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Rubber stamps at the EU?

Peter van Dyk | 10:37 UK time, Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Today's top story is the expected green light for Bulgaria and Romania to join the European Union. That's due today at around 1500 CET. The conditions will be tougher than for any previous entrants - we went to Sofia and Bucharest last week, but what do people there think now it's a reality. Assuming it is of course.

You can join the debate online already, or have your say here, of course.

Mark wants to know what you think about the US Army failing to submit a budget on time for the 2008 financial year. The Army chief of staff says the limits set by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are unreasonable, and is holding out for more cash.

And on the front page of today's Independent there's a story we've been thinking about getting into for a while - women's rights in Afghanistan.

Safia Amajan promoted women's education and work in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. Yesterday she was shot dead outside her home by two gunmen on motorcycles.

So how close to reality are the hoped-for advances for women in the post-Taliban Afghanistan?

James is here warming up for a few early shifts over the next couple of weeks. He wonders about the news that more heads are likely to roll in the Chinese corruption scandal.

Monday's sacking of the Shanghai party chief was the highest-level sacking of a government official in over a decade, and the investigation is set to widen. Corruption is a big problem in China - how does it affect people, is the government serious about tackling it?

And from Ros:
More than fifty Kurdish mayors have gone on trial in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, in a case which correspondents say could strain relations with the European Union. The fifty-six mayors are on trial for writing to the Danish prime minister asking him not to close down a Danish-based Kurdish television station.

The Turkish government says the station, Roj TV, is a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdish separatist group, the PKK. The politicians - all members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party - are accused of aiding a terrorist organisation.

The Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said he was shocked that such a trial could take place in a country seeking EU membership. What do you think?

Elsewhere, Japan's parliament has elected Shinzo Abe as the country's new prime minister, replacing Junichiro Koizumi.

Is this a new era for Japan? The Washington Post expects more of the same, only more so.

Following up the leaked intelligence report saying the terrorist threat to the US has increased since the invasion of Iraq, US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte denies the claims.

Richard Norton-Taylor in the Guardian says it is absurd for our leaders to go on denying that the Iraq invasion increased the terrorist threat.

In More Leaks, Please, the Washington Post has a more nuanced assessment.

And new French film Les Indigènes pays tribute to the more than 100,000 soldiers from African countries who fought in the French Army to recapture southern France from the Nazis at the end of WWII. But did the French government give these soldiers a raw deal after the war? And are other countries guilty of treating soldiers from their former colonies the same way? What do you think?

And finally, also from the Washington Post, this is my favourite read of the morning: When the Camera Lies.

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