A batch of 50-peso coins, each worth about a dime, have returned to cause a headache for the Chilean mint. The coins spell the country's name C-H-I-I-E -- a typo that has recently cost the the general manager of the mint his job. The most remarkable aspect of this story, perhaps, is that the coins were released in 2008 -- but the spelling mistake was not noticed until late last year.
There's a lot of disappointment in the U.S. blogosphere today after the Iranian opposition apparently failed to overcome the regime's vigorous efforts to suppress any signs of disunity on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Scott Lucas puts a brave face on the day's events, pointing out that at least the green movement lived on to fight another day. But this isn't Israel vs. Hezbollah, where not losing equals winning in many Middle Eastern minds; either the green movement can put millions of people in the streets and force the regime to change course, or it can't.
One interpretation, which Steve Walt suggests here, is that the opposition has been exaggerating the extent of its support all along and that some Iran-watchers are engaging in wishful thinking. That's certainly the argument I expect Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett to make tomorrow. Another possibility is that the regime successfully scared away (or foiled efforts to organize) large numbers of potential demonstrators. Many Iranians might not have seen today's holiday as a legitimate occasion for protest, and preferred to keep their true opinions to themselves. It might be all of the above.
Whatever the reason, there's a real danger now that the regime -- or elements within it -- will move much more aggressively now to shut the green movement down. That might not be possible over the long term, but what happens if opposition leaders like Mohammed Khatami, Mir Hossain Mousavi, and Mehdi Karroubi are arrested -- or worse, killed? Until now, that would have been a bridge too far. But after today? There are surely some hard-liners in Tehran who are baying for blood.