World News Brief, Wednesday November 5

US voters head to the polls after longest, most expensive campaign in history; EU ministers draft letter to president-elect; Australia cuts interest rates again; Iraqis and Kurds at odds over base plan; and more

Top of the Agenda: Election Day

Voters across the United States are heading to the polls today to elect either Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) as the next US president, capping a lengthy and historic campaign (USAToday). Attention in many US papers turned to the numerous challenges that will face the next president. The Wall Street Journal evaluates the economic pressures that await the next president upon his inauguration in January. examines the range of foreign policy issues of significance to the 2008 campaign and offers analysis on the financial crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, disputes with Iran, questions of globalization, trade, and immigration. This Backgrounder profiles Obama's main foreign policy advisers. This one looks at McCain's.

The presidential elections have attracted extraordinary interest around the world. US-funded broadcaster RFE/RL surveys analysts from the Middle East and Central Asia about what the US vote means for their nations. The Korea Times reports Seoul is watching the vote closely but doesn't suspect it will have a major impact on US-South Korean relations. The German-funded broadcaster Deutsche-Welle reports European Union foreign ministers are drafting a letter to present to the U.S. president-elect making recommendations on several policy issues, including how to strengthen transatlantic ties.

For more election coverage, please see's Campaign 2008 website, which will include blog coverage of today's vote.


Pacific Rim: South Korea Currency Deals

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced Seoul would undertake currency swaps (Yonhap) with China and Japan to try to mitigate what had been a pressing shortage of foreign currency reserves.

THAILAND: The Bangkok Post reports suicide blasts in southern Thailand killed one woman and injured more than seventy people.

AUSTRALIA: The Australian central bank cut its benchmark interest rate (Australian) to the lowest level in five years and signaled that more cuts could be on the way.



Dispute among Iraqi leaders over Kurdish base plan.
Verdict in Venezuela "suitcase trial."

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