Iraq passes election law; Dalai Lama visits India; North Korean military takes control of economy; China pledges billions of dollars of aid to Africa; abortions rights activists plan to block US healthcare bill
Top of the Agenda: Iraq Election Law
Iraq's parliament passed a long-delayed election law (WashPost) Sunday over the disputed city of Kirkuk, allaying concerns that a constitutional crisis would impede the drawdown of US troops. The vote came after US and UN officials pressured Iraqi lawmakers to hasten the pace of negotiations and overcome disagreements.
As part of the law, Kurdish and Arab lawmakers agreed to examine votes cast in Kirkuk for months after the election to assess the impact of Kurds entering Kirkuk since the US-led invasion in 2003. The move could alter the outcome of the election in Kirkuk and fuel disagreements between Sunni Arabs and Kurds over oil and control of the city.
The election law also allows citizens to vote for an individual rather than a party, sets aside five parliamentary seats for minorities, and allows Kirkuk to be kept as one electoral constituency (al-Jazeera).
US President Barack Obama said the law's approval paved the way (VOA) for US troop withdrawal from Iraq.
In a CFR interview, expert Joost Hiltermann says Iraq appears headed for an uncertain, and potentially violent, political season with no clear dominant faction emerging ahead of January parliamentary elections.
An Institute for the Study of War report details the structure of the Kurdistan Regional Government, its major political parties, and the dynamics of the upcoming election.
PACIFIC RIM: Dalai Lama Gathering
The Dalai Lama drew tens of thousands of followers during a "non-political" visit to India's Arunachal Pradesh near the disputed Sino-Indian border, angering Chinese officials (South China Morning Post).
North Korea: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that North Korea's military has taken nearly complete control of the state-run economy and struck mineral trade deals with China that have been lucrative for North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org