1 | Seoul
Stakes High at Global Summit
Global unease over the U.S. Federal Reserve's quantitative-easing plan, which will inject $600 billion into the economy, created a tense diplomatic environment ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Seoul. Big exporters such as China and Germany voiced frustrations with QE2 (as the Fed's plan is known), claiming the flood of money will devalue the dollar and imperil the competitiveness of other economies. President Obama challenged such claims, saying that stimulating spending in the U.S. was in everyone's interest. Other macroeconomic sore points, including banking and exchange rates, are also expected to dominate the G-20 discussion. While China wants to spur domestic consumer spending, the odds of Beijing's agreeing to allow its undervalued currency to rise are very low.
2 | Jakarta
Muslim Outreach, Part II
More than a year since he addressed the Muslim world from Cairo, President Obama reached out once again during his visit to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country. Speaking before thousands at a Jakarta university, Obama repeated the now familiar refrain that the U.S. is not at war with Islam and extolled Indonesia's pluralistic democracy as an example to other Muslim-majority nations. But polls suggest that the tide of goodwill generated earlier by Obama has ebbed, with many Muslims disappointed by the U.S.'s continued wars overseas and its inability to get the Middle East peace process going.
3 | Guinea
An Election At Last
After weeks of violent clashes between rival ethnic groups, Guineans peacefully cast ballots to determine who would be the African nation's first democratically elected President. The vote comes after 52 years of military rule, which ended last fall following the massacre of 157 antigovernment protesters in a stadium.
4 | China
Political Crackdown Intensifies
Beijing imposed more travel restrictions on Chinese rights advocates in an attempt to prevent activists from attending this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Norway. The new measures include detention and surveillance and accompany a steady drumbeat of anti-Nobel rhetoric. The prizewinner, prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, remains behind bars, and his wife is under house arrest in Beijing.
5 | Oklahoma
Shari'a-Law Ban Blocked
Though more than 70% of Oklahomans voted in an Election Day referendum to ban considering or using Shari'a or international law in state courts, a federal judge temporarily blocked the measure after a lawsuit was filed by a Muslim resident of the state. The suit claims that the law violates the First Amendment's establishment clause concerning religion and that it has no secular purpose. But the law's supporters say the judge's decision goes against voter will.
6 | Paris
A New Gas Guzzler