Former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto’s return from exile on Oct. 18 was rocked by an assassination attempt that left over a hundred people, including dozens of her security personnel, dead. She blamed “dignitaries of the former regime of General Zia” for the twin-bombing, while Islamic militants with ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda had earlier threatened her. Hollywood is gearing up for a feature film suggesting Bhutto plotted the attack against herself because she wants an excuse to go after terrorists.
The ripple effects from Congressman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) ill-timed resolution condemning the Armenian genocide continue to be felt as Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan bang the war drum. Ankara claims the Iraqi Kurds are harboring the PKK—the Kurdish Workers Party—and has threatened to invade. Democrats insist they’re better at nuance and diplomacy.
President Bush awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal on Oct. 17. Nancy Pelosi told His Holiness, an honorary Canadian citizen, “You bring luster to this award, and a challenge to the conscience of the world.” Beijing labeled the ceremony “a blatant interference in China’s internal affairs” and assured the lackluster Speaker of the House that its conscience is not the least bit challenged.
Alleged serial pedophile Christopher Paul Neil was arrested in Thailand on Oct. 19. He had spent several years in Asia teaching English, giving him access to the dozen or more children he is accused of molesting. The Interpol-led 3-year manhunt ended when German computer cops “unswirled the digitally altered face [of Neil] in a virtuoso act of electronic decoding,” the International Herald Tribune reported, and then beamed the new image to police stations around the world. Thai police nabbed the Canadian national by tracing phone calls made by his transvestite sidekick. No joke.
Australian PM John Howard announced elections for a new parliament on November 24. The strong American ally — supporter of the war in Iraq and opponent of Kyoto — has been in power for over a decade. This man who stood when the time came to be counted touts a strong economy and promises massive tax cuts, but polls show Howard trailing considerably behind Kevin Rudd, his Labour opponent. Rudd, apparently a subscriber to Milton Friedman’s eternal phrase “I never met a tax cut I didn’t like,” has just announced some of his own.