Is Obama snubbing another foreign leader?

After the Gordon Brown debacle, you would think the White House would put a little more thought into planning for visits by visiting heads of state. But Brazil is already grumbling about the treatment of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will sit down with Obama this weekend and is the first Latin American leader to visit the White House under the new administration.

Silva aides said the trip was pushed forward from Tuesday because of the St. Patrick's Day holiday - making Latin America once again look like an afterthought. Then, the White House announcement misspelled his name as "Luis Ignacio" and put "Lula" - a nickname that decades ago became a legal part of the Brazilian leader's name - in quotes.

I'm sure he'll feel better when he gets his DVDs.

I know Obama's got bigger things to worry about, but there is a whole office of protocol that's supposed to take care of these things. If they can put together a Stevie Wonder concert, they should be able to arrange White House visits from the world's most important leaders with a little more class than this.


Morning Brief: A glimmer of hope?

Top Story

While admittedly the bar for good economic news has been dramatically lowered in recent months, investors have found a bit of it this week. Bank of America's CEO said his company wouldn't need government help, U.S. retail sales haven't fallen by as much as expected, and GE's credited rating was reduced by only one notch! After a 9.5 percent gain in the Dow Jones index over the last three days, Wall Street is feeling uncharacteristically optimistic.

Asian stocks are rising after news of new stimulus measures by Japan and China and things are even looking up in struggling Britain. Overall, world stocks are on track for their largest weekly gain in 20 years.


On the other hand...China expressed concern over the safety to holding U.S. treasuries.

U.S. drones attacked a Pakistani Taliban camp killing 24 near Peshawar, while Pakistani authorities broke up a major anti-government demonstration in Karachi.

Japan warned North Korea that it would shoot down any missile heading toward its territory while South Korea vowed new actions in the U.N. Security Council if the North goes ahead with its planned test.

Middle East

After Barack Obama renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran for another year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the move as "childish."

Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav says his rape conviction was a "lynching" by the media.

Hamas warned Gaza militants not to fire rockets into Israel at this time.


Madagascar's mutinous troops are now deploying tanks.

Thousands have been displaced by flooding in Southern Angola.

Japan and South Korea have joined the fight against Somali pirates.


Seven people were arrested for plotting to set off a bomb in central Amsterdam.

Thirteen Serbs were jailed for a 1991 massacre in Croatia.

President Mikheil Saakashvili says Georgia is open for Russian business.


Bernard Madoff pled guilty to running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme.

President Obama said he was considering sending National Guard troops to quell drug violence on the U.S.-Mexican border.

A party of former left-wing guerillas seems poised to win El Salvador's presidential election this weekend. Bart Beeson explains why there's more to the election than meets the eye for FP.