Passport

Happy birthday, Mr. President!

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

I just realized that today, July 6, is the 61st birthday of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Passport is usually pretty critical of the Prez. So for a change of pace and out of respect for the man's special day, here are the top ten things Bush and his team have gotten right during his time in office. No wisecracks, I promise:

  1. Boosting aid to Africa threefold
  2. Preventing a nuclear war between India and Pakistan
  3. Taking down the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network
  4. Getting Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction programs and renounce terrorism
  5. Turning independent-minded India into a strategic ally
  6. After a rough start, sticking to a pragmatic China policy
  7. Getting North Korea to shut down its nuclear reactor ... eventually
  8. Decapitating some two thirds of al Qaeda's top leadership and not having a second 9/11
  9. Giving immigration reform the old college try
  10. Challenging his party over harmful agricultural subsidies while pushing free trade

And amid all this as well as the stress of his failures, he's stayed physically fit.

Are there any significant achievements that you think should be on this list? Email Passport with your suggestions, and we'll post the best ones.

Passport

Morning Brief, Friday, June 6

Americas

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

Yesterday's big news: New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, a Republican, broke with President Bush and called for a withdrawal of most U.S. troops in line with the Iraq Study Group's recommendations.

Indian technology firms are hiring thousands of employees ... in the United States. But the trend is still going the other way: I.B.M., for instance, has hired 50,000 Indian workers since 2002, while its U.S. workforce declined.

Asia

Indian doctors fear it will be harder for them to work abroad after recent allegations that three Indian doctors were involved in terrorism in Britain. 

Amateur Japanese investors are getting into the yen carry trade in a major way, betting against their own currency. The yen hit a record low against the euro on Thursday.

Is NATO killing more Afghan civilians than the Taliban? 

Pakistani security forces are moving in for the final raid on an extremist mosque in Islamabad. The extremists are choosing "martyrdom" over surrender. And did Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf just survive another assassination attempt?

Europe

As new details emerge about the plotters, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says that investigators are "getting to the bottom" of the recent failed bombing attempts in London and Glasgow.

Bird flu hits France.

Half of all Iraqi refugees fleeing to Europe choose Sweden

Middle East

Sunnis in Iraq's Diyala province are turning to U.S. troops for protection from al Qaeda. In Baghdad, the attacks on civilians just keep coming.

With the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, Hamas has delivered the message that it is the power to be dealt with in Gaza. But Israel stepped up attacks on Hamas militants in the Gaza strip yesterday, killing 11 Palestinians.

Elsewhere

Kidnappers seized a three-year-old British girl in Nigeria. Kidnapping for ransom is particularly common in the West African country.

Why are gray whales getting so skinny? Could it be global warming?

The price of oil surges to over $75 per barrel

Today's Agenda

  • The folks in Pamplona, Spain, are gearing up for Saturday's running of the bulls as the festival of San Fermin gets underway.
  • Al Gore's Live Earth concerts begin in Sydney, Australia, before spreading westward.

Yesterday on Passport