One of the first orders of business for a new president-elect is to consider which people to nominate for his cabinet. The position of secretary of state is generally regarded as the most critical of these, since it is one of four original cabinet positions, and the secretary of state is first among cabinet members in the line of presidential succession (following the vice president, speaker of the House, and president pro tempore of the Senate).
A report in the British newspaper, the Guardian, for November 1 examined the plight of 17 members of a dissident ethnic Chinese group who have been incarcerated at the U.S. detention facility inside Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba for almost seven years. The men are members of the Uyghur ethnic group — Turkic-speaking Muslims who are seeking political autonomy from China.
On October 17, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) hosted a "Symposium on International Law and Justice" featuring actress Angelina Jolie, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and co-chair, with her husband, actor Brad Pitt, of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation. According to the CFR website, the symposium "was made possible through the generous support of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation."
Hosting the White House Summit on International Development on October 21, President George W. Bush called on Americans to continue funding foreign-aid programs, saying it would be "a serious mistake" to cut back due to the current economic crisis. He also boasted that his administration has dramatically increased foreign aid.
The defense lawyer for notorious Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout argued in a court in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 10 that his client would not receive a fair trial if extradited to the United States. Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death" for providing massive shipments of arms to some of the world's bloodiest dictators, warlords, revolutionary groups, and terrorists, was arrested in Thailand by Thai police on March 6 in an elaborate sting operation carried out by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).