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Zidane has spoken

ZidaneFrench football star Zinedine Zidane has apologized for headbutting Italian player Marco Materazzi during Sunday's World Cup final, an infraction that sent Zidane off the field with a red card just minutes from his retirement. But does he regret it? Nope. Zidane stands by the move because, though he won't reveal exactly what Materazzi said, the Italian apparently insulted Zidane's mother and sister. And for this chivalric explanation, the French love Zidane once again.

Head over to The Register to see the email making the rounds about how the headbutt heard round the world was seen by different nationalities.

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Morning Brief, Thursday, July 13

Israel/Palestine/Lebanon

A day after Hezbollah conducted a bold cross-border assault and captured two Israeli soldiers, Israel fires missiles on the international airport in Beirut and other targets in south Lebanon. The offensive sends oil prices to a new record high just shy of $76 a barrel. Meeting in Germany, President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel express support for Israel but urge restraint, fearing Lebanon's fragile democracy could "topple." Some see Iran's fingerprints all over the recent crisis. 

Mumbai attacks

Indian police round up more 300 people while investigating Tuesday's train attacks, which killed 200. Pakistan condemns the attacks. The bombers targeted first-class train cars, and the dead are largely male, white-collar workers.

Nuclear diplomacy

China and Russia urge the Security Council to reject a Japanese proposal to place sanctions on North Korea, but little headway is made on either plan. 

Iran is referred to the Security Council over its nuclear program, after Russia and China cross the aisle. 

Elsewhere

The top U.S. commander in Iraq says that more American troops may be needed in Baghdad to stop the wave of sectarian killings. Violence in Afghanistan worsens, and the defense minister there says the Afghan Army needs five times as many troops as it has now in order to secure the country. Krygyzstan expels two US diplomats for "inappropriate" contacts with NGOs. After earning more than $15 billion from the U.S. Army since 2001, Halliburton may have its contract terminated soon. And in something of a political bait-and-switch, a day after the Bush administration says it supports the Geneva Conventions, it's urging the U.S. Congress to curb detainee rights.