Passport

Who's the world's oldest blogger?

The race for wired global geriatric supremacy is ON! Over the last few months, the media speculated that 93-year-old Don Crowdis of Ontario, Canada was the world's oldest blogger. Then it was supposedly 94-year-old Allan Lööf of Finspång, Sweden. Then came news that Spain's 95-year-old Maria Amelia was given a blog for her birthday by her "stingy" grandson. But now there's someone who's beat them all, and who's likely not to get beat herself.

Olive Riley, who lives north of Sydney, Australia and was born in 1899, just started her blog this month. The 107-year-old great-great-grandmother was born in the British Colony of New South Wales under the rule of Queen Victoria, two years before Australia became a nation. She loves to drink shandy. The latest:

Good afternoon everyone. This is Olive here. First, I want to thank all of you who visited my blob. Gerard says there’ve been 192,000 visits but that can’t be right.

Mike
It’s a blog, Ollie. Not a blob.
Olive
Oh, really?

(Hat tip: my brother Ted)

Passport

Morning Brief, Wednesday, February 28

Markets dip

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 416.02 points yesterday, following a nearly 9 percent fall by the Shanghai stock market that prompted a selloff in markets around the world. A computer glitch made the Dow's drop appear more sudden than it was, though it was till the market's biggest absolute decline since September 17, 2001. Markets recovered by almost 4 percent in Shanghai and Shenzen today, but declined elsewhere. Look for an interesting performance by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in Congressional hearings today.

Middle East

Today's other big news: The United States may talk with Iran and Syria during two regional conferences on Iraq. The Washington foreign policy establishment is ecstatic.

U.S. troops seized suspected leaders of Shiite death squads in Sadr City, Baghdad.

Europe

Voter registration in France is way up as presidential contenders compete for minority votes in the Paris suburbs. Don't write off the surging François Bayrou, a dark horse candidate from a small centrist party in Parliament.

Airbus could cut as many as 10,000 workers. 

Asia

Think Chinese stock markets are dangerous? Try Chinese trains

How strong is the Taliban? Also, interesting new analysis of the Taliban's suicide bombing strategy.

Elsewhere

Some 15,000 Somalis fled Mogadishu in February. 

Actress Angelina Jolie, soon to be a fellow at New York's Council on Foreign Relations, calls for action in Darfur. The International Criminal Court got the ball rolling yesterday with an indictment of two key players for war crimes.

Fidel Castro is feeling frisky.

U.S. paper AsianWeek is facing fierce criticism for running a column with the name "Why I Hate Blacks."