Power tools: a quick fix for Russian-U.S. relations?

The world's 16th richest man -- already the proud owner of the world's longest yacht -- may soon also be the owner of the world's largest drill bit (think he’s compensating?).

Roman Abramovich, the Russian dropout turned oil tycoon, recently invested $160 million in the 19-meter-wide drill, outdoing the previous recordholder by a good four meters.

Not only has Abramovich set the record, but his colossal purchase just happens to coincide with rumors that President Vladimir Putin will propose the construction of a physical link between Russia and the United States: a 64-mile, $66 billion tunnel beneath the Bering Strait.

Abramovich has denied that his purchase has any connection to Putin's plans. But seriously, but what else is he going to do with a drill that can bore a hole wide enough for a four-lane highway?

Rumors of the tunnel come at a precarious time in U.S.-Russian relations, currently strained by the Kosovo decision, the proposed U.S. missile shield, and George W. Bush's renewed NATO membership push for former Soviet states Georgia and Ukraine.

Hopefully, all this Cold War nostalgia won't stand in the way of a great bicontinental highway. Just imagine the road trip possiblities -- you could park your RV in Red Square.


Breaking: Mugabe to resign?

The New York Times reports from Harare:

Advisers to President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe are in talks with the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, amid signs that Mr. Mugabe may be preparing to resign, a Western diplomatic source and a prominent Zimbabwe political analyst said Tuesday. The negotiations about a possible transfer of power away from Mr. Mugabe come after he apparently concluded that a runoff election would be demeaning, a diplomat said.

As the Times points out, a deal could easily fall apart during the negotiations. But the story sounds solidly sourced. This is excellent news for a country that has been destroyed by Mugabe's madness.

UPDATE: Tsvangirai's party denies it is in talks with Mugabe, but the AP is reporting that Mugabe's aides are indeed in discussions with Tsvangirai's people. The deal is close, multiple opposition sources are telling the BBC.