Morning Brief: Down to the wire

Top Story

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Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama dueled each other on Iran and gas taxes on the Sunday morning talk shows. With big primaries coming up Tuesday in North Carolina and Indiana, Obama is reportedly trying hard not to let his frustration with the campaign boil over.

The candidates are reconsidering ethanol, which they have supported.


Hundreds of thousands of Burmese people are homeless after a deadly cyclone struck the Irawadday delta. But the junta is vowing to push ahead with next Saturday's national referendum on a new constitution.

Thailand wants to form an OPEC-style cartel for rice. Asian governments fear rising food prices could wipe out the anti-poverty gains of the last 10 years.

China and envoys of the Dalai Lama agreed to another round of talks, even as the Chinese state press accused the Dalai Lama of "monstrous crimes."


Brazil is having trouble exporting its ethanol.

The first (legal) personal computers have gone on sale in Cuba. The Internet is still largely off-limits, though.

In an unofficial vote, one Bolivian province opted overwhelmingly for autonomy.

Middle East and Africa

Iraq's first lady was nearly killed in a bombing attack in Baghdad.

Iraq's government claims to have "concrete evidence" that Iran is stoking violence in Iraq. The United States also accuses Lebanon's Hezbollah of training Shiite militants.

Iran's supreme leader appeared to reject the latest package of Western incentives designed to convince the Islamic republic to end its nuclear program.

The U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization ought to be scrapped, according to the president of Senegal.


Rome's new mayor was elected thanks to an unlikely coaltion of fascists and Jews, the Financial Times reports.

A remotely detonated bomb in Chechnya killed five police.

Global Economy

A top White House official warns of growing restrictions on foreign investment in G8 countries.

Microsoft walked away from its bid for Yahoo.

Today's Agenda

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Israel for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders that have been overshadowed by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert's corruption scandal. President Bush visits next week.

The last group of domestic Olympics tickets are on sale in China.

Happy Cinco de Mayo.


Mark Halperin's bad joke

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I think it's safe to say this joke by Mark Halperin was in poor taste:


Hillary Clinton enthusiastically picked a filly named Eight Belles to win the Kentucky Derby and compared herself to the horse. Eight Belles finished second. The winner was the favorite, Big Brown. Eight Belles collapsed immediately after crossing the finish line, and was euthanized shortly thereafter.