Today's Monitor: Obama in Europe, North Korea sanctions, Sotomayor and the Senate

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These are the stories we are following:

In world news:

• Correspondent Simon Montlake questions the fate of Sri Lanka's Tamil minorities after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers rebel group. What about their fight for a Tamil homeland?

• In his speech from Cairo University yesterday, President Obama said one nation should not impose a system of government on others. But what does this mean for US foreign policy?

• Correspondent Mark Rice-Oxley reports on early voting for the European Parliament in Britain. With two nations and 375 million voters, the Euro-elections are one of the largest in the world, second only to India’s. But this year’s elections more closely resemble midterm elections, giving voters a chance to let their national governments know what they think of them.

• As Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tamps down a worker revolt over wages and a dire economic picture, correspondent Fred Weir wonders if Putin has opened a Pandora’s box by raising the expectations of disgruntled workers across Russia.

• Coinciding with President Obama’s second trip to Germany, correspondent Isabelle de Pommereau examines the symbolism and meaning of post-World War II Dresden.

• Teachermate, a hand-held computer gadget that Chicago schools implemented last year to help elementary school kids grasp basic learning skills, is going global with the help of a Stanford professor. As part of the school’s ongoing effort to bring high-tech learning to the world’s poorest, Teachermate will find a home in several developing countries. Can it make a difference?

Correspondent Donald Kirk reports on the fate of the two American journalists detained in North Korea. Meanwhile, the United Nations is poised to impose sanctions on North Korea.

Bob Marquand threads together the historical and present-day forces that will shape Obama’s experience in Normandy.

• Finally, Somalia’s influential Islamist leader Sheikh Dahir Aweys calls on the hardliner Al Shabab militia to continue fighting the moderate Islamist government.

And in national news:

• Did Sonia Sotomayor help her Supreme Court nomination during her courtesy rounds of Capitol Hill this week? Read Russell Chaddock’s take on how the Supreme Court nominee handled the Senate.

Ron Scherer turns his attention to the latest jobless numbers and reports the economy is still shedding jobs, though less furiously than before. Still, the pace signals the economy has probably not yet hit bottom. Also, look for more analysis of these numbers in today's Monitor’s View article.

San Francisco started a Twitter account this week so residents can “tweet” when they run over a rut in the road. In New Haven, Conn., a few Web developers started SeeClickFix for residents to report graffiti or other neighborhood nuisances. As more municipalities incorporate technology to allow for greater community involvement in public works, will roads get fixed any faster? Can your tweet cut through layers of city and county bureaucracy? (Editor's note: The original version misstated the affiliation of the developers.)

• On his travels across the country, correspondent Bill Glauber finds that a garden grows—along with civic spirit—in an Ohio town.

• Monitor staffer Peter Grier reports that no one in Washington has a funny bone.

• Finally, look for active posting in our Innovation and Economy blogs.

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