Obama to China: Free Liu Xiaobo

President Obama has gone beyond any simple congratulatory message for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, he's called for the Chinese to free him:

I welcome the Nobel Committee's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Liu Xiaobo... By granting the prize to Mr. Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law...

Over the last 30 years, China has made dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected. We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.

Surely, this won't go down well with the Chinese, who were already quite unhappy about the first Chinese winner being imprisoned for his pro-democracy work a criminal while also facing other U.S. pressures.



Anna Chapman resurfaces at space launch

Everybody's (or at least the New York Post's) favorite glamorous Russian spy has resurfaced, putting in an appearance at the launch of a Russian soyuz rocket, bound for the International Space Station:

Dressed in a scarlet peacoat, she was spotted in front of the astronauts' hotel in Baikonur before the lift-off as they boarded a bus to go to the launch. She was swiftly led away by a guard after being recognised by journalists....

Since her arrival back in Moscow she has posed in cocktail dresses for a weekly magazine and appeared at a party at a nightclub, but has not given any interviews about her experience.

Russian media reports said she has been working as an advisor for a bank that is involved in the Russian space programme but officials at Russia's space agency Roskosmos were quick to deny it was involved in her visit.

"Roskosmos has nothing to do with Anna Chapman's visit. As far as we know, she came here as a private individual on the invitation of an executive of a commercial bank," a Roskosmos official said.

Looking forward to where Chapman's fame will take her. Of course, this could only happen in Russia. No U.S. spy whose cover was blown would ever run around like some kind of reality-show star trading on their newfound celebrity. Oh wait.