Chatter: Hezbollah calls for fresh movie protests




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Need to know:
The head of Hezbollah has called for protests to continue over the US-made Mohammed movie that triggered an outpouring of anti-American rage around the world. 

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanon-based Shia Muslim group, told Muslims to show the world they "would not be silent in the face of this insult." "The whole world needs to see your anger on your faces, in your fists and your shouts," he urged.

Today in Afghanistan the shouts turned to stones, as protesters in Kabul threw rocks at police and a US army base. Other demonstrations are taking place in the Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia and Yemen – at least. If there's one thing everyone can see, Sheikh Nasrallah, it's the anger.

Want to know:
The US isn't the only country attracting unwelcome attention abroad. Two of Japan's manufacturing giants have been forced to close factories in China due to violent anti-Japanese protests.

The row in this case centers on a disputed island chain in the East China Sea. China says it owns the Diaoyu Islands; Japan says they belonged to a private Japanese land owner until Tokyo bought them last week and anyway they're called the Senkaku, thank you very much. 

The dispute has sparked angry demonstrations in cities across China, notably outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, which found itself surrounded this weekend by hundreds of flag-burning protesters. Now the unrest has spread to Japanese-owned Panasonic and Canon plants, at least one of which, according to a spokesman, has been "sabotaged." 

As the protests force the companies to partially suspend their Chinese operations, will nationalism prove bigger than trade for Asia's two biggest economies?

Dull but important:
Speaking of Asian trade: the US is expected to pick a new fight with China today over auto exports.

President Barack Obama will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization accusing China of illegally subsidizing its exports of cars and car parts. The White House says the alleged subsidies put US manufacturers at an unfair disadvantage, and force them to outsource production overseas.

The move won't go down too well in Beijing, but Obama is hoping it may win him some more friends in car-making swing state Ohio, where he is due to publicly announce the complaint later today.

Just because:
Everyone's favorite former house arrestee, Aung San Suu Kyi, is back on US soil today for the first time in two decades.

Accompanied by Washington's newly appointed ambassador to Myanmar, the pro-democracy icon left yesterday for a two-and-a-half week tour of the US. She's due to meet President Obama and collect even more awards to sit on her by now crammed mantelpiece, including the prestigious Congressional Medal of Honor.

Suu Kyi, now an elected opposition MP, will also have the chance to give US officials her progress report on the Myanmar government's much touted reforms – just days before President Thein Sein arrives for a visit of his own. Whether Suu Kyi will agree with Sein that Myanmar has come far enough to be freed from remaining US sanctions remains to be seen.

Strange but true:
What's strange but unfortunately true about the "Kate Middleton topless" story isn't that the Duchess sunbathed shirtless, or that a paparazzo spied – literally – an opportunity to make the big bucks, it's the justifications given by the various rags that published the pics.

So, rather than "we knew it would sell," we've been told that editors' reasons range from "she's not our future queen" (Ireland), to "seeing her breasts makes her more likeable" (Italy), or "Prince Harry will feel better" (France). 

We'll see how well that defense stands up in court: later today, the royal couple's lawyers will ask a judge for an injunction against the French magazine that broke the story, and file a criminal complaint against the photographer.