Chatter: Pakistan president nominates new PM, judge orders his arrest




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Need to know:
No sooner did Pakistan have a front-runner for a new prime minister, a warrant was out for his arrest.

Makhdoom Shahabuddin, formerly the minister for health and more recently, textiles, was nominated by President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday to replace ex-PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was disqualified from holding office earlier this week because of his conviction for contempt of court.

Less than 24 hours after the announcement, a judge issued an arrest warrant for Shahabuddin, Gilani's youngest son and one other man in connection with a scandal over the import of controlled drugs while Shahabuddin was health minister. 

It's not clear yet whether the warrant puts Shahabuddin out of the running, but it's certainly no oil on the waters of the long-standing feud between judiciary and government. Pakistan's parliament votes tomorrow on who the new prime minister will be.

Want to know:
Speaking of government officials held in contempt... US Attorney General Eric Holder is preparing to face contempt of Congress proceedings, after a House committee voted along party lines yesterday in favor of the charge. 

By 23 to 17 votes, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said Holder had failed to cooperate with Congress by refusing to hand over subpoenaed documents relating to the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation. President Barack Obama, meantime, has invoked executive privilege to keep the documents withheld.

Republicans say they'll schedule a full House vote on the affair next week.

Dull but important:
We were due to find out the results of Egypt's presidential election today; turns out, we won't.

The country's election commission announced yesterday that its official count would be delayed while the body looks into some 400 allegations of electoral abuse.

Both candidates – the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and the old regime's final prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq – are claiming to have won the vote with a narrow majority. We'll have to wait an as yet unknown length of time before we learn which is right.

And Hosni Mubarak, in case you're wondering, is still alive.

Just because:
A rescue operation is underway after a boat carrying as many as 200 asylum-seekers capsized off Australia's Christmas Island. 

The boat sank in Indonesian waters, midway between Indonesia and Christmas Island. Australian and Indonesian rescue ships have been dispatched to the area. Some 75 people are feared drowned. 

Attempts to reach Australian territory by boat are common – as are ensuing accidents. Almost 50 asylum seekers died in a similar accident off Christmas Island in December 2010. And last December, around 200 people drowned when an overloaded refugee boat sank off Indonesia.

Strange but true:
Kids, don't drive drunk. In fact, don't even pretend to drive drunk because… oh, too late.

Three Indiana teens who wanted to become police officers – and the deputy showing them the ropes – had to be taken to hospital after a drunk-driving simulation went awry. A 14-year-old, wearing "beer goggles" that mimic the effects of intoxication, over-corrected a turn in a parking-lot obstacle course and tipped over the modified golf cart he was driving.

Luckily, no one was badly hurt. But let's hope the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department has learned its lesson about riding in cars with boys.