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Putin shoots tiger, slays metaphor

ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images

Is there anything that Russian prime minister and all-around Nietzschean superman Vladimir Putin can't do? Putin was in the Russian far-east on Monday for a photo-op showcasing efforts to protect endangered Siberian tigers. As if the image of Putin walking through the forest in camouflage carrying a rifle wasn't enough, Putin apparently also sedated a tiger that had escaped by shooting it with a tranqualizer dart, saving some hapless journalists from being devoured. Or at least that's how those journalists reported it. The video evidence is a bit vague.

Is it too late to name the tiger Mikheil?

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Morning Brief: Hurricane Palin rocks GOP convention

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Gustav turned out to be less fearsome than many expected, but the hurricane did pour cold water on the start of the Republican National Convention in Minnesota, as Republicans scrambled to put together a low-key first day largely free of political rhetoric.

First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain led the way, calling on Americans to put aside partisanship and focus on helping those impacted by the storm. President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney canceled their appearances to supervise the federal government's response.

Republicans seem to love Sarah Palin: McCain has raised more than $10 million since he announced his running mate Friday. But reporters are swarming to report on everything from her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy to her husband's 1986 DUI. It was all known in advance, the McCain team insists, but the steady drip of stories threatens to overshadow the convention.

Barack Obama, meanwhile, has gotten a modest post-convention bounce, according to USA Today and Gallup.

Global Economy

Google is introducing a new Web browser, Chrome, today in more than 100 countries.

Crude oil has fallen to below $106 a barrel.

Americas

The U.S. soccer team will play in Cuba Saturday in a World Cup qualifying match.

Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva suspended top intelligence leaders for allegedly spying on senior officials, politicians, and judges.

The search for valuable commodities is setting off land disputes in Canada.

Asia

Japan's PM Yasuo Fukuda has resigned. Taro Aso, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, is expected to replace him.

Thailand's prime minister has declared a state of emergency, but the army says it won't use force against civilians on his behalf.

Half a million people are stranded in Bihar, India, after floods devastated the populous state.

Middle East and Africa

Anbar province is now in the hands of the Iraqi government, but not everyone is happy about the shift in control.

Libyan leader Moammar al-Qaddafi embraced capitalism in an unprecedented speech. "The whole business of the conflict between Libya and the United States has been closed once and for all," he added.

Zimbabwe is still keeping tight control of foreign aid workers.

Europe and the Caucasus

The European Union is suspending its partnership talks with Russia over the latter's treatment of Georgia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced a new, five-point foreign-policy doctrine.

The OECD expects Britain's economy to fall into recession this year.

Today's Agenda

Vice-President Cheney embarks on his trip to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Italy, and Ukraine.

South Africa hosts Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Today's speaking schedule at the RNC has not yet been released, due to Gustav.