Former Soviet Union
♦ Here is your timeline of the Litvineko murder up to May 22nd.  Now Russia has refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, and along with Lugovoi, is blaming the UK security services for the poisoning.  If only it was a novel instead of real life. 
♦ The Russian Democratic People’s Party has nominated Mr. Kasyanov for presidential candidacy.  This is an opposition group: Mr. Kasyanov, a former Prime Minister, has been very critical of Mr. Putin, especially in regard to blockades of contiguous states such as Georgia-and its effect on Russia’s business community.  He was blocked from entering an April 14 demonstration in which other demonstration leaders were arrested.

Middle East
♦ The U.S. is noting increased weapons traffic from Iran to Iraq and elsewhere.  The U.S. has also said it is not going into Iran; it wants tougher sanctions for Iran.  It should be noted that sanctions are being vigorously opposed by Iran as it steps up its bilateral diplomacy with other states, most recently Algeria, Iraq, and Tajikistan
Turkish troops are moving to the Iraq-Turkey border in order to halt PKK depredations.  Some of Turkey’s frustrations are aired in a der Spiegel interview with Mr. Erdogan.  Turkey’s Iraqi PM Mr. al-Maliki has warned Turkey to back off.
♦ Way to keep that contract: the architectural firm Berger, Devine, and Yaeger, Incorporated, designing the U.S. Embassy in Emerald City, put the plans and specs on their Web site for public consumption.
♦ In Lebanon, Fatah al-Islam refuses to give up, and the fighting continues.

U.S. Politics and Security:
♦ Dear, Respected U.S. Military personnel: Don’t wear your uniform if you have something to say about the war and its conduct.  You know, I remember this stricture from the last war.  I hated it then, or rather, such things were vaguely frightening to me back then, and I hate/ find it frightening now as well. 

♦ Another airport-related terrorist plot: this time, for a JFK airport bombing , including terminals, underground fuel lines, and fuel tanks.  Four men, two arrested in Trinidad: Abdul Kadir, citizen and former Member of Parliament for Guyana, and  Kareem Ibrahim of Trinidad and Tobago citizenship.  Russell DeFreitas, a U.S citizen and Guyana native, was arrested in Brooklyn; one, Guyana native Abdul Nur, is still at large, probably in Trinidad.  The group wasn’t far enough along to execute these plans, but they were in a position to contact Jamaat al-Muslimeen, a terrorist group based in Trinidad and Tobago.  In 1990, they attempted a coup in Trinidad and Tobago, which was squashed and caused the death of 40 people.  Here is one of, or perhaps, the Jamaat al Muslimeen Web site for your perusal: apparently headquartered in Karachi, from whom one can order pamphlets. 
♦ In regard to Mr. De Freitas, I’m already anticipating fallout for the immigration bill currently in Congress.

♦June 1 oil prices: Brent Crude, USD 68.07; West TX intermediate, USD 64.36.
♦ Even the Pope’s doing it: They’re installing photovoltaic cells on top of the Vatican, in a move that will pay for itself in a few years.  That’s your message from God, everybody.

Cultural Intelligence:
♦ The NYT once again has the best article of the week: this time Donald McNeil’s article on industrial designs that solve daily problems in developing countries.  Not only can these make a difference in less-developed communities, but it’s past time we turned to designers to come up with some new, improved products for international trade as well.  Sticking to Cadillac design No. 557 is just not going to end our stagnant manufacturing economy .   My favorite is the straw that allows one to drink ditchwater safely, although, how do you get new filters???? 

Unintelligent but Worthy:
♦ Wonkette has taken the best of the “I can haz cheezburger” on DC politics and put them on their site.  After I went to the original site, I have to tell you that Wonkette did the best edit, gleaned from a larger (much larger) collection from FARK.  Just so wonderfully rude.