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Monitor Darfur from your living room

Back in April, Christine flagged the effort by Google and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to map the atrocities committed in Darfur using images from Google Earth. That undertaking is now joined by the Eyes on Darfur project, which allows Web surfers to view before-and-after high-resolution satellite images of destroyed villages in Darfur and eastern Chad, as well as monitor a dozen villages currently at risk. Launched this month by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Amnesty International, the project aims to add images from commercial satellites to the online database every few days in order to monitor vulnerable areas and create a record of abuses committed. 

Of course, Sudanese President Omar Bashir probably doesn't even care that the world is watching. This is, after all, the same guy who appointed Ahmed Harun in charge of dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Harun, formerly Sudan's minister of the interior, was indicted in April by the ICC for allegedly coordinating murders and rapes of civilians in Darfur through funding and inciting janjaweed militias over the past several years. It's a gross irony that he's now in charge of helping and protecting the same people he's been accused of terrorizing. But then, that's just business as usual in Khartoum these days.

Yet U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon seems cautiously optimistic that his new agreement with Bashir on a peacekeeping force will finally put a stop to the violence. With Eyes on Darfur, we'll be able to see for ourselves just how well that deal is working.

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Morning Brief, Monday, June 18

Europe

ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images

The party of Nicolas Sarkozy actually lost seats to the Socialists in France's parliamentary elections, but retains a majority. And presidential runner-up Ségolène Royal and her partner, Socialist party leader François Hollande, are calling it quits.

Europeans are not happy about a proposed new requirement that they register 48 hours in advance before traveling to the United States.

Serbian police arrested yet another accused war criminal and sent him to The Hague for trial. 

Asia

With little oversight from an overstretched U.S. Food and Drug Administration, generic and over-the-counter medicines from India and China are creeping into U.S. drugstores.

The Taliban took credit for a suicide attack at Kabul's largest bus depot that killed several dozen Afghans, many of them police instructors. In eastern Afghanistan, NATO jets killed seven children in an attack on a madrassa that contained "several militants."

Late Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced new export controls on high-technology items that could be used by China's military. 

Middle East

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in an emergency cabinet featuring technocratic Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. Already, the European Union has promised to send aid to the new, Hamas-free Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, the Gaza border with Egypt just got a little more porous.

The U.S. military in Iraq launched what it says is a major offensive against al Qaeda.

The knighting of Sir Salman Rushdie has Iran's leaders in a tizzy. They see the honor as part of a war against Islam.

Elsewhere 

The Sudanese government cut a deal with the United Nations to allow joint African Union peacekeepers under U.N. command in Darfur. Will it stick? 

Ethiopia, the United States' new partner in the war on terror, stands accused of brutalizing rebellious nomads.

Growth in online sales is slowing down.

Over 300,000 legal immigrants await security checks from the FBI before they can become naturalized U.S. citizens. And the Department of Homeland Security is fighting an effort by lawmakers to delay implementation of a requirement that travelers show a passport when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.

Today's Agenda

  • Industry analysts expect some $30 billion worth of deals at this week's Paris International Air Show.
  • President Nguyen Minh Triet of Vietnam lands in New York today—along with representatives of more than 100 Vietnamese companies—to begin his first trip to the United States. On Friday, he'll meet with U.S. President George W. Bush in a historic White House visit.
  • The United Nations is overseeing four-way talks in Long Island, NY, on the fate of Western Sahara between Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria, and Mauritania.
  • Two Croatian ex-generals go on trial in Zagreb for war crimes they allegedly committed in 1993.
  • WTO head Pascal Lamy is in Beijing for trade talks with Chinese officials.
  • Beatle great Sir Paul McCartney is no longer 64 today.
  • On this day in 1815, Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.