Morning Report: June 6, 2004

Good news from Afghanistan. Posting at Winds of Change and elsewhere, Arthur Chrenkoff reports that over 600 Afghan Islamic clerics convened in a ceremony to formally strip Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar of his religious authority. In recognition of this important event, Morning Report and Dreams Into Lightning will no longer refer to the Taliban leader as "Mullah" Omar. Chrenkoff writes: 'This important gathering and its implications were reported by only a handful of news outlets around the world - in stark contrast to the news several days later about the assassination at the hands of the Taliban of the head of the council and the suicide bombing at the historic mosque during his funeral, which appeared through hundreds of media outlets around the world. Faced with this sort of media coverage, President Karzai expressed his exasperation during his recent visit in the United States: "Sometimes - rather often - neither our press, nor your press, nor the press in the rest of the world will pick up the miseries of the Afghans three years ago and what has been achieved since then, until today."' (GNFI / Winds of Change)

Britain defers EU vote; death knell for union? Following a decisive defeat in France and an overwhelming one in the Netherlands, the proposed Constitution for the European Union suffered a potentially fatal setback in the United Kingdom on Monday, as the British government postponed a planned referendum on the document. CNN reports: 'British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said a referendum on the European constitution has been postponed, following the document's rejection in France and the Netherlands. The EU Council, not the UK, will decide the future of the treaty, he said. But in the circumstances it would not now be sensible to press ahead with a referendum in Britain, Straw told MPs on Monday. "Until the consequences of France and the Netherlands being unable to ratify the treaty are clarified, it would not in our judgment now be sensible to set a date for second reading."' An analysis at Stratfor (subscription service) suggests that Britain prefers not to be seen as the party "putting the bullet in the charter's head", but notes that Britons have historically resisted both the EU project and the adoption of any written constitution. Stratfor concludes that "this sets the stage for a very awkward summit of EU heads of government in Luxembourg on June 16-17." (CNN, Stratfor)