Wednesday's coverage: a united front for the US and South Korea, continuing protests in Iran, and new oversight for the US financial industry

Here are the stories we’re covering today:

In international news:

US and South Korean united front. Don Kirk on the first-ever meeting Tuesday between President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak. They put up a united front against an increasingly belligerent North Korea, in contrast to their predecessors.

Protectionist move. Peter Ford on a new Chinese government edict requiring that economic stimulus money be spent only on Chinese goods, taking the world a step further towards a dangerous international trade war.

New Al Qaeda turf. A roundup of coverage of the terror network's incursions in Bangladesh.

• Congo's "disintegrating" army. Congo’s Army fires on a UN base in eastern Congo. Matt Clark updates with the latest in a string of mini-mutinies over not getting paid.

Iran update. Christa Case Bryant rounds up the latest on the aftermath of Iran's election.

Roots of Iran's conflict. Scott Peterson on how the current power struggle goes back three decades. Supreme Leader Khamenei faces an unprecedented challenge from the old guard of the revolution - Rafsanjani, Mousavi, etc.

Italy takes three. Anna Momigliano on Italy’s Berlusconi agreement to take three Guantanamo inmates – and the angry local reaction.

• Colonialism's legacy. Robert Marquand on how the recent death of Gabon’s strongman leader has prompted critics to take another look at France’s colonial legacy. When Sarkozy attended the funeral, he was jeered.

South African soccer. Scott Baldauf on a nation's debate over just how the current Confederations Cup (all top soccer teams in the world) makes South Africa look to the world, and whether it can really get its act together for the 2010 World Cup.

Europe's newspapers. Isabelle DePommereau on how European papers are struggling in the new media landscape.

• Al Qaeda in Yemen. Is Al Qaeda on the rise in Yemen?

And in the US:

Airbus rudder issues. Alexandra Marks obtains a memo from a corporate travel management organization recommending that United Airlines reconsider buying Airbus jets because of their history of rudder problems.

New financial rules. Mark Trumbull explains how Obama plans to tighten regulatory oversight of the financial industry and what he hopes to accomplish by doing so.

• Health care hits the Hill. Wrangling over healthcare reform begins in earnest on Capitol Hill, as the bill designed by Senator Kennedy enters the amendment process. It’s just one of several plans being considered in the Senate, but the debate over it will make the fault lines clearer.

Sanguine cities. Rob Scherer reports a Brookings Institution study on which cities will recover from the recession first.

• Another healthcare vision. Gail Chaddock covers a bipartisan path to healthcare reform proposed by three former lions of the Senate – Daschle, Baker, and Dole.

Troubles ease. Dante Chinni assesses the Patchwork Nation counties by their Economic Hardship Index and sees a tad less hardship.

• Iraqi refugees in the US. Homelessness looms for some of the nearly 10,000 refugees. Patrik Jonsson asks where Washington’s duty to refugees ends, as Americans – and returning soldiers – also struggle to find footing in the economy?

• Still too big to fail? Mark Trumbull takes a further look at the new financial regs, asking how they address the core concern that led to a massive government bailout – namely, that some firms are “too big to fail.”

• The garden blog. Judy Lowe on how native grasses clean up soils contaminated by TNT (and herbicides).

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