premier Jiang Zemin (Yonhap). The discussions are likely to focus on North Korean succession, with Kim trying to garner support for a power transfer to his third son, Jong-Un.
In the Atlantic, David S. Abraham examines China's twelfth Five-Year Plan, revealing a national strategy with several worrying developments for multinational corporations.
Japan: The Sony Corporation (WSJ) said it expects to have huge net losses for the just-ended fiscal year, citing a $4.4 billion write-off on a portion of deferred tax assets in Japan. Officials claim the numbers partly reflect the impact of the recent disasters that struck Japan.