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Perfecting the union

NEW YORK – Beyond Iraq, beyond the economy, beyond health care, there was something even more fundamental to stake in this US election won by Barack Obama: the self-respect of the American people.

EU lowers expectations for speedy agreement on new global financial architecture

BRUSSELS – European Union governments on Tuesday watered down a French call for speedy international agreement on a range of specific measures on the credit crisis, lowering expectations for a summit meeting this month that is dealing with global financial reform.

Sarkozy's Mediterranean plan slow to get moving

BRUSSELS – Once described by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France as his "Mediterranean dream," a plan to bind Europe to its southern neighbors was supported by no fewer than 43 countries at a summit meeting in a glittering Parisian palace in July.

As days dwindle, both campaigns claim an edge among voters

WASHINGTON – Top advisers to the major presidential candidates both predicted enormous voter turnout for the election Tuesday and, unsurprisingly, victory for their bosses. But Barack Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, did so in more confident terms and with convincing support from opinion polls, saying, "We think we have a decisive edge right now."

Obama takes lead in electoral projections

As the race for the US presidential race enters its final stage after nearly two years of campaigning, a number of analyzes are showing Senator Barack Obama holding more than the number of Electoral College votes necessary for victory if the election were held today, leaving Senator John McCain battled against the clock to win back states that once leaned in his favor.

Germany approves mission

BERLIN – Seeking to keep the biggest German peacekeeping mission from becoming an election issue next year, Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government won overwhelming approval from Parliament on Thursday to send an extra 1,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next 14 months.

EU powers favor changes to global financial system

BRUSSELS – Shaken by the financial meltdown and plunging markets, leaders of the world's economic powers said Wednesday that they favored an ambitious campaign to revamp the structures that have governed global finance for more than 60 years.

The EU ticks a box

The European Union is holding a seminar on media freedom in Uzbekistan at the beginning of this month. Seems logical enough. Journalists who cross the authoritarian regime in Uzbekistan have been murdered, others have been tortured and still others are being framed by the police right now. A two-day EU seminar was just what was needed to sort that all out.

Russia's peace offensive

President Dmitri Medvedev's speech in Evian, France last week has been portrayed as a broadside against the United States. Indeed, much of the speech amounted to a gratuitous rant reminiscent of his predecessor, now prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

Between the 2 Koreas, a border fortified by mistrust

BAENGNYEONG ISLAND, South Korea – Just a dozen kilometers from this northernmost island of South Korea, North Korea has massed two army divisions, their artillery and rockets pointed directly at the South.

The most dangerous job on earth

NEW YORK – Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's new president and the widower of Benazir Bhutto, does not mince words in his determination to defeat a growing Taliban insurgency.

The theory and reality of France's EU leadership

PARIS – In a time when world leadership appears in short supply, Nicolas Sarkozy is making a case that he can be a leader of a Europe able to take a greater hand in global decision making.

Crisis reaches Europe as institutions in four countries

FRANKFURT – The turmoil that has rocked the U.S. banking system spread to Europe on Monday, buffeting institutions in at least four countries with a chain of new failures. Another US bank was also consumed in a fire sale just when hopes were high that the worst was over.

Cast aside illusions and prepare to fight

The eighth round of Sino-Tibetan talks was, of course, a major turning point.