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Israeli campaign commercials

Lisa Goldman, a freelance writer in Israel, has posted some great Israeli campaign commercials.

Here's one from the rightist Likud Party's Bibi Netanyahu, arguably the frontrunner:

And here's one from Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and a member of the centrist Kadima Party:

But the most interesting pitch comes from the Holocaust Survivors and Green Leaf Party, whose platform is avowedly pro-cannabis:

According to Goldman, the first caption reads, bizarrely, "this number [i.e., a concentration camp tattoo number] is not good for credit."

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Morning Brief: Iran and North Korea go ballistic

Top Story

The two remaining members of George W. Bush's "axis of evil" both grabbed headlines this morning. North Korea is reportedly preparing to test-launch a ballistic missile as tensions with the South rise. North Korea has notably escalated its rhetoric in since South Korean president Lee Myung-bak cut aid last year. Analysts suspected the move was also an attempt to grab the attention of U.S. president Barack Obama. Obama spoke with Lee, pledging further cooperation.

Iran, meanwhile, launched its first domestically produced space satellite. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the launch was meant to spread  "monotheism, peace and justice." The launch is a sign that Iranian missile technology is slowly but surely advancing.

Middle East

Veteran negotiator Christopher Hill has been nominated ambassador to Iraq.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshal visited Tehran to thank Iran for its support.

The timing of the Gaza withdrawal has emerged as a central issue in the Israeli elections.

Europe

The European Union criticized the "Buy American" clause in Obama's stimulus package.

A prominent cardinal came very close to criticizing Pope Benedict for rehabilitating a holocaust-denying bishop.

Iceland's new prime minister asked the country's central bankers to resign.

Asia and Pacific

An American U.N. official was captured by gunmen in southern Pakistan.

The IMF cut Asia's growth prospects in half.

Australia rolled out an economic stimulus package that includes an interest rate cut and US$27 billion in new government spending.

Americas

Barack Obama will name Republican Senator Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary. 

Hundreds of police are occupying one of Sao Paulo's biggest slums after a night of deadly rioting.

Hugo Chavez celebrated 10 years in power with a summit of Latin American leftists.

Africa

After taking over as chaiman of the African Union, Muammar Qadaffi promised to push for a "United States of Africa."

An AU convoy was bombed in Somalia, killing 18.

Zimbabwe cut 12 zeroes off its currency.

Photo: /AFP/Getty Images