The stories we are covering and plan to post today:
In US news ...
• Ron Scherer in New York reports on the views of 50 prominent economic forecasters who see the US economy finally stabilizing and say the recession should end by fall. But 2009 will be the second straight year of overall shrinkage, making this the worst downturn since the Eisenhower administration. The drag on the economy is now lagging business investment.
• Has North Korea gone too far this time? Howard LaFranchi in Washington looks at whether the Hermit Kingdom has tipped the international community over the edge to a tougher stance: more sanctions and other efforts to manage a long-term “bad apple,” less cajoling and six-party talks.
• Pete Spotts writes on the space station crew, which is about to double. Good thing the wastewater recycling system works now.
In world news ...
• Sara Miller Llana reports on Mexico's arrest Tuesday of 10 mayors and 18 other high-level officials in President Calderon’s home state of Michoacan. The mayors are alleged to have been protecting one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels, La Familia. The unprecedented step is part of the president’s ongoing crackdown against the cartels.
• Norway’s massive sovereign wealth fund voted against a proposal to divest itself of Canadian oil sands projects because of environmental concerns. But Tom Sullivan writes that ahead of Copenhagen climate talks, many Norwegians are pushing for their government to do more to become carbon neutral.
• Fred Weir in Moscow explores whether Russia can sway North Korea. Russia once had a lot of influence in North Korea, but Putin has had trouble persuading the Dear Leader to listen. Will this time be different?
• In Israel, Avigdor Lieberman’s party has proposed two pieces of legislation that are likely to bring unprecedented international attention to the status of Israeli Arabs. Both require stepped-up Arab commitment to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state: one through an oath of loyalty, the other through a ban on commemorating the mass exodus of Palestinians in 1948. Josh Mitnick in Tel Aviv looks at what’s motivating the bills, and how those issues might be addressed.
• Heba Aly reports from Nairobi on the undermanned and underfunded African peacekeepers in Somalia who are increasingly bearing the brunt of an ugly conflict pitting extremist Islamist insurgents against a new, moderate transitional government. Analysts say the mission, known as AMISOM, has held up well. But AMISOM officials say they are losing on one important front: the information war. Now, they’re out to change that.
On the innovations front ...