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Cinnabon comes to Libya

On July 2, Cinnabon made history, becoming the first American franchise to open a location in Libya. The 7,500 square-foot bakery-cafe in downtown Tripoli also sells Carvel ice cream and is the first of at least 10 locations franchisees Arief and Ahmed Swaidek plan to open in Libya in the next four years. Cinnabon, which already has locations in major Middle East markets, also wants to expand into Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Libyan Cinnabons are slated to "feature classic menu items as well as 'locally created' sandwiches, salads and baked goods," along with cakes and pies imported from Italy. Focus Brands International, Cinnabon's overseas expansion partner, also works with other fast-food chains like Moe's Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky's, and Auntie Anne's pretzels. No word yet on whether Libyans will get to experience the wonders of giant pretzels or Tex-Mex in the near future.

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Putin: NATO should stay in Afghanistan

Some unsolicited advice from Russia's president:

NATO forces should stay in Afghanistan until their job is done, Russia President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, suggesting they should stay beyond a planned withdrawal of most combat troops in 2014.

"It is regrettable that many participants in this operation are thinking about how to pull out of there," Putin said at a meeting with paratroopers in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk. "They took up this burden and should carry it to the end."

Perhaps the position of America's "number one geopolitical foe" can help Mitt Romney's campaign better articulate a position on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It's not quite clear from the Reuters story why exactly Putin wants NATO to remain in Afghanistan, though from a strategic perspective, the allies' reliance on the Northern Distribution Network for supplies certainly gives Moscow some international leverage. Russian officials have also repeatedly urged the U.S. to pursue a poppy eradication strategy to wipe out Afghan heroin, which has helped fuel a growing drug epidemic in Russia.

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