France may be in the middle of an economic crisis, but politicians seem more interested in talking about halal meat and religious dietary rules. It all began when National Front Party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.
New, tougher sanctions on Iran and its banking sector appear to be making it difficult for Tehran to carry out international transactions, while forcing ordinary Iranians into activities such as smuggling hard currency out. But India and China are still doing business with Iran.
In South Africa, there's a growing rivalry between the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions, or COSATU, and the ruling African National Congress. COSATU has long been a supporter, but it's tired of the Congress failing to deliver on promises for nearly 20 years.
In Syria, clashes continue between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebel groups. On the diplomatic side, Kofi Annan has announced he will brief the Security Council on Friday about his meetings with the president in Syria last week. Melissa Block talks with three guests about different perspectives on what should occur in Syria. Anne-Marie Slaughter is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and is former director of planning at the State Department. Paul Wolfowitz is a visiting scholar the American Enterprise Institute and former deputy secretary of Defense. And Daniel Serwer was a former U.S. special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is in Afghanistan on Wednesday. As he arrived, a vehicle exploded at the base where the secretary was scheduled to speak. Panetta is unhurt, and it's not clear whether it was an attack on the secretary or not. His long-planned trip comes in the middle of a crisis in relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan. The U.S. is investigating the killings of 16 Afghan civilians, apparently committed by a U.S. soldier.
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