World News Brief, Wednesday December 24

Europeans may take Guantanamo prisoners; Guinea's dictator Conte dies, prompts coup; Hyundai/Kia declares emergency management; Chinese navy to battle pirates; and more

Top of the Agenda: Guantanamo Possibilities

News reports indicate some European countries might be easing their stance toward taking prisoners from the U. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, potentially helping the incoming Obama administration close the controversial facility. The Washington Post reports European countries have opened discussion both within and among their governments about resettling US-held prisoners who cannot be returned to their home governments. The Post quotes both senior European officials and US diplomats, and says the move comes as a significant overture to Obama--and a major reversal of European attitude toward the Guantanamo issue.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports Germany has now openly voiced that it might be willing to take detainee transfers from the United States. Portugal has already expressed that it "will be available" to receive US detainees who are thought innocent but cannot be returned to their home countries for fear that they will be tortured.


Obama made closing Guantanamo a major policy priority during his presidential campaign. In a new interview on the topic, CFR's Matthew C. Waxman, who previously served as deputy secretary of defense for detainee affairs, says the facility should be closed, but says the process of doing so will prove difficult for several reasons. Waxman encourages Obama to make an emphatic declaration about his intention to close Guantanamo, but says an immediate closure might not be possible.



Pacific Rim: China Naval Operations

Xinhua reports on Chinese efforts to use its naval ships to escort commercial vessels and those carrying humanitarian relief goods in the Gulf of Aden, to protect them from pirate attacks.

South Korea: The Korea Times reports on efforts to restructure South Korea's ship-building and construction firms.

Meanwhile, South Korea's largest car maker, Hyundai/Kia, declared a state of "emergency management" (Chosun Ilbo) after a precipitous recent sales drop.



Coup attempt in Guinea following longtime president's death.
France supports Brazil's push for UN Security Council permanent seat.

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