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Zoellick: No, we can't

World Bank President Robert Zoellick, formerly the number two in the State Department, told Europeans at the Brussels Forum that the next U.S. president is going to piss them off:

Zoellick began his session by challenging European expectations for a new U.S. president. "My major concern is that the tenor of the debate in Europe is raising expectations – regardless of who the next president is – that overlooks a range of interests that I think both parties in the United States would pursue and also some ideologies… they would pursue, and that those heightened expectations will inevitably have to be adjusted," Zoellick said.

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Morning Brief, Monday, March 17

Global Economy

ANTONY DICKSON/AFP/Getty Images

With help from the U.S. Federal Reserve, Investment bank J.P. Morgan purchased its hobbled competitor, Bear Stearns, for a mere $2 a share. In January 2007, Bear Stearns's stock traded as high as $172.61.

Asian markets took a dive when markets opened Monday, following a quarter-point rate cut by the Fed. The U.S. dollar sank to new lows and oil traded at $112 a barrel.

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan says this financial crisis will be "the most wrenching since the end of the second world war."

Asia

A Chinese offical says 16 people have died in the riots in Tibet, which have spread beyond the province's capital city of Lhasa. Exile groups put the number as high as 80. The Dalai Lama says Tibetans are facing "cultural genocide." China says it is acting with restraint. The  government has given Tibetan demonstrators until midnight to surrender.

Investigators are looking into an attack on an Islamabad restaurant that wounded four FBI agents.

Europe

U.N. and NATO forces retook a U.N. courthouse in northern Kosovo that had been held by Serb demonstrators for nearly a week, but some Serbs have reportedly fired on NATO troops.

The final results of France's municipal elections are bad, but not devastating news for Nicolas Sarkozy.

An ammunitions depot exploded in Albania, killing at least nine people and injuring nearly 300.

Middle East

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise trip to Iraq, the first stop of his 10-day Middle East tour. Sen. John McCain was in Baghdad yesterday.

More than half of Iraqis are optimistic about the future, according to a new poll, but most Sunnis are still deeply angry.

Iran's conservatives are claiming victory in Iran's legislative elections, but the U.S. government says the results are "cooked."

2008 U.S. Elections

The Democratic primary race is getting ugly.

Today's Agenda

  • Happy St. Patrick's Day.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are in Moscow to talk missile defense with Vladimir Putin and President-Elect Dmitry Medvedev.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is on a three-day visit to Israel.
  • The new parliament convenes in Pakistan.
  • Former British PM Tony Blair visits India.