Robert GatesVoice of America (VOA) News reported on July 29 that Defense Secretary Robert Gates — speaking after a two-day visit to Iraq — has said there is a chance the United States may speed up the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the embattled Middle Eastern nation.

George MitchellU.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell wrapped up three days of talks in the Middle East on July 28, telling reporters that he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made "good progress" in their talks on advancing Middle East peace efforts.

PiratesIn an economy where there are no guarantees, why not invest in cargo-ship hijacking? In a recent interview with Scott Carney from Wired, a Somali pirate discloses information about the recent ship hijackings around the horn of Africa and the motivation behind the pirate attacks.

military combatA poll carried out by ComRes for the British tabloid newspaper The Independent on July 28 has found that 58 percent of Britons say the war in Afghanistan is "unwinnable," with only 31 percent believing that victory can be achieved. Fifty-two percent of those polled answered that all British forces should be withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately, while 43 percent want them to remain.

Obama at US-China eventOn the morning of July 27, President Barack Obama addressed the opening session of the first U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner chaired the dialogue with the Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.

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